The century-old Jayalakshmi Vilas mansion with its rich architectural splendor situated inside University of Mysore campus in a sprawling area of five acres is gradually losing its shine.
At several places the roof has collapsed and fungus is growing due to seepage of rain water. Because of this the wooden slabs used for roofing has started to decay and also broken at several places. As the mansion is built in the traditional method of Madras roofing (lime mortar added with sand, egg
shells, Billwapathre and Antwala Kayi), whenever it rains, water seeps into iron rods and woods, falling on the floor in a brownish colour. As the floors are not scrubbed and cleaned regularly at several places the floor appears like it has been burnt giving it an ugly appearance.
The growth of algae on the underneath of ceilings and walls is quite rampant in the first floor while in other rooms the bulbs are not working and needs to be replaced. Even though the building was
renovated in 2002 at a cost of Rs 1.17 crores, the paint on the walls of the mansion is peeling off with the paint sticking to the hand on touching it. The entire expenditure of renovation was borne by Sundha Murthy, wife of Infosys mentor, Narayan Murthy.
In the paintings gallery photos have been arranged on the floor. Field Assistant Dr Betappa informed that as most of the paintings were not very old, no steps have been taken to safeguard them.
Being one of the five royal mansions built by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar III for his daughter Jayalakshammanni, the foundation stone for this mansion was laid on November 21, 1901 and the building was completed in December 1905 with roof standing at a height of 40 feet. The cost of construction in those days came to Rs 7 lakh. Specially imported glass from Belgium were used in the building which provides natural light even after sun set.
This three-wing building now being used as a research center of the students, houses rare
collection of folklore, geological and archaeological artefacts collected from different parts of India.
The mansion comprises of 119 rooms, four open corridors, 399 windows and 88 ventilation and 290 wooden doors, 96 wooden pillar (15 to 18 feet). Rich carving, beautiful filigree work, teak wood dome, pillars and tall interior designs draw the attention of visitors.
University of Mysore acquired the mansion to establish a postgraduate center in 1959. An Archeological and Folklore Museum was established by Litterateur Dejagow in 1980's, by contributing his wife's jewels.