The focus of this winter school was to study the practice of tree worship which continues to be a part of the everyday culture of the people in the city of Bangalore.
In response to rapid urbanization, planners & administrators seem to concentrate more on the improvement of the physical infrastructure. It is found that certain traditional social spaces in the public realm that have great potential in bringing people together and make cities lively have been ignored. This study hopes to understand one such social space – the katte.
Katte is a Kannada word for a platform. The word is popularly used for platforms around a tree that encourage people to gather around either for religious practices (ashwath katte) or for casual conversations (somberi katte). The katte that this study focuses on is a ‘somberi katte’, mostly used for recreation purposes.
This project was carried out in groups of three and each group studied one site in detail, often also comparing it with another. This post showcases the study of one such site out of a total of eight covered.
The approaches of the group projects varied from understanding the linkages between the ashwath katte & the informal economy; applying Kevin Lynch’s principles of settlement form to the ashwath katte and its neighbourhood; identifying relationships between movement patterns of residents & urban space; comparing the ‘ashwath katte’ in Karnataka to the ‘aal thara’ in Kerala; considering how pedestrianization may help sustain such neighbourhood community spaces; how the ashwath katte and kalyanis (tanks) developed together as social & religious spaces; studying the ‘somberi katte’ transforming within urbanizing villages in the city; looking at how transport networks shape how people use social & religious spaces.