BENGALURU: Without the knowledge of the past, a community becomes rootless as there is no identity. People’s relationship to their heritage should be like that of a child with its mother as every element in India’s heritage has been well thought of, being geared towards one’s well-being holistically, says Githa U Badikillaya, history researcher and founder-chairperson of Destination Heritage.
As the motto of this ‘unique academic forum’ clearly says, “Your Inheritance to Connect, Understand, Value and Preserve”, Destination Heritage has been focusing and educating people on the city’s heritage as also making efforts to revive heritage
structures which have been forgotten in the race towards urbanisation and modernisation of the city.
Githa says, “Destination Heritage has been instituted to impart an understanding and appreciation of heritage from experts in the fields of epigraphy, art, architecture, Bengaluru heritage and Karnataka tourism. Currently, the three-hour sessions held on weekends on local heritage will later branch out to incorporate pan Indian heritage studies.”
If they celebrated 125 years of the formation of Chamarajpet this February in the form of a Yakshagana ballad to a packed audience, they will be celebrating 125 years of Seshadripuram Extension formation in July, besides aggressively promoting heritage walks in the southern parts of the city.
In the last one year, they have celebrated ‘Heritage walks’ in many places in the city but with a big difference. Their walks, led by historians, philosophers, art historians and others, were hugely popular. These were followed by interesting lectures in an anecdotal style. Traversing the central and southern parts of Bengaluru - students, youths and tourists saw many heritage structures through a different, refreshing perspective.
Some of the walks included Freedom Park, the makeover of the 21 acres of the iconic Central Jail, or basking in the Sri Lankan Mahabodhi Society with all its tranquillity or the 50-year-old Bodhi Vriksh or listening to the whispering tales of the many theatres by the tree-lined road named after the founder of Bengaluru.
Suchitra, who took part in one of the walks, said, “I never knew there was so much to know about this IT city. It has been an eye-opener and one feels amazed to know how many people have contributed in different ways to the city.”
Along with Githa in this historical journey is Suresh Moona, the heritage man of Bengaluru who placed the first brick inaugurating the Destination Heritage lecture series. Some other interesting lectures were done by Dr Sudha Gopinath, the forum's director of research and a philosopher in her own right. She clarified many misconceptions about the basics of philosophy like “As Hindus do we know Hinduism -Then how does philosophy differ from religion?”
Githa explains, “We have experimented with the concept of heritage in a cafe and chamber talk . This was held at the residence of medical practitioner Dr Pramila Viswanath, also painter and doll maker, on the topic, 'The heritage of doll craft'.
"Stepping into the second year, we got Christ University, Bannerghata campus, for a series of lectures, heritage walks and exhibitions till December this year. We celebrated our first anniversary with two sponsorships and the support of engineer bureaucrat B Sreenivas Reddy, retd IAS, president of IWWA, in whose auditorium the story of 125 years of formation of Chamarajapet was held.”
She says, “We walk the talk as we have heritage assets in our think tank not because of their age. Like Dr Sudha Gopinath, the granddaughter of Deewan Madhava Rao and daughter of one of Bengaluru’s much-loved bureaucrat Sri N Laxman Rao."