A day to remember ...
The launch of the Postal Heritage Trail today with India Post & Heritage Beku was certainly an impactful milestone and a big event, linked as it were so many different aspects of India Post as well as celebrating the rich heritage that India Post has in Bangalore. It is also the first time that a citizen initiative and a government body have collaborated and created a memorable route and city destination for the citizens. We sincerely hope that this is the start of many such collaborations. As an exhausted but happy Heritage Walker said at the end of the nearly 4.5 km Heritage walking trail, 'My feet are killing me, but my soul is smiling'.
Yes, we know!
The Postal Heritage Trail Idea
Well, all great ideas have multiple routes and sources, it really started when a larger Palace Trail was being looked at for the ward level Heritage manifesto and Beau Lieu the chief postmaster general's office at No 1 Palace Rd what is the real start of this trail. A visit to the then postmaster who turned out to be a classmate resulted in more gems about the building and manyi ideas got germinated.. A series of correspondence on the focus on heritage spaces, postcards, trails, commemorative covers or heritage pride started the engagement.
On heritage week late last year it was decided to do the finale with India post given the dynamic and extremely collaborative chief postmaster general Mr Rajendra Kumar. Set as a more interactive fun zoom meeting, the many different aspects that came together during this illuminating chat, This then led to a fresh meeting in December with the team and more discussions on what could further be done between Heritage Beku and India post.
The Actual trail
The actual trail was it very carefully to highlight the gems in the India post Arsenal. Google map link of this trail is listed: https://goo.gl/maps/H4Mmkmg6s6nKytXC8
We started with the relatively unknown Mail motor service, an actual space where all the bright post to read melons are housed and serviced set in a gorgeous late 1800 bungalow which moved into an interesting history before it was taken over and ultimately purchased by India post. The training members gathered here absolutely thrilled to see the large banners for the trail held proudly by two uniformed post women as well as the actual bungalow set over half an acre of plain land. The director Kaiya Arora welcomed everyone, and then set the context while the founder of Heritage bagel Priya Chetty-Rajagopal gave a background on the Postal trail origins of and the different heritage spaces that made up this trail. The guide gave a background of the building while members walked around the outside and the inside of this beautiful space. The single largest feedback was this is so beautiful and we have never seen this before. Again a classic example of why heritage is so important and why we must delve further into our own neighbourhoods to find these heritage gems hidden in plain sight!
Feeling almost like a citizen morcha since we had a wonderful post women heading the group with the large Postal Trail Banner, we trudged in really hot winter sun to the West End to see our next heritage stop which was the oldest functioning postbox in South India, We heard the origins and story of this bright red , welcoming communication channel as well. As we stepped in you were greeted by Shruthi of the sales and marketing team welcome members with a quick background after touching won the history of the Taj West End itself and the doughtty old postbox. Seeing the old postcards, being able to write and post into this letter box was a joy and it was offset only by the magnificent hospitality and high tea set under a heritage Raintree on the west end lawns which was utterly charming and a welcome break for a first-round of walkers who had completed a little over a kilometre
The next trudge was to Beaulieu one of the oldest buildings in the city and one with so much of history. We at Heritage Beku call it the Ulta Pulta building tongue in cheek, given that not many know that the No 1 Palace Rd prestigious address actually accesses the back of the building! It has been with much requests, cajoling from Heritage Beku that the gate from the actual front of the building which is now in Seshadri Road has been opened up thereby giving us a true glimpse of what this building would have looked over, when it was first built on a 24 acre stretch s overlooking Cubbon Park. Looks that refer too Beaulieu were also lovingly laid in a glass shelf in the building,
Next was the Fake Heritage Stop - the Bangalore GPO! Considering it was built only in 1985, and inaugurated later by PM Rajeev Gandhi it may not qualify for heritage , but it is still an important and impressive landmark , mirroring the Vidhana Soudha and straddling the entrance to Parliament Square. An overview of the original post office here as well as the Karnataka postal story was quickly covered by the Chief Post Master General Mr Rajendra Kumar on its magnificent steps, , while we stocked up on refreshing cold water on a thirsty afternoon.
The last lap was to the Museum Post Office , with not only a rich evocative and exciting history, but with a great future as well. It was offset by the launch of the Evening Post office and then a walk through the Sandesh (that's what they call it ) building with glimpses into its past, the postal working, the tools and trades of the post , uniforms through the ages and so on.
The Virtual Reality Postcards _ Heritage goes AR Tech
While Vivek Jain of FlipAR is a proud #HeritageBeku member, the exquisite augmented reality postcards created was a lovely example of ideating and collaboration. We had suggested to the CPMG that a set of postcards could commemorate the milestone buildings in Postal Heritage Trail , and perhaps a AR version. It was quickly accepted and actioned. Vivek and team was hard at work in collating pictures and videos for the buildings to create the right illustrations - and you can see the result . These illustrations also have been put on to a memory card which can be sold or is a give away. What a perfect match, and how evocatively memorialised are both these heritage structures as well as the Postal Trail ! See for yourself.
The launch of the Evening Post Office and Coffee shop
India Post had been mulling this for some time, and their idea was further solidified in the Heritage Week 2022 event. While users and philatelists also were excited about this, but the exciting layer was to also showcase the heritage building built by Mr Balfour, while encouraging greater connectedness with a charming little coffee shop - where you could read, have a coffee and snacks, buy stamps, memorabilia and post cards, in a prime city area.
In addition, its funky bright logo (done in Kannada and English) not only exemplifies the new feel of a responsive, customer centric postal department but also showcases its inclusion focus. The wall paintings inside the evening post office are entirely done by Aravani Project, a transgender art community. This was a #HeritageBeku suggestion when we had sat down with the team, and we are so pleased and proud that it worked out. Given that most transwoman pensions are routed through the Post Office, there is an additional layer of ownership this
Right from the Chief Postmaster General Rajendra Kumar, Director Kaiya Arora, the leadership team , staff across the heritage spaces, the enthusiasm, pride and sense of ownership was a joy to see. Being in a heritage building has its own challenges and constraints, but clearly the love of its history and the connect keeps the postal team stating heritage beku. From the postal lades marching with the Postal Heritage Trail banner to the officers who doubled up as guides , the many team members across the offices, we can see wy India Post was the first off the bat in the #HeritageBeku collaboration list. Long may this continue. and we hope other government bodies catch the same fever.
Look forward to more such initiatives..