Dr. Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya (15 September 1860 – 12 April 1962)

Dr. Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya (15 September 1860 – 12 April 1962)

Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya KCIE FASc was a great engineer, scholar, statesman, and the divan of Mysore. Every year, on his birthday, 15 September is celebrated as Engineer’s Day in India in his memory. His life and journey as an engineer is also an inspiration to all engineers. He was the engineer of modern India. He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the British Indian Empire (KCIE) by King George V for his contributions to the public good.

He designed and patented an automatic floodgate with water, which was used for the first time in 1903 in the Khadakwasla reservoir of Pune. In 1932, Krishna Raja played the role of Chief Engineer in the construction project of Sagar Dam. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1955.

Fast Facts

  • Name: Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya
  • Birth: 15 September 1860
  • Death: 12 April 1962
  • Birth Place: Chiklapur (Mysore)
  • Profession: Civil engineer, politician
  • Caste: Brahmin
  • National Award: Bharat Ratna (1955)

Early Life

Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born on 15 September 1860 in an orthodox middle-class Telugu Brahmin family in Muddenahalli village, the princely state of Mysore (now Karnataka), India. His father Mokshagundam Srinivasa Sastry was a noted Sanskrit scholar and a school teacher, while his mother Venkatalakshmma was a homemaker. He lost his father at the early age of 12.

He enrolled for Kannada medium primary school in Chikballapur and attended high school in Bangalore. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Central College, Bangalore then affiliate of the University of Madras in 1881, and later studied civil engineering at the prestigious College of Engineering, Pune. Got the first position in the LCE and FCE examination of the year 1883. Which is considered equivalent to BE degree at present.


Visvesvaraya, who had shown his ability in the LCE and FCE examinations of the year 1883, was appointed by the then Maharashtra government as an assistant engineer in the Nashik district. After which he built a complex irrigation system. Visvesvaraya succeeded in many projects like Krishnarajasagar Dam, Bhadravati Iron and Steel Works, Mysore Sandal Oil and Soap Factory, Mysore University, and Bank of Mysore with his own strength. British engineers had also become admirers of his skills due to his special work in his field.

After which he discharged various responsibilities and built Shakkhar Dam in the year 1894 which was the first step of the water system in Sindh province. To make arrangements for irrigation water for the farmers and to not let the water go to waste, Visvesvaraya had constructed a block system in which he had made arrangements to stop the water from flowing to waste by using steel doors. In the year 1909, he was appointed as the Chief Engineer of Mysore State.

Visvesvaraya as Dewan of Mysore

He was also concerned about the basic problems like illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, disease, etc. in the Mysore state. Due to the social work done by him in Mysore, Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar of Mysore appointed him as the Diwan of the state in the year 1912. As Diwan, he made tireless efforts for industrial development with a view to economic and social upliftment in the state. He started a sandalwood oil factory, soap factory, metal factory, chrome tanning factory. He retired as the Diwan of Mysore in the year 1918.


  • He designed and patented an automatic floodgate with water, which was used for the first time in 1903 in the Khadakwasla reservoir of Pune.

  • Played the role of Chief Engineer in the construction project of Krishna Raja Sagar Dam in 1932.

  • He suggested the formation of an ‘Economic Conference’ to deal with the problems of illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, disease, etc.

Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya Postage Stamp

Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya Postage Stamp

On his 100th birthday, the Government of India issued a postage stamp in his honor for his distinguished contribution to nation-building.

Honors and Awards

  • In 1904, he was awarded the honorary membership of the London Institute of Civil Engineers for 50 consecutive years.

  • 1906: In recognition of his services, Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was awarded the title “Kesar-e-Hind” in 1906.

  • Companion of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1911.

  • Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) in 1915.

  • 1921: Awarded Doctor of Science by the University of Calcutta.

  • In 1931, he was awarded the degree of LLD by Bombay University.

  • In 1937, the degree of D. Litt was awarded by the Banaras Hindu University.

  • In 1943 he was elected Honorary Life Member of the Institution of Engineers (India).

  • D.Sc by Allahabad University – 1944.

  • In 1948, the University of Mysore was awarded the Doctorate – LLD.

  • D.Litt was awarded by Andhra University in 1953.

  • He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Town Planners (India) in 1953.

  • He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1955.

  • 1958: ‘Durga Prasad Khaitan Memorial Gold Medal’ by the Royal Asiatic Society Council of Bengal.

  • Awarded Fellowship by the Indian Institute of Science in 1959.

Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya Death

Visvesvaraya, who worked even at the age of 101, said, “It is better to keep working than to get rusted. This son of Mother India died on 12 April 1962 in Bangalore.

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.