H.D. Kumaraswamy‘s ‘swalpa comical, swalpa farcical’ government in Karnataka, has a totally tragical tourism minister in S.R. Mahesh, whose skillset seems to be to not create new assets but rip off and monetise existing ones.
In his over-enthusiasm, the part-time politician and full-time real estate shark, who thinks he is a minister for a district not the State, has given stiff competition to Don Quixote in just a few weeks.
# First, he wanted the spectacular Mysore Race Club shifted from the foot of the Chamundi Hills.
# Then, he wanted to develop the Brindavan Gardens at Krishnaraja Sagar developed on the lines of Disneyland.
Both ventures, the pet themes of the travel and hospitality mafia, whose shamless lack of history is only matched by their bottomless ability to grab public assets, obviously appeal more to the real estate side of the honourable minister.
The great grand-daughter of Gustav Hermann Krumbuegel, the German horticulturist who designed Brindavan Gardens, has shot off a letter to Kumaraswamy opposing the plan.
Hopefully, the vestiges of Mysore erstwhile royalty will jump in to lend their support.
Star of Mysore has reproduced the letter from Alyia Phelps Gardiner Krumbiegel.
Dear Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy
I read today with dismay that the iconic Brindavan Gardens is to be redeveloped on the lines of Disneyland USA.
The dream project of Mysore’s teenaged king, Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, was to construct a dam across the Cauvery for human benefit and he appointed Sir M. Visvesvaraya as the chief engineer.
The Brindavan Gardens, located just a level below the dan, earlier was called Krishnaraja Terrace Gardens.
The inspiration came from the Mughal Garden of Kashmir—the Shalimar Gardens. This achievement goes to the credit of the then Dewan of Mysore, Sir Mirza Ismail, and my great grandfather G.H. Krumbiegel, superintendent of parks and gardens of Mysore, the man behind Bangalore’s Lalbagh and largely credited for the title of The Architect of The Garden City.
They completed this 60-acre garden in a period of 5 years (1927-32).
Isn’t this short synopsis of the history wonderful?
And can Disney compete with it?
Maybe it will in the short term!
The tourism minister will want international tourists to come to experience the historical vibrant city of Mysore during the most famous Dasara festival of Karnataka startedin 1610 by Raja Wadiyar in honour of Goddess Chamundeshwari.
Most international tourists are hoping to experience such heritage.
Why travel half way around the world to see a theme park just like those back home?
India is a land replete with cultural, historical and religious artefacts which draw a sense of wonder for visitors and certainly makes every Indian feel proud of this wonderful possession.
The Brindavan Gardens is of international value and must be treated following ICOMOS guidelines.
It is also about the very spirit of the place that just has to be preserved.
The so-called “genius loci” Disneyland would put the whole idea, the concept of a representative garden, ad absurdum, a total neglect of history.
I would be only too willing to meet you to discuss alternative restoration for this most iconic landmark.
Alyia Phelps Gardiner Krumbiegel
Photograph: courtesy Tourism India Today