German Consul’s visit to Bengaluru's Janatha Bazaar revives hopes for restoration

Janatha Bazaar was built in 1935 by Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, known for his efforts in planning the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens.
Janatha Bazaar
Janatha Bazaar

On a tour of Bengaluru’s heritage structures organised by architect Yashashwini Sharma, founder of Esthétique Architects, German Consul General Achim Burkart made a stop at the city’s iconic Janatha Bazaar on Monday. Janata Bazaar, previously known as Asiatic Building, was built in 1935 by German botanist Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, known for his efforts in the planning of Bengaluru’s Lalbagh Botanical Garden. The effects of time are evident in the 86-year-old heritage building in Bengaluru’s Gandhi Nagar, according to Yashashwini, and is in need of restoration.   

The tour of the heritage buildings, she said, was a follow up to the 2019 visit of Krumbiegel’s great-granddaughter Aliya Phelps-Gardiner-Krumbiegel. She added that the tour was also a means for both countries to reconnect with their shared heritage. The party stopped at Janatha Bazaar after visiting the HVN bungalow in Malleswaram.

“The tour was a means to reconnect with the shared heritage of the two nations. The Consulate wished to visit all the places in the city that were associated with Krumbiegel and Consulate General Burkart mentioned that it is important to preserve our history and heritage. He noted that if we did not, the future generation would not have anything to look back to,” said Yashashwini Sharma speaking about the tour.

Elaborating on the structure, Yashashwini said that structure built in the Art-deco style of architecture. She explained that though the building has a rich history, its doors, walls, flooring and roof are in an untended state, and she hopes that the government will permit its restoration.

In 2018, Janatha Bazaar was in danger of being demolished to make way for a multi-storey structure. However, the move was opposed by activists and history enthusiasts, including Krumbiegel’s great-granddaughter Aliya and Heitage Beku, a citizen's group that has been working towards preservation of historical structures in city and have worked towards saving three structures and over 100 heritage trees.

“The Karnataka High Court has passed an interim order which was instrumental in halting the demolition of the structure that was proposed by the previous government,” Yashashwini said, speaking about the Public Interest Litigation that was filed by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

“Already so many heritage buildings have been destroyed, we need to make effort to save the last few standing and restore them. If everything is demolished, we’d be left with nothing to look back at as our heritage,” opined Priya Chetty Rajagopalan, the co-founder of Heritage Beku.

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