The Malleswaram Extension
This Extension is situated to the north of the Maharaja's Cotton Mills ( today the Karnataka Mills), and on either side of the Tumkur main road, at the 2nd and 3rd mile out of Bangalore. It extends to Ranganathpur on the north and to the Railway line on the west. The main features are that all the longitudinal roads are laid out parallel to the meridian, and all the cross roads due east and west, to enable houses to be built in the direction of the main cardinal points. There are 10 roads running north and south which are called 'Avenues'. There are 17 east and west roads intersecting the above at intervals, and running at right angles to them, and also a boundary road 50 feet wide, on the west, between the Railway and the extension. These divide the whole Extension into 8 blocks, each Block being allotted to a particular section of the people. The total number of house sites is 2000. (Extract from the 'Memorandum' by Mr. Standish Lee, late Superintending Engineer, (Sanitary Works) of the then Mysore Government, embodied in the Report of Mr. V.P. Madhava Rao, C.I.E., Devan of Travancore and Mysore.) It would be really fantastic to get a session of photographs of the old Mills, that would really take you back into a Charles Dickens time warp! Is Malleswaram Extension as planned in 1900 the same today? Or does one find encroachments on Public allotted land?
I had put a request in the newspapers to take out photos of old houses of Bangalore, and had the good fortune of a wonderful article written on me by Sangeeta Cavale of the Times of India which encouraged me to go around taking photos and trying to capture the memories of Bangalore.
I bring to mind and am thankful for the first invitation I received from a beautiful dear old lady called Mrs. Rukmani Varadharajan living in Malleswaram. She said that she had an old house and would like me to take a photo of it to be included in my collection. I know there were some old houses in Malleswaram as I used to pass through some years ago on my way to work in Peeyna, but I really did not think that in these old houses lived some really gentle, kind, intellectual and knowledgable people that I would have a chance to meet one day. I was welcomed into their houses and really must say that hospitality to a stranger like me was an eyeopener as to the character of the families in the area. I spent some time taking out photos of her 'Arcot House', and her fathers house 'Leela Cottage', assisted by her grandson who guided me around. Mrs Vardharajan's hobbies besides keeping a beautiful garden is to gather miniture bottles. Below are some photos of houses around the 4th and 5th Main Malleswaram. Clicking on these small 'thumbnails' will give you a larger view of the photo.
I also got an invitation from Mrs. K.R. Narayan to take out her house, which I did, but did not have the opportunity to meet her as she was out during my visit. She also has a large garden. At this point I did have a call from a Mr. S. Shesadri of Vijayanagar who invited me to take out his house and at the same time volunteered to direct me around the 17th Cross of Malleswaram. The kind gentlemen, along with his Canadian friend pointed out many houses in Malleswaram which were his grandfathers, uncles and aunties, one was a great writer. At the same time I did have the opportunity to take out different beautiful houses that were studded around the place. The place was like a fairy tale, as I never expected so many large bungalows, and so well kept. I do regret that many of the people I could not meet, as you must be aware that doing this as a single person, having only a Saturday or Sunday to my disposal, time is of essential importance to me, and there is noway I would be able to come back to cover the area again. If there are houses that I missed, I really did not know where to look for them, and if you have photographs, you could also share them with all on this page of mine with your credits. I thank Mr. Shesadri for his time that he gave to guide me through the area.
Leaving this area of Malleswaram, I had to go to Benson Town to cover a house there, and you can quite imagine the distance that I have had to cover to finish what I set out to do. The next area that I would be going to is Basawangudi. I thank all the people of Malleswaram who helped make this page possible, and I dedicate the same to them.
Please send your comments and mail to Ronnie Johnson, the Bangalorewalla
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