February 20, 2015

Sir Puttanachetty Town Hall, Bangalore

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
– Ibn Battuta, 14th-century Moroccan explorer

In acute contrast to the blitzkrieg of ultra-modern, glass and cement, glittering glimmering megaliths that sharply reflect the blinding rays of sun and define the cosmopolitan, thoroughly urbanized landscape of Bangalore, Sir Puttannachetty Town Hall, constructed in 1935 and marooned, like the carcass of an ancient leviathan washed ashore, as a besieged traffic island in the heart of the perennially crowded city, exists like a beautifully pristine beacon of Neoclassical architecture that seems to portray that not all is lost in this unbelievably rapidly developing, steadfastly mutating landscape. Christened after bureaucrat-administrator-philanthropist Sir Krishnarajapur Palligonde Puttanachetty (lived 1856-1938), who prior to serving as the first President of Bangalore municipality from 1913 to 1919 functioned as a government official in diverse capacities including Deputy Commissioner (Mysore Railways) and Member (Bangalore City Council), the double-storied hall, raised from its surroundings by a high plinth approachable by steps, was commissioned in 1933 by H.H. Maharaja Sri Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV (reign AD 1894-1940) and designed by the far-sighted administrator Sir Mirza Muhammad Ismail, then Diwan (Prime Minister) of the kingdom of Mysore. Its spell-binding architecture is completed by the presence of a massive mesmerizing facade comprising of an enormous triangular pediment supported upon giant columns.

A historic specimen of outstanding architecture (Photo courtesy - Wikipedia.org)

Gilded alphabets blaze upon the facade in both English and Kannada the nomenclature “Sir Puttannachetty Townhall” and the year 1935, while behind the stately pillars are visible glimpses of the two rows of long narrow windows, those in the upper row curved in a semicircle and the lower perfect rectangles. It is another matter that the iconic building, sporadically rented out now for cultural shows, ballads and commemorative events, has remained out of bounds for visitors for several months now in view of the ongoing restoration work, which has, among other consequences, ensconced the entire structure within a web of bamboo scaffolding. Occasionally, the citizens of Bangalore gather around it to protest against a particular ordinance or demand certain rights and civic facilities, but the demonstrations – the last I noticed was to demand better treatment and shelters for the city’s homeless canines – are subdued, sober affairs, treated more like happy get-togethers, so unlike the electric, energetic protests that rock Delhi, especially the Secretariat and Jantar Mantar areas from time to time (refer Pixelated Memories - Secretariat Blocks and Pixelated Memories - Jantar Mantar). In this case, at least, the more things have changed, the lesser they have remained the same!

Location: Intersection of Mysore Road and Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Road (Coordinates: 12°57'49.7"N 77°35'08.0"E)
Nearest Bus stop: Corporation/Town Hall
How to reach: The Town Hall is located a mere 2.6 kilometers from Majestic/Kempe Gowda Bus stand and one can avail a bus/taxi from there.
Entrance fees: Nil
Photography/Video charges: Nil
Time required for sightseeing: 30 min
Other monuments/landmarks located in Bangalore - 
  1. Pixelated Memories - Bangalore Fort
  2. Pixelated Memories - Bangalore Palace
  3. Pixelated Memories - Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens
  4. Pixelated Memories - Nandi Hills & Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple
  5. Pixelated Memories - Tipu Sultan's Palace and Kote Venkataramana Temple
Suggested reading - 
  1. Ninasam.org - Town Hall 
  2. Thehindu.com - Article "Town Hall in Bangalore becomes an octogenarian" (dated Sep 12, 2014) by Muralidhara Khajane 
  3. Wikipedia.org - K. P. Puttanna Chetty

1 comment:

  1. Rashmi Swarup JohriJuly 17, 2015

    beautiful monument . kahan ho?