Monday 25 March 2013

A fountain for a parrot

Bangalore has many fountains and unfortunately some of them have disappeared while others have fallen prey to neglect and apathy.
But did you know that the first ever public fountain built in Bangalore was only in the 20th century and that too it was in Cubbon Park.
Bangalore then was two cities-the civil lines administered by the Wodeyars and the Cantonment which was under the British.
The Cubbon Park has been commissioned by the British in 1870 and the fountain came to be constructed in the park only sixty five years later.
It was sometime in the 1930s and the Royal family of Nepal-the Ranas- had taken shelter, rather refuge, in Bangalore. The Maharani Bajang of Nepal wanted a home for her pet parrot in Lalbagh. The Maharani had seen Lalbagh and she was fascinated by the flora and fauna.
She had seen the dovecot or Pigeon house in Lalbagh and she was enthralled by the concept. She wanted a similar structure to come up in Lalbagh so that it could be a home away from home for her pet parrot.
When she discussed the idea with the then Dewan, Sir Mirza Ismail, he suggested diplomatically suggested building a fountain in Cubbon Park.
He convinced the Maharani that Cubbon Park would be a better alterative and it would be nearer to the royal residence of the Nepal family. This residence today is the headquarters of the Bangalore district police and it is located at the junction of Millers Road and Cunningham Road. This is the Om Mahal. It still exists and some traces of the royal furnishing can still be seem in the form of huge mirrors that are placed at the landing of the majestic staircase.
The Maharani appreciated the Dewan’s idea and she agreed to it. She provided Rs 7000 towards the construction of a fountain in Cubbon Park as part of the project. However, before the fountain was built, the Maharani expired in Bombay and the parrot vanished.
This is the Fairy Fountain in Cubbon Park which was built in memory of the royal parrot which was never found. Not for a day did the parrot roost in the fountain.
Today, the fountain is still in the park but there is neither a board not a sign specifying its unique history. The Om Mahal too exists but the royal family does not.
Decades ago, the fountain sprayed water and it had colourful fish in it. Today, there is neither water nor fish.
The fountain is near the office of the Department of Horticulture. Check it out when you go to Cubbon Park. Old timers still have found memories of the fountain and the soft sounds of music that wafted down from the band stand in Cubbon Park.
Those days are gone now and one hopes that the fountain would not become a piece of history.
Cubbon Park is centrally located in Bangalore and there is absolutely no problem in gaining access to it. There are a number of bus stops around the park surrounding it on all its sides such as Corporation from Hudson Circle side, Nruputunga Road stop from K R Circle side, Ambedkar Veedhi and Vidhana Soudha from Gopala Gowda side, Indian Express stop and Coffee Board near GPO side,  KSCa stadium, Cubbon Park from MG Road-Kasturba Road side and even Kanteerava stadium from Mallya road side.
There areplenty of autos available. Parking is available in the park itself. 
The park is surrounded by a number of museum and iconic structures like Vidhana Soudha, Raj Bhavan. GPO, High Court, Press Club, KGID  Building and museums like Government museum, Venkatapa Art Gallery, Visvesvaraiah Technical museum, Aquarium and  Stamp museum in GPO.

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