MCC steps in to save welcome arch at Krishnaraja Boulevard

Dec 7, 2017

 Mysuru: The welcome arch erected at the entrance of Krishnaraja Boulevard has been saved the proverbial axe, thanks to the timely intervention of the Mysore City Corporation (MCC). The arch is a heritagestructure, but it came dangerously close to being destroyed since it became a traffic bottleneck.
The arch was built late in the 18th century to enhance the hierarchical status of the DC’s office, a building that is a fine piece of architecture. The arch opens onto the office, but it had become a traffic bugbear after a stretch of Krishnaraja Boulevard was widened ahead of the 83rd Akila Bharat Kannada Sahitya Sammelana. Since it is located on a prominent inner ring road, it caused traffic to pile up at the junction and plans were afoot to raze the arch.

Now, the civic body has stepped in with a plan to redesign the junction by opening the two flaps on either side of the 20-foot high arch. This will not only ensure the preservation of the heritage structure, but also allow free movement of traffic.

D Randeep, Mysuru DC, told TOI that the MCC will redesign the junction under a Rs 1.5 crore project. It is expected to be completed by the end of the month. “We wanted to retain the heritage charm the junction offers while also factoring in the traffic flow in the area, mainly through the arch,” Nagaraj Murthy, the executive engineer, told TOI.

While the construction of the road began in early November, other works like construction of drainage will be completed in three weeks. The MCC will also build footpaths along the stretch of Krishnaraja Boulevard to embellish the site and beautify it with ornamental lamps to suit to its status.

Conservationist Echanur Kumar pointed out that the welcome arches were constructed in the city at major heritage structure like the DC’s Office, Maharani’s College, Lalitha Mahal Palace and Government Guest House. The welcome arches enhanced the beauty of the buildings. Their sole purpose was to beautify the city, he said. The arch denotes the heritage of the city and speaks of the historical era marked by the Wadiyars of Mysuru, he added.

Mysuru’s Seat of power

DC Office was constructed at the end of 18th century at a prominent location to enhance its status as a seat of power. The building, which is dedicated to Sir James Gordon, was completed in 1895. The foundation stone for the structure was laid on June 20, 1887. Significantly, the project was taken up within six years after ruling power was restored to the Wadiyar dynasty.

Historical awareness saves structure

The welcome arch constructed at the outer periphery of Government Guest House, which is two centuries old, has also been preserved though it now sits at the ultra-busy Bengaluru-Nilgiri road in the central business district. Though the authorities had planned to do away with the arch, the city’s heritage status weighed in and it was preserved. The authorities garnered funds from the private sector to embellish and illuminate it.

Maharani’s College arch crying for attention

While efforts are on to preserve the arches, the one at the Maharani’s College, just adjacent to Krishnaraja Boulevard, has gone to ruin. The welcome arch which once was an entry point to Maharani’s College has been neglected over the years. Moreover, the compound wall has been built higher than the arch.