Sir Mokshagundam Vishweshvaraya, popularly known as Sir MV, one of the legendary engineers, scholar, statesman and also the Dewan of Mysore kingdom way back in 1910s, was born this day (September 15) in 1861. The nation surely remembers him by dedicating September 15, his birthday, as Engineers Day. The largest search engines in the world -Google dedicating a Doodle in tribute to Sir MV is something special.

Sir MV gave Karnataka the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam (KRS) that is considered as an engineering wonder. The construction was initiated in 1911 and was completed in 1931. KRS Dam was the first to install automated crest gates during 1920. Thus KRS dam has 48 automated gates and the dam premises also has a musical fountain, all thanks to Sir MV's idea.

The automated crest gates used for the KRS Dam were manufactured at Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (which was earlier known as Mysore Iron Works) at Bhadravati in Karnataka. Even this plant was initiated by Visvesvaraya.

A severe drought in Mysore-Mandya region in 1895 had resulted in the death of at least one fifth of the population of the Mysore kingdom, Karnataka. Crops were withering and the entire region came to be called as the dry land. It was during such a situation that engineer Visvesvaraya prepared a blueprint of the KRS Dam, that was initially rejected by the finance ministry in Mysore administration. Then the proposal was sent to Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV for reconsideration. Though the cost was high, the king was convinced of the need for a dam and gave his consent.

But Madras Presidency was against the decision as it would limit the water flow to Tamil Nadu from the Cauvery river. But Visvesvaraya convinced the Madras Presidency too of the advantages of the dam and the work began.

Even to this day there are arguments between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu regarding Cauvery water sharing.

Visvesvaraya is considered as the chief engineer of KRS Dam, built across river Cauvery, and it is the main source of drinking water to Mysore and Bengaluru. The water is also used for irrigation in Mysore and Mandya. The water released from this dam also flows into the State of Tamil Nadu and is stored in Mettur dam in the Salem district, that is mainly used for irrigation purpose.


M Vishweshvaraya was born into a Telugu-speaking Brahmin family at Muddenahalli in Chikkaballapur, Karnataka. His father, Mokshagundam Srinivasa Sastry, was a school teacher and a Sanskrit scholar. His mother was Venkatalakshamma.

Visvesvaraya pursued his primary education in Chickballapur and high school from Bengaluru. He became a graduate with BA degree from Central College, Bengaluru in 1881. He pursued engineering at College of Engineering, Pune. He received LCE (Licenciate in Civil Engineering) equivalent to DCE (Diploma in Civil Engineering) from the University of Bombay.

Initially, Visvesvaraya worked with the Public Works Departmemnt (PWD) and then joined the Indian Irrigation Commission. Here, he designed a system of automatic weir water floodgates that is patented now. The first experiment was done on the Khadakvasla Reservoir near Pune in 1903. The gates raise flood supply level of storage in reservoir to the highest level likely to be attained without causing any damage to the dam. This was a success and then same was applied in KRS Dam in Karnataka and Tigra Dam in Gwalior.

He was sent to Aden to study water supply and drainage systems in 1906 by the government of India. In fact, he prepared a project and that was successfully implemented in Aden.

He became popular when he designed a flood protection system for Hyderabad. He played a major role in designing a system to protect Visakhapatnam port from sea erosion. When he designed this, he was over 90 years.

Visvesvaraya is also known as 'Father of modern Mysore State' renamed as Karnataka in 1956. Visvesvaraya also played a vital role in charting out the plan for road construction between Tirumala and Tirupati.

Visvesvaraya is also the founder of:

  • Mysore Soap Factory
  • Parasitoid Laboratory
  • Mysore Iron & Steel Works (now known as Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Limited) in Bhadravati
  • Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic, Bengaluru
  • Bengaluru Agricultural University
  • State Bank of Mysore
  • Century Club
  • Mysore Chamber of Commerce (presently known as the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI)
  • Visvesvaraya College of Engineering Bengaluru