Lansdowne Bazaar saw its birth in one year!

Do you know how much time it took to build the single storeyed Lansdowne Bazaar 120 years ago? The answer is ‘one year’, thanks to the quality of works and also the brainy contractors involved in building a structure that withstood test of time crossing a century.

The period of construction is a record of sorts when compared to the construction of buildings in the present days, that stretches up to several years with escalation in project cost, despite incorporating innovative technologies.

Journalist Echanur Kumar who is also an authority on the history of Mysore told Deccan Herald, the then sanitary engineer of Mysore City Improvements Division Standish Lee had issued an advertisement in newspapers on September 14, 1891 calling interested contractors for Lansdowne Bazaar works with eight days deadline to reply.

The same advertisement was also published in gazette and it read as follows; Tenders are hereby invited for constructing range of bazaars from Shivarampet bridge to Jaganmohan Palace road.

Finally, the bazaar was dedicated on November 10, 1892 in commemoration of the visit of then Viceroy and Governor General Lansdowne and Lady Lansdowne.

Kumar said, many do not know, what remains now is a portion of the large complex that spread up to Shivarampet. A portion of the building was demolished to pave way for D Devaraj Urs road. Though it’s exactly not known about the cost, another record is published in 1920 says; at the time of Standish Lee in 1892, a sum of Rs 52 lakh has been spent in Mysore up to date in acquisition of properties in congested areas, sewerage and drainage, laying out of extensions, drinking water supply and model house building...

Interestingly, there were houses and other properties too, prior to Lansdowne Bazaar, which were acquired by the then municipality and razed for construction of the bazaar.
According to the description available, Standish Lee had identified 48 items for the works from lime and cement to pucca terrace, woods, Mysore art, gothic and ornamental arches among several others.

Drought

Incidentally, when the works was taken up in a hurry ahead of the visit of Lansdowne,
the then Mysore State was facing severe drought with the failure of pre-monsoon and monsoon. It was the following year, in1892, Lansdowne visits the city and lauds the role played by then Maharaja Hattane Chamarajendra Wadiyar in facing the situation.

Ironically, if going by the records again, there is no mention of whether Lansdowne visited the very bazaar. Though the VVIP couple visited several other parts of the city. The bazaar was earlier a place for advocates with their offices located in the building, besides being a perfect place for students accommodation. The booking office of Mysore Maratha Railway (which later became Mysore State Railway) was also functioning here till it was shifted to Devaraja Market.

Sarada Vilas School made a start in a huge hall in the first floor under the leadership of M V Venkatakrishnaiah popular as Thataiah.

The office of Mysore District Journalists Association (MDJA) was also functioning, with the office of information department too in the same row.

Most importantly, ‘Thaayi Naadu’ the Kannada daily edited by P R Ramaiah had its office here.

When the then Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar went on a foreign tour, the newspaper published the royal visit gathering news from telegraphic service. The office of Congress Party was also opened later.

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