Normally, when we visit MG Road on a Sunday (usually to buy something or see a movie in one of malls), we walk along footpath on the side of the road with the shops. This side is crowded with shoppers, and hawkers selling goggles, used books, trinkets, and forex (sometimes). The sidewalk is narrow for the crowds, even on a Sunday.
Last Sunday, we decided to cross over to the other side at the Brigade Road junction and investigate the boulevard (that had re-opened some time in end 2012) – we were not sure what to expect.
For those who are new to Bangalore, there used be to a walking path on that side of MG Road for a very long time (see photo). This path was at a level slightly higher than the road and used to skirt the Manekshaw Parade Grounds and Cariappa Park.
The path was demolished some years ago to enable the construction of Namma Metro. A new boulevard was constructed along with the MG Road Metro station and was opened sometime end 2012. Here is a NDTV news report from around the time it was inaugurated.
If the youtube video does not load, click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBijk6FY79E.
The new boulevard has two levels – one is at the level of the road and the second is elevated. From the elevated portion you get a better view of MG Road, and can see office sign boards and the structure of the buildings – things that are not noticeable when you walk right next to those buildings. The elevated part is mainly for walking, though there is a snack joint run by Dasaprakash. On one side of the elevated path is the Cariappa Park and on the other side we have the lower level of the boulevard and the main MG Road.
The lower tier of the boulevard a has a few enclosed exhibition halls, an amphitheatre and children’s play area (including a giant snakes and ladders board). There are also semi-open stalls meant for display and sale of handicrafts (these were mostly empty). Between the boulevard and MG Road there are plants and some garden statues made of metal, cement, etc. You can also read an abbreviated history of Bangalore on a curved wall.
In one of the exhibition halls, we saw some innovative metal sculptures (called Katuri Sculptures) made out if waste metal parts like nuts, bolts, washers, rivets, tool boxes, tools, etc – all neatly welded together. Here are some photographs. The use of bicycle chains for mane of a lion was amazing (reminded me of the Alien creature with dreadlocks in the 1987 movie Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger).
There were two things that surprised me – one was the breadth of the boulevard (especially the lower tier) – it is likely to be half as wide as MG Road – though it does not seem so broad when viewed from the other side of MG Road.
The second aspect was that one could forget the hustle and bustle of MG Road, even though it was just a few meters away and the traffic was visible (if one cared to look at it).
(And yes, there are “pay-and-use” toilets too, right next to the metro station :-)).
All-in-all, a very pleasant experience and worth a trip for all – those visiting Bangalore as well as those who live here. People who miss the demolished walkway may be pleasantly surprised at the replacement!
Here is another youtube clip:
If the youtube video does not load, click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaG30-qBv4o.
In case you do visit this place, please do share your experiences in the space below.