Palace to palace: A peek into B'luru's own heritage zone

Craving attention

A short journey from Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace in Chamarajpet to the Palace Grounds (Bangalore Palace) would entail experiencing countless traffic snarls but it can also be a rich heritage walk. Surprised? The stretch is dotted with more than two dozen heritage structures that are at least a century old.

The busy traffic may leave you frustrated but the stretch is home to Bengaluru’s richest heritage which craves our attention and deserves more than a cursory glance.

In a survey entitled ‘Palace to Palace’, architect Naresh Narasimhan has termed the stretch ‘Swarna Marga’ (Golden Path) and stressed the need to demarcate the area as ‘Heritage Zone’ and ascribe special importance to it. The survey throws light on prominent structures, parks and other public utility spaces.

Among them are Bangalore Gayana Samaja, KR Market, Victoria Hospital, Tipu’s Palace, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Fort High School, Carlton House, Vidhana Soudha, Vikasa Soudha, Maharani College, Freedom Park, Central College, University Law College, Historic Centre of Bangalore (near Avenue Road junction), Raj Bhavan, Niton Building, Golf Course, Balabrooie Guest House, Manikyavelu Mansion and Bangalore Palace.

Most buildings along this stretch are at least a century old, Narasimhan said. “To be precise, it extends a little beyond Tipu’s Palace. The stretch starts at 5th Main Road, K R Road junction, and goes up to Palace Grounds (Wadiyar’s Palace),” he added. “If we see how Bengaluru developed, it will be evident that along this path are the oldest areas of the City.”

Speaking about the Avenue Road stretch, Narasimhan said that being one of the prominent areas of old Bengaluru, it deserved special attention.

“One would appreciate the heritage value of such a lane only if it can be pedestrianised and buildings there given a facelift without making changes in the original design,” he explained.

Cities like Mumbai, Barcelona and Hyderabad have areas that are specifically demarcated as heritage sites and the government pays special attention to them. “There is a need for civic authorities in Bengaluru to do the same,” he said. Another thing to do is to have an Urban Arts Commission whose duty will be to identify and conserve heritage sites.

Narasimhan also suggested that heritage buildings be conserved on the lines of Maikyavelu Mansion and Freedom Park, which have been converted into places of public utility. Also, more awareness can be created if initiatives like Heritage Walks are taken up.

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