Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First flight of our Mysore King Nalwadi

"I can remember from my earliest childhood, one particular photo in our veranda, hung above the door frame of my grandfather's office room.  I did not know for many years that it was an aircraft or the people in it were elite and royal!  I used to look at it often.  I learn now that this was part of the historic maiden trip [across the seas] of our Mysore Maharaja, Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar in 1936. This was on his first ever flight and taken at Croydon airport.  I still wonder how pictures of such occasions came here and in framed condition for display."  This is what I wrote in a post in my Junk blog, [click on it]  

Some details were required. I had forgotten the exact information which was shared on a facebook group.  So, I turned to my friend Sri Raja Chandra on facebook who happened to be online at that moment.  I got washed away in his 'info-flood', which he let out with his usual quick promptness, besides the two names I wanted, [Sir Mirza and our Mysore King Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar]!  

I thought of sharing that information here, which is among thousands in our Mysore King's grand life, because that picture was of him on his first ever flight, taken at Croydon Airport on August 19, 1936 en route to Berlin, Germany.

The following in italics are "copied and pasted" matter Sri Raja shared with the group.

Dignitaries in the [above] frame: D.N. Neelakanta Rao, D.S. Lakshmikanth Raj Urs, Rajasevabhooshana A.V. Subramanya Raj Urs, Major Nabhi Khan, Maharaja, Dewan Sir Mirza Ismail, Rajkumar Capt. C. Desaraj Urs, Lt. Col. B.P. Krishne Urs, Rajsevatilaka Col. S. Gopala Rao, Siddique Ul Mulk Sadeg Sad Shah, Dr. T. Balakrishna Mudaliyar.

After the death of His Mother, Maharani Regent HH Vani Vilas sannidhana and death of his sister Maharaja Kumari Cheluvajammanni in 1936, Maharaja's own health deteriorated a bit. To recuperate he was advised to go abroad. Soon after his birthday celebration, he left Mysore on June 21, 1936. He left with his entourage from Bangalore by Train on 23rd and reached Bombay on 26th. On the same night he left Bombay on board Ship HMS Rampura. Reached Aden on July 2. In the Ship itself a Pooja Room was provided to keep the Golden Idol of Goddess Chamundeswari and daily poojas were performed. Ve|| Ritwik Rama Shastry and Ve|| Nanjunda Shastry were part of the entourage. Reached Marseille- France on July 10. Left Marseille by train and reached Paris. Left Paris on July 16 evening and reached London Victoria Station on the same night.

Maharaja was received by a lot of dignitaries which included Lord and Lady Goschen, Major General Frederick Sykes, Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler, Sir Stuart Fraser (guardian and Tutor of Maharaja from 1896–1902 and Frazer town in Bangalore is named after him. But an ignorant BBMP has named it as Pulikeshi Nagar), Sir A. R. Banerjee (former Dewan of Mysore), On behalf of India State secretary Col. Neil & Sir William Barton, Raja Jagannatha Rao, Sri. Bhandarakar ....

It is said there were at-least more than 150 Indian students and the cavalcade took half an Hour to reach the Hotel Dorchester!  Even here he had a separate pooja room where the golden idol of Goddess Chamundeswari was installed and daily pooja was performed.

During his stay he also performed Upakarama on the banks of River Thames near Oakley Court.

A report in Daily Sketch dated July 17, 1936- Friday :

"No-8 Platform of grey Victoria Station last night looked for half an hour like a place where the rainbow ends.

East and West met and mingled - waiting for the Dover Train to bring the Maharaja of Mysore, one of the richest princes in the world on his first visit to England.

In the crowds, diamonds flashed from nose and ear; red and gold and green gleamed silken saris. The platform was scented like a florist's with perfume from garlands brought in accordance with the Indian custom of welcome."

With the Indian Olympic Hockey Team on Board Ship Rampura was Meher Baba.  His description on his encounter with Maharaja:

His Highness, the Maharaja of Mysore, with his suite of thirty passengers, including the Yuvaraj, was an interesting personage on board the ship. A major portion of his staff travelled with us in second class, but as they happened to be members of the personal staff of an Indian prince, aloofness and reserve were regarded as safe barriers for a common crowd like us.

The Maharaja and the Yuvaraja appeared to be very simple in habits as well as in dress. Often they passed hours on our side of the ship, gossiping with the members of their staff in Tamil, Kannada or Telugu, which were all Greek to us.

The Maharaja had left Indian shores for the first time in his long life with a view to being operated upon in England. Being an orthodox Hindu, he brought everything necessary for the preparation of his usual food, even the water of the holy Ganga. And, of course, his own cooks. 

Ten pounds of curds was sent every morning for our consumption, which we took in the form of 'lassi', the delight of our Punjabi friends.


Enough to know something of the times, back then.

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