Restored ''Bengaluru Gate'', a classic example of restoration of a heavily damaged British-era structure

Restored  heritage bldg. Bengaluru gate.

restoration of  heritage Bengaluru gate.

Restoration of British-era Bengaluru gate,

The 150-year old Bangalore Gate,

Bengaluru gate in ruins

Among the Indian cities, Bengaluru is endowed with lots of colonial buildings and heritage structures of historical value. The state government, despite funds crunch, is trying hard to restore the  monuments to old charm and on many an occasion private participation has become a necessity and this can be done by a select number of companies for the benefit of the public they serve. 

The 100-year old Bangalore Gate (built in the late 1800s (?) n  Chamarajpet on the premises of the Karnataka State Reserve Police headquarters near Royan Circle on Mysore Road that had remained in ruins for decades was taken up for restoration in 2020 with private participation.  Consisting  of several cloister type arches and a big dome in the center, with several damaged doors and windows, the building  was  structurally in a poor state  with gaping cracks all over the wall and  stressed roof promoting  water leak during rains.  The INTACH approached the difficult task of restoration work in a systematic manner as follows:  

.Bengaluru gate in ruins 2019

01. With  huge heaps of trash and  broken debris all around and inside the building touching window sills, their removal was taken up first to  expose the original flooring and the plinth.

02.This was followed by a protective stone flagging around the plinth and removal of old  lime plaster on walls.

03. The unstable  roof and parts of the building had to be removed part by part  without which reduction was a tough one.

 04. Though the soil and foundation of the gate were good, the structure was heavily damaged due to  prolonged neglect and growth of plants and trees. Root-wedging caused by a network of tree roots that penetrated a large section of the roof and wall was the main culprit. 

05. The removal of a large peepal tree with roots intruding into many parts of the roof and walls  thus weakening the British-era structure was a tough one, INTACH took a few weeks to remove the huge tree branches without damaging the structure.

06. The condition of the structure warranted structural strengthening before the start of the restoration work.

07. Before major restoration work, the INTACH engineers successfully strengthened the structure under the guidance of a UK based company Helifix (operating from Gujarat),  that specialized in using flexible stainless steel rods (6 mm size)  to strengthen stone and brick masonry buildings. 

08. With respect to old Bengaluru gate,  the advantage of structural stitching was there was no need to dismantle a large part of the old structure and the cracks could be properly plugged. . 

09. The old walls  were re-plastered in traditional lime mortar as it was done in the past. 

10. As for old Madras terrace roof, upon careful removal of old brickwork, plastering, and deteriorated rafters, new strong rafters in quality wood were set in a secure manner  along with  Queen closer (half-cut) brickbats  on the rafters  with lime mortar as the binding medium. Lime waterproofing coats  were applied on the terrace and  parapets to retard water soaking and leak. 

11.The old doors and windows were restored in teakwood, maintaining  their authenticity and heritage  design

Many historians believe the old Bangalore Gate  was a sort of check post/  Octroi Post, to keep an eye on the movement of people and horse carts between Bengaluru and Mysuru,  besides collecting toll on goods entering the city

The 150-year-old Bangalore Gate is back to its old charm and it is quite amazing that this heritage structure had all these decades  withstood the vagaries of climatic changes and official apathy notwithstanding its dilapidated condition with big cracks, weakened walls and highly distressed roof in the midst of  heaps of trash and debris indoors and outside.