Bangalore Gate, a 150 year old British era heritage site is restored back to old glory

Bangalore gate, both restored and unrestored.

Above image: The historical Bangalore gate was restored in 1920, Credit goes to  Police Commissioner Sri Bhaskar Rao, Business man Sri Poddar and INTACH engineers. But for them and their timely interference, the entire heritage site would have become a thing of the past era......... 

 The  early 18 Century Bangalore Gate located in the City Armed Reserve (CAR) Compound  near Royan Circle on Mysore Road in Chamrajpet had been in a state of neglect for a long time - unused and uncared for. The  British-era heritage structure  pathetically survived  with cracked walls and distressed roof in the midst of mounds of trash and broken debris for years as an eye-sore in this locality.  

restoration in progress Bangalore gate, Bangalore,

.Bangalore gate.

damaged historical Bangalore gate, Bangalore, KA

Consisting  of several cloister type arches and big dome in the center  part with several doors and windows, the building  was  structurally in a poor state  with  heavy damages in the form of gaping cracks all over the wall and roof promoting  water leak during rains. Consequently the left-portion of the building was damaged beyond repair and restoration. It is in the Chamrajpet locality founded in 1892;  it was  then known as Chamarajendra Pete,  named in 1894  after  Mysore Maharajah Chamarajendra Wadiyar X.

This locality, in those days, was an important trading center and now, it is in the center of the city.  Can you believe that  it is  one of the oldest parts of Bengaluru, which was developed by the illustrious royal family of Wadiyars?  In this area are located  many historical sites such as  the summer palace of Tipu, Bangalore Fort, KSP (the Kannada Sahitya Parishat) building.

Bangalore gate in ruins prior to

The Bangalore  Gate  was more or less like an outpost in those days serving as the entry point of the city. Armed guards were posted and on duty round the clock to keep an eye on the people and the carts using the gate, according to historians.  Some people were of the view that it was a stop-over for the horse-drawn carts that used to go from Bangalore to other parts of Karnataka through this gate. 

The structure, with the passage of time, fell into disuse and in the absence of periodic repairs became ramshackle. The over growth of wild grasses, plants and trees close to the building and on it accelerated its structural weakness. Urgent repairs and restoration only could save the historical site that once guarded  Bangalore city. At that point of time the structure was too weak to survive two heavy rains.  

The 150 year old building in the premises of the Karnataka State Reserve Police headquarters, is  only a 10-minute drive from the KSR City Railway Station  and was slated for restoration work with guidance from INTACH in the recent past. Thanks to Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao, who  not only evinced keen interest in putting the old structure back to glory, but also  initiated action by roping in the services of INTACH on restoration. The funds were provided by Bangalore based business family  who runs Poddar and sons. This British era-building has a central tower with three rooms meant for the guard to relax while on duty. The restoration work began in November 2019

This particular building, according to INTACH, was very much damaged primarily because of the growth of trees with thick roots on the roof. The strong  roots penetrated part of the roof promoting cracks and structural damages, primarily owing to root-wedging. Tree roots have the capability to break up  even rock boulders if grown for a long period. Deep rooted trees on the structure posed a challenge to the engineers.   The conservation engineers started the restoration work after first making the old building structurally strong and safe and for this they sought the advice of a UK-based company Helifix which has a branch  in Gujarat, They  specialize in strengthening structures. They tackled the gaping cracks with flexible 6mm stainless steel pipes. Roofs (Madras terrace) in all rooms  were redone and lime mortar was used at certain stages. Any restored heritages structure should be in constant use and  periodic up-keep is a must. Apart, they must be free from vegetation and water stagnation. The latter two factors pose  serious threats to the buildings if no precaution are made. 

Bangalore  which is more than 480 old,  existing prior to Chennai, Mumbai, and Kolkata (developed by the British) has many historical and heritage sites and many of them need to be preserved for the posterity. Glad Bangalore gate after decades of total neglect is now restored back to old glory and charm.