Thursday, November 22, 2012

Royal Durbar Dress of Mysore

"Durbars" were held by the Indian Kings/Rulers to special invitees among the citizenry.  Mysore was among the great princely states of the country, ruled by able Kings. Invited to attend the Royal Durbar is a high privilege to anyone.  My great grandfather K.Mylar Rao, [click link for my post exclusively on him] was one among them, for his high repute in his duties in civil service.  There used to be a strict dress code to attend the Durbar.

When I consulted my Oxford Dictionary for the meaning of Durbar, it mentions "The court of an Indian ruler." 

To show how a Durbar was, I found this picture from the Mysore Palace Website. Observe the elite men in 'Durbar attire' and the King seated in the centre at the far end.  

Dresses were made in two combinations and they were given by the Palace authority itself.  Black coat and white pant; brown coat and cream colour pant.  The decoration and ornate work on the dress as well as width of gold lining on the turban was proportionate to the status of the wearer.  The more ornate, higher the status.  

Here are some old pictures we had at home, all framed up in those days, but I 'deframed' them into an album!

T.Ananda Rao, the then Dewan of Mysore in Royal Durbar Dress posing in front of Sir James Gordon statue [only part of the pedestal is visible] opposite District Offices.  He was Dewan from 1909 - 1912.  Dewan means a 'regional prime minister'.  It was a respected post. 

Another picture presumably taken on the same day as the first.  Here he poses with others in front of Sir James Gordon statue opposite District Offices.

T.Ananda Rao, sitting centre with others in Durbar dress.   Lavish work on Ananda Rao's dress can be noticed.

Now let me show the dress Mylar Rao wore.  It was the brown-cream combo.  In all probabilities, these were from the mid 1920s period. 

The pant's side liner has been removed.  In lieu of the turban, I've kept my father's "makmal topi" from the 1920s (now withering away). My father used to wear that cap when he was a young boy.  From the shortness of the trousers, length of the sleeves and the 'long coat' themselves, I can judge that I am taller my forefather.

Intricate work on the collar.

Intricate craftsmanship at the cuffs. This is the close-up.

Decorated cuff.

A button on the lovely woolen coat whose texture is simply superb.  Best quality materials and specialized workmen were involved in the dress' immaculate making.  Just looking at the stitches itself will give pleasure. It used to be wrapped up in a cotton cloth and preserved. Napthalene balls were put in the trunk often. As such, there is absolutely no attack by silverfish etc.  I notice a couple of missing buttons. 

My friend Vinay "Royal Mysore Walks" is already popular now.  He brought the Durbar Dress out of 'nowhere' to display the traditional royal grandeur of Mysore for the 2012 Dasara Season.  He is seen with the customers at Devaraja Market.  Picture from his facebook page. 


Raja said...

1. I think the Durbar picture is that of Maharaja Jaya Chamaraja Wadiyar held immediately after his coronation. He is seated on the Bhadrasana.

2. As for as Brown dress of your grand father, i think it must have been a dress used during formal private functions and not as a Durbar dress. I think formal Durbar dress was always Black and white denoting Durbari's of some standing & probably who were even garlanded during the Durbar (See the word Durbar denotes it was during Dasara and birthday function of the King ). Other staff probbaly wore both white Long coat and white pant and peta.

Prasanna Simha M said...

The Durbar dress was indeed black. My grandfather had one which I used to wear when I could fit in it when I was young.