Friday, 31 March 2017

Colonial heritage building Mayo Hall, Bangalore

Mayo Hall, Bangalore city. Flickr
Mayo Hall, Bangalore city. YouTube
In the heart of Bangalore city on a small hill there is an interesting colonial building called Mayo Hall  built in memory of Lord Mayo ( 21 February 1822 - 8 February 1872), the 4th Viceroy of India.  This old structure  made of brick and concrete  is on the popular MG road in Bangalore city and is close to  the Public Utility Building, city's Parade grounds and Ulsoor Lake on one side, and the Bangalore Race Course and Brigade Grounds on the south. Inaugurated by the British Resident on June 6, 1883  at a well-attended function, the Mayo Hall is an important landmark in this part of the city with  pedimented windows, varied with key-storied arches, beautifully executed consoles, balustraded ledges and typical Greek cornice. The building with two floors has intricately designed  furniture and architecture adorned by "chandeliers (on the first floor), wooden floors, Tuscan columns, stone arches and beautiful furnishings. This building was the first of its kind among the many memorials  such as Mayo Hospitals, Mayo Schools, etc  constructed in honor of Lord Mayo across the country.  In 2007, a statue of Lord Mayo was accidentally brought to light in Jaipur, India, after being buried for six decades. This statue was previouly on the  premises of Mayo Hospital, currently known as the Mahilya Chikatsalya, Jaipur. The 9-foot-tall (2.7 m) cast-iron statue, weighing around 3 tons, was specially sculpted and had been intalled by the Maharaja Ram Singh ji of Jaipur, as a tribute to Lord Mayo after his assassination. 

Currently many government departments are functioning there including marriages registration office and the state-owned  government's Kempegowda Museum  (established in 2011) that is is located on the first floor of Mayo Hall.  Kempegowda happened to be the founder of Bangalore and there is a statue on the premises. In the bygone era this hall was home to Bangalore Cantonment municipal office, several public offices and law courts. The upper floor was mainly used  for important 'Public meetings and Exhibitions'
Lor Mayo. Chughtai's Art Blog -
Soon after the defeat of Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore  by the British led by Richard Wellesley ( alias Viscount Wellesley20 June 1760 -26 September 1842) in 1799, the city planners decided to develop Bangalore into an important civil and military center and as part of the integration in 1800s, the army that defeated Tipu was relocated from the swampy Srirangapatna to Bangalore that enjoyed a cooler and temperate weather.  New garrison town  had begun to grow in 1809  and many developments  took place later and the Mayo Hall was one among the series of new structures that came up in this city in the mid-1800s. With the passage of time and the end of the threats by Tipu, countless British families moved into Bangalore. That included families of Military people, Administrative staff, traders, etc. Soon, the city had all the comforts that the European cities  could boast of and it included, pubs, dancing halls, the race course and golf courses. This is the reason why Bangalore city has a large number of old colonial churches.
mayo hall bangalorewww.placeforvacations.com

Lord Mayo ( Richard Southwell Bourke'6th Earl of Mayo), educated at Trinity College, Dublin, though held the post of the Viceroy and Governor General of India from 1869-72, his post took  him to different parts of India and he was much impressed by the variety of talented people of  different cultures, languages, etc and the myriad of lands and this led him to remark, "as long as the sun shines in heaven" so long Britain should hold on to India.  During his short period, he oversaw several developments. He improved irrigation, railways, forest admininistration, census, etc.Yet another fact about Lord Mayo  was that  he was against ill treatment of Indian Prisoners by the Prison  authorities. Unfortunately, on a visit to  Port Blair's prison (Kalapani), the Andaman Islands as part of inspection work, Lord Mayo was assassinated by stabbing to death by one Sher Ali, a Pathan life convict. Ali committed this murder in order to avenge Lord Mayo for the loss of his father who was killed in the Anglo-Afghan War. 

The Mayo Hall, Bangalore  was a fitting public memorial in memory of Lord Mayo who had no ill-feeling against the natives,  The two-story building surrounded by beautiful lawns, trees, flowering plants, etc was built at the cost of Rs 45,000.00 collected through public subscription. Inside the hall one could see elegantly framed pictures of the British nobility and outstanding citizens in the hall.

The Mayo Hall considered as  'one of the most elegant public buildings of the era in Southern India with Greeco-Roman elements in the design and architecture, to day it stands in a highly polluted and congested area of the city. There is a feeling of despair and disappointment among the lover of old monuments  that  such historical buildings need periodic repairs and have to be taken care of for the benefit of future generation. Across India in many states, in particular, Tamil Nadu, historical  heritage buildings are not well taken care of and in some places there are wanton encroachments by the unscrupulous traders. Many people  feel angst about the fate of such wonderful monuments that might fall into disrepair if the respective state governments and public do not come forward and preserve them for the posterity 

Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayo_Hall_(Bangalore)