The Kipling Bungalow, inside the Sir JJ School of Art campus, has been in news for a decade over its restoration.
“It’s an interesting bungalow from the architectural point of view. It gives you an idea of how the English people preferred to stay with the heat of the sun kept out and low roofs to allow the breeze to come in. Half-timber construction and the bricks, jaalis, verandas give a good example of how a colonial bungalow would have been as it avoids excess sunlight and rain from coming in,” conservation architect Vikas Dilawari told The Indian Express.
It is said that Sir Rudyard Kipling, author of The Jungle Book, was born in 1865 in a bungalow adjacent to this one, when his father John Lockwood Kipling served as the first Dean of the JJ School of Art. The original house was demolished as it aged. The present bungalow was built in 1882 after Rudyard, still a young boy, was sent to England.
In 2015, state Education and Cultural Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde proposed turning the bungalow into a tourist attraction. There were also plans to turn it into a literary venue. Art museum with a cafe and a virtual reality show on The Jungle Book were some of the other ideas.
However, these ideas are still at an inception stage, said Dr Tejas Garge, Director, State Directorate of Archeology and Museums. “The ideas are under discussion. Nothing has been planned so far. We have a couple of ideas but nothing has been finalised. It could be anything or involve everything,” he said.
Garge said the physical part of the restoration was complete. “In the last financial year, we completed structural conservation work. In the next financial year, we will take up landscaping and electrification,” he said, adding the focus was to recreate the Victorian era ambience. “We have a plan ready. This year, we have a budgetary crunch… In the coming financial year, we will present it to the ministry of cultural affairs for sanction,” he said.
While restoration of the structure cost Rs 4.5 crore, the second phase is expected to cost Rs 1.5 crore. The bungalow is expected to open to the public next year. “Tentatively, if funds are sanctoned by April 2019, we will be able to finish work by December this year. Depends on when we get the funds. The entire duration of work is not more than six months,” said Garge.
Rajiv Mishra, Director of Directorate of Art and Principal of Sir JJ School of Architecture, told The Indian Express, “Ultimately, the dean’s bungalow is going to be converted into an art museum, where the work of alumni from all three institutes — Sir JJ School of Architecture, Applied Art and Fine Art — will be on display.”