Old ruins await a new lease of life

lost heritage

Old ruins await a new lease of life

Bangalore has a number of abandoned buildings. But what’s shocking is that many of these are in Lalbagh.

The building that used to house the aquarium is one of the many that is crying for attention. It has not been used for 10-15 years now. 

Naresh R, a professional, says, “The aquarium must have been damaged because the building is in ruins. I wish they would renovate it but till date, nothing has happened. It will be an added attraction to the park. Back in those days, it used to house a variety of birds and fish. It also increased the number of tourists coming to Lalbagh. Now it’s just a ruined building with a pile of garbage lying all around.”  Many of the historical buildings in the park are on the verge of collapse due to lack of maintenance. 

   Basavaraj Basavegowda, one of the walkers, says, “The building has been like this for the last 15 years. I’m a regular jogger here and pass this building daily. It was a great delight for walkers like me back then who would listen to the chirping of birds and see the fish in the pond. But due to lack of maintenance, it’s a ruined building in the centre of the park. We have written many memorandums to the government but till date, no action has been taken.”

He goes on to add, “Earlier, the place also had a deer park. There were hundreds of deer. But due to lack of maintenence, they all perished slowly. The officials say that a fox killed them! They will probably give a similar excuse if asked about the aquarium building too.” Says Krishnamurthy, a professional, “I have been coming here for a long time now. We have contacted the governments that have come to power and nothing has visibly changed except their promises. If they can’t fix it, they should call for tenders and outsource the work to a private agency. This would help as private sectors have done a lot for the City.”

The building has also turned into a huge garbage bin and people have carved their names on its walls. Hence, along with the authorities, even the citizens need to be responsible. “Building a few monuments around the park will enhance the beauty of the place. The aquarium building has turned into a garbage dump. I know for certain that this is the biggest park in India. We don’t have such a marvel in Delhi. So I wish they would renovate it as fast as possible,” says Namitha, a student of the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, who is here to study the aesthetics and landscape of Lalbagh.

Being the biggest park in the City, Lalbagh requires constant maintenance and the authorities agree.   

“We are going to renovate the library. Once that’s done, the aquarium will be our next project. It’s a heritage site in Lalbagh and we would like to renovate it. There have been both positive and negative reactions to this. But our chief has told us to go ahead and soon, we will start restoring it,” says Gunavantha, deputy director of horticulture, Lalbagh. 

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