In my post about Professor Chandan Gowda, I had mentioned a book that he gifted me, which was about a German G.H. Krumbiegel and his contributions to Bangalore.
As I read this piece I was struck that another German -- Otto H Koenigsberger has also made a significant contribution to Bangalore.
Now, enough about my musings about Germans and their contributions to Bangalore, let me reproduce the entire text of a recent article by Divya Shekhar in ET for your ready reference.
Here is the link to the 29th October 2015 article: http://bit.ly/1Rm8Xgd.
Bengaluru's MN Krishna Rao Park -- Designed in 1940s exclusively for women and children
MN Narendra recalls that in the early 1940s, a security guard outside the MN Krishna Rao Park in Basavanagudi stopped a man from entering the premises. The park, possibly the first of its kind in the country, was meant only for women and children.
The man who wanted to use it as a shortcut to his daughter's home smiled understandingly and walked away. The dutiful guard never realised that he had refused entry to the very person the park was named after! "Such was the humility of my grandfather, who never flaunted his position and titles," says Rao's 73 year old grand son Narendra, who lives in the 108 year old home built by the former acting dewan of Mysore.
Spread across 25 acres, the squareshaped park is named after Sir MN Krishna Rao, who was the acting dewan of the Mysore princely state in 1941 when Sir Mirza Ismail travelled to England for the Round Table Conference. Rao was conferred knighthood for his contribution to the Mysore state administration.
In the early 1940s, Rao contributed Rs 20,000 from his personal funds to build the park and also laid its foundation stone.
An additional Rs 15,000, Narendra continues, was spent in building the twostoreyed Krishna Rao pavilion at the centre of the park.
The structure was designed by Berlin born Otto H Koenigsberger, chief architect and planner of Mysore state, whose repertoire also includes iconic structures like Bal Bhavan and buildings in the Indian Institute of Science. Now neglected and dilapidated, it was once a vibrant space with music and cultural events. The park, with its lush greens, was planned specifically for women because they had very few spaces for recreation.
Rao's own bungalow was just the third home built in the Basavanagudi extension, formed at the aftermath of the bubonic plague in 1898.
Ulhas Anand, a nature enthusiast and cofounder of EcoEdu that conducts tree walks in Bengaluru, said the park is surrounded by three large trees that date back to the 1940s.
"Though it has lost some of its green cover, the park retains many rare trees. The avenue trees, however, were destroyed when the underpass was built."