About Us

The Directorate of Archaeology and Museums in Karnataka is the oldest among the departments of Archaeology in Indian states. Though the department was established in January, 1885, by the erstwhile princely Mysore State, by appointing Mr. B Lewis Rice as Director, the archaeological studies had started much earlier. The first publication of the state is related to epigraphs of the region published in 1879 under the title Mysore Inscriptions. Mr. B Lewis Rice devoted himself primarily to epigraphical studies. He published 9000 inscriptions collected from eight districts of the princely state of Mysore and the province of Coorg. They were published in 12 volumes under the title Epigraphia Carnatica.

Sri R. Narasimhachar succeeded Mr. B Lewis Rice as Director of Archaeology who collected and published 4000 inscriptions. His well known publications are Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume II, Inscriptions of Sravanabelagola, monographs on the Keshava Temple at Somanathapura, the Keshava Temple at Belur and the Lakshmidevi Temple at Dodda Gaddavalli under the Mysore Archaeological Series termed Architecture and Sculpture in Mysore. He also reported briefly on a large number of monuments in the annual reports of the directorate.

He was succeeded by Sri R Shama Sastri as director. He brought out the translations of Arthasatra of Kautilya both in English and Kannada. Apart from this, he edited and published The Kanthirava Narasaraja Vijayam of Govinda Vaidya.  During his service the survey of the monuments of erstwhile Mysore state became the prime activity of the department. He published the description of the monuments in the annual reports of the department known as Mysore Archaeological Reports (MAR). These reports became models of archaeological scholarship and studies in future.

Dr. M.H. Krishna became the Director in 1928. He continued the survey of monuments in Mysore state and the report on the monuments and the illustrations along with the ground plan used to be included in the annual report till his retirement. These reports were appreciated all over the world for their quality and contents. Dr. M H Krishna retired from service in 1947, but the annual reports continued to be published with vigor. Dr. Krishna’s contributions were not confined only to the survey of the ancient monuments but extended to Numismatics, Epigraphy, Explorations and Excavations of ancient cities like Chandravalli and Brahmagiri. The excavations at these places proved the successive occupation of the region from the Neolithic period to that of the early historical period. i.e., the Satavahana. The efforts of Dr Krishna started a new era in the explorations and excavations of Karnataka archaeological sites. His contribution to the field of publishing of manuscripts was also commendable. He brought to light manuscripts like Hyder Nama, Sukti Sudharnava, Mysuru Samsthanada Doregala Kaifiyattu and published a number of books in Kannada.

Sri L. Narasimhachar, (1947-1951), Sri. Narayana Iyengar, (1951-1954) and Prof. K.A. Neelakantashastry, (1954-1956), the successors of Dr. M H Krishna in that order, more or less confined their activities to the preparation and publication of the MAR and the Epigraphia Carnatica. 

Prof. K.A. Neelakantashastry’s  successor was Dr. M. Sheshadri, (1956-1972) who was dedicated to archaeological studies and excavated two important archaeological sites, namely, Jadigenahalli of the then Bangalore district and T Narasipura in the Mysore district. Jadigenahalli, a megalithic site, contributed much to understanding of the cultural context of the region. The Neolithic site excavated in the Cauvery valley at T.Narasipura opened a new chapter in understanding the spread and succession of the Neolithic culture in southern Karnataka. It provided much needed classification of the Neolithic culture and the dating of this site became the bench mark of South Indian Neolithic studies. 

Dr. M. S. Nagarajarao (1972-84 and 1987-90) also continued the archaeological studies in the directorate and excavated the famous neolithic sites at Halluru in Dharwad district, Tekkalakota and Sanganakallu and the megalithic sites at Tadakanahalli and Komaranahalli. The Halluru excavations provided the earliest date for the use of iron in South India. His HAMPI RESURRECTION PROJECT not only brought laurels to him but highlighted the monuments at Hampi to the world at large which ultimately led to conferment of the world heritage status to the site. During his tenure he published a brief report on the Progress of Archaeology in Karnataka 1956-1972 in place of the earlier MAR reports. Among the publications of the directorate during his tenure the most notable are the first two reports, covering the period 1979 to 1984, titled Vijayanagara –Progress of Research.

The tenure of Dr. A. Sundara, is chiefly noted for the Centenary Celebrations of the Directorate to mark which he organized an international seminar on the progress of archaeology in India with special reference to Karnataka. These papers were subsequently published by the directorate. During the period of Dr. D.V. Devaraj (1990-91 and 1992-97) also the same tempo of the directorate continued on the lines of his predecessor. 

Sri Chiranjeev Singh, IA.S., contributed  immensely to the growth of the Directorate through his efforts at providing required funds both for the establishment and archaeological activities.

Sri   M. L. Shivashankar (1997-1999), Dr. M. V.  Krishnappa (1991- 2002), Sri K.R. Ramakrishna (2002- 2004) and Sri H.S. Rathnakar (2006-.2007) served as directors and carried out the functions of the department with the established bench mark of the directorate.

Dr. R. Gopal, functioned as director in charge for a short period from 24.11.2004 to 29.5.2006. He became full time director from 9.3.2007. He continued the prestigious Excavations at Talakadu in Mysore district. He has been giving much importance to the conservation of monuments and archaeological sites.  An important initiative of his concerns the organization of a series of seminars concerning the Archaeology, History and Culture of the districts of Karnataka. So far seventeen seminars have been held of which papers presented at fifteen seminars have been published.  In addition to this three international seminars have been held on themes like Life and Achievements of Tipu Sultan, Life and Achievements of Sri Krishnadevaraya and Jainism through the Ages _ a Historical Perspective. Apart from these publications he has brought out a few books like Hampi Wonder That Was, Karnataka A Garden of Architecture both in Kannada and English and Nadahabba Mysuru Dasara (in Kannada).

The papers presented in the first two seminars have been published. To create awareness among the public about the importance of archaeological sites and monuments in Karnataka state he has been organizing art camps for children and traditional artists of the state. He has also endeavoured to strengthen the establishment of the directorate with a view to undertake on a regular and continuing basis the substantive activities of the directorate.

Basically a research oriented department, it undertakes research in the fields of Archaeology, History and Culture. It undertakes the conservation of monuments, antiquities and art objects in the museums and use them to impart non-formal education to the students and the general public.  

Aims and Objectives of Department:

  1. Identifying heritage buildings and areas on the basis of their historical, architectural, environmental and ecological values and grading them.
  2. To take up programmes of heritage conservation in association with public, NGOs and private bodies.
  3. To propose legal provisions, if necessary, regarding heritage conservation after studying the existing regulations and rules on the subject.
  4. Publicity campaign to identify heritage buildings – heritage areas and to create awareness among the public to keep their vicinity clean.
  5. Publications on heritage towns, arranging exhibitions and bringing out manuals on heritage conservation.
  6. Creation of Heritage Fund in association with UNESCO, INTACH, Government of India, State Government and other private Bodies.
  7. Preparation of maps of the above heritage areas through G.I.S., remote sensing and survey.
  8. Activities related to promotion of Tourism besides creating a website.
  9. Production of documentary films and arranging cultural programmes.
  10. Policy and important issues concerning the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums.

Following are the main functions of the Department

  • Exploration of the antiquities, monuments and archaeological sites etc.
  • Excavation of archaeological sites.
  • Conservation of Ancient and Historical Monuments and Sites
  • Survey of Epigraphs (Inscriptions, Copper plates etc.)
  • Study of Coins
  • Establishment and maintenance of Museums
  • Publication of Research Works
  • Organization of Educational and Cultural activities in the Museums
  • Implementation of Antiquities and Art Treasure Act 1972    
  • Heritage committees
  • Heritage walk
  • Heritage series publication
  • Heritage Documentation
  • Heritage Pamphlets
  • Heritage Workshops
  • Heritage Seminars
  • Heritage Conservation


In coordination with the District administration and different Departmental heads action is being taken for preservation and conservation of Heritage buildings, with the available funds in the department.


To retain the pristine heritage characteristics of the lone heritage zone of Mysore i.e., the entire area falling within a radius of 3 KMs from Mysore Palace has been identified which are areas of cultural, commercial and educational activity. The heritage zone of the city comprises of Irwin road (incuding Government House), Karanji lake road (Ranaprathan Singh Circle to Lalitha Mahal Palace Road), Ayurvedic Hospital, Government Medical College, Mandi Market, Sayyaji Rao Road and the Devaraja Market.  

The Mysore Heritage experts committee for preservation and protection of heritage areas has listed 200 heritage buildings in Mysore; majority of these fall within the perview of this zone. These heritage buildings belonging to early 19th and 20th Centuries exhibit four major architectural styles, characteristic of the city, viz., the traditional Hindu, the Indo-Saracenic, the Greaco-Roman and the Gothic.

Proper guidelines/suggestions are being given to the Mysore City Corporation, Mysore Urban Development Authority and other Governmental Departmental heads in consultation with the Members of the Mysore Heritage Area Expert Sub Committee, to keep the vicinity of the Heritage buildings clean and tidy and for construction of new buildings. Some amendments have also been suggested for the Mysore City Corporation for preparation of Bye-law that is being drafted for erecting Hoardings in Mysore city. Action is also being taken to fix “Sinageboards” (Shilaphalaka) near the selected Heritage buildings in Mysore city.

Workshops, Seminars, photo exhibition of Heritage buildings/structures and visit to Heritage areas are being conducted. Publication of small booklets on heritage series and conservation manual are also being prepared.

For creating awareness for preservation of heritage buildings/structures among the College/School students, Heritage Clubs are started in all the Districts of State.

During Dasara Festivities, photo exhibition of Heritage buildings is being held in Mysore Dasara Exhibition. Heritage Walk is held to create awareness among the public for preservation of Heritage in the city. 

Activities of the Department:

  • Archaeological Exploration
  • Archaeological Excavation
  • Conservation of Monuments
  • Epigraphy
  • Numismatics
  • Archaeological publications
  • Establishment of Museums
  • Registration of Antiquities
  • Public Private Participation (Conservation)
  • Seminars, Exhibitions, Workshops

Activities of Heritage division:

  • Heritage committees
  • Heritage walk
  • Heritage series publication
  • Heritage Documentation
  • Heritage Pamphlets
  • Heritage Workshops
  • Heritage Seminars
  • Heritage Conservation

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