If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. Most of us happen to overlook this magic and are prone to pay for it. Sometimes very severely!

Lakes of Bengaluru

Lakes of Bengaluru

Our world is one of terrible contradictions. Plenty of food, but one billion people go hungry. Lavish lifestyles for a few, but poverty for too many others. Huge advances in medicine while mothers die every day in childbirth, and children die every day from drinking dirty water. Billions spent on weapons to kill people instead of keeping them safe.

Bengaluru was once a place of 1792 lakes/tanks, an indirect reason for it to be called a garden city. It was also known as the city of 1000 lakes during the British rule. Today the number has reduced to less than 250.In a country where nature has been so lavish and where we have been so spendthrift of indigenous beauty, to set aside a few rivers in their natural state should be considered an obligation.

It is really hard to visualize Kempegowda Bus Station (Majestic) as a huge lake like it used to be 4 decades ago. Dharmambudhi lake was a reservoir of water that spread from a part of Gandhinagar to the location where Subedha Chatra stands today. The lake was functional till late 1950s when the water was let out to the fields and also to serve the township demands. Till 1992 the outlet could be seen near Shantala Silk house.

As the lake started drying up and no measures were taken to refill the tank, people started walking across this wetland as it connected the railway station to the main city. Gradually, this lake site turned out to be a large ground where people would walk their paths towards the railway station and the city. There was a huge opening on the right side corner along with a big stone and iron rod. This structure served as a gate to the area.

Mejestic - Bengaluru

Mejestic – Bengaluru

It was still not a bus stand 1968 but had become a prominent locality as there were exhibitions, fairs, drama and circus troops’ shows, public meetings and other gatherings were held here. Bus networks by now had started around majestic and buses used to stand on the boundary side of the place.

In the beginning, when parts of Dharmambudhi still had water, only a mud-road was constructed to serve as a path between the railway station and the bus stop or the markets. Later on, the entire surface was concreted making the soil impossible for water seepage.

In 1980, Kempegowda Bus station was opened and thereafter Dharmambudhi Lake remained only a memory. For a quick survey, I happened to ask a few commoners on the platforms of Majestic about the way to get to Dharmambudhi Lake. They all seemed to be baffled by the name I mentioned. There are a very few oldies left in Bangalore who have actually witnessed the scenic beauty of Dharmambudhi lake. Only those people that have directly experienced the wetlands that line the shore can appreciate their mystic qualities. What an asset it would be to our capital city if we could preserve Dharmambudhi and what a sight it would be to enter Bangalore and the first thing to see as you get off would be a vast expanse of cool, clear water.

Many lakes of the city have been converted into bus stands, stadiums etc. Some notable examples of these are:Lake

• Shoolay lake – Football stadium
• Sampangi lake – Sports stadium
• Dharmanbudhi lake – Kempagowda Bus stand
• Challaghatta lake – Golf Course
• Koramangala lake – Residential layout
• Nagashettihalli lake – Space department
• Domlur lake – BDA layout
• Marenahalli lake – Residential layout
• Shivanahalli lake – Playground, Bus stand

The adjacent picture is of Dharmambudhi Lake in 1975. Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man. If a man fails to honor the rivers, he shall not gain life from them.Our precious heritage of natural and unspoiled beauty and unpolluted streams, once exhausted and destroyed, can never be replaced. We have a golden opportunity to save the few remaining scenic and wild rivers as part of our nation’s heritage for this and coming generations.

“Water water everywhere. Try to save it if you care”

– Abhinaya Jogi (India City Blog)