For the first time, one lakh dolls will be exhibited during Dasara at Jaganmohan Palace auditorium by the Andhra Pradesh-based Gayathri Seva Trust said, Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, member or erstwhile royal family.
Addressing reporters here on Sunday, she raised objections over the government celebrating annual ‘Nada Habba’ claiming it to be traditional Dasara. There is no connection between the Nada Habba and Dasara. The Navaratri being celebrated in the Mysuru Palace is religious, traditional and as per the custom. The state government has been celebrating the Nada Habba since 1982. How can it be called traditional Dasara, she questioned.
Commenting on the objection over the honorarium given by the state government to the royal family during Dasara, it is not right to speak about it. Golden howdah is a personal property. The court too has clarified it and given clear instructions to those who raised such issues, Pramoda Devi said.
More than 90 people, including workmen from Kerala, are working round-the-clock to restore the art gallery of Jaganmohan Palace so that it can be reopened for the public before Dasara, said Pramoda Devi Wadiyar.
Pramoda Devi said, “Around 60% of renovation work has been completed. I wanted the revived and renewed art gallery to be a tribute to the founder of the Art gallery, Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, during his birth centenary year in July 2019, she said.
Taking the reporters on a tour inside the gallery, Pramoda Devi said, the layers of paint from the walls and intricate wooden doors, frames and wooden articles are being removed to showcase the old glory of the Palace. The work has been carefully carried out to retain the aesthetics of the art gallery which was constructed in 1868, she said.
Initially, it was thought to restore the collapsed roof of the front hall. But later, we decided to strengthen the weak areas of the building, restore and refurbish it. The lighting system would be redesigned and the place will be complete with surveillance cameras and fire security system. Moreover it has to be ensured that the building is pest and termite free, she added. Packing and storing the artefacts was challenging, she said. When questioned about the estimated cost of the restoration work, Pramoda Devi said it is being personally funded.
Several programmes have been planned as part of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar’s birth centenary celebrations, and Rs 25 lakh has been earmarked for constituting a chair in his name, she said.
The work is being carried out by Wadiyar Heritage Centre under the banner of His Highness Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar Foundation (HHSNW), and is being monitored by Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, and by the technical partners for built Architecture, G N Heritage Matter, and a team of conservation architects, headed by Sharatchandra Boyapati. “Once the works are completed it will give a world class visitor experience”, said Boyapati.