Bangalore Town Hall is one of the most famous landmarks of the city. It is a grand stone structure that has been able to hold on to its identity even in today’s age of skyscrapers and modern buildings. Popularly known as the Town Hall, this impressive municipal building is named after the philanthropist and former president of Bangalore City Municipality, Sir K.P Puttanna Chetty.
The structure has completed 80 years of its proud existence in the city and can be expected to be around for a long time if properly cared for.
History of the Town Hall
The foundation stone of the Town Hall building was laid on the 6th of March, 1933 by the then Maharaja of Mysore, Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar. The construction took about two and a half years to complete. It was inaugurated on the 11th of September, 1935 by the then crown prince of Mysore, Sri Kanteerava Narasimharaja Wadiyar.
It was built under the able guidance of Sir Muhammad Mirza Ismail, the then Dewan of Mysore. The imposing structure was constructed at a cost of Rs. 1.75 lakh.
Structure of the Town Hall
The iconic building represents the European Classical Greco-Roman style of architecture. The main auditorium has been constructed in a rectangular shape and has two floors. It has a seating accommodation for 1038 people. The interiors have been elaborately done in teakwood.
The building has a flight of steps that lead to the entrance porch. This porch has identical Tuscan columns resting on both sides of it and adds a look of elegant beauty to the building.
Main utility of the Town Hall
The Town Hall was built to serve as the hub for entertainment and cultural activities. For three decades after its inauguration, this building was the primary centre for all cultural activities in Bangalore and the nearby areas. Even after the inauguration of the Ravindra Kalakshetra near the Town Hall in 1963 this place did not lose its significance or charm.
The Town Hall has also served as a platform for several protests and demonstrations against the authorities. It was a great place for the protestors to voice their problems and concerns during the days of the British rule in India.
Renovation of the Town Hall
In 1976 the Town Hall was discovered to have a few issues regarding acoustics and seating arrangement. The then Chief Minister D. Devaraj Urs had found it difficult to get a complete view of the Russian Ballet show held at the hall. He then ordered the renovation of the Town Hall. This led to the proposal for renovation of the building at an estimated cost of Rs. 10 lakhs.
However, the renovation was delayed due to a number of reasons and nothing happened till 1990. In the month of March in 1990 the iconic building was closed down for renovation works. By that time the estimated cost had reached the huge figure of Rs. 65 lakhs. Following renovations, the seating capacity of the hall was reduced to 810 seats.
The extended stage was also brought down to a lower level to facilitate better viewing of the events held on the stage by the people seated at the front rows. The stage was rebuilt with teakwood.
Public support for the Town Hall
The Town Hall is not only an impressive building it is also a landmark structure for the people of Bangalore. The people of the city protested in a united manner when the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) moved a proposal to pledge the Town Hall in order to avail itself a loan in January 2014. This resulted in the intervention of the government and the dropping of the proposal.
Finally, the decision to renovate the building at a cost of Rs. 5 crore was taken by the government.
Pride of Bangalore In a city that is developing at an exponential rate, this grand old structure has been able to retain its identity and pride even today. This fine old structure speaks volumes about the grandeur of a city that is fast turning into a concrete maze.
However, looking at the Town Hall one realizes that a part of the good old Bangalore is still alive in such structures. On the completion of the 80th year of the Town Hall’s inauguration one can only wish that this structure remains standing forever as majestically as it has always been.