Category Archives: Karnataka

Some Survey Memoirs of South India

The East India Company (EIC) sponsored topographical and revenue surveys of many South Indian regions in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Each project typically yielded large scale maps of its target region, as well as narrative ‘memoirs’ that describe the place, people, animals, and climate. These documents are of considerable research interest to the modern historian because they were based partly on direct observation and partly on pargana, district, taluk, and village records, including such diverse, and now quite rare, sources as khanasumari census returns, kaifiyats, kaditas, temple records, and local genealogies. Few of these invaluable surveys were ever published. Most reside as old manuscript drawings and narratives tucked away in Indian and British archives where few researchers, and even fewer modern residents of the surveyed regions, ever see them.

This post is a working list of of lesser known published memoirs. Please feel free to email me with bibliographical information about memoirs and journals not mentioned here, or add this information in a comment at the end of this post. Continue reading

The old Hotel Metropole in Mysore

I have fond memories of Mysore’s Hotel Metropole as it used to be. The new incarnation of the hotel is pleasant enough, but the soul of the Metropole is gone. No longer is it a charming place of deep verandahs, outdated furnishings, an antiquated restaurant, and an often equally antiquated staff.

The building was constructed by the Maharaja of Mysore to house his European guests in the early 1920s. It eventually came into the hands of the state government, which leased it to a private corporation to operate as a hotel. The State of Karnataka grew dissatisfied with the corporation’s performance and successfully sued to regain control of the hotel, which it soon closed. Following extensive renovation, it reopened in 2004 as part of the Royal Orchid chain of hotels. Continue reading