Scion of Mysuru royal family joins fight to protect heritage Janatha Bazaar

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The scion of Mysuru royal family Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar went on a tour of the 83-year-old Asiatic Building of Janatha Bazaar on Tuesday to support its preservation after the Karnataka High Court stayed its demolition on March 22.

He was accompanied by Deputy Consul General of German Consulate Karl Philipp Ehlerding and great granddaughter of the building architect G.H. Krumbiegel – Ms Alyia Phelps-Gardiner-Krumbiegel.

Mr Wadiyar, who read out a speech delivered by Yuvaraja Kanteerava Narasimharaja Wadiyar in 1935 at the inauguration of the building, strongly supported the preservation of the historic structure.

He said, "Being a part of the city's narrative, it is important to preserve city's legacy. The collective effort will help save the city's heritage backed by strong legislation." He recalled the steps taken by the Wadiyars for social welfare and cooperative movement.

Mr Ehlerding, accompanied by the Culture Secretary of the German Consulate Sujatha Sundaram, opposed the demolition of the building. "The need for the conservation of the structure which has a unique character is important and restoration is suggested," he said.

"The building was given to the city for public welfare by the Wadiyars and it is still capable of giving more to the people. I am feeling emotional standing in the building that was designed by my ancestor and the presence of the Maharaja along with Deputy Consul General who have expressed their interest and concern for the heritage building," Ms Krumbiegel said.

"Heritage buildings such as Janatha Bazaar are architectural museums which showcase sustainable practices and healthy spaces. Janatha Bazaar being the architectural vocabulary of the city is part of the city's historical narrative. Restoring and reusing the historical structures has made for good economics worldwide. Without the building, the city's story would be incomplete," Ms Yashaswini Sharma, an architect and urban historian, said.

The Janatha Bazaar in Gandhinagar was Asiatic Government Security Life Assurance Company building until the time of nationalisation of life insurance.

The building was inaugurated on September 11, 1935 by the then Yuvaraja Kanteerava Narasimharaja Wadiyar, who termed it a 'magnificent building' during his speech.

Built at a cost of Rs 2 lakh in 1935, the Asiatic Building is said to be a splendid example of public architecture pursued by the Mysore maharajas.

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