Karnataka launches initiatives to develop Tataguni Estate
By Yathiraju | Express News Service | Published: 16th July 2017 01:26 PM |
BENGALURU: The Tataguni Estate, home of the famous Russian artist Dr Svetoslav Roerich and his wife Devika Rani, the first lady of Indian cinema, is now springing back to life. The Karnataka Government has taken up various initiatives to develop it as a global tourism destination.
The estate, located about 29 km from Bengaluru, is a major lung space for the city. Spread across 469 acres, the property which includes a lake is more than twice the size of Lalbagh. The serene Karithimmaiah Lake was constructed long ago as a perennial source of water for people as well as animals and bird species.
Apart from this, there are various structures including the Roerich residence, a linanoe oil extracting plant, Bursera seed drying yard, art studio, guest houses and also servant quarters. The couple had a Bursera plantation (origin: Mexico) as well as the linanoe plant for extraction of oil from Bursera seeds. More than 20 labourers worked there. The Roerich and Devika Rani Estate Board has taken up conservation of all these facilities.
During the time of Roerich, the Bursera seeds were harvested during September/October and perfume extracted from the linanoe oil which was exported.
For landscape design, the Board has decided to take rope in experts in environment and ecology. Twenty five acres have been earmarked for a rose park and five acres of this have been developed by the Horticulture Department. A total of 100 acres have been earmarked for a tree park wherein the Forest Department has planted around 10,000 plants of different species.
“The lake attracts various birds and wild animals like tigers, boars, leopards, deer, elephants and bears. The obstructions in the rajakaluve leading to the tank have been cleared, allowing easy flow of rain water into the lake built by Roerich and Devika Rani,” says a labourer working on the estate.
In addition to the restoration work, it is proposed to built a world class museum on 25 acres at a cost of `25 crore which has been sanctioned by the Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage Department.
Dr N Manjula, Commissioner of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage Department, said they have appointed consultants to prepare a detailed project report for the proposed museum. The objective of the museum is to exhibit the works of Roerich, career and achievements of Devika Rani. After receiving the DPR, a contractor has to be appointed. The total duration of project is 18 months. “We are waiting for Roerich and Devikarani Roerich Estate Board to identify the place in the estate to execute the project,” she said.
After the survey of the estate is completed, a high-rise compound wall will be built to prevent encroachments and also wild animals from entering.
Dr Nataraj Thalaghattapura, author of the play “Banna Mechchidavaru”, based on the lives of Roerich and Devika Rani, said there are a large number of admirers of both the personalities.
“Roerich had donated money raised from his painting exhibitions to Red Cross Society and also donated 10 acres of land to the Sericulture Institute. To preserve the legacy of the great couple for future generations, the estate should have a study centre for fine arts, like at Shantiniketan, and also an auditorium like Ravindra Kalakshetra. All development works should be fast-tracked,” he felt.
When contacted, G H Puttahalagaiah, Member-Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of Roerich and Devika Rani Roerich Estate Board said the government has plans to develop the estate as a world-class tourism destination. All steps are being taken to achieve this, he added.