MYSURU: A tunnel leading to the Mysuru Palace premises was unearthed near Vishwamanava Park on Nanjangud Road in the city on Tuesday. The tunnel had surfaced during the ongoing drainage works taken up by the Mysore City Corporation. A pit about 15 feet deep was found near the tunnel.
As the news spread, hundreds of people thronged the spot forcing the authorities to halt the work.
The tunnel, said to be 150 years old and measuring 3x4 ft, was built using bricks and lime and mortar.
Archaeology professor N S Rangaraj, historian Nanjaraj Urs, Palace Board deputy director Subramanya and State Archives deputy director Gavisiddaiah visited the spot along with engineers.
Experts have come out with different theories about the tunnel and the pit. While some claimed the tunnel connected the Palace, others said it was a drain. As for the pit, some said it could be an armoury as it was located close to Gun House, built in 1910.
Quoting the State Archaeology Department, Rangaraj said the pit, about 15 feet deep and with steps, could be an armoury or a storeroom for food grains.
He said that the pit could be 150 to 200 years old and was not used to keep valuables as it was outside the palace premises. He said the tunnel may be a drain that connected the Palace and a stormwater drain. A similar type of 5-ft drain built with bricks and lime is at Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion in the University of Mysore campus, he added.
The authorities should take up work to find the other end of the tunnel, he said.
Historian Nanjaraj Urs said the Archaeology Department should look into the tunnel and outlets, found 5 feet below the surface, before jumping to conclusions. He said that it is not a tunnel as there is not enough space to walk. As for the pit, it is neither a store room nor an armoury, he said.
Corporation Commissioner C G Betsur Mutt, who is also the director of State Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, said that the tunnel and the pit were unearthed during excavation for the construction of a drain. He said that the drainage was constructed connecting the Mysuru Palace to Doddakere and also a stormwater drain.
He said that the department would depute experts if necessary to study these discoveries.
It may be recalled that the City Corporation officials had found a similar tunnel near Gun House about three months ago when excavati0n work was being taken up for a drainage. The Corporation authorities recently closed the tunnel with slabs.