Saving the memories for posterity

abode: The entrance of Manuvana, the final resting  place of Wadiyars. dh photo by prashant h g

Mysore is all about palaces and stories related to the royal family, is a fact. And we do see the Amba Vilas Palace as the epitome of the royal city Mysore was, and the Maharajas who nurtured the city and state, with a vision and their relentless passion for good governance and able administration. It is beyond doubt that the palace has been maintained much to the satisfaction of inland visitors and tourists from abroad. But, the tourists, especially the ones travelling in from Europe, find it rather strange and also surprising that the last abode of Wadiyars, the Manuvana — is not listed as an important place of visit.

It is not strange for a country seeped in rich history as ours, has many stories to share from thousands of years. Though it has been almost seven decades since democracy became the defining factor of modern India, history remains equally exciting and intriguing. With that perspective, when one looks at Manuvana, located adjacent to Madhuvana on Ooty-Nanjangud road, one feels it can do with a lot of help.

Manuvana is the final resting place of the Wadiyars, in some sense. Since the Wadiyars cremate their family members and scatter the ashes in the river, a small platform or a room with a gravestone with a stone turtle is built on the spot.

This place has been a testimony to the 700 years of legacy and administration by Mysore Wadiyars — the Yaduvamshis — whose love and affection for their subjects was not any different from the one they had for their children.

As one enters Manuvana, we can expect to find the memorial structures of the Maharajas who took Mysore to the heights of glory during their administration. The first mega structure with four stories is that of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar — who steered the ‘Mysore state’ as it was known then, for a whopping 68 years, during his lilfetime of 74 years!

On his right are the ones that have Maharanis.

A series of gravestones in particular, are that of Nalwadi’s sister Krishnajammanni and her three daughters — who met their premature end owing to tuberculosis.

 PK Sanatorium — a dedicated facility, first of its kind in India, for people suffering from tuberculosis, on KRS road in Mysore in the memory of these phenomenal women — by Nalwadi and Raja Mata Kemparajammanni. Ahead is the Brindavana of Maharani Doddalakshmammanni, wife of Immadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar and the great soul who saved Mysore from the clutches of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, and gifting state with undeterred administration of Wadiyars for the next 60 years — starting from 1760.

Gravestone of Mummadi — the great administrator who possessed unmatchable vision for the state lies a little ahead on the right, from there. And the creator of modern Mysore — Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar rests in peace at a distance. The Maharaja who gave the state KRS, University of Mysore, State Bank of Mysore, hydro-electric projects among other revolutionary symbols of the state arriving on the national scene is counted among the best rulers worldwide — who was called ‘Rajarishi’ by none other than Mahatma Gandhi. The last Maharaja of Mysore, before India opened its eyes to democracy, Jayachamaraja Wadiyar’s resting place is the last one here.

With these stories, and a legacy that rich, it is rather important to preserve this place for future generations. The government, which is so keen on bringing back past glory, should consider sprucing the place up and manage it with due respect and dignity attached.

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