Devika Rani and  Svetoslav Roerich

Roerichs to come alive in museum at Tataguni

Monday, 28 November 2011 04:24


A state-of-the-art museum on the lines of the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, a sprawling 25-acre rose garden, an artist’s residence, and a brand-new look for the house that was home to the reclusive actress Devika Rani and her Russia-born artist husband Svetoslav Roerich, will come up soon.

Mired in litigation and controversies for 17 years, the Roerichs-owned Tataguni Estate on Kanakapura Road will get a complete facelift, with the State government initiating efforts to infuse life back into the estate.

The Supreme Court has cleared the decks for the State government to take possession of the precious property and the Roerich and Devika Rani Roerich Estate Board headed by Karnataka Chief Secretary S V Ranganath has decided to throw the Tataguni Estate open to the public.

A sub-committee headed by Kaushik Mukherjee, Additional Chief Secretary, Forests, has been formed with the principal secretaries of Horticulture and Kannada and Culture departments as its members, for the implementation of the project.

The sub-committee, which met for the first time on November 21, passed a resolution detailing the works to be taken up at the estate, which has now been sent to the chief
secretary for approval.

Raising donations

Among the many suggestions, the sub-committee has recommended to the State government to raise donations to execute the projects and to maintain the estate.
“We want to involve private contributors for the finances. But there is no clarity on the amount that will be required for the project,” Mukherjee told Deccan Herald.

Mukherjee said 25 acres will be set aside for the museum, and another 25 acres for developing the garden. The remaining 418.33 acres of the total 468.33 acres will be protected by the Forest department. A vast expanse of the property is home (corridor) to elephants from Bannerghatta, two large water bodies and varied flora and fauna.
“The museum will be built on the lines of the Van Gogh Museum. It will be a small, but an ultra-modern building. The focus is largely on aesthetics. The architectural plan will be designed to merge with the surroundings. Also, the house that was occupied by the Roerichs will be restored on the lines of the houses of Albert Einstein and William Shakespeare. The museum will feature paintings of Roerich and the films of
Devika Rani.”

Rose garden

Vanditha Sharma, Principal Secretary, Horticulture, said the rose garden will be of international standard. She said that as Bangalore did not have any rose gardens, the committee had decided to choose the flower to adorn the gardens.

“We want to hire an international consultant, for, we are very particular that this becomes a landmark place. The gardens should be classic — it should stand out. The estate is a home of art, and we want the garden to complement it. The idea is to create an educative space, not a picnic spot,” she added.

Indigenous and exotic species of rose will be interspersed in the gardens, she said, adding that the department would work around the existing trees, without felling any. The entire project will require at least one year for implementation, she said.

The committee has also recommended a survey of the Bursera trees found in large numbers in the estate.

Ashwini Y S , Bangalore, Nov 27, DHNS
Deccan Herald

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