The missing pages of Bangalore History
Places of historical importance in the city disappear in the absence of a heritage policy
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The Krumbiegal Hall in shambles at Lalbagh
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The view of the Krumbiegal hall from the front. This is the part of the structure that can still be restored.
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Tipu Sultan's Armory
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The entry to the armory lacks a proper gate and an information board.
Bangalore, November 22, 2017: Heritage man of Bangalore, Suresh Moona laments the disappearance of places of historical importance due to the absence of a heritage policy.
Reports by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) show that in 1985, there were around 850 buildings but the number has narrowed down to 350.
The most recent example of this is the Krumbiegal Hall languishing within Lalbagh. Suresh Moona blames the lack of knowledge and indifference amongst the public towards heritage sites.
Meera Iyer, convener at Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), spoke about 2011 when the Department of Horticulture and INTACH had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work on three buildings – the old aquarium, the director’s Bungalow, the Krumbiegal hall – in Lalbagh.
“However, the MOU was annulled in 2012 after we objected as they employed an inexperienced and unqualified contractor for the restoration process. More than the time and money wasted being the core issue; it is more about the inexperienced contractor causing more damage to the heritage buildings,” she added.
Moona speaks about Tipu Sultan’s Armory, which might soon disappear if not protected. He said that since the past 20 years he has been demanding foran information board to be installed.
He also mentioned Binny Mills and the Hero stones which have become “scattered pages of Bangalore history.”
The front wall of the Krumbiegal Hall however, is still intact. “London’s Roman Wall comprises just a wall and it has been restored as it is. The same can be done with the entrance wall of the Krumbiegal hall,” he said.
Meera speaks about the importance of these monuments. “There has been a lot of research to show that people feel more connected to a place, i.e. , they have a greater sense of belonging and a 'connection' with places that have preserved bits of their past. A sense of belonging is of course a good thing,” she said.
In relation to the mini Niagara Falls that is being constructed in Lalbagh, Moona said, “I welcome new developments that make my city beautiful but not at the cost of old heritage buildings. The Horticulture department should restore these first and then move on to newer projects,” he said.
M.R Chandrashekhar, Deputy Director at the Horticulture department, said, “Over a hundred years back, the Krumbiegal Hall was used as a training station for gardeners. However, it is in shambles now. The Department is planning to restore it after the Archaeological Department estimates the funds required to do so.”
“It is also important to preserve our monuments because we learn valuable things about our past from them and because they are a part of our history. Take inscriptions for example, which provide us with a wealth of information on dynasties and dates of course, but also such diverse things as food habits, religious practices, language, social class, settlement patterns, landscapes etc,” added Meera.