Thursday, August 31, 2006

Stretch of power and might

Stretch of power and might
It may not be more than one kilometre in length, but the Dr B R Ambedkar Veedi is undoubtedly the most beautiful road in the City.

A city is known by its people, the environment it offers to residents and visitors, and also its streets. Go to any urban centre and people will identify it by its streets. The names, the history attached to them, the landmarks and people who’ve made the street famous - in a sense, streets play a role in creating the identity of a city too.

Starting this week, we bring you all the interesting dope on streets - famous and the not-so-famous - in Bangalore.

It may not be more than one kilometre in length, but the Dr B R Ambedkar Veedi is undoubtedly the most beautiful road in the City. It stretches from K R Circle on the one end and ends at S G Balekundri Circle (near Indian Express) on the other end. The legislature, judiciary and bureaucracy are all located on this road and therefore it is quite appropriate that it is named after the man who framed the Indian Constitution.

A piece of history

No visitor to Bangalore can afford to ignore this road as it contains a number of heritage buildings. The red-coloured Karnataka High Court Building was designed by Col Sankey under the tenure of Bowring. But is was not always a High Court Building. From 1868 to 1956, the year Karnataka State was formed it was called the Attara Kacheri and housed the executive, judiciary and the legislature.

There is a well-maintained lawn in front of the High Court in which you can find pigeons fluttering throughout the day. Many people come here early in the morning for their exercises to feed these pigeons.

Opposite the High Court is the majestic Vidhana Soudha, the State Secretariat and Legislature. This imposing edifice with a fusion of Indian styles of architecture - Dravidian, Rajasthani, Chola and Kannada. There is a swarm of shutterbugs who click photographs of visiting tourists with the Vidhana Soudha in the background.

There was a time not long ago when visitors used to freely move in and around the Vidhana Soudha. Now the security measures are so rigid that it is impossible for visitors and tourists to get close to the building. Very recently the Vikasa Soudha, which resembles the Vidhana Soudha, has come up and is a South Block extension of the State Secretariat. Vikasa Soudha replaces the Government Press, a heritage building.

Another impressive building is the General Post Office, built in granite, giving it a look of strength and infinity. Though the GPO itself was established in early 1800s, the new building was inaugurated by late Rajiv Gandhi in 1985. The signal intersection where the GPO stands is known as Police Thimmaiah Circle. Many will remember that Police Thimmaiah was a thick mustachioed friendly and helpful head constable, who was knocked down while on duty trying to save a child on the road, by a speeding truck violating traffic signals.

Other structures which adorn the road are the Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic, the mundane-looking multi-storeyed building (popularly known as MS Buildings) which houses many wings of the Secretariat.

The 21-storeyed Visvesvaraya Towers on this road was conceived by renowned designer Charles Correa. Some architects, of course, consider this building a monstrosity. You can get a beautiful view of the City from the 21st floor of this building. On this floor the proceedings of commissions of enquiries are conducted and you may get a chance to enter it only if you are a witness, an accused, police personnel on duty, a lawyer representing the plaintiff or defendant or a journalist covering the proceedings.

One interesting characteristic of this road is that there are no shops or commercial establishments, with the exception of Coffee House run by the Coffee Board. You can have a good cup of coffee accompanied by idli, dosa or sandwiches from its limited menu. In the past there used to be a restaurant called Shyam Prakash, which was demolished a few years ago to pave the way for a building housing IT and BPO offices.

However, the ubiquitous vendo is always there, selling groundnuts, strips of raw mango and slices of fruits.


At Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at 9:11:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i liked the way charles correa's vishveshwaraya tower was described.. but it would ve been better if a photo of it would ve accompanied the blog.. such buildings r meant to be kept in notice until everyone in bangalore will know it...and i really liked the way bangalore is described.. got to know bout this blog wen i was specifically researching on the bangalore's famous architecture as i am studying architecture...was delighted!!! thank u!!!!


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