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Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya

Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya


  • Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born on 15 September 1861 into a Telugu Brahmin.
  • His father, Mokshagundam Srinivasa Sastry, was a school teacher and a noted Sanskrit scholar, while his mother, Venkatalakshamma, was a homemaker.
  • Visvesvaraya was born in Muddenahalli village in the princely state of Mysore (now Karnataka).
  • Visvesvaraya lost his father at the age of 15.
  • He attended primary school in Chickballapur and high school in Bangalore. In 1881, he received a BA degree from Central College, Bangalore.
  • He then enrolled at College of Engineering, Pune. He received LCE (Licenciate in Civil Engineering) equivalent to DCE (Diploma in Civil Engineering) from the University of Bombay.
  • Visvesvaraya took a job with the PWD of Bombay and later was invited to join the Indian Irrigation Commission. He implemented an extremely intricate system of irrigation in Deccan.
  • He designed and patented a system of automatic weir water floodgates that were first installed in 1903 at Khadakvasla Reservoir near Pune.
  • These gates were employed to raise flood supply level of storage in reservoir to the highest level likely to be attained without causing any damage to the dam.
  • Based on the success of these gates, the same system was installed at the Tigra Dam in Gwalior and Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) Dam in Mandya/Mysore, Karnataka.
  • In 1906–07, Government of India sent him to Aden to study water supply and drainage systems. The project prepared by him was implemented in Aden successfully.
  • Visvesvaraya achieved celebrity status when he designed a flood protection system for city of Hyderabad. He was instrumental in developing a system to protect Visakhapatnam port from sea erosion.
  • Visvesvaraya supervised construction of Krishna Raja Sagara Dam on the Kaveri river.This dam created the biggest reservoir in Asia when it was built.
  • Visvesvaraya gave his valuable technical advice for the location of Mokama Bridge over Ganga in Bihar. At the time, he was over 90 years old.
  • He was called “Father of Modern Mysore State” . He encouraged private investment in the industry during his tenure as Diwan of Mysore. He was instrumental in charting out the plan for road construction between Tirumala and Tirupati.
  • He was known for sincerity, time management, and dedication to a cause. Bangalore Press and Bank of Mysore were established during his tenure. A very important part of his nature was his love for Kannada. He set up the Kannada Parishat for the upliftment of Kannada.
  • Sir M.Visvesvaraya is known to have designed and planned the entire area of Jayanagar in south Bangalore. The foundation of Jayanagar was laid in 1959. It was one of first planned neighbourhoods in Bangalore and, at the time, the largest in Asia. It is believed that locality, designed by M.Visvesvaraya, is one of the best-planned layouts in Asia.
  • After opting for voluntary retirement in 1908, he took a foreign tour to study industrialised nations. After, for a short period, he worked for the Nizam of Hyderabad, India.
  • During November 1909, Visvesvaraya was appointed as chief engineer of Mysore State. Further, during 1912, he was appointed as diwan (second minister) of the princely state of Mysore. He was diwan for seven years.
  • With the support of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, Maharaja of Mysore, Visvesvaraya made good contribution as diwan to the all-round development of Mysore state.
  • He was instrumental in the founding of the Government Engineering College at Bangalore in 1917, one of the first engineering institutes in India. This institution was later named the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering after its founder.

After India attained independence, he was awarded the nation’s highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955


  • Joined service as assistant engineer in Bombay, 1885; served in Nasik, Khandesh and Pune
  • Executive Engineer, Surat, 1896;
  • Assistant Superintending Engineer, Pune, 1897–99; visited China and Japan, 1898
  • Sanitary engineer, Bombay, member, Sanitary Board, 1901; gave evidence before Indian Irrigation Commission, 1901
  • Designed and constructed automatic gates patented by him at Lake Fife Storage Reservoir; introduced a new system of irrigation known as the “Block System”, 1903; represented the Bombay Government at the Simla Irrigation Commission, 1904; on special duty, 1905
  • Superintending engineer, 1907; visited Egypt, Canada, USA, and Russia, 1908 • Retired from British service, 1909
  • Chief engineer and secretary to the government of Mysore, 1909 • Dewan of Mysore, PWD and Railway, 1913
  • Board of directors of Tata Steel, 1927–1955