If you didn’t attend Bengaluru’s first lake festival, here’s what you missed!

An entire day by the lakeside. Workshops, walks, awareness sessions, rangoli, painting, orchestra and fun. Over 3000 citizens celebrated Kere Habba on the Kaikondrahalli lake premises.

A panoramic view of Kaikondarahalli lake on Sarjapur road which hosted first Kere Habba. Pic: Akshatha M

The serene surroundings of Kaikondanahalli lake on Sarjapur road witnessed an array of activities on Saturday, as a group of like-minded organisations and active citizens from the nearby areas came together to celebrate the rejuvenation and reclamation of the lake.

Right from children to the elderly, people belonging to different age groups thronged the venue. For the enthusiastic participants, the day started with a bird walk as early as at 6 am.

District-in-Charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy, Upa Lokayukta Subhash Adi and MP P C Mohan who visited the event on Saturday were full of appreciation for the community initiative and assured of support to such initiatives in future. Subhash Adi said that the Lokayukta has issued orders in several cases for demolishing buildings and evicting the encroached lake land and would continue to do so if such cases are brought to the Lokayukta’s notice.

The event aimed at creating awareness about the significance of preserving and rejuvenating depleting water bodies in and around Bengaluru. The lake, despite being located amidst the concrete structures, boasts of serving as an abode for over 30 species of birds.

The two-km long walkway was a hub for activities including rangoli designing, science experiments with water, understanding the significance of local cow breed etc.

City’s heritage revisited

Story telling was one of the highlights of the event. Heritage expert Poornima Dasharathi narrated the history of Bengaluru from pre-independence to post-independence days, the city’s connection to Tipu Sulthan, Mughals and Mysore kingdom.

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The audience curiously listened to Bellandur gram panchayat former president Jagannath Reddy, who went back the memory lane as he described the good old days of living in the outskirts of Bengaluru. Cherishing the life in Bellandur village in 1960s, he said Kaikondrahalli lake was one of the popular tourism destinations, where tourists, especially foreigners, used to visit to swim and capture photographs. “The lake, during the those days was crystal clear and well-maintained. The area was surrounded by greenery, with agriculture as the main occupation of residents,” he said.

Focus on community service, environment

A workshop was organised for children to identify lake creatures. Children were all excited to step into the green patch within the lake, where they were given an opportunity to catch some of the lake creatures and identify them.

Students from GEAR Innovative International School, who reside in the neighbouring areas were seen toiling hard beating the heat, to build a play area on the lake premises. This aimed at inculcating a sense of community service among students.

And then there was a session by Shivani Miglani, Trustee of Desi Cows for Better India, on the importance of rearing Desi cows over foreign breed cows. As she propagated the benefit of desi cow products, a good number of audience showed eagerness to use desi cow products and enquired her about the availability. Shivani briefed about the availability of mosquito coil, phenyl etc prepared using cow urine.

A zero waste event

There were a few stalls that demonstrated organic waste composting and waste segregation at source. The flower rangolis were made using only biodegradable elements. There were workshops on water and spirituality, quilting, paper bag-making and so on.

As the organisers had batted for a green event, the use of plastic bags, cups and other products were completely prohibited at the venue. Plates made of banana leaf and areca leaf were used instead of plastic or paper plates. Hasiru Dala, an NGO working in the area of waste management, was given the responsibility of managing waste in the programme venue. The Hasirudala workers were seen moving around every half an hour in the carts, hunting for waste.

At the end of the event, there was only compostable and recyclable waste, with very little waste going to landfills.

Development poses challenges

Though Kaikondanahalli lake stands as an example of community participation in the lake revival, it continues to face threats to its existence, in the form of spree of construction activities close by. The land between Kaikondrahalli and Kasavanahalli lakes which is a valley zone according to Revised Master Plan-2015 is being filled fast with debris and constructions. The drain that connects Kasavanahalli lake to Kaikondrahalli lake is also almost non-existent, lost amid the never-ending constructions.

When asked, Priya Ramasubban, co-founder of Mahadevapura Environment Protection and Development Trust (MAPSAS), the organisation that has worked for the lake revival, said that they have been trying to bring such instances to the attention of authorities. “Our focus is the area within the lake boundary. As for as the cases of buffer zone violation and pollution around the lake is concerned, we can only inform it to the authorities like KSPCB and BBMP to take care of,” she said, adding that one way to avoid buffer zone violation is for the government to purchase land around the lake from private land holders.

Kere Habba at Kaikondrahalli lake was organised by Namma Bengaluru Foundation and MAPSAS in association with United Way, Bengaluru. Namma Bengaluru Foundation intends to organise such festivals once in every month, in various lakes of the city, in order to create awareness about community participation in rejuvenating and preserving dwindling lakes of Bengaluru.

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Kaikondrahalli lake to host Bengaluru’s first lake festival on Jan 10

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