MYSORE: The historical Doddakere is finally emerging from the ruins. The site that stands as a window to the way the life has moved on at the princely town is getting an image make-over. When Mysore was still a small town, it primarily depended on three water bodies-- Doddakere, Kukkarahalli Lake and Karanji Lake. East of the Mysore Fort and opposite the Mysore Palace was the Doddakere tank, which was used for drinking and washing purpose even towards end of the 19th century.

As the time moved on, Doddakere, which was called Devaraja Lake, dried up while the other two survived urbanization. It is stated that Doddakere added beauty to the Palace forming a natural add-on. When the lake bed dried up, the only remnant was the gopura at the far end of the water body towards the foothills of Chamundi Hills.

The MCC in 2001 moved in to protect the site marking the boundary and developing it as a park naming it Gopura Garden. Nine years down the line, it has degraded owing to lack of maintenance. Reason: There were no guards to protect its sanctity and the site lost its verve. Left to vagaries of life, the site was making its way into history books when it caught the attention of mayor Sandesh Swamy during a spot inspection of Brindavan, the burial ground of the Mysore royal family.

"It is part of our heritage too. When we are planning to revive other heritage sites, this one should not suffer," he explains. The site is cleaned and the monument is attended to. "We will ensure that the site is properly maintained and does not fall off the radar," Swamy stated.

As for history, the Gopura Garden links Mysore to one of its oldest water holes. History tells us that Devaraja Lake was one of the biggest lakes in the city. Surrounded by open space mainly used by rulers of Mysore, the water body was a sight to behold. In its surroundings were Summer Palace, Vasanth Mahal, Palace stables, which is now the KSRP HQ and Karanji Mansion, the villa of the sister of Mysore Maharaja Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar.

Courtesy : Times of India