The 96-year-old silver jubilee clock tower in Mysuru
Back in 1927, the silver jubilee clock tower was erected to commemorate 25 years of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar’s rule. During that time, the reigning Maharaja extended an invitation to Mahatma Gandhi to inaugurate this iconic edifice.
However, at that moment, Mahatma Gandhi was situated in Bengaluru, having recently concluded his tour of the Mysuru region. He expressed his inability to return to Mysuru for the inauguration, as recounted by historian N.S. Rangaraju.
Pandit Motilal Nehru, a renowned lawyer and the father of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, happened to be in Bengaluru as well. He was there to discuss a case he was set to argue in London with Mahatma Gandhi.
In this scenario, Mahatma Gandhi entrusted Pandit Motilal Nehru with the honor of inaugurating the clock tower. However, a snag emerged when Motilal Nehru realized he hadn’t received the official invitation. At this juncture, Mahatma Gandhi reached out to the Maharaja, urging him to extend an invitation to Motilal Nehru. Acting upon Gandhi’s message, the Maharaja invited Motilal Nehru, who graciously accepted and ultimately inaugurated the clock tower on August 8, 1927. Notably, during his visit, Nehru also delivered a speech to the Praja Pratinidhi Sabha, or the People’s Representative Assembly, in Mysuru.
Historian N.S. Rangaraju explained that the towering silver jubilee clock, standing at 75 feet, was constructed through contributions from royal family employees and members of the Ursu Mandali, including military personnel.
Strategically positioned in front of the Mysuru palace’s north gate, the clock tower, which reached 96 years of existence a day prior to the commencement of restoration efforts, played a vital role as the city’s timekeeper. In an era when wristwatches were not common and households lacked clocks, the clock tower fulfilled this essential role.
The resounding chime of the clock’s bell could be heard from as far as 5 to 6 kilometers, essentially encompassing the entire city’s population. Those who remember the past attest to hearing the bell’s toll until the advent of automobiles muffled its resonance. Regrettably, the clock’s bell, crafted with a French mechanism, has been silent for the past 15 to 20 years due to mechanical issues.