University Museum

University of Mysore Museum Complex The Folklore Museum complex is located in the magnificent Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion, which is in the University of Mysore campus at the Manasagangothri Campus. It is a unique centre for art-forms in South-East Asia. The total area of the Mansion is 1.20 Lakh square feet. After acquiring 800 acres of land towards the west side of the Kukkarahalli Kere (Lake), the Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar constructed the Mansion at a cost of Rs. 7 Lakh in the year 1905 in the name of his eldest daughter Jayalakshammanni and gifted this Mansion during her wedding. The Mansion is also called as The First Rajakumari’s Mansion or Kebbekatte Bunglow by the people of the heritage city, Mysore. The princes lived here for some years.

The former Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University Rashtra Kavi Dr. K.V. Puttappa, Jnanapeeta Awardee, who had a great vision to set up an intellectual centre in Mysore, purchased the Mansion along with 300 acres of land from the Wadiyars for about Rs.10 lakh in the year 1959. The Wadiyars in return donated Rs. 2 lakh for the development of the said centre. Thus the literary genius and poet laureate Kuvempu (as he is popularly called) who aptly named the campus as “Manasagangothri,(Meeting of the Minds) came into existence.

This Museum was started in the year 1967-68 by Dr. D. Javaregowda, the former director of Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies, Mysore University. Dr. Ha Ma Nayak,  Dr. J.S. Paramashivaiah,  Sri P.R. Thippeswamy and Sri U.S. Ramanna joined hands in bringing up the Museum. Many other intellectuals contributions are also behind the emergence of the Folklore Museum.

The folklore Museum complex also constitutes, The Archaeology, Art and Architecture wings. It has to its credit the artifacts of more than 7000 art-forms collected from different parts of Karnataka. The artifacts housed in the museum, also speak about the knowledge, skill, versatile life style and folk culture of the people of North Karnataka, Malnad region; the plain region and coastal regions of the Dakshina Kannada Districts. Likewise the diversity of knowledge and skill are stream-lined under one roof i.e., the University Museum Complex.

The description of the artifacts that are housed in the museum is briefly recorded in two big ledgers, by the former curator Sri P.R. Thippeswamy. The sketches drawings of the artifacts, information about the date, year, place and names of the persons by whom they were collected are mentioned.

The Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion is now certified as a Heritage Building by the Government of Karnataka.

The present Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion was restored at a cost of Rs. 1.17 crore. This was donated by philanthropist Dr. Sudha Murthy, the founder of Infosys, the inspiration behind this restoration work. Restoration began on April 21, 2000 and was completed in about 18 months. Now the Mansion is the property of the University of Mysore and a research centre too. The renovated museum has 123 rooms, 398 windows, 290 doors, 96 wooden pillars, 330 mortar pillars and 88 ventilators. The Mansion is provided with an entrance on all the four sides. It is built with bricks and lime mortar, teakwood and iron. There are separated drainages for rain water and used water.

The three wings of this magnificent Mansion has gorgeous and architecturally designed structure, the first among them is the Dancing hall which has a Teak Wooden floor with a viewers gallery. The Marikamba from Shimoga District, to the other side of Dancing hall is the Queen’s Bed Room which has a copper plate roof with tiles floor; The Krishna Thotti has a 12 pillar square and an 107-year-old electrical elevator facility.

The 12 pillar square Kalyana Mantapa made of carved Teak wood is the heart of the Mansion. The interiors are mix of Indo-Saracenic and Indo-Islamic Style. The doors and windows of Kalyan Mantap has carved images of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari, Shiva,Vishnu, Ganapthi, Rama Lakshmana, Seetha, Krishna etc.,

This wing also has two strong rooms which were used as Treasury Rooms of the palace. Each of them has two handmade iron doors and windows. All the three wings of the mansion is commonly linked by an over bridge made of wood, iron and glass.

The artifacts related to the Archaeology, Geology and folk culture are arranged and housed very magnificently in all the three wings of the Mansion. For the purpose of the academic activities they are given the name as the Folklore wing, the Art and Architecture wing and the Archaeological wing.

The Folklore wing consists of artifacts related to two main traditions of Folk Theatrical--  performing Art form of coastal Karnataka as well as of the plains (Bayalu Seeme), where it is performed by both human actors and leather and string puppets. This is followed by Gombe Mantapa, the toys of South – India, the masks, the Folk – Theatrical performing traditions of Kerala – Kathakalli and Tamil Nadu – Terracotta.

The household utensils, kitchenware, temple artifacts, gods and goddess’ images, the Channemane, a noted game and also a ritual game of Dakshna Kannada District, wooden images of Mekkekatte etc. do really draw the attention and are the inspiration for a constructive thought too.

Almost all walks of the life of rural Karnataka related to agriculture, fairs and festivals, wrestling, hunting, fishing, weaving, the settlement of a tribe called soliga of Karnataka, the big ‘Shasa’ (big size slipper) is collected from particular community is a symbol of vow to God Hanuman are the othermain attractions here.

The mansion has given a due importance to the Kannada laureates. The huge pickle Jarbelonging to Tipu Sultan’s period is among the noteworthy facts.

The musical instruments related to the popular folk singing tradition of Karnataka known as professional singers; the war weapons, the cradles etc, are also worthy of mention.

The Archaeology wing is housed by the antiquities which throw light on the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and megalithic era., The Taxidermied  tigerwhich is donated by Smt. Rani Bahadur and B.N. Bahadur, Goddess Saraswathi sculpture (courtesy : The Archaeological survey of India) The first floor of this wing consists of paintings, done by former Curator P.R. Thippeswamy and other artists, are also exhibited.

The mansion attracts a lot of visitors including students, scholars, university staff, general public, officials, dignitaries and travelers from local, national and international. A regular record of the views, opinions written by the people who visit the Museum is kept.

The last but not the least should be made mention are, the security staff and the house keepers, without whom the Museum premises would not have been so gorgeous.

The maintenance and developmental work of the Museum Mansion is looked after by the Government of Ministry of India and the University of Mysore, The source of inspiration behind this is the Vice – Chancellor Prof. K.S. Rangappa and the Registrar Prof. C. Basavaraju.

I heartily thank N. Kishore, MCA ,,and Mahesh Technical Assistants, Department of Computer Science who supported us in the technical photography of the museum, Mr N. Niranjan Nikam, Consultant, Centenary Celebrations, Office of the Centenary Celebration, University of Mysore, Mysore for his valuable inputs and Mrs. Priya N. Shenoy forher  support in data storage.

A Brief Profile of the Staff of University Museum Complex

Dr. A.C. Lalitha M.A. Ph.D, RVS in Hindi, (Junior Music), Instrumental Veena :Honorary DirectorUniversity Museum Complex Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion Manasagangothri, Mysore
Designation: Associate Professor of Folklore
Teaching Experience: 33 Years
Research Experience: Guided I year, II Year M.A. Folklore students for their project for about 15-20 academic years Ph.D. Course work
Chairman/Member: BOE (Six Academic Years)
Member: BOS 2008 to till today
BOE 2012 to till today
Published Articles: 25 – 30 Regional and National Articles
Books Published: Three books and sub-editor for one book
Participation and Presentation: Presented Paper at National and International Seminars
Awards of Prize: Won Prizes in extracurricular activities like – Folk Dance, Drama, Song and Folk Art, Rangoli and Crafts.
Dr. H. Nagaraja M.A. M.L.I.Sc., Ph.D: CuratorUniversity Museum Complex
Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion
Manasagangothri, Mysore
Field work Experience and Conservation : Five Years Research experience
Teaching Experience: Six Years
Stage Artist (acted in 100 dramas)
Participation: Manasa – 2011 exhibition
National and International Seminars
Articles: Government of India Ministry of Information and broadcasting song and drama division, Bangalore Centre.
Conducted: Karnataka Vaibhva
VIjayanagara Vaibhava
A Mega sound and light show – participated as an actor
Received Many Certificates of Appreciation
Dr. Vasudevamurthy MA (folk), Phd. (Folk), 4 PG Diploma: Research AssistantUniversity Museum Complex Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion
Manasagangothri, Mysore
Experience : Research –6 years
Teaching – 8 years
Research Assistant – 14 years
Seminars and Conference attended: 14
Published Books: 02
Published Articles: 15
Awards: 02
H. K. Marigowda M.A. (Ph.D.): Research AssistantUniversity Museum Complex
Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion
Manasagangothri, Mysore
Field work Experience and Conservation : Seven Years of Field work experience looking after Kalyanamantap.
Participation:Manasa – 2011 exhibition
National and International Seminars
Published Articles: Article in Felicitation Book on G.S. Bhatt
Teaching Experience: Kalpataru Degree College, K.R. Pet., Regularly guiding local and foreign visitors.
Sri Paramesh M.S.W. : Field AssistantUniversity Museum Complex
Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion
Manasagangothri, Mysore
Field work Experience: Three years field experience 97-99 Department of Social Science
Smt. Y.R. Nagarathna : SDCDiploma in OMSP
Sri Chinnaswamy : Carpenter/GardenerAttends petty repair works in the Museum, Plays Musical Instrument Harmonium, Looking after the archeological section of the museum
Sri. Channa Basavadevaru : PeonLooks after the Folklore section of the Museum
Sri Kumar : HelperLooking after Kalyanamantap and Art and Architecture section of the Museum
Shanthamma : Helper Looks after the Archeological section ground floor and first floor.
Sri Subramanya : HelperLooking after first floor of Art and Architecture section of the Museum
Sri Chkkarasu : HelperLooking after the first floor of folklore museum section converse well with foreign visitors.
Sri Vijayakumar : Gallery GuardOverall helper of the Museum
House Keepers: Nagarathna And Savitha: Without whom the premises would not have been so gorgeous