Chikkajala is called a pre-historic site by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) monument list. The discovery of burial grounds in Chikkajala led historians to date the place to 1000 BC. It houses a fort, temple and a lake.
When we visited Chikkajala on Sunday, 25 Dec 2011, we were shocked to see that NHAI was demolishing part of the fort for road widening. The work had started couple days ago.
This village is on NH-7, Bengaluru International Airport Road. It is 24kms from Majestic and 6kms before BIAL.
The historic Channarayaswamy (Channakeshava) temple in the village is believed to be 950-years- old, built by Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana (1). Chikkajala Fort, an abandoned vassal fort in ruins, is part of the Revenue Department.
There were reports of the tourism department making it a venue for a light and sound show and part of a three-place circuit, including Muddenahalli (birthplace of Sir M Visvesvaraya) and Devanahalli (birthplace of Tipu Sultan) to showcase Bangalore’s rich heritage.
Whither heritage, whither conservation?
Does Bangalore, the IT capital have no place for its past? Are there no conservation plans that apply? Who is responsible for this lapse? Local authorities caught napping or the NHAI or some unknown third actor?
Couldn’t this have been handled better? What’s the guarantee we won’t lose more of our collective past – like the fort gates that went missing without a trace?
Indeed an irony of sorts, that this unfortunate incident has happened the same year that Bangalore has added a ‘Heritage Museum’ to showcase its past!
1. Source: Multiple City, writings on Bangalore, edited by Aditi De, Penguin, 2008.