HomeIndiaBanganga beautification project ready to take off

Banganga beautification project ready to take off

After years of delay, the Banganga tank beautification project is ready to take off as the BMC, along with the GSB Trust, which manages the tank, and the state government, are set to give a major facelift to this century-old heritage structure.

Banganga, a rectangular shaped water tank, contains a spring which is considered a natural source of water.

Located at Walkeshwar on Malabar Hill, the origin of the structure dates back to the 12th century. The tank, known for storing fresh water even though it is very close to the Arabian Sea, is protected as a heritage site by the state archaeological department. Its steps are built of black basalt stones, while the ‘Deepastambhs’ on the periphery are built of lime plaster and bricks.

Last November, a government resolution declared Banganga a tourist spot. At present, people pray in Banganga on the last day of Pitru-Paksha.

However, the tank is currently in a dilapidated state with cabins encroaching on its premises. The proposal to restore the tank has been put forward by Tourism Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha, also the Malabar Hill MLA.

When contacted, Lodha said: “The main goal is to restore the structure to its original form to reflect its heritage. This tank has great historical significance as oral history links it to the Ramayana. This is an important monument and has the potential to become a major tourist attraction.”

Civic officials said tenders for the project, divided into phases, will be launched in the next month. It is estimated to cost Rs 12 crores.

In the first phase, the stone steps will be repaired and an 18m wide circular path will be erected next to the tank, which will be called ‘Bhakti Marg’. Civic officials said the lake area will be illuminated and sound and light shows will be staged.

In Phase 2, murals will be created and all stone paths leading to the lake will be reconstructed. The Ram Kund, another natural tank, is located 200m from Banganga. The BMC will set up kiosks to get your story out there. He also proposes to create an amphitheater for visitors.

Deputy City Commissioner Sharad Ughade said: “We are targeting a year-end deadline to complete the two phases. This project has become a top priority for us and BMC is working in conjunction with the GSB Trust and the state government to meet the deadline.”

Civic officials said there are 11 invasions on the periphery of the tank and 100 structures will be relocated for this project. “Aerators will be installed inside the lake and we will create a separate chamber for religious rituals so that oil spills do not affect the aquatic life inside the tank,” an official said.

Rutvik Aurangabadkar, CEO (Projects) of GSB Trust, said: “There are 13 Deepstambhas in the vicinity of the tank and we have already restored one of them. In the long term, we want to make Banganga a Tirthak-Kshetra corridor and we are also exploring the possibility of setting up a jetty so that the main entrance to the tank is from the sea side.”

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