Post Info TOPIC: Devaraja Market: an anatomy of heritage
Gouri Satya

Devaraja Market: an anatomy of heritage

Mysore Devaraja Market with a century-old history behind it is one of the oldest commercial buildings of Mysore. It was built in memory of Devaraja Wodeyar, one of the ablest rulers of Mysore Wodeyar dynasty, on the Sayaji Rao Road, a new road laid in memory of Sayaji Rao Gaekwad of Mysore, to mark his visit to Mysore in the 1900s.
The Devaraja Market was very well planned, each section allocated for a given item, fruits, plantains and plantain leaves, betel leaves, flowers, raw sugar blocks or 'Bella', condiments, coconuts, groceries, onions and potatoes, and vegetables. The cellar underneath granite stone of each shop was a small store house for the shop-keeper to stock items of sale. The stone slab was the place for him to sit and sell his item, while the covered portion, now illegally extended and occupied by the vendors, was the walk-through for the customers to walk in the shade, protecting themselves from sun and rain. The hollowed cast iron pillers and the metal 'Donies' provided easy flow of rain water from the roofs into the covered drains, leaving no trace of water even after a heavy downpour. The office-rooms around provided
accommodation for advocates and other professionals.
The market was as beautiful as any of the European markets in the 50s and I have known foreign tourists passing such encomiums when they visited the market.
When late B.C.Lingaiah was the Municipal President, some four decades ago, market show was an annual feature. Best shops selling the best items by maintaining total cleanliness were awarded prizes. The merchants took pride in exhibiting the cups and trophies they had won in these competitons, conducted by the Mysore Municipality. No one knows why this practice was
given up. 
A point to be appreciated here is that the century-old market is still serving a majority of the
Mysore's population. What was built when the population was less than a lakh continues to serve a population of over 10 lakhs, like the K.R. and Cheluvamba hospitals. This shows the far-sightedness of the Mysore rulers, which is utterly lacking with the present day planners.
With all this and more background should the market be razed to ground? Is it not a heritage building? If this is not a heritage structure, many more such important landmarks in Mysore also go into history books, like the Poornaiah Choultry in old Agrahara, Tipu's Palace on 100 Feet Road, now Chamaraja Double Road, which Mr. Vijayendra Rao has mentioned, the Udupi Krishna Bhavan near the Silver Jubilee Clock Tower. Well, one who knows the past of Mysore can
write more on these famous buildings, which have left no trace today.

(Mr Gouri Satya e-mailed this post after browsing the thread of messages in related items we had carried elsewhere. We have been criticised for hopping from one issue/idea to another, leaving out in cyberwilderness a litter of ideas. Mr Satya has chosen to hop back to the Devaraja Market issue we had flogged extensively with little impact on our decision-makers.) 


Capt. Anup Murthy


I and a few others have been quite vocal about this issue, in fact cried myself hoarse, writing to SOM a few times, speaking about it whenever in town, meeting with the Heritage Committee (one of them), meeting the Heritage secretary, commissioner and with all and sundry and of course using the D'market forum. Nothing has happened it seems. The momentum went out the window. I have a feeling that the decision makers are waiting for the roofs to collapse again before condemning the building. What happened to the promises made by the CM whe he came for the tourism meet. Did he not earmark a huge sum of money for restoration of heritage buidlings? I know he did and I wrote from here in Singapore, to Star of Mysore, who promptly published the letter. All rain drops on the back of a buffalo.

The MGP was also very vocal about it for some time and they have done their best. The general citizens of Mysore, as usual, is too lazy to get off their high horse and take matters in their hands. Mysoreans want things automatically to happen to them, they won't make things happen. They expect the Government to do everything, like it is the cure for all evils. They have to realize that, as President Reagan once said famously: "Government is the problem". Our inability to take matters up and do something positive is our biggest loss.

H.R.Bapu Satyanrayana


 I whole heartedly agree that Devaraja Market should be retained as a fantastic heritage. It has already been certified as safe by and large with some repairs needed by the consultaant. Sri. Gundu Rao who did excellent work of restoring Jayalaxmi Vilas Mansion adopting old technique  also came forward to lend his services. Obviously, it has not evoked any response. I have been arguing for about eight years that this stretch may be retained only for pedestrian movements and the Makkaji Chowk should be used for multi-storeyed parking. It may be relevant to refer to an article appearing in TOI some years ago written by the famous scientist Narliker. He had mentioned that in Italy he could not trace our Indian Embassy easily as there was no name plate. The reason was the govt expressly prohibited this display to preserve the heritage look. When other countries go through to such extent to safeguard heritage it appears our own govt which once proclaimed Mysore as a heritage city seem to be  blissfully negligentand allowing one heritage structure or the other going to seed

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