World Heritage Day 2014
The World Heritage Day talk this year was an especially special event for us (!) because it was the first in a series of talks sponsored a Mr G Raghavan, a resident of Bangalore who feels passionately about heritage conservation. May his tribe increase! The talk Preserving the Aural: Archiving Music and the Arts in India, by Vikram Sampath, was an eye-opener for all present. The erudite and engaging Mr. Sampath made a powerful case for the need to archive music in India, while entertaining all those present with anecdotes and vignettes from his involvement with the process. Among other things, the audience were treated to some rare recordings of Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi, among others
Talks and other events on Urban Biodiversity
INTACH partnered with Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, and Citizen Matters, Bangalore's online newsmagazine, to organize a series of events on URBAN Nature, the theme for the UN's Convention of Biodiversity's 11th Conference of the Parties (COP) held in Hyderabad in October 2012. COP is one of the most important international conferences on the Convention of Biodiversity, attended by hundreds of government officials and policy makers from countries around the world. Events included a photo competition on urban nature, organised together with PeeVee, cofounder of Redframes, a nature walk led by S Karthikeyan, and two talks on urban nature by ecologists Dr Harini Nagendra of ATREE and Dr Madhusudhan Katti, California State University. Photographs taken by winners in the exhibition were displayed at the COP in Hyderabad.
World Heritage Day 2013
INTACH Bangalore, in collaboration with the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru, celebrated World Heritage Day 2013 with a talk on a unique conservation project – The Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Initiative.
The speaker, Ratish Nanda, is Project Director of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). The urban renewal project in Delhi that he currently heads, spans Humayun's Tomb, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti and Sunder Nursery. It uses conservation as a tool for development and is path-breaking in many ways: it is the first privately funded restoration of a World Heritage Site in India; it integrates heritage conservation with environmental conservation and socio-economic development, involving local and community stakeholders; and it has a strong component of cultural revival.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Nanda was emphatic that conservation can succeed if it is incentive-based rather than penalty-based, as is the case currently. Working in an area that has "the densest ensemble of medieval Islamic buildings in India,"" the Nanda-led project has gone against the accepted practice of leaving ruins alone, and instead decided to rebuild several of the Mughal-period monuments. The public-private partnership has brought together agencies like the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the Delhi Jal Board, the Central PWD, ASI and Sir Ratan Tata Trust among others. This 6-year-old project has set precedents that can filter down to heritage dense neighbourhoods all over the country.
Mr. Nanda's message of hope – heritage conservation, if done intelligently and with intensive partnership with local communities, can bring about positive changes in the economic and cultural lives of people.
Chiranjeev Singh, former Ambassador to UNESCO, was Chairperson at the event, while CS Kedar, Additional Chief Secretary, KUIDFC, was a Special Invitee.
Coordination: Meera Iyer, Aravind Chandramohan
World Heritage Day 2012
INTACH Bangalore partnered with NGMA (The National Gallery of Modern Art) Bengaluru, for the second consecutive year to celebrate World Heritage Day 2012. The event was an illustrated talk titled 'Mysore Palace: The Making of a Monument.' The timing was apt – the centenary year of the Mysore Palace. And the speaker RG Singh of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana, a Mysore based art foundation, had earlier released a journal with rare archival photos of the rebuilding of the palace. RG brought the story alive for the audience with his collection of never before seen photographs.
Coordination: Meera Iyer
Photo: Namma Bengaluru Foundation
Walk leader Prof Varanashi in the NBF partnered heritage walk
World Heritage Day (WHD) Weekend
16th to 18th April, 2011
WHD is always a busy time for the Chapter with plenty of collaborative events and a punishing pace. Saturday the 16th began with an SMS based treasure hunt - 'Hunt for the Past' in partnership with Meeva Technologies. Teams of two received their heritage themed clues and sent their responses via SMS within a 3-hour time limit. Restricted to a 3 km radius around Basavanagudi in South Bangalore, participants with the highest heritage quotient on this historic neighbourhood walked away with prizes.
The evening saw a lecture event, organized in collaboration with the National Gallery for Modern Art (NGMA). The theme was Art and Architectural Restoration - the art focus was the versatile work of the Indian Council of Conservation Institutes (ICCI), part of the INTACH stable, across India. Mr Naresh Narasimhan, Architect - Principal, Venkatramanan Associates, Bangalore, expanded on his experiences during the restoration of Manikyavelu Mansion that currently houses the NGMA. His view was that city planners should see an "opportunity" to conserve and restore heritage spaces rather than treat them as a "burden."
Art Conservator Mr Nilabh Sinha, Principal Director, ICCI, New Delhi, has studied and trained extensively both in India and at Cambridge, UK. He spoke of the shortage of well-equipped conservation laboratories and art restorers. With funding in short supply, he has worked towards developing simpler, alternative and cost effective techniques that are adaptable to Indian conditions in evaluation and conservation of art works.
Ms Madhu Rani KP, Director, ICKPAC Bangalore and her team run an art conservation centre from the Chitrakala Parishath complex. While her special affinity remains works on paper, the Centre has handled all manner of artworks - sculptures, oils, historical documents - in private and government collections. Significant work includes the restoration of painted boards and canvas paintings in the Senate House of the University of Madras at Chennai. Ms Rani presented her team's restoration of 300 year old mural paintings in a temple at Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu.
Chief Guest, Mr K Jairaj, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, and INTACH Chairman, Major General L K Gupta, spoke on the need for all stakeholders to invest in the care of 'unprotected' heritage. Ms Shoba Nambisan, Director, NGMA felt the shortage of art restorers despite an art conservation lab in the gallery. INTACH Karnataka State Convenor, Mr Asvathanarayan was also present at the event.
The concept for this event was mooted by Mr Ashis Banerjee, Consultant and Advisor, Heritage Regulations, INTACH, and it was put together by Ms Swathi Reddy, then Chapter Co-convenor and Dr Meera Iyer, current Co-convenor.
WHD 2011 concluded on Sunday, the 17th, with a heritage walk in historic Gavipura. It is home to an 800-year-old cave temple, a lake associated with the founder of Bengaluru dating back 500 years and a neighbourhood that retains a strong sense of tradition. Chapter Convenor, Prof Sathya Prakash Varanashi led a large, enthusiastic group of 50 who voiced their concerns on the steady erosion of Gavipura's architecture, ecology and culture. The walk was facilitated with the support of Namma Bengaluru Foundation, an NGO that addresses a wide range of the city's issues in water conservation, infrastructure and culture.
World Heritage Day - 18th April 2010
Gavipura in South Bangalore is home to the ancient cave temple of Gavi Gangadeshawara, the Kempambudhi tank built by Kempegowda I in the mid 1500s and the 'Kempegowda' tower that came up around 1600 CE. Alongside, it has elements of Ganga, Hoysala and Vijayanagara dynasties in its heritage architecture.
The central idea of WHD '10 was to propose this historic neighbourhood as a model heritage ward and to initiate a project based dialogue to this end with the support of other like minded institutions like UDBHAVA, Citizen Matters, Institute of Urban Designers India, Bangalore City Project and Indian Heritage Academy. INTACH in collaboration with Udayabhanu Kala Sangha (UKS), a social institution based in Gavipura, sought to bring together political representatives of the neighbourhood to listen in to urban planning proposals put forth by a panel drawn from a wide cross section. Shri Ravi Subramanya, MLA, Basavanagudi,; Shri K Chandrashekhar, newly elected corporator, Hanumanthnagar also a former MLA from Basavangudi; Shri TN Sadashiva, corporator Sunkenahalli and Shri Henachandra Sagar among others were presented with a wide range of practical proposals like reorganisation of public spaces, street furniture and interpretive signage that would reinforce the historicity of this neighbourhood.
The panel comprised of Ms Meera K(Citizen Matters), Shri Narasimha (UKS), Shri Prakash Belavadi (Media and Creative Arts), Dr S K Aruni (Indian Council for Historical Research), Dr. Nagaratna (Yoga Kendra), Shri Sanjay Shridhar (ABIDe), Shri Sathya Prakash Varanashi (INTACH). Shri Pankaj Modi, conservation architect and member of INTACH's Core Committee, presented an outline option mapping for Gavipura.
Photo: Meera Iyer
Photo exhibition at lalbagh
Photo: Meera Iyer
Kannada walk led by Dr SK Aruni
Photo: Meera Iyer
Photo exhibition held at Bangalore Fort
World Heritage Day 2009
World Heritage Day 2009 holds very special memories for us at the Chapter for it was the last event that our late convenor HR Prathibha oversaw. A small group of us put it together in record time. We approached the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India to allow us to host a day-long event at the wonderfully atmospheric Bangalore Fort - which is not normally open to the public. We then tied up with like-minded organizations like Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), the UDBHAVA forum, Bangalore Weekend Shoots, the Department of Kannada and Culture, and Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure Development or ABIDe, a task force chaired by the Chief Minister where INTACH is part of the Heritage Committee.
The day began at 6:30 am with parallel exhibits at Lalbagh and Cubbon Park of striking photographs focused on all aspects of Bangalore's multi cultural heritage - its monuments, lakes, green spaces, markets and religious places. A subset of these photographs was made into two sets of postcards called Portraits of Bangalore.
At 8 am that morning, we had our first heritage walk in Kannada. Beginning at Tipu's Summer Palace in the old city, Dr Aruni, Asst Director, South Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Historical Research led a walk in Kannada through the Fort area and its vicinity for a group of 30 enthusiasts. The walk concluded at 10.30 at the Fort, where in the meantime, the photographers had set up their exhibition. The Fort is normally closed to the public, but thanks to INTACH, people could explore the Fort and the exhibit at leisure.
The evening concluded with a folk music programme by an artiste sponsored by the Department of Kannada and Culture. The Chief Guest for the event was Ms Lalita Devi Prasad, ex-Minister, Kannada and Culture. Other guests of honour included Vikram Sampath., author of a well-received book on the Royals of Mysore, and Mr "Select" Murthy, who runs one of the city's iconic bookstores where the likes of Ramachandra Guha have spent half a lifetime! The event was another first - no cultural programme had been hosted at the Fort before.
INTACH has also periodically held lectures on topics related to history, heritage and conservation, including some by CB Patil of the ASI, and architect R Jegannathan.
The event was conceived and hosted by Convenor Prof Sathya Prakash Varanashi, over a weekend in June, at his environment-friendly home. Bangalore-based artist Dr M S Murthy loaned 100 oils on canvas ranging from Rs 10,000 to a few lakhs. A sizeable part of the sale proceeds were donated to further the cause of the Chapter. The art show was inaugurated by Mr D K Chowta and the Chief Guest was Dr C S Vishwanatha, Chairperson, Task Force for Quality Control, GoK and Civil Aid Technoclinic.
Dr M S Murthy began his career in 1982 with watercolours - his series 'Light' won the Biennale Award for India in 2003 at the prestigious International Biennale from among artworks of 23 countries. He works out of his sprawling studio 'Bhoomi' near Bangalore.
Orientation Programme for Azim Premji University
In the first week of August, INTACH had the pleasure of organising an orientation programme for the first batch of Masters level students of the Azim Premji University. Over 100 students and a few members of the teaching staff (split into four groups) visited the Fort area, Shivajinagar, Gavipuram and parts of the cantonment area for an introduction to Bangalore city. The walks were led by South Regional Director, ICHR, Dr SK Aruni, conservation architects Krupa Rajangam, Pankaj Modi, Convenor Sathya Prakash Varanashi, Co-convenor Meera Iyer and Chapter member, Poornima Dasharathi.
The students then gathered at the auditorium of the National Gallery of Modern Art where Pankaj Modi recapitulated the day's four walks. This was followed by a stimulating discussion led by Sathya Prakash Varanashi on heritage-related issues, including the place of heritage in development, the many layers of Bangalore's past and the city's future directions.