Time Tataguni opened to people: Russian Ambassador Kadakin wants it converted to a cultural centre. Two decades ago, anguished after his visit to Tataguni Estate, Russian Ambassador to India Alexander M. Kadakin had written of its “heart-breaking” condition to then Karnataka Chief Minister S.M. Krishna.
The sprawling 468-acre estate of the late Russian cultural icon Svetoslav Roerich and his actor-wife Devika Rani was a picture of neglect, with priceless paintings and antiques lying in disarray, and a layer of dust covering the farmhouse, parts of which were collapsing.
“For the first time, I'm happy with the condition of Tataguni,” Mr. Kadakin told a small group of reporters on Friday after a visit to the estate. The long-time crusader for the historic property added that it was time that the estate was converted into “an international cultural centre just as Roerich wished, to serve as a living symbol of the cultural relations between India and Russia”.
The primary hurdle was the litigation that mired the estate, which has several claimants ever since Roerich's death in 1993 and Devika Rani's the following year. “It has been so for 15 years already. Let us hope the Supreme Court decides to open the estate to the people.” The estate, located on Kanakapura Road, is now out of bounds to visitors and guarded by the police.
Mr. Kadakin said Russia was willing to co-operate with the State Government in converting the estate into a cultural centre — one on the lines of the Russian-Indian International Roerich Memorial Trust in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, which attracts one lakh tourists every year.
The Hindy, Feb 26, 2010