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World Heritage Day @ The Bangalore Fort

Located in one of the busiest (and not so popular among visitors) parts of Bangalore, the Bangalore fort was almost fighting for identity. Its close proximity to the city market must be one of its drawbacks coz regular tourists don’t prefer to go into the crowded market area with almost zero parking spots and an overall less “tourist-ey” appeal of the place.

The invitation for the World Heritage Day celebrations 2015

The Invite

In my 12 years in Bangalore, I have never visited the Tipu Summer Palace or The Bangalore Fort even thought I have noticed them from the outside. In spite of the passion that I have for Heritage Architecture, this was one place I just couldn’t get myself to go to. So when INTACH Bangalore Chapter announced the celebration of The World Heritage Day  at The Bangalore Fort, I knew this was my chance. Even after a Bangalore Bandh was declared on the day, INTACH went ahead with the event and drive to the venue was such a pleasure with free flowing traffic.

The entrance arch to the Bangalore Fort

The Entrance to The Bangalore Fort

The chief Guest of the event also confessed to have driven past the massive structure but never stopped to go inside or take a closer look. Which I think is the case with most Bangaloreans.

People gathered inside the bangalore fort for a music concert.

The perfect Location

It was one of the most beautiful evenings of my life, the combination of architectural heritage and musical heritage was an experience of a Lifetime. The massive stone structure provided the perfect backdrop for the mesmerizing music that played within the fort.

The information booklet given at the World Heritage day 2015, introducing the artists of the evening.

The Information Booklet

The evening was made memorable by two great artists, Padmabhushan Dr. N Rajam on her Violin and Carnatic Vocalist Sri. T M Krishna. As a person who has absolutely no knowledge of music, I was quite awe struck.

Padmabhushan Dr. Rajam playing her violin and mesmerizing the crowd at the bangalore fort.

Padmabhushan Dr. Rajam.

Sri. T M Krishna, has the crowd spellbound with his carnatic music.

Sri. T M Krishna

The Bangalore Fort has been ignored for decades, maybe even centuries. But with this concert, I am sure every single one of the stones from the fort walls would have forgiven us for the neglect. There was magic in the air I would say. The event was not ticketed and was free for all and the lovers of heritage flocked to the venue in large numbers.

A beautiful Jaali window that can be seen on either sides as soon as you enter the Bangalore fort.

The beautiful Jaaali Window at the entrance.

I believe Heritage lost is gone forever and it is so important to hold on to every bit that’s left. There is a treasure of knowledge in the past, in the architecture, in everyday things, in rituals and in the culture. Some day I shall take the plunge and deep dive into knowing much more.

The National Gallery of Modern Art NGMA

The restored mansion, now is the house for the Namtional Gallery of Modern Art

Old Bangaloreans know that a ton of its heritage homes and public buildings have been sacrificed in the name of developing modern infrastructure. But the good news is, whatever are left have been fiercely protected by its citizens.  Recently when the 150 yrs old Balabrooie guest house faced demolition threat, there was wide spread resentment and people took to the streets to protest. The Government of Karnataka planned to build a club house by demolishing a portion and following the protests, it cancelled its plans.

The facade of the Manikyavelu Mansion

Among one of Bangalore’s heritage buildings is the Manickyavelu mansion. The property spreads across 3.5 acres on Palace Road and has some of Bangalores oldest trees. Before being taken over by the state govenment, it was the grand residence of Raja Manikyavelu Mudaliar, who is presumed to have bought the property by the Mysore Maharaja. The colonial style mansion was crumbling when it was offered to the Ministry of Culture to set up the art gallery. Media claims that the restoration of the building was a huge controversy in itself, which is irrelevant now that it has been restored and the results are in front of us today.

The National Gallery of Modern Art in Bangalore has some of Bangalores oldest trees.

side view

The National Gallery of Modern Art is now a home for Indian Contemporary art and displays some of India’s well known artists like the Tagore brothers, Jamini Roy, M F Hussain Etc,. They have a permanent collection that is displayed throughout the year, and have special curated exhibitions of Art, Photography and sculptures at regular intervals. Stay tuned on their events by logging on to their website for exhibition alerts. The NGMA also has regular Gallery Walks, Art workshops, Talks and various other activities for Kids and adults. 

The side view of the NGMA

For me the NGMA is a place where time stands still. Its is the place I go to when I need some time for myself to clear my thoughts. The gallery walk and the high ceiling opens up my mind and calms me down. They even have a small cafe that can supply food if you plan to settle there with a book or want to work on your laptop. Someday, I plan to spend an entire day there.

large french windows

The gorgeous details in the colonial window.

The National Gallery of Modern Art Cafe

The Mansion is well maintained and is a go to place if you love Art, nature, serenity and heritage. Dont forget to pick up some art prints or books that are sold in their office, its worth every penny you spend. For a person who is new to Bangalore, this is definitely a place to see.