Exploring heritage through walks

Experience Bangalore by walking with well informed story-tellers who know the City inside out through years of research. This is what drives the people behind Bangalore Walks and Bangalore Magic, two of the City’s known heritage walk organisations.  

 Bangalore Magic offers three different walks besides six car tours and two-day excursions in the City. “We will be adding more tours next year. The more diverse the offerings, the more people are tempted to stay in the City,” explains Deepa Krishnan from the organisation.

She designs the tours herself. This, she does, “by reading extensively about each city, talking to knowledgeable people, spending time walking and exploring neighbourhoods. In effect, I curate the City through my own lens. I have worked for many years with overseas visitors and interacted with hundreds of tourists.”

Here’s the rationale behind Krishnan’s foray into guided walks: “I find that most tour operators in India catering to overseas visitors tend to perpetuate cultural clichés about India instead of providing insightful explanations of a changing country. There are only a handful of quality guided tour companies which are doing things differently.”

But aren’t these walks out of the mainstream? “I agree that today, heritage walks are elitist. Most walks run in English, which is the biggest barrier,” says Krishnan. “To bring this kind of thing to a mass audience, you need state sponsorship and high-quality regional language tours. And you need changes in the schooling system, to inculcate early interest in and respect for our built heritage.”

Bangalore Walks is another setup very active in the heritage walks sector. Desig­ned for a global audience, these walks are inspired by similar ones in London and Boston.

The tours are in four categories called the Victorian Bangalore Walk, Green Heritage Walk, Traditional Benga­luru Walk and Medieval Bengaluru Walk. Having completed the walks for 100 months and 425 weekends, the organisers have taken a break. Currently, only the Green Heritage Walk is on. For more details, visit www.bangalorewalks.com

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