Mayo College

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Mayo College
Mayo College, Ajmer, India - Badge.JPG
Mayo College Coat of Arms
Srinagar Road
Ajmer – 305008
School type Public Boarding School
Motto Let there be Light
Founded 1875
Founder Richard Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo
School board CBSE
Authority Board of Governors
Mayo College General Council
Head of Governors HH Maharao Brijraj Singh of Kotah
Director Lt. Gen. Surendra Hari Kulkarni (Retd) PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Founder Headmaster Col. Sir Oliver St. John
Faculty 75
Gender Boys
Age 9 to 18
Number of pupils 760
Student to teacher ratio 10:1
Medium of language English
Campus 210 acres
Houses 12
Mascot Peacock
Nickname Mayo
Publication Mayoor, Cyber Quest
Affiliation [CBSE]
Former pupils Mayoites
Annual fees 11,50,000 (Home Students)
11,82,000 (International Students)

Mayo College (informally Mayo) is a boys-only independent boarding school in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India. It was founded in 1875 by Richard Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo who was the Viceroy of India from 1869 to 1872. It is one of the oldest public boarding schools in India. The present principal is Lt. Gen. (Retd) Surinder Kulkarni, who has occupied the post since January 2015 as the 17th principal.

The idea for the college was proposed in 1869 by Colonel Walter. It was founded in 1875 and Colonel Sir Oliver St John became its first principal.[1] The founder's intention was to create an 'Eton of India'. The 1st Earl of Lytton, Viceroy of India, said in a speech on campus in 1879:

"The idea was well expressed long ago by Colonel Walter in an excellent and most suggestive report which may have influenced Lord Mayo when he founded the present college. In that very sensible report Colonel Walter pointed out that what was then most needed for the education of India's young rulers and nobles was an Indian Eton. Mayo is India's Eton and you are India's Eton boys."[2]

It had a view to providing the leaders of the princely states with an education similar to that given by Eton College. The British built Mayo for the sons of the Indian upper classes, particularly the princes and nobles of India.

The school houses 800 pupils aged between 9 and 18.

Coat of arms[edit]

The coat of arms was composed from the design furnished by Lockwood Kipling, a former principal of the School of Arts, Lahore and father of the famous Rudyard Kipling.

In the upper centre of the shield are Mayo Arms and Quarterings, a Lion Rampant and an open hand. On the right and left are the sun and the moon, typical of Suryavanshi and Chandravanshi, the two great families of Rajputs. Below are the Panch Rang, the five sacred colours of the Rajputs, Red, Gold, Blue, White and Green. In the centre is a Rajput fort – two towers connected by a curtain. The supports are on the right: a Bhil warrior with string bow and full quiver of arrows. On the left a Rajput, armed at all points, wearing a steel helmet with three plumes, a shield on his back, a dagger and katar in his belt, and a suit of chain covered with embroidered cloth and gauntlet on his hand.

The motto is "Let there be Light". The badge is a peacock, the sacred bird of Rajputana, standing on a two-edged, two-handed Rajput sword Khanda.

Postage stamp[edit]

Mayo College Stamp

On 12 April 1986, the post and telegraph department of the government of India released a stamp of Mayo College, showing the main building. The multicolour stamp was designed by India Security Press, Nashik Road. The First Day Cover shows the emblem of the Mayo College. The cancellation was designed by Nenu Bagga.[3]

School museum[edit]

Mayo College is home to the Danmal Mathur Museum housed in Jhalawar House, which it shares with the Arts School. The museum showcases priceless antiques and an armoury section. It is considered to have one of the best collections of any school museum in the world.[4]

History and traditions[edit]

College building c. 1895
  • Mayo's first student, H.H. Maharaja Mangal Singh of Alwar, arrived at the school gates in October 1875 on the back of an elephant accompanied by 300 retainers and a menagerie of tigers, camels and horses.
  • One of the school's traditions is meeting for tea in the lawns known as Mughal Gardens immediately after the Annual Prizegiving ceremony. It is believed that M.N. Kapur (who went on to become one of Modern School New Delhi's most respected and beloved principals) did away with using a rope to divide English guests and Indian guests at this ceremony.
  • The Annual Prizegiving, one of the oldest ceremonies at Mayo, has seen chief guests including Lord Irwin, Viceroy of India, Lord Chelmford, governor general of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, ex-president of India, HH Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur, HH Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Dr Zakir Hussain, ex-president of India, Dr Karan Singh, Indira Gandhi, ex-prime minister of India, field marshal Sam Manekshaw, H.H. Sayyid Faher Bin Taimur of Oman, HM Birendra Shah, King of Nepal, Sardar Khushwant Singh, HH Madhavrao Scindia, Sir Peter Ustinov, Jaswant Singh and LK Advani.
  • Other traditions at Mayo include an annual horseback parade by the students and sporting fixtures between Old Boys and current students (including a polo match).

Mayo College General Council[edit]

There are more than 40 members in Mayo College General Council including patron, life members, old boys association representatives, MCGS old girls representatives and others.

Council of Monitors and Sports Captains[edit]

The school has a council of Monitors consisting of students with posts dealing with school and house duties. There is a Monitor and a Prefect from each senior house. There are positions held by the students who excel in fields like Academics, Sports, Co-curricular activities, etc. Apart from the council of Monitors, there are captains to each sport. Positions are held by the students of 12th class or, rarely, by juniors.


Monitors of Batch of 1931-32


There are 12 houses out of which 8 are Senior Houses, a holding house (Class 7) and 3 Junior Houses.

The senior houses are: Ajmer House, Bharatpur House, Bikaner and Tonk House, Colvin House, Jaipur House, Jodhpur House, Kashmir House, Rajasthan House.

Holding House: Oman House.

Junior Houses: Ajaypal House, Durgadas House, Prithviraj House.

Each Senior and Junior house can accommodate 60-75 students.

Oman House (the holding house) has a capacity of 120-130 students.


Mayo College has some of the best sporting facilities among the top boarding schools of India. The Sports Curriculum was designed and implemented by Apu Dey, Director of Sports. There are facilities for students and staff consisting of playing fields for football, hockey and a cricket ground with a view of the Aravali Hills and an old red sandstone pavilion.

Horse riding was discontinued after Independence and revived again in 1994 with 10 horses. Today Mayo College has 60 horses and close to 250 boys and girls are trained. Mayo has 10 polo players who practice regularly in the polo ground. Students are trained in equestrianism with a defined set of routines. Mayo College has participated in National Level polo competitions and produced players like Himmat Singh Bedla, Nagender Singh, Pratap Singh, Sarveshwar Singh, Dhruv Singh and Shivdutt Singh. The school participated in the SUPA International Polo Tournament held in the UK in 2008. Mayo College also actively participates in the Jodhpur polo season and the Delhi Horse Show.

Squash players may choose between the modern glass-backed courts or the historic Fanshawe courts, open to the sky. Mayo College has a nine-hole golf course which was built recently. It also has many basketball courts.

There is a standard 400m track. Athletics is one of the major seasonal and coaching sports. Every year the entire school is trained in athletics as a seasonal game and then an inter-house competition is organized.

Tennis is one of the most popular sports in Mayo College. The Junior School and Senior School boys regularly play tennis in the evening as a daily routine throughout the year. There are around 17 tennis courts on the campus. There are 5 all-weather synthetic courts and 4-5 clay courts in the senior school. The junior school has 4 clay courts.

The gym has a permanent instructor and trainer. It draws approximately 40 boys every afternoon. It is equipped with modern stations, free weights, treadmills and stands.

Shooting has become a major sport here. The 10m Shooting Range is used by boys and girls (from Mayo Girls) of all classes and is one of the best ranges available at any school in India. The college owns imported rifles and pistols and has experienced coaches. Mayo has participated and won medals at the National Level Tournaments.


Publications are supplied internally and sent to other public schools in India and abroad.


Mayoor was established in the late 1960s by the principal, Jack Gibson. It is a major bi-monthly newsletter featuring college news, updates, and photos. The editorial team consists of an editor-in-chief who is an English teacher of the school and a team of editors from the student community. Mayoor used to have a Hindi section which featured articles and poems. This was removed when an independent Hindi newsletter called Paridrishya was established in 2006.

The Mayo Mail[edit]

The Mayo Mail is a weekly newsletter, established in 2008 by a group of students of Grade 7. It has become a publication which prints four fresh sheets every week and is called the 'newspaper' of Mayo College. It consists of write-ups on school happenings and activities like the trademark Mayo 'Tweets' and 'Howlers'.


The independent Hindi magazine called Paridrishya was established in 2006. The magazine consists of articles, poems and jotting written by the school community. It has an editor-in-chief, who is a Hindi teacher of the school, and student editors.


Reflection, established in 2007, is the student magazine. It is filled with poems, articles and facts that are illustrated with pictures. Reflection comes out three times a year.

College Magazine[edit]

The College Magazine is an annual collection of happenings that year in Mayo College. It has English and Hindi sections and contains reports, speeches, photographs, poems, articles, and case studies of the school.

Other publications[edit]

  • Cyber Quest is the IT magazine of Mayo College that contains technology related articles and answers.
  • Euphoria is an annual publication that reports on activities happening in the prize giving function of the school.
  • Zephyr – An Anthology of Poems is an annual publication that comes out in the prizegiving and contains the best poems written by the students.

In popular culture[edit]

The Bollywood movie Parampara was shot in Mayo.

Notable alumni[edit]

Alumni of Mayo College are known as 'Old Boys' or Mayoites.

Students come to Mayo from overseas, including members of royal families from Oman and Nepal. The school has educated two sultans of Oman, one of whom was the current sultan's father – Sayyid Said bin Taimur.

Mayo College has educated members of royal families including Bikaner, Alwar, Jammu and Kashmir, Kishangarh, Jaipur, Kangra, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Kotah and Dewas (Junior). HH Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur, Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, Rana Arvind Singh Mewar, Prince Shivraj Singh of Jodhpur (Marwar-Jodhpur), HH Maharaja Sadashiv Rao II Puar of Dewas (Junior), Col. HH Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Puar of Dewas (Junior), HH Nawab Mahabat khan babi of Junagadh.[5] and Kirit Bikram Deb Burman: Erstwhile Maharaja of Tripura from the second oldest continuing ruling lineage after the Mikados of Japan.

Old Boys from Mayo have served in the armed forces and others serve as members of Parliament and senior civil servants. Jaswant Singh is one of the few Indian politicians to have been the Minister for Defence, Finance and External Affairs; K. Natwar Singh of the Indian Foreign Service served as India's Ambassador to Pakistan and as External Affairs Minister, Sunil Lanba is serving as 'Chief Admiral' of the Indian Navy.

Lt. Gen. Nathu Singh Rathore, the second Indian officer to graduate from the prestigious Royal Military College, Sandhurst, was a distinguished strategist who served as a Division Commander in Burma during World War II. He was offered the position of Commander in Chief of the Indian Army in 1949 but declined the position in favour of his senior, K M Cariappa[6]

Old Boys have served as Indian ambassadors to Morocco, Spain, Norway, Brazil, Libya, Switzerland and France.

Old Boys have made their mark in commerce and industry and in science and technology. The Vice Chairman of Tata Motors, Ravi Kant, erstwhile Chairman of Shell Oil-India, Ajay Mehta, erstwhile chairman Emeritus of Nestlé-India, Narendra Singh of Sarila, former Chairman of Air India & Indian Airlines, Probir Sen, erstwhile chairman and MD of Axis Bank, P.J. Nayak, Member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, Sushil Wadhwani, the retired Chief general manager & Executive Director of the Reserve Bank of India & erstwhile managing director of NABARD, Yashwant Thorat, as well as Rakesh Mohan, who served as Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India have all schooled at Mayo. Mayo has also produced academic economists like Alok Bhargava who researches on food policy issues in developing countries and in developed countries for formulating public policies. Mayo has produced scientists such as the eminent scientist in the field of electronic materials, Amit Goyal. Tikaraj Aishwarya Katoch of Kangra, Director of Indiabulls donated the Kangra Amphitheatre in memory of his Great Grand Father Maharaja Jai Chand Katoch who was one of the first few students of Mayo College.

Journalists who attended Mayo include Vir Sanghvi, Siddharth Varadarajan, and Manvendra Singh, writers Vikram Chandra (Red Earth & Pouring Rain, Sacred Games) and Indra Sinha (Animal's People, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize), Sudeep Chakravarti (Tin Fish & The Red Sun. Artist Painter Jaideep Mehrotra, (Red Fashion Designer Raghuvendra Rathore, Celebrity Chef Jiggs Kalra, Actors Ajay Mehta, Bobby Deol, Tinnu Anand, Vivek Oberoi, Sagarika Ghatge, Filmmakers Pradip Krishen (also an environmentalist and writer of Trees of Delhi), Samir Karnik, Goldie Behl, Heeraz Marfatia, etc. and theatre personality, Amir Raza Husain.

The school has produced sportsmen including Charu Sharma, Cricketer Arun Lal and Lokendra S. Ghanerao (who captained India at Polo).

Acclaimed mathematician and winner of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology, Eknath Ghate is an alumnus of Mayo College.

J. T. M. Gibson Award for Excellence[edit]

The J. T. M. Gibson Award for Excellence was created in 2007 to be given to old boys who have, consistent with Jack Gibson's ideals, made a difference to society. Honorees include:

  • Ravi Kant, managing director Tata Motors (1961 Batch)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ List of Principals of Mayo College Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.. Accessed 11 November 2007
  2. ^ Mayo College as India's Eton Archived 28 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine. A speech by the Earl of Lytton in 1879
  3. ^ Detailed Stamp Release Information Postal Stamp Name: MAIN BLDG MAYO COLLEGE; Stamp Issue Date: 12/04/1986; Postage Stamp Denomination: 1.00; Postal Stamp Serial Number: 1189; Number of stamps printed: 15,00,000; Philatelic Stamp Description: The 100 P. multicolour stamp showing the main building of Mayo College, Ajmer, has been designed by India Security Press, Nashik Road. The First Day Cover shows the emblem of the Mayo College. The cancellation was designed by Nenu Bagga.
  4. ^ Opportunities: The Mayo College, Ajmer; Jun 09, 2004; The Hindu
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.

External links[edit]