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Celebrate our landmarks

Recently, as one did a round of Sunday cleaning for the bookshelves, a fascinating bit of information emerged. That back in 1899, the Hanging Gardens atop Malabar Hill had actually been featured as a location to shoot one some of India’s first ever cinematic experiments. Film maker Harishchandra S Bhatavdekar shot The Wrestlers that featured a wrestling bout.

He used an imported Riley camera to make the first film shot on location. Of course, if one visits this tourist attraction today, there is no mention of this historic and cinematic milestone. Sigh.

Horniman Circle and its central garden is a splendid example of fine city architecture that has, thankfully been restored and celebrated from time to time. File pic
Horniman Circle and its central garden is a splendid example of fine city architecture that has, thankfully been restored and celebrated from time to time. File pic

It’s a negligent approach that one spots across countless corners and contours of our great city. Take Horniman Circle and its central garden for example. A splendid example of fine city architecture that has, thankfully been restored and celebrated from time to time. However, what is lacking is a plaque at some pivotal point, or a signboard to remind today’s generation of its historic significance in context to the city’s meteoric rise.

Likewise is the case with most of our landmarks and other sites of extreme importance heritage or otherwise. Barring the heritage buildings that line Dr DN Road, we have rarely come across such sharing of information on public spaces.

One was struck with this gaping void with regards to engagement with the public while on a personal visit to London many years ago. So whether it was Baker Street that earned worldwide fame thanks to a certain Mr Holmes, or the home of author Charles Dickens, the upkeep and the manner in which authorities go all out to ensure that tourists are drawn towards these places, was admirable. Special itineraries were drawn out for the literary traveller, Harry Potter tours were doing brisk business and the like. Get the drift?

The writer is Features Editor of mid-day

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