‘Redesigning Brindavan Gardens not a good idea’

Disneyland may be a great tourist attraction, but is it any match to our own Brindavan Gardens at Krishnaraja Sagar, near Mysuru? No, not in terms of its heritage value, says the great granddaughter of Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, the German horticulturist and landscape architect responsible for its development.

Alyia Phelps-Gardiner Krubiegel, who lives in London and is the CEO of GHK Foundation dedicated to greening unused gardens or spaces, has taken exception to the proposed Brindavan Gardens redevelopment on the lines of Disneyland. She has shot off a letter to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy advising against the idea. This follows the Chief Minister’s proposal in the State Budget for redesigning Brindavan Gardens on the lines of Disneyland for which Rs. 5 crore has been initially allocated. “The Brindavan Gardens is of international value and must be treated following the guidelines of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS),” she said in her letter which gives a synopsis of the garden’s history. She says that Disneyland could not compete with its heritage value.

Krumbiegel, who joined the services of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar at the latter’s request, is credited with contributing to the development of the famed Lalbagh, the old avenues of Bengaluru, and Brindavan Gardens, and was the first chairman of the Mysore Horticultural Society, established in 1912.

In an email chat with
The Hindu,
Ms. Alyia Krubiegel said a proper conservation management plan for Brindavan Gardens with realistic aims, guidelines and a financial plan to convince and show alternatives was the way forward. She cited an exhibition at Dresden, Germany, featuring her great grandfather’s works and titled the Maharaja’s Gardener, as an example. It was curated by an expert who had rendered similar works in parks all over Europe and it just needed funding, she added. Ms. Alyia Krubiegel said she was shocked and dismayed at the systematic destruction of the vision of her ancestors and went on to add: “All involved in the Brindavan Gardens were visionaries.”

Her letter to the Chief Minister said international tourists came to experience the historical, vibrant city of Mysuru during the most famous Dasara festival of Karnataka, started in 1610 by Raja Wadiyar I in honour of Goddess Chamundeshwari.

“Most international tourists are hoping to experience such heritage, why travel halfway around the world to see a theme park just like those back home ?” she questioned, adding that she was open to meeting the Chief Minister and the Minister for Tourism to discuss alternative restoration plans.

Excerpts from the letter

They completed this 60 acre garden in a period of 5 years (1927-1932). Isn’t this short synopsis of the history wonderful? Can Disney compete?

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