A walk down Fraser Town – I

A Christmas Eve Photo-walk down Fraser Town evoked a lot of nostalgic memories of the Bangalore of yore – a city of endless greenery dotted with lovely bungalows. The photo-walk led by seasoned photographer and photo-journalist Vivek Muthuramalingam attracted a motley crowd from all over the city. The idea of the walk was to soak into the Christmas revelry this part of the city has long been known for.

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The starting point of the evening walk was the iconic Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral in Fraser Town. The majestic church with its vast courtyard is a lovely place to visit. A lot of chairs had been put in front of the church which was all set to welcome huge crowds for the midnight mass to be conducted by the Archbishop of Bangalore.

Our next destination would have been Saint John’s Church but we had to leave disappointed because the security guard wouldn’t let us in 😦

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In the vicinity of Saint John’s Church I noticed this fruit cart loaded with an assortment of fruits and alongside it a man selling fruit salad.

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It was hard to miss this lovely vintage bungalow with a large courtyard. Wonder how it looked years back when it was constructed. Today it lies neglected and crying for attention. ‘Philomena Pavillon’ constructed around 1865 has seen many owners and very beautiful days and is currently under litigation. It originally belonged to General John Wheeler Cleveland after whom Wheeler Road and Cleveland Town are named. It was then called Cleveland Lodge. Multiple owners later it was sold to Rajasabhabhushana T. Thamboo Chetty in 1940 and the current owners belong to his family. I really wish the place undergoes a makeover and is preserved for posterity.

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Thom’s Bakery on Wheeler Road wore a festive look and was crowded to the hilt and the air was filled with the aromas of freshly baked cakes and goodies which made me feel very hungry. The counters were stacked with cakes and other delicacies and shoppers’ baskets were loaded with a variety of foods. I managed to get a bite of a soft-as-butter muffin thanks to a fellow photographer who had the patience to wade through the crowds and buy some grub.

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As we left Thom’s my eyes caught hold of a towering skyscraper that seemed to be shooting through the skies. Surprisingly, some of the roads hardly showed signs of life in spite of it being Christmas Eve. Someone in the group pointed to a plaque commemorating Fraser Town. The plaque in spite of its historical significance is hardly noticeable. Maybe it can be surrounded by a tiny flower garden to make it more prominent.

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We had a pit stop at Albert Bakery on Mosque Road, one of the oldest bakeries in the neighbourhood. The bakery has been running since 1902. Though the bakery belongs to a Muslim family, it was named Albert because of the pre-dominant British population that resided here in the early 1900s. Check out this video which I found on YouTube:

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We made a surprise halt at a charming bungalow belonging to Miss Tracy, a venerable old Anglo-Indian lady, to greet her with a Christmas cake. Going by her expression, Miss Tracy was as surprised as she was pleased.

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A house constructed in 1953

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A charming vintage bungalow

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Bethesda Assembly Church

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As the evening wore on we came across some more subjects and beautiful vintage buildings. I was particularly enchanted by the Bethesda Assembly Church.

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Outside a medical shop I came across a rather peculiar advertisement.  Back home I googled Petrol Uncle thinking it would be a brand of medical footwear. Well! I was wrong! Petrol Uncle is a Santa Claus-like figure in this part of the city. More about him here:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/petrol-uncle-is-santa-for-motorists/article5466856.ece

After a final pit stop at the Dil Pasand Tea House it was time to wind up and say goodbye to a wonderful wintry evening of photography.

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