The layout of a city holds a lot more meaning than concrete structures from the architect’s blueprint. It holds the stories of its people and their families, the dreams of its residents and faith that travels across cultures. One such remarkable old layout in Bengaluru, still dwelling in demographic and economic youthfulness, belongs to Chamarajpeth. This is Bengaluru’s first planned layout, designed by Sir M. Vishveshvarayya and initiated by the Wadiyars of Mysore in 1892. Chamarajpeth completed 125 years of existence and development this August. In celebration, BV Gangadhar, a committee member of Chamarajpeth, shared the area’s story with RJ Padma Priya.
The city was named in memory of Chamarajendra Wadiyar X of Mysore following his death in 1894. Initially called Chamarajendra Pete, it later took on the name Chamarajpeth. “The layout has been thoughtfully designed in the form of a chessboard,” says Gangadhar. It is a layout of 30 x 108 feet, which was sold for INR 28 to INR 50 by the Wadiyars. It has a well-structured drainage system, footpaths, and roads.
It has five main roads and nine cross roads. ‘Vatharas’, which are clusters of eight to ten houses, remain intact here and are interestingly harmonious structures of living. Gangadhar tells RJ Padma Priya about the convenience of Chamarajpeth’s location, which makes it a hub of development. The locality is in close proximity to the Bangalore Bus and Railway stations and has access to well-established hospitals like Jayadeva and Minto. It is diverse and secular in terms of religion and culture, despite some obvious political tensions.
Urbanisation has had an evident impact on Chamarajpeth. The population has spread across the settlement and traffic has become congested in the space. The number of trees has gone down by a large margin. However, the residents’ committee members are sensitive to and concerned about the environment. They have planted 150 saplings and have been taking care of them with an objective of achieving green lanes. Plus, they plan to launch a ‘Manava Seva Charitable Trust’ to fund free dialysis treatments for patients from the lower socio-economic strata.
As a tribute to the Wadiyar Dynasty constructing the layout, the residents of Chamarajpeth invited the ‘Raja Maathe’ of Mysuru to inaugurate the ‘Shila Shasana’. About five thousand people had gathered at the celebration.
Gangadhar shares many more interesting facts about Chamarajpeth on the show. When asked by RJ Padma Priya about the special aspects of the locality, he says, “We have everything – hospitals, playgrounds, and temples. But most importantly, we have love and a sense of togetherness.”
Chamarajpeth has stood the test of time and retained its authenticity.
Written by Vybhavi Adiga.