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Monday , 22 July 2019
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Rewind the Roots of Bengaluru through Bylanes

Bylanes of Bengaluru is a declaration of love. An ode to the city I first opened my eyes to, where I stretched my wings and learnt to soar. Several seasons later and many adventures older, my appreciation for the city has only deepened.

Let me be your storyteller, let me rewind and replay handpicked tales from the past! A time when the rivers serenaded the city, colonial war cries changed the fate of this sub-continent and the iconic hydroelectric power station that hosted the first electric street light in the country.

Rediscover old stories with a new storyteller. Come, let’s take a walk and Have a Chit Chat with the Founder Bhushan Kumar.

What made you start up with this unique concept of Bangalore heritage walk​?

Our country is rich in heritage, and even though we had many foreign invasions and rulers, a substantial portion of our heritage is still present around us and within us. But it is hidden away in some narrow streets of ignorance or buried away in the concrete jungle. I was made aware of this fact during my first ever heritage walk which I attended in Delhi in July 2014. That walk was curated by a historian-friend (Shaleen). I was completely amazed by her enthusiasm and ability to connect the social, political and environmental aspects of Delhi’s past and show how our present is linked to it. After attending quite a few such walks, I felt obliged to do something similar for Bengaluru/Bangalore – the place I love the most. I decided to study Bangalore’s history in-depth and share with all those who might be interested to know more about the city. I am aware that recently few more organizations are also conducting these walks, and I am happy that more awareness is being brought towards knowing and conserving our heritage.

  1. What are the Different kinds of programs that You Plan for Each walk.

 Mainly there are 2 parts of my walks and duration of both the parts is about 100 minutes: Part 1 is titled ‘Heritage Walk (Basavanagudi)’. Basavanagudi in South Bangalore is where I grew up and currently live. This place has been one of the most prominent cultural and socio-political hub of the city, since nearly a century. Be it music, architecture, food, people, religion,

politics – each street of this layout has a delightful story to tell. Part 1 of the walk is a designed around some of these interesting stories. Part 2 is titled ‘Heritage Walk (War & Biz)’. A lot of people (including some Bangaloreans themselves) are not aware of the rich political and economic history of Bangalore which dates back to several centuries. Before getting tags like ‘Silicon Valley of India’ and ‘Garden City’, Bangalore was the centre of action for some crucial political wars, many commercial gambles and inspiring innovations. Part 2 of the walk acquaints the participants to these memorable moments in Bangalore’s history.

As of now how many programs that you have conducted from Bylanes.

 My first walk was held in July 2015 with just one participant. Since then, I have conducted nearly 50+ walks covering about 120 participants. I am hoping to meet the 1000th walker by the end of this year!

What makes it unique from rest of the Others?

 I believe there are 2-3 things that makes it unique from the other walks. Since birth, I have lived most of my life in the areas where I conduct the walks. So I have a strong intimate bond with some of the landmarks that I have grown up seeing and admiring, and which today are important reminders of our collective past. So in my narrative, you will see glimpses from my own past juxtaposed with Bangalore’s past. Secondly, even though I am a qualified Chartered Accountant, I am very passionate about knowing and learning Bangalore’s history and legacy. And I like to share this passion through stories and walks to curious people who would like to know more about this wonderful city as well. Lastly, I conduct these walks more for acquainting people with different facets of this city and also to build great friendships, rather than to have any commercial gain.

How many people are associated with this

Presently, I am a one-man army curating these walks, as i want to ensure the personal touch is retained and participants get full paisa-vasool.

How normal people can connect with your group

I have a Facebook page called Bylanes of Bengaluru. Any curious or interested soul can send a message through that, or can also call me on the number mentioned on the page.

Your most memorable experience

Every walk is quite memorable because every participant brings a part of his/her unique identity and combines it with this city. Having said this, I would like to mention about the longest walk I had conducted a year ago. This particular participant (who is a neuro-scientist from UP) was very enthusiastic and wanted to explore the city in detail. He managed to convince me to walk with him from Basavanagudi to Chikpete to MG road. The walk lasted for nearly 6 hours and is one of my most memorable!

Future plans

 I wish to increase my area of coverage in the coming years and add more old-Bangalore areas like Chamarajpet, MG Road, etc. Gradually, I want to build a network of people who not only narrate tales, but also actively contribute to the city through social activities like cleanliness drive, planting of trees, etc.

By: Manasa Gowda

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