More and more people are exploring the city on foot, discovering new facets to the city and learning more.
The best way to explore and learn about a new city is by travelling on foot and Bengaluru is no exception to the rule. The heritage of a place is best discovered on foot and what better way to do that than with a walking trail.
From the standard walks across Lalbagh and Cubbon Park to food trails, showcasing the culinary history and specialities of old neighbourhoods such as Malleshwaram and Frazer Town, and walks across the beautiful Nandi valley on the outskirts of the city, discovery walks are the in thing to do now. Metroplusprofiles a few of the most popular walking trails in the city, the people behind the initiative and explores whether it is locals or the tourists who make these walks very popular.
Unharried was created four and a half years ago by software engineer Poornima Dasarathi when she began to discover that there is more to Bengaluru than the tourist haunts of Lalbagh and Cubbon park.
Poornima says, “I began by researching about the city and discovered that people were keen on going on heritage walks and experience stories. Though there are not many heritage buildings in the city, I discovered that the city has countless stories that needs to be bought in the public domain. We started with the pete (bazaar) walk through Avenue Road and Malleswaram that also takes enthusiasts around the ancient Kadu Malleswara Temple and the local bazaar. It is the best way to discover elements of the city, you never knew existed.
Apart from the pete walks, which focuses on the market places and the goods that are sold in these ancient places, we also started with food walks in Frazer Town and Malleswaram that provide a diverse culinary experience. The Heritage walks in the old parts of the city has bought many old family histories back to life. As far as the participants are concerned, it is a mix of locals and people from outside the city, who are keen on learning more about Bengaluru. We also have a small smattering of tourists and the numbers are growing every year. I feel that as Bengaluru changes from being a quiet town to becoming a bustling metropolis, many people want to find a connect with the city and learn more about it. Our walks are conducted by enthusiasts, not historians.”
When Simi Mathew moved to Bengaluru a few years ago, she wanted to find a deeper connect with the city. She says, “I had stayed in many cities across the world and felt that I was not rooted. I wanted to change that when I first moved to Bengaluru. I loved food and was a history buff and began to discover Bengaluru, though the different food items that different localities offered. I met Shivaji and we decided to organise a meetup for people who like food and history and Oota walks was born. It started off as a small meeting of likeminded people. In Basavangudi, we found a local who gave some insights into the food and history of the place. We decided to organize a food walk in Malleswaram, covering iconic places such as the Veena Stores, which we discovered was a popular place not many of the participants had been to. Food also brings to the fore many lesser known stories.”
Simi adds, “ We always tend to attach history with monuments and buildings. Walking through these neighborhoods offers a new perspective and brings out new facets of the city. We work towards identifying popular neighbourhood and weaving stories based on culinary background of the place. We limit the number of participants in each walk to about 15 people to ensure that we bond well as a group. It is mostly foodies keen on history that make up most of the participants, but we have seen many curious tourists also coming along and enjoying the experience.”
Nandi Valley walks
In 2013, when lawyers Siddharth Raja and Priya Rao made a move to Nandi hills, they feel in love with the place and were fascinated by the Bhojanangeswara temple nearby. Priya Rao says, “We used to take
our friends out to the temple and surrounding areas when they visited us. My husband is a history buff and he read up a lot about the temple. The idea of organising a walk was a suggestion by one of our friends.
We decided to organize a small walk and found that it was a huge hit. The trail draws people from across the city from families wanting to spend quality time in the outdoors to tourists visiting the city and curious about such a walking trail. We have many repeat customers and try to treat all the participants as guests to our own house. We try and restrict the numbers per walk to about 35 people. The response has been excellent and we have seen many customers who keep on coming back for the experience .”
Bangalore by Foot
Bangalore By Foot was started by Mansoor Ali and his friends a couple of years ago. “I was born and bought up in Bengaluru and did not bother much about its history. On a visit to Delhi, I discovered that I know more
about Delhi, a city that I visited occasionally, but nothing much about Bengaluru. I came back and started researching about the city and started to organise an array of walks, from the bazaar walks to food and heritage walks. We found out a lot of stories that had fallen off the grid and felt that we could connect with our city at a different level. Being locals, we were able to provide a more holistic view of Bengaluru, since we knew most of the areas. We may not have monuments as such, but Bengaluru has a lot of history spread across from the city market area to Frazer town and Basvangudi. We aim at bringing that to the fore.”
Source : the Hindu, Nov, 2015