Rare Old Photos Of Mysore, India

Mysore is the second-largest city in the state of Karnataka, India. Located at the base of the Chamundi Hills about 146 km (91 mi) southwest of the state capital Bangalore, it is spread across an area of 128.42 km2 (50 sq mi). According to the provisional results of the 2011 national census of India, the population of Mysore is 887,446 and Hinduism is its major religion. Mysore City Corporation is responsible for the civic administration of the city, which is also the headquarters of the Mysore district and the Mysore division.

Maharajah Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV with his Brother & Sisters

Until 1947, Mysore served as the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore. The kingdom was ruled by the Wadiyar dynasty, except for a brief period in the late 18th century when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan usurped power. Patrons of art and culture, the Wadiyars contributed significantly to the cultural growth of the city. The cultural ambience and achievements of Mysore earned it the sobriquet Cultural capital of Karnataka.

Mysore is noted for its palaces, including the Mysore Palace, and for the festivities that take place during the Dasara festival when the city receives a large number of tourists. It lends its name to the Mysore style of painting, the sweet dish Mysore Pak, the Mysore Peta (a traditional silk turban) and the garment known as the Mysore silk saree. Tourism is the major industry, while information technology has emerged as a major employer alongside the traditional industries.

The site where Mysore Palace now stands was occupied by a village named Puragere at the beginning of the 16th century. The Mahishuru Fort was constructed in 1524 by Chamaraja Wadiyar III (1513–1553), who passed on the dominion of Puragere to his son Chamaraja Wadiyar IV (1572–1576). Since the 16th century, the name of Mahishuru has commonly been used to denote the city. The Mysore Kingdom, governed by the Wadiyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire. With the decline of the Vijayanagara Empire after the Battle of Talikota in 1565, the Mysore Kingdom gradually achieved independence, and by the time of King Narasaraja Wadiyar (1637) it had become a sovereign state. Seringapatam (modern-day Srirangapatna), near Mysore, was the capital of the kingdom from 1610. The 17th century saw a steady expansion of its territory and, under Narasaraja Wadiyar I and Chikka Devaraja Wadiyar, the kingdom annexed large expanses of what is now southern Karnataka and parts of Tamil Nadu, to become a powerful state in the southern Deccan.

The kingdom reached the height of its military power and dominion in the latter half of the 18th century under the de facto rulers Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. The latter demolished parts of Mysore to remove legacies of the Wadiyar dynasty. During this time, Mysore kingdom came into conflict with the Marathas, the British and the Nizam of Golconda, leading to the four Anglo-Mysore wars, success in the first two of which was followed by defeat in the third and fourth. After Tipu Sultan's death in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799, the capital of the kingdom was moved back to Mysore from Seringapatam, and the kingdom was distributed by the British to their allies of the Fourth Mysore war. The landlocked interior of the previous Mysore Kingdom was turned into a princely state under the suzerainty of the British Crown. The former Wadiyar rulers were reinstated as puppet monarchs, now styled Maharajas. The British administration was assisted locally by Diwan (chief minister) Purnaiah. Purnaiah is credited with improving Mysore's public works. Mysore lost its status as the administrative centre of the kingdom in 1831, when the British commissioner moved the capital to Bangalore. It regained that status in 1881 and remained the capital of the Princely State of Mysore within the British Indian Empire until India became independent in 1947.

After Indian independence, Mysore city remained as part of the Mysore State, now known as Karnataka. Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, then king of Mysore, was allowed to retain his titles and was nominated as the Rajapramukh (appointed governor) of the state. He died in September 1974 and was cremated in Mysore city.


Oriental Research Institute (Jubilee Institute), Mysore

Oriental Research Institute (Jubilee Institute), Mysore

This photograph of the Oriental Research Institute (Jubilee Institute), Mysore taken in the 1890s by an unknown photographer, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'.

The Oriental Research Institute (ORI) (Jubilee Institute) at Mysore, India is a research institute which collects, exhibits, edits and publishes rare manuscripts in both Sanskrit and Kannada. Formerly it was known as the Oriental Library.

The Oriental Library was started in 1891 on instructions from Chamaraja Wadiyar, the then Maharaja of Mysore State. It is located at one end of the road Krishnaraja Boulevard, in the architecturally attractive Jubilee Hall built in 1887 to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria`s accession to the British throne. It was a part of the Department of Education until 1916, in which year it became part of the newly established University of Mysore. The Oriental Library was renamed as the Oriental Research Institute (Jubilee Institute) in 1943.

The Government House, Mysore

The Government House Entrance Gate, Mysore

The Government House, Mysore

This photograph of the Government House, Mysore taken in the 1890s by an unknown photographer, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'.

The Government House in Mysore, Karnataka, which was erected in 1805 and was earlier a residency reserved for European guests. The front portion of the building was erected in 1805, under Major Wilks and is of the Doric order of architecture. The old and handsome portico with the verandah was later enclosed to form an extra drawing-room. The back of the building was added a few years later, by Sir John Malcolm, and comprises one of the largest rooms without pillars in Southern India. It was designed by De Haviland."

The architecture reflects the Doric style. It was here that Sir John Malcolm began to write his well-known 'History of Persia'.

Maharajah Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV with his Brother & Sisters

The Main Street, Mysore

The Main Street, Mysore

This photograph of a Main Street, Mysore taken in the 1890s by an unknown photographer, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'.

Mysore, once the dynastic capital of the state, was superseded by Seringapatam as the seat of the court from 1610 until Tipu Sultan's death in 1799. In 1831, upon British occupation, the seat of administration was transferred to Bangalore. At the end of the street a small way-side shrine can be seen.

Lansdowne Bazaars, Mysore

Lansdowne Bazaars, Mysore

This photograph of the Lansdowne Bazaars, Mysore taken in the 1890s by an unknown photographer, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'.

This two-storey range of bazaars was named after Lord Landsdowne, Governor-General and Viceroy, to commemorate his visit to Mysore in 1892. It measures over 1,050 ft in length.

Nandi Statue, (Chamundi Hills), Mysore

Nandi Statue, (Chamundi Hills), Mysore

Nandi Statue, (Chamundi Hills), Mysore

Nandi Statue, (Chamundi Hills), Mysore

Nandi Statue, (Chamundi Hills), Mysore

Photographs of the Nandi on Chamundi Hill near Mysore in Karnataka. Chamundi Hill, overlooking Mysore, takes its name from the goddess Chamundi to whom a temple is dedicated near its summit. The goddess, a form of Shakti who as Chamundi slew the demon Mahishasura, is the tutelary deity of the Wadiyars, rulers of the former princely state of Mysore. Nandi, the sacred bull, is the vehicle of Shiva, the consort of the goddess, and symbolises great strength and virility, the animal force in man. It was carved from a single rock at the behest of Dodda Devaraja Wadiyar (ruled 1659–72).

The Chamundi Hills are located in India, close to the palace city of Mysore. The hills' average elevation is 1,000 meters.

According to legend, the demon Mahishasura, king of the area that is currently Mysore, was killed by the Goddess Chamundeshwari (also Chamundi) after a fierce battle. The hills are named after the goddess, and a temple honors her in the hills. The temple has a beautiful idol of the goddess.

The temple has always been patronised by the rulers of Mysore. In earlier days, the Maharajas of Mysore would decorate the ceremonial Dasara elephant during the annual Dasara festival; since the seventies, the idol of Goddess Chamundi is taken on an elephant.

A panoramic view of the city is seen from the top of the hills. Among other landmarks, you can see the race course, the Lalitha Mahal palace, Mysore Palace, Karanji and Kukkarahalli lakes.

Chamundi's main hill features a long stone stairway leading to the top of the hill. There are 1,008 steps in all, with the first 600 steps being steeper than those higher up. En route to the top, the steps pass the large statue of Nandi the bull, the statue is about 16 feet high and 25 feet in length. Nandi is the vahana (vehicle) of Lord Shiva. Local monarch Dodda Devaraja Wadiyar directed the steps' creation in 1664 and the installation of the statue of Nandi.

Maharajah Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV Childhood Pic

Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore

Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore

View of Mysore from Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore

This photograph of the Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore taken in the 1890s by M. Burahnudin, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'. The view is from the garden looking towards the main fa├žade of the Jagan mohan Palace.

Jaganmohan Palace is a palace in Mysore, in the state of Karnataka, India. Its construction was completed in 1861 and was initially used by the Wadiyars, kings of Mysore as their home. It was later converted into an art gallery.


The Jaganmohan Palace was constructed in 1861 by the king, Krishna Raja Wadiyar III as an alternate retreat for the royal family. The Mysore Palace, which was the original home of the royal family was burnt down in a fire and the construction of a new palace in its place was started in 1897. Till the new palace was completed in 1912, the Jaganmohan Palace was used by the royals as their home. In 1902, the king Nalvadi Krishna Raja Wadiyar was installed to the Mysore throne, in a ceremony that took place in a pavilion inside the Jaganmohan Palace. This ceremony was attended by Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy and Governor General of India. The palace was used for his daily durbar by the king and also the special Dasara durbar during the dasara period. In 1915, the palace was converted into an art gallery, which was later renamed in 1955 in the name of Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, as the Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery . The early convocations of the Mysore University were also held in this palace. The first session of the Legislative Council of the Mysore state was held here in July 1907. The Legislative Council was then called as the Representative Council and was presided over by the Diwan. Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar converted the palace into a trust and opened it for public viewing.


The palace is built in traditional Hindu style and has three stories. In 1900, an external facade with a hall behind it was added to the palace. This facade has three entrances and the entablature has religious motifs and miniature temples crafted on it. The walls of the interiors are painted with murals. These mural paintings which follow the traditional style of the Mysore school of painting depict the Dasara scene and the canvas depicting the sequence of the Jumboo Savari stretches across three walls. This mural is the earliest known picture of the Mysore Dasara and has been painted using vegetable dyes. A family tree of the Wadiyars tracing the lineage of the royal family is also painted on a wall. Two wooden displaying Dashavatara, the ten incarnations of the Hindu God, Vishnu is also present in the palace.

Art Gallery

The art gallery contains one of the largest collection of artefacts in South India. Most of these artefacts are paintings, prominent among which are those by Raja Ravi Varma, some of which demonstrate scenes from the Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharatha.

Jaganmohan palace also has an auditorium which is used for traditional dance performances, music festivals and other cultural programs mainly during the period of dasara.

Wellington Lodge (General Wellesley's House), Mysore

Wellington Lodge (General Wellesley's House), Mysore

This photograph of General Wellesley's House (Wellington Lodge), Mysore taken in the 1890s by an unknown photographer, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'.

Wellington Lodge, one of the oldest monuments in Mysore, does not boast of any special architectural designs. But two centuries ago, its simplicity was its unique selling point.

Wellington Lodge that has doubled as a museum is often described as a monument that has derived its architecture from factory builders. The two-storey structure at one point was used as a store house too.
Over 200 years old, it hardly has looks of a mansion housing distinguished persons in British India. But at one point, the bungalow was house to the Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, who, history tells us, was political in-charge of Mysore between 1799-1801. That was when Mysore got back its status as the capital of the Mysore State.

Facing the Government House, this monument had six rooms besides a host of other facilities. It is not clear why the plain double-storey building was constructed, but it was not invested with any embellishments. Going by its looks, it is often regarded as a makeshift arrangement. The terraced structure with rectangular openings, the building does not contain any designs save for a small porch at the entrance. Such was its simplicity that even the porchs arcaded openings were plain.

When the majestic Government House was being built, it served as an office for the superintendent who stayed in top floor while the ground floor was used as a store house for the furniture. A part of it was occupied by the Amrut Mahal department of the Mysore administration.

Over a period of time, the monument started to degrade and was almost lost when it was resurrected. Thanks to housing of the museum- the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya-- the monument has regained both its value and stature. Even as the structure survives without any special architectural value, the officials have now plans to put the available space to better use by starting an open museum.

General Market, Mysore

Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysore

Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysore

Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysore

Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysore

Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysore

Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysore

Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysore

Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysore

Having a Pouranic background, Chamundeshwari is the main subject of ‘Devi Mahathme.’ It describes of this ‘Shakti’ Goddess of slaying the monster, Mahishasura, who lived atop the hills. Therefore, Chamundi Hills bears her name.

A temple of great antiquity with over 1,000 years of background, it was a small shrine initially and assuming importance over the centuries it became a big temple as seen today. It assumed significance after the Mysore Maharajas, the Wadiyars, came to power in 1399 A.D. Great devotees and worshippers of the Devi, Chamundeshwari became their home deity and thus assumed religious importance.

In the historical background of Chamundi Hills, the contributions made by three dynasties, i.e., Hoysala, Vijayanagar and Mysore rulers, are traced. The famous 12th century Hoysala king, Vishnuvardhana, and the 17th century Vijayanagar rulers have made contributions to it. In the Mysore history, an incident relating to Chamaraja Wadiyar, who turned bald after a lightning struck him while going to the temple in 1573 A.D., is narrated. There are also records of gifts made to the temple by the rulers of Mysore.

The temple is of a quadrangular structure. Built in Dravidian style, it consists of the Main Doorway, Entrance, Navaranga Hall, Antharala Mantapa, Sanctum Sanctorum, and Prakara. There is a beautiful seven-tier Gopura or pyramidal tower at the entrance and a ‘Vimana’ (small tower) atop the sanctum sanctorum. Atop the ‘Shikara’, the tower at the entrance, are seven golden ‘Kalashas’.

Krishna Raja Wadiyar III repaired the shrine in 1827 A.D and built the present beautiful tower at the entrance (Gopura). Blessed by the Goddess, Krishna Raja Wadiyar, an ardent devotee of the mother Goddess, presented to the temple a ‘Simha-vahana’ (A lion-shaped vehicle) and other animal cars and jewels of value. The cars are used even now for processions on special religious days.

The tower at the entrance has a small image of Lord Ganesha on the doorway. The doorway is silver-plated and has the images of the Goddess in different forms. On either side of the doorway are the images of ‘Dwarapalakas’ or door-keepers. As one enters inside, on the right hand side is a small statue of Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles. After a few steps, there is a flagstaff, the footprints of the Goddess and a small statue of Nandi, facing the sanctum sanctorum. On the right side, before approaching the flag staff, there is an image of ‘Anjaneya’ attached to the wall. On either side of this entrance are two Dikpalakas, Nandini and Kamalini.

In the ‘Antharala’ prior to the sacred sanctum sanctorum are the images of Lord Ganesha on the left side and of ‘Bhyrava’ on the right side. To the left of Ganesha, there is a beautiful 6-foot statue of Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar III. He is standing with his hands folded in his religious clothes. On either side of him are his three wives, Ramavilasa, Lakshmivilasa and Krishnavilasa. Their names are carved on the pedestals.

In the sanctum sanctorum is the stone statue of the Goddess, ‘Mahisha Mardhini.’ Having ‘Ashta Bhujas’ or eight shoulders, she is in a seated posture. According to the local leged, the image was established by sage Markandeya and hence it is said to be very old.

The idol of the Goddess is decorated every day and worshipped by a number of priests. The Mysore Maharajas have made a number of valuable gifts to their family deity. Human and animal sacrifices were in vogue in old times. However, they were totally stopped from 18th century onwards. Now only coconuts, fruits and flowers are offered.

On top of the sanctum sanctorum, a small tower or ‘Vimana’ is seen. In the ‘Prakara’ or enclosure, behind the sanctum sanctorum, are small images of a few deities, which are also worshipped. After going round the sanctum sanctorum through this ‘Prakara’, a devotee can return to the main entrance, which leads him outside.

With the Goddess residing atop, Chamundi Hills has become a famous religious centre. What was a small temple of a local deity, Chamundi has come to assume great religious significance due to the ardent devotion and development the Mysore Maharajas have contributed to the place. Consequently, ChamundesHwari has become a Goddess of great religious tradition and the temple has grown into a big temple assuming importance for all its devotees and others.


The Chamundeshwari Temple is located on the top of Chamundi Hills about 13 km from the palace city of Mysore in the state of Karnataka in India. The temple was named after Chamundeshwari or Durga, the fierce form of Shakti, a tutelary deity held in reverence for centuries by Mysore Maharajas.

Chamundi Hill is named after Goddess Chamundi who is believed to be the incarnation of Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. A large number of devotees from all over the country and even abroad visit the temple every year. Pilgrims strongly believe that the Goddess helps them to fulfill their needs.

The Chamundi Temple on top of the Chamundi hills is the most famous temple in Mysore, since Goddess Chamundi or Chamundeshwari is the presiding deity of Msyore. Initially the temple was a small one, but over the past few centuries, as a result of the patronage and expansions made by the Mysore Maharajas it has become a big temple. In the olden days, human and animal sacrifices were regularly made at this temple, but were stopped in the 18th century.

The temple has a quadrangular structure. The Gopura or pyramidal tower at the entrance is intricately decorated in the Dravidian style and has a small statue of Lord Ganesha on the doorway. The doorway is silver-plated and has the images of Goddess in different forms on it. As one passes through the main gate, on the right hand side is a small statue of Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles. Climb a few steps and there is a flagstaff, the footprints of the Goddess and a small statue of Nandi, facing the sanctum sanctorum.

In the sanctum sanctorum is the stone statue of the Goddess that is decorated everyday and is worshipped by a number of priests. The Mysore Maharajas have made a number of valuable gifts to their family deity. In the room in front of the sanctum sanctorum, there is a beautiful 6-foot statue of Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar III. He is standing with his hands folded in his religious clothes, with his three wives; their names are carved on the pedestals. Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar repaired this temple in 1827 and built the enormous tower on it. He also gifted the temple with a large wooden chariot known as the Simha Vahana, which is now used during the Rathotsava or car festival.

On top of the sanctum sanctorum is a small tower or Vimana that can be seen from outside the temple. During the 10 daylong Dasara festival special prayers are offered to the Goddess. The Vedas are chanted in the temple and various music performances are held here. After Dasara, on the auspicious Ashwayuja Pournime, a Rathotsava or car festival is conducted during the Jathra or annual festival on top of the hill. This is followed by Theppotsava (floating festival) that is held in the night. All these festivities attract devotees by the thousands.

The Chamundeshwari temple is located on a hill in the vicinity of Mysore and is accessed through a motorable road. Chamundeeswari the tutelary deity of the Mysore Maharajas has been held in reverence for centuries, and the Wadiyars of Mysore have made extensive contributions to this shrine.

A flight of one thousand steps built by the Maharaja Dodda Devaraja in 1659 also leads up to the summit of the hill which is at a height of about 3000 feet. Chamraja Wadiyar IV is said to have worshipped here in 1573 and was miraculously saved from a lightning hit. Krishna Raja III (late 18th century) built the temple tower and presented the Nakshatramalika jewel with sanskrit verses inscribed on it.

Thus much of the current temple is the result of renovation efforts carried out in early nineteenth century, although the original shrine is much older. Chamundi Hill has been associated with the Hoysala ruler Vishnu Vardhana (12th century) and with the Vijayanagar rulers of the 17th century.

Chamundeshwari, or Durga is the fierce form of Shakti who vanquished the demon Mahishasuran. A colorful image of the demon greets visitors as they reach the summit of the hill.

Also on this temple are several images of Nandi (the bull mount of Shiva). The best known of these is the collossal Nandi on the 800th step on the hill. This Nandi is over 15 feet high, and 24 feet long. It was created during the reign of Dodda Devaraja, who also built the steps leading up the hill.

There are also shrines dedicated to Shiva - Mahabaleshwar (attributed to Vishnu Vardhana the Hoysala ruler of the 12th century CE) and Lakshmi Narayana - Vishnu on this hill.

Other Interesting Places

Besides the Chamundeshwari, Mahabaladri, Narayanaswamy temples and Mahishasura and Nandi statues, there are a few other interesting spots on the Chamundi Hills. Among them the Lalithadri Palace is one. It belongs to the Mysore royal family. The Maharajas were making a short stay in this Palace whenever they visited the hills. Built on the hill-top, it offers an attractive bird’s eye view of Mysore city and far off places. Lalithadri Palace was built during the reign of Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV.

To the south of Chamundeshwari temple, a Maramma temple is located facing north. Special annual worship is conducted to the deity in the month of Magha Bahula. A large number of villagers conduct their customary worship to Maramma.

While descending the steps, an Anjaneya shrine is seen. Half way the 1,000 steps, the Mantapa is said to have been built by Maharaja Chamaraja Wadiyar.

Maharani's College for Women, Mysore

Maharani's College for Women, Mysore

Maharani's College for Women, Mysore

This photograph of the Maharani's College for Women, Mysore taken in the 1890s by an unknown photographer, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'.

Maharani's College for Women is going to celebrate its centenary in 2017. It was established in 1917 by the Queen Regent of Mysore, Maharani Kemparajammanni Divya Sannidhi mother of His Highness Sri Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV in the present heritage building located at Jhansi Lakshmi Bai Road, Mysore.

It began as a primary school for girls in 1881 and over the years grew into a First Grade College. This college holds a unique place in promoting Women’s Education since its inception. Initially the college offered both Arts and Science education at undergraduate level. The college celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1968.
In the year 1979 the college was bifurcated into Maharani's Science College for Women and Maharani's Arts College for Women to accommodate the growing number of students seeking admission. The college now offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

It comprising of 20 departments, which include 15 science and 5 languages and altogether offers 20 course combinations, in addition to an integrated degree course in Home Science. It offers two PG Courses, three add-on courses and a few certificate courses.       

The College is affiliated to the University of Mysore and is under the administrative control of Department of Collegiate Education, Government of Karnataka and University of Mysore. Financial assistance is provided by the Government of Karnataka, the University Grants Commission,and contribution from students, alumni and College Development Council.

It is a prestigious Government institution located in the heart of the city with a campus which sprawls over 5 acres and is well connected by train and bus services. It is well equipped to impart higher learning to the learners.

Marriage Ceremony of Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, Mysore (Year - 1900)

Marriage Ceremony of Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, Mysore (Year - 1900)

Marriage Ceremony of Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, Mysore (Year - 1900)

Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV (June 4, 1884 – August 3, 1940, Bangalore Palace), also known popularly as Nalwadi Krishna Raja Wadiyar was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Mysore from 1902 until his death in 1940. He is regarded as one of the most celebrated rulers among the Indian States when India was still under British rule. At the time of his death, he was also one of the world's wealthiest men, with a personal fortune estimated in 1940 to be worth $400 million which would be equivalent to $56 billion in 2010 prices.

He was a philosopher-king, who was seen by Paul Brunton as living the ideal expressed in Plato's Republic. He has been compared to the Emperor Ashoka by the English statesman Lord Samuel. Mahatma Gandhi called him Rajarshi, or "saintly king", and his kingdom was described by his followers as Rama Rajya, an ideal kingdom akin to the rule of Lord Rama.

Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV was the 24th ruler of the Wadiyar dynasty of Mysore that ruled over Mysore State from 1399 to 1950.

Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV was born on June 4, 1884 at the Royal Palace, Mysore. He was the eldest son of Maharaja Chamaraja Wadiyar X and Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhana. After the death of his father in Calcutta in 1894, Krishna's mother ruled the state as Regent until Krishna reached the age of majority.

The Maharaja had his early education and training at the Lokaranjan Palace under the direction of P. Raghavendra Rao. In addition to Western studies, Krishna was instructed in the languages of Kannada and Sanskrit, in horse riding, and in Indian and western Classical music. He was also sent to Mayo College, Ajmer to study but returned to Mysore due to ill health. His early administrative training was imparted by Sir Stuart Fraser of the Bombay Civil Service. The study of the principles of jurisprudence and methods of revenue administration were supplemented by extensive tours of the state during which he gained extensive knowledge of the nature of the country which he was later to govern.

On June 6, 1900, he wed H.H. Maharani Lakshmivilasa Sannidhana Sri Pratapa Kumari Ammani Avaru (b.1889), youngest daughter of Rana Sri Bane Sinhji Sahib, Rana Sahib of Vana in the Kathiawar region of the present-day Gujarat State.

Mysore Palace (Amba Vilas Palace), Mysore

Mysore Palace (Amba Vilas Palace), Mysore

Mysore Palace (Amba Vilas Palace), Mysore

Mysore Palace (Amba Vilas Palace), Mysore

Mysore Palace (Amba Vilas Palace), Mysore

Mysore Palace (Amba Vilas Palace), Mysore

Mysore Palace (Amba Vilas Palace), Mysore

Mysore Palace or the Mysore Maharaja Palace is located in the heart of the city. Mysore Palace is one of the most visited monuments in India. And its one of the largest palaces in the country, also known as Amba Vilas Palace, was the residence of the Wadiyar Maharaja's of the Mysore state.

Burnt Down Old Mysore Palace Pic

The original palace built of wood, got burnt down in 1897, during the wedding of Jayalakshammanni, the eldest daughter of Chamaraja Wadiyar and was rebuilt in 1912 at the cost of Rs. 42 lakhs. The present Palace built in Indo-Saracenic style and blends together Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture. It is a three-storied stone structure, with marble domes and a 145 ft five-storied tower. Above the central arch is an impressive sculpture of Gajalakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity, good luck, and abundance with her elephants. The palace is surrounded by a large garden. Designed by the well-known British architect, Henry Irwin, the palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world.

Mysore Palace is priceless national treasure and the pride of a kingdom, the Mysore Maharaja Palace is the seat of the famed Wadiyar Maharaja's of Mysore. The palace is now converted into a museum that treasures souvenirs, paintings, jewelery, royal costumes and other items, which were once possessed by the Wadiyars. It's a Kaleidoscope of stained glass & mirrors. The tastefully decorated and intricately carved doors open into luxuriously decorated rooms. The ground floor with an enclosed courtyard displays costumes, musical instruments, children toys and numerous portraits. The upper floor has a small collection of weapons. The beautifully carved mahogany ceilings, solid silver doors, white marble floors and superb columned Durbar Hall are a fest to the eyes. The palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. Exquisitely carved doors open into stunningly luxurious rooms.

The front of the Amba Vilas Palace has an open balcony supported by massive circular columns. The Royal portrait gallery, which is of historical importance, is a visual treat to the visitors. This three-storied structure has beautifully designed square towers at various cardinal points covered by domes. Craftsmen from Jaipur and Agra along with local workers were engaged in crafting them. The marriage pavilion or the Kalyana Mantapa with a center octagonal gabled roof, covered by stained glasses, is to the south of the building. The flooring of this magnificent Kalyana Mantapa has artistic geometrical patterns created by using glittering glazed tiles imported from England. The building has gorgeous chandeliers of Czechoslovakian make.

The royal throne, regal seat of the is called the Chinnada Simhasana or Ratna Simahasana with captivating artwork on its gold plates is displayed during the Dasara festival. The Maharajas of Mysore used to sit on the golden throne and hold durbars in the Palace Durbar Hall. The paintings of eight manifestations of Goddess Shakthi (strength) and an original painting of the renowned painter Raja Ravi Verma are also on display.

The palace complex has a selection of twelve Hindu temples. The oldest of these was built in the 14th century, while the most recent was built in 1953. Someshvara Temple, dedicated to God Lord Shiva and Lakshmiramana Temple, dedicated to God Lord Vishnu are some of the more famous temples.

The erstwhile Royal family continues to live in a portion of the Palace. Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar is the current scion of the Wadiyar Dynasty.Illuminated Mysore Palace

A silhouette of the Mysore Palace illuminated with 98,260 bulbs, shimmering against an inky black night is one of the most enduring images of the city. Although tourists are allowed to visit the palace, they are not allowed to take photographs inside the palace.

Mysore Palace is the venue for the famous Mysore Dasara Festival, during which leading artists perform on a stage set up in the palace grounds. On the tenth day of the festival Vijaya Dashami, a parade with caparisoned elephants and other floats originate from the palace grounds.

H.H. the Maharani's Hospital, Mysore

H.H. the Maharani's Hospital, Mysore

This photograph of the H.H. Maharani's Hospital, Mysore taken in the 1890s by an unknown photographer, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'. The view depicts the single-storey hospital building and an accompanying note reads, "Erected to the memory of H.H. the Dowager Maharani Depajammuni, C.I., the fourth Maharani of H.H. Krishna Raja Wadiyar III, who was invested with the Order of the Crown of India in 1878. Her Highness was...for some years, the Guardian of H.H. the late Maharaja. Although Her Highness lived to the advanced age of 89, she retained all her faculties to the end, and made charitable bequests on her death-bed."

Private Residential Museum (Interior of Karikal Thotti) (Old Portion of Mysore Palace / Amba Vilas Palace), Mysore

Private Residential Museum (Interior of Karikal Thotti) (Old Portion of Mysore Palace / Amba Vilas Palace), Mysore

This photograph of the interior of the Karikal Thotti, Mysore Palace taken in the 1890s by M. Burahnudin, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'. Text with the album reads, "The room is at the extreme end of the Palace on the west. Its construction is in the Hindu style, with carved wooden pillars, spaced 10 feet every way, connected at top with arched carved panels, and roofed with ceiling planks. It is furnished in the European style, and is the room chiefly used by the late Maharaja for receiving visitors and the chief officers of state."

The Private Residential Museum (Karikal Thotti) portrays the various objects related to the life of the reigning dynasty of the Wadiyars of Mysore. Attached to the Mysore royal palace this museum in the old portion of the palace called Karikal Thotti gives a true glimpse of what it meant by royal living in India. Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja of the Wadiyar dynasty endeavored to showcase the royal belongings that attract visitors all year round.

The Private Residential Museum (Karikal Thotti) of Mysore allows visitors to enter some of the rooms of the palace that were once used by the royal family. The living room that was used regularly by Krishna Raja Wadiyar is one of them presented in a grand scale. The rooms are intricately embellished with gold leaf painting, sculpted doors and stained glass window panes.

The Vardhanti or birthday throne and the silver wedding throne of Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, palanquins, chandeliers, royal furnishings, inlaid Chinese chairs, utensils and crockeries, costumes, trophies and oriental furniture bear the distinct flavor of an Indian royal dynasty that thrived and ruled for years.

The Private Residential Museum (Karikal Thotti) is one of the awe inspiring museums in Mysore and is conveniently located in the heart of the city. It is just 1 km from the city bus stand and 3 km from the Mysore railway station. The museum is open on all days from 10 am till 5:30 pm and a special illumination from 7 pm till 8 pm on Sundays and all public holidays attract numerous visitors. Illumination is also done during the 10 day Dussehra celebration. Photography is prohibited within the palace and shoes are also to be left out of the entrance to the museum.

Marimallappa's High School, Mysore

Marimallappa's High School, Mysore

This photograph of the Marimallappa's High School, Mysore taken in the 1890s by an unknown photographer, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'. The view shows pupils and staff posed in front of the school, built to European designs. A caption note gives the following details, "Marimallappa was a Bakshi, or head of a department of the palace under Krishna Raja Wadiyar III, who, having no heirs, left his wealth for the promotion of education. The building was erected in 1886 and educated boys up to the Matriculation standard."

Sri Gurikar Marimallappa was born in Chikkanayakana Halli of Tumkur District in 1818, to the proud parents Sri Mallappa and Smt. Honnamma. As he was the first son in the family, he had to shoulder a lot of responsibility. Music, Literature and acting were in his blood. Naturally, Mysore city known for its culture, art and education, attracted this talented young boy. Marimallappa left his native place at the age of eight and came to Mysore and because of his exceptional talent, drew the attention of the Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Krishna Raja Wadiyar III, who gave him a suitable job at the Mysore Palace.

Sri Marimallappa was very much impressed by the service, sacrifice and generosity of the Maharaja for his subjects. Having no children of his own, he decided to establish an educational institution in the city of Mysore as suggested by Sri Rangacharlu who was the controller of the Palace at that time. He collected Rs. 50,000/- for this purpose, but before he could execute his plan, he fell seriously ill. He then got a will written on his deathbed and saw to it that his intention of starting an educational institution was included in it. But some vested interests got the will so written that his entire property was going to be used for building a temple. When he heard this on his death bed, be became furious. He got the will changed according to his original intention. He conveyed his ambition to the famous English Architect Mr. Standish Lea and entrusted to him, the responsibility of constructing a suitable building immediately. He breathed his last in 1872 after being satisfied that his ambition would soon turn into a reality.

While the construction of building was going on, there was a paucity of funds. Smt. Mallamma, wife of Sri. Gurikar Marimallappa came forth to meet the entire expenditure by selling all her jewellery. Thus, because of the generosity of both the husband and wife, a beautiful building emerged in the heart of the city. In the course of time, this educational institution acquired fame for disseminating knowledge and skills to both urban and rural students.

Summer Palace of the Maharajah of Mysore

Summer Palace of the Maharajah of Mysore

Photograph from the album of Major General Jackson Muspratt-Williams, of the entrance gate to the Summer Palace of the Maharaja of Mysore, at Mysore in Karnataka, India, taken by an unknown photographer some time in the 1860s. Mysore was ruled by the Hindu Wadiyar Maharajas from c.1400 until the 20th century, save for the period from 1761 until 1799 when the Muslim Haider Ali and his son Tipu Sultan seized power. There are a number of palaces in the environs of the city built by the Maharajas which date from the 19th and 20th centuries, after the labyrinthine old city was demolished and rebuilt by its Muslim conquerors; the most famous is the main palace in the centre of Mysore, the Amba Vilas Palace, a spectacular building designed in the orientalist “Indo-Saracenic” style by the British architect Henry Irwin. There were two summer palaces in Mysore, the Lokaranjan Mahal, situated in south-east Mysore, and the Rajendra Vilas Palace, situated on the summit of Chamundi Hill to the south-east of the city. This view shows a gateway to the palace built in a Hindu architectural style.

The memorial fountain erected by European officers, Mysore

The memorial fountain erected by European officers, Mysore

This photograph of the Memorial Fountain,Mysore taken in the 1890s by an unknown photographer, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'.A general view of the memorial fountain dedicated to Maharaja Chamrajendra Wadiyar, with the Lansdowne Bazaars in the background. On 25 March 1881, at the age of 18 years, the Maharaja was publicly entrusted with the administration of the state. During his reign, the state experienced high levels of modernisation of its infrastructue, such as irrigation, railways and roads.

Sita Vilasa Chatram, Mysore

Sita Vilasa Chatram, Mysore

This photograph of the Sita Vilasa Chatram, Mysore taken in the 1890s by an unknown photographer, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'.General view from the street of the Sita Vilasa Chatram or resting house.

Tank near Government House, Mysore

Tank near Government House, Mysore

Photograph from the Elgin Collection: 'Autumn Tour 1895. Vol II', taken in 1895. This is a view of the tank near the Government House in Mysore with Chamundi hill in the background. Mysore is situated in Karnataka in Southern India in a valley with two ridges on either side. Government house was begun in 1800 by Colonel Wilks and completed in 1805. It is a fine example of a European style house of the period. Chamundi Hill is approximately 3000 feet high, situated to the southeast of Mysore and is topped with a temple dedicated to the guardian deity of the Mysore Rajas, the goddess Chamundi, or Durga.

The Golden Throne, Mysore Palace / Amba Vilas Palace

The Golden Throne, Mysore Palace / Amba Vilas Palace, Mysore

This photograph of the Dasara Hall with throne, Mysore Palace taken in the 1890s by an unknown photographer, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'.

The Golden throne has been on the must-see list of tourists, especially of those who throng the city for the Dasara festivities. The throne is taken out of safety vault and placed in the rear octagonal part of Ambavilas Palace only during Dasara.

In his book 'Mysore Royal Dasara', Sivapriyananda of royal family in south Gujarat, said the throne first belonged to epic hero Dhamaraja Yudhishthira. Later, it is said to have passed on to Kampili king Kampilaraya, who brought it to Penukonda from Hastinapura. The king had hid the throne before being killed by Muhammed bin Tughlak in a fight. Then, saint Vidyaranya, scholar and head of Sringeri Mutt, showed the spot where the throne was buried to king Harihara I of Vijayanagara in 1338. After Harihara retrieved it, the Vijayanagar kings used it for two centuries. After the fall of Vijayanagar empire, the throne came into the hands of Mysore kings. For some time, it was in possession of Tipu Sultan. It was was recovered from Sultan's Palace after his fall. Ever since, it is in the possession of Wadiyars' family, according to Sivapriyananda.

Some alterations were made to the throne in 1940 and during 1945-46 under the supervision of Shilpi Siddhalinga Swami. However, its basic artistic and decorative features remained unchanged. The earlier throne was much smaller and had only five steps. The present one is much larger and has seven steps.

The throne comprises a large seat, seven steps that lead up to it and a large umbrella. The umbrella, a symbol of royal authority, is decorated with festoons of pearls and is inscribed with 24 Sanskrit verses blessing king Mummadi Krishna Raja Wadiyar. Wadiyars have always showed their subordination to the divine throne before ascending.

According to Mysore Palace Board, the throne was originally made of fig wood. Then it is said to have been decorated with ivory plaques. The throne was later bejewelled with gold and silver figurines.

A detailed description of throne is given in 'Devatanama Kusumamanjari' penned by Mummadi Krishna Raja Wadiyar in 1859.

Portraits of Young Prince of Mysore

Portraits of Young Prince of Mysore

Portraits of Young Prince of Mysore

Full-length standing carte-de-visite portrait of the young prince of Mysore, from the 'Album of cartes de visite portraits of Indian rulers and notables', taken by Bourne and Shepherd, early 1870s. Mysore was the capital of the Wadiyar rulers, who were governors of southern Karnataka under the Vijayanagar Kings. The Wadiyar dynasty ruled almost uninterruptedly from 1399 until Indian independence, except for the 38 year rule of Haidar Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, in the 18th century.

Mysore Deputy Commissioner Office (The Public Offices), Mysore

Mysore Deputy Commissioner Office (The Public Offices), Mysore

This photograph of the Public Offices, Mysore taken in the 1890s by an unknown photographer, is from the Curzon Collection's 'Souvenir of Mysore Album'.A caption note accompanying this photograph reads, "Designed and built by Col. (now Sir) Richard Sankey, 1864-1868, for the Mysore Chief Commissioner's offices.

The imposing monument housing a string of government offices including the Mysore Deputy Commissioner Office was once the place where the Mysore Representative Assembly held its sittings.

The two-storey ornate structure spread over 30,000 square feet was completed in 1895. When it was completed, the monument had a whopping 92 acres of open space in its surrounding attached to it which is now reduced to a couple of acres. The whole area was called Gordon Park named after Sir James Gordon, the British administrator who was the guardian of Maharaja Chamaraja Wadiyar.

Weeks after the maharaja ascended the throne, he along with Dewan C Rangacharlu initiated the process to set up the representative assembly in 1881. Initially, the assembly held its sittings at the Jaganmohan Palace and there are records which explain the events in detail. The maharaja used to arrive at the sittings through Brahamapuri Gate of the Mysore Palace Fort at the Jaganmohan Palace where he was accorded a guard of honour. The sittings were held twice a year including during Dasara, explained P V Nanjaraj Urs, historian who has penned a book on Mysore's past.

Later, the sessions were held at the Mysore Deputy Commissioner Office complex, which was called as the Public Offices going by the location of over a dozen offices. The deputy commissioner of Mysore district was its principal officer while the assembly held its sessions discussing public issues. According to the 'Handbook of the City of Mysore' published in 1915, the building had what was called 'Representative Assembly Hall,' where the Assembly held its annual sittings. Urs said after India attained Independence when the capital was shifted to Bangalore, the sittings were held at the high court building before Vidhana Soudha was built.

Foundation for the Mysore Deputy Commissioner Office complex was laid on June 20, 1887, and was formally opened in 1895. It cost Rs 1.75 lakh and had two halls, 27 rooms that served as offices/chambers. It also has a treasury room. The building has a verandah all round and is topped with a cone-shaped dome. Some of the important offices which were housed here were district treasury record room, district excise office, judicial records room, revenue records room, police superintendent office and district forest office on the ground floor and district health office, Mysore sub-divisional office on the first floor.

The building was later reorganized internally to suit to the present needs. When the edifice was under construction, it had attracted criticism about its design.


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  1. No words to describe the old glory of the great city proud to be born and brought up in the city..... Hats of to the Maharajas of mysore

  2. awesome really its good historical n un forgettable huuf i proud am mysorian

  3. excellent, fortune are we that we are able to get the visualization of history & feel of mysore.
    from sanjeev- mandyam sabha

  4. I am so glad to know the history and the background info about the landmarks of the city. I am proud to say I am a prduct of the famous city, born brought up and educated. Remember climbing the thousand steps to the Chamundi temple in all kinds of weather and seasons growing up in the city. Thank you for posting these valuable photos and the legends.

  5. Amazing, Impressive, wonderful, nice, Fantastic, marvelous,great,Fabulous,
    pretty nice & pretty excellent rare collections, many thanks for sharing, may God bless u & your family.
    sandiago, usa.

  6. Great treasure of our History

  7. What an excellent experience in viewing these rare old photographs of Mysore. I have visited Mysore plenty of times and every time I feel as if I am in Maharaja's time. People of Mysore still feels that they are being ruled by the Maharaja and would prefer to keep and maintain the old structures. Another one place where you will have the same feeling is Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. These are the two provinces we have seen in our lives. Thanks fior those who preserved these photographs and made it available to us today.

  8. Amazing photos.........it brings glorious history back.......just excellent!!!!!

  9. J.K.Vijaya PrakashJun 24, 2013, 8:26:00 PM

    It is all wonderful,it gives an idea about those Golden Era.Thanks for sharing.

  10. very happy to see the photos of mysore where I grew up. It is a wonderful city and is the centre of cultural activities in old mysore area. thank you for sharing these photos - Sarveswara


  12. wonderful pictures..Very old indeed. Baroda (State),city has a Road named after Chamrajedrasinhji, Palace Road. I visited Mysore in 1963-4..

  13. H.H.Chamaraja Wodeyar was raised through an English Nanny and Tutors in the built-for-purpose Bangalore Palace, after a rebellion brought on by his mother's insensitivity was quelled, by Maj.Gen.Sir Mark Cubbon, a typical product of the East India Company's Addiscombe Military Seminary, who gave Mysore 27 years of unremitting prosperity and ensured that Mysore did not slip into the Hands of the Madras Presidency (British Rule) but remained with the Maharajas of Mysore. H.H.Chamaraja Wodeyar was an exemplary ruler and built the foundations from which, H.H. Nalvadi Krishna Raja Waoeyar, the Raja Rishi, also raised by English Nannies and Tutors equipped with an able and honest Civil Service that he conjured from persons of impeccable family background as well as physical and academic credentials constructed a Mysore that rivaled European States such as Austria in culture, aesthetics, education,technology absorption and industrialization which he rightly proclaimed to be "Camelot". Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi described this Mysore as "Rama Rajya". When I was five, my Maternal Grandfather, Shri K.Srinivasan, (Mysore Civil Service) who was then the Chairman of the Indian Coffee Board (Having, by then, negotiated His Highness' privy purse with the Indian Union as the Revenue Commissioner of Mysore), took me to bear witness to what Mysore had been. His Highness, then the Raj Pramukh, had continued some of his royal Vijayanagara Dharma practices.On the lawns of what is now the Raj Bhavan, His Highness Jayamacharajendra Wodeyar had convened, as was his wont, the Sunday Aam Durbar, His ADC had pulled a post card out of the rotating barrel in which all the post cards of complaint written to his highness were placed each week. The Lucky Post Card, on this occasion, had been written by a lady from the Siddapura Slum who had complained that the Bus Conductor had signalled the Bus to start while she was still on the foot board, giving her a fright. Majestic in a traditional Red Arasoo Turban with Gold Buttas, trade mark dark glasses (so that the Raja Djrishti may not fall on anybody) and white kurta-pyjama (in deference to the new order), he coped his hands in salutation to the lady (whom the ADC had brought) and asked her for her forgiveness (Shamisbidi Thaye, thappu aiyuthu). She beamed with joy. Then, turning to the erring Bus Conductor he said, with perfect politeness and composure, "See what condition you have brought us to" (Noddu, namanna yavu paristhithige karukondu bandhidhiya). The conductor withered as if in a fussilade of shot. He turned around and returned to the Khas Durbar within the Building as the band resumed play. My Grand Father charged me to bear witness to what Mysore really had been in the deteriorating India that he foresaw.

  14. As a lover of black and white photography these pictures of Mysore are worth a million to me.

  15. One of the best and treasured collection of old Mysore photos. Lovely. Thank you for posting them here.
    Also, taking efforts to write about the photos. I was nostalgic to see the old photo of my school - Marimallappa's school.

  16. Just Great! Bring back the old memories.

  17. great pictures,