05 April 2013

INTACH's Parichay at Gavipuram

Sathya Prakash explaining participants about the location. Photo courtesy: Times of India
The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is a non-profit organization set up in 1984 with a mandate to protect and conserve India's vast natural, built and cultural heritage. The Bangalore chapter of the organization organizes a monthly meet-up called parichay at various historical ly significant locations of the city. I was one of participants in their recent parichay at Gavipuram.The parichay was hosted by Prof. Sathya Prakash Varanasi who's convener of Bangalore chapter and an architect by profession. 

One of striking information shared was that Bangalore is the older than all Tier-1 cities in South India. Lot of people associate the city with the IT boom of last two decades. But the story of the city dates back to 900 A.D. and one of proof for that the history is the famous Gavi Gangadeshwara Temple. Mr. Aruni from INTACH who was also present for the parichay briefed us that due geographical significance Bangalore was a trading center and most of early settlers of the city were from trading community. Due unpredictable weather conditions the land in and around Bangalore was considered unsuitable for agriculture, therefore people from farming community were negligible in relative others parts of the country.

One of circular discs of Gavi Gangadeshwara Temple
Gavi Gangadeshwara Temple
The temple whose primary deity is Shiva is inside a natural cave. One of the unique features of the temple is two gigantic circular discs Suryapana and Chandrapana which as per researchers was used to determine solisitice, equinox etc. The temple will be in mainstream media every year for an interesting phenomenon on Makara Sankranti day when the sun rays piercing through the windows, Nandi's horns falls on the Shiva lingam. 

Maratha Settlement 
When Bangalore was briefly under Shivaji's rule, lot of Marathis who were part of administraion of the city had set-up their houses in Gavipuram itself. A few traces of the settlement are still intact and samadhis of a few key people of the community like Sajjan Rao, B.Narayan Rao can be found in same location but in dubious condition. 

Samadhi of Sajjan Rao which is in dubious stinking condition

Gavipuram as Heritage Ward ? 
Considering the significance of the locality in Bangalore's history/culture, INTACH has made numerous request to BBMP for declaring Gavipuram as a heritage ward. Unfortunately, all voices have fallen on deaf ears and recently the locality has been a witness to a few unfortunate developments. A 100 years old Goverment school building was recently demolished despite all opposition. Another ugly development is construction of a high-rise from Jain Housing next to samadhi of Narayan Rao, which has totally anulled charm of the locality. 

High Rise from Jain Housing 

Inspite of all these hicupps the volunteers of INTACH have not given up and have constantly knocking the doors of civic authorities for retaining and maintaning the unique of heritage of Gavipuram as well as rest of Bangalore.

Let's all channelize our efforts and put our best in preserving and spreading word of Bangalore's heritage structures.

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