Madras Sappers clean Halasuru Lake

Madras Sappers clean Halasuru Lake

The cleaning and de-weeding of Ulsoor lake was again undertaken by Madras Engineer Gorup (MEG).    More than 100 soldiers started the cleaning and de-weeding of the lake for over 8 hours since the dawn and cleansed the lake. The hyacinth was cut and brought to shore.

The Sappers had cleaned the lake in April-May in 2018 and pulled about 70 tonnes of weeds and garbage.

Over the years, population pressure in the neighbour-hood has led to sewage being drained into the lake, converting it into a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other hazards. Furthermore, water hyacinth also keeps flowing into the lake and choking its breathing life and killing almost every form of life. It also severely hampers conduct of any kind of training in the lake.

The MEG centre is located at the Northern end of the ulsoor lake. They all undergo training in ‘waterman ship’ on the Southern end of the lake which is only 1/6th of the whole lake.  Of late, the training had become difficult due to the stench and hyacinth or ‘the blue evil’.

The Madras Sappers have breathed life into an almost dying ulsoor lake, a feat which very few would even dram of.

Ulsoor Lake – Shivajinagar

Ulsoor Lake – Shivajinagar

Shivajinagar is named after the Maratha King Shivaji Bhonsle.  It is one of the oldest localities in Bengaluru. When the British cantonment was established, ulsoor became a native settlement serving the native residents.   This Constituency has 7 wards.  Ulsoor is one of the area which comes under this constituency.  Ulsoor  is renowned for its quaint narrow streets lined with stylist home décor stores and boutiques selling hand-woven saris and numerous temples like the impressive Halasuru Someshwara Temple, which dates back to the 16th century.    One of the major attraction in and around Shivajinagar is the Ulsoor lake.

ULSOOR LAKE :

Home to Bengaluru’s biggest lake, Ulsoor is one the oldest neighbour-hoods in the city, Ulsoor also known as Halasuru is among the oldest villages in the city of Bengaluru and houses the Ulsoor lake, which is considered one of the biggest lakes in the city.

The word ‘Halasina Hannu’ means jackfruit in kannada and as there was a jackfruit orchard in the place, it was also named Halasuru.  Thus, the lake was christened as Halasuru Lake, which was later modified as Ulsoor Lake during the British Era. The lake is spread over approx. 120 acres and the average depth is 19 ft. It has several islands. Even though the lake is dated to Kempegowda’s time, the present lake was created by Sir. Lewin Bentham Bowring, the then Commissioner of Bengaluru. The story of the lake goes like this: The Vijayanagar Emperors gifted this neighbour-hood to Kempe Gowda I, who was the founder of Bengaluru. The lake was formed by Kempe Gowda II, the successor of Kempe Gowda I. In 1807 Ulsoor had its first military station set up by the British. History says that the lake was originally covered with forest. Kempe Gowda, one day while coming from Yelahanka, felt very tired and fell asleep under the tree where Mandava Rishi had worshipped God Someshvara. God Someshvara came to his dreams and gave him information of a hidden treasure. After getting the treasure, Kempe Gowda built a pagoda using Dravidian architectural style and dedicated it to God Someshvara.

Two springs exist at the bottom of the lake.  The mini islands dotting the lake were used for film shootings and cultural events. Amid the trees lining the lake, joggers and walkers would sweat it out in the mornings and hawkers would peddle their wares on balmy summer evenings. The lake is marked with several beautiful islands and ancient temples in its vicinity, making it an interesting location for tourists.  Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurudwara, on the edge of the Ulsoor Lake, enhances the beauty of the landscape. This lake houses different kinds of flowers, birds and insects. One can easily spot a purple swamphen or a crane, a brahmani kite or a heron. The lake is also a favourite spot for morning and evening walkers. Fountains can be seen at specific timings.

The natural beauty of this destination is enhanced by the lush greenery that surrounds the lake. Owing to its natural beauty and calming environment, the Ulsoor Lake is frequented by picnickers and nature lovers alike. A day out at Ulsoor Lake is abundant in a number of activities that can be pursued here Whip out your cameras and click a few shots of the endemic birds that call this destination their home. One of the major activities for tourists here is boating. The boat club of the lake arranges cruises that can be availed at a charge. The cruise takes you around the lake, with stopovers at some of the beautiful islands.which is an amazing way to understand the landscape and revel in the charm of this destination. A weekend picnic complete with homemade snacks and a game of badminton is a must when you visit Ulsoor Lake! Visitors can enjoy the sunset views while boating at the lake, which also has a walking trail along the shore. You can either take a pedal or rowboat to go on an excursion around the waters of Ulsoor Lake. You can make stops at the many islands that are situated here, and admire a view of the lake from different points.

During August-September, the Ulsoor lake comes alive as the famous Ganesh Festival is celebrated here in a grand way. Tourists, locals, and enthusiasts pour in large numbers to enjoy the festival. The lake hosts different cultural programmes round the year.

Connected to the centre by the Mahatma Gandhi Road, ulsoor remains a sleepy spread out suburb closely connected with nature and still manages to be buzzing with activity, thanks to a cluster of bakeries, cafes, watering holes and plenty of curio shops in the vicinity.  If swimming is more of your thing, then you can splash around in the swimming pool that is provided at the Ulsoor Lake by the recreational complex situated here, which remains open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Wednesdays Boat training facility is available at the lake which is organized by Madras Engineering groups, and once you are done for the day, you can gorge on delicious snacks and piping hot coffee that is easily available at the nearby eateries.

Amble through the Heritage plat

Amble through the Heritage plat

The Taj West End Hotel is not only one of the oldest hotels in Bangalore; it is the only hotel which has been in operation since its inception. Among the many royal palaces that have been converted into luxury hotels by the Taj group, The Taj West End is one among them.  

Shivaji Nagar is synonymous with the history of Bangalore. Being one of the oldest localities existing since the British rule, it has many historical treasures waiting to take notice. Exploring the constituency, one can come across Russel Market which was established in 1927, St Mary’s Basilica- one of the oldest churches built in the 17th century, Coles Park which was established in 1914 and many others. Among these archaic troves is where the Taj West End Hotel lies.  

Located in the Shivajinagar Constituency, the hotel was once the military base for the British. Many English officials resided in this hotel with their families. Later Mrs. Bronson, an English women opened a boarding house exclusively for the English and called it Bronson’s West End. Following the change of ownership to the Spencer’s, the hotel became more of a country club with its English charms. 

The hotel has been graced with many rich and famous people from across the world. Some of the notable people are- Sir Winston Churchill, Prince Charles, Devika Rani & Svetoslav Roerich, Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Rex Harrison. The Spencer’s called upon Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces to take over the ownership and to continue the luxury hotel legacy.

Today, the hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in Bangalore. The hotel has designed a ‘Heritage Walk’ which serves the visitors with champagne and a guided tour of the hotel and its historical significance. On this walk, one can find the oldest post box in all of Karnataka which is to this day operational and one of the oldest rain tree which is older than the hotel itself. The walk concludes at the Prince of Wales Lawn, named to commemorate the Royal Prince’s stay in 1962.    

The Taj West End has given the world an opportunity to revisit the old world of British luxury in its original stature.