Walking out

With only a handful of Bengalureans demanding morning walks these days, the organisers are introducing virtual tours to explore the city

author_img Sanath Prasad Published :  24th November 2021 04:02 PM   |   Published :   |  24th November 2021 04:02 PM
A heritage walk in Cubbon Park

A heritage walk in Cubbon Park

It has been more than a year since Mansoor Ali, founder of Bengaluru by Foot, an initiative that organises morning walks in the city, has seen a good turnover for his morning walks. The trend of  group walks that sees food walks, heritage walks and street walks is seeing a down swing owing to the fear of Covid-19. 

Death by Dosa tour at Chickpet.

What used to be a regular affair has now either reduced to only weekends or on-demand meet-ups. City-based morning walk organisers believe that despite many getting vaccinated, the fear of a possible third wave still looms large, forcing people to go for walks individually. While some organisations hosts the walk physically, some have turned digital, offering virtual tours and taking the online participants through iconic landmarks in the city. 

Ali, whose last morning walk was during Deepavali at Bangalore Fort and Chamarajpet, has hardly organised any walks since then. “We used to conduct food walks, heritage walks and environment walks with at least 20 people before Covid hit. Now, we barely get four participants. People are not turning up like before and it is difficult to sustain the essence of morning walks these days.” 

Bangalore Walks, that organises green heritage walks, military heritage walks, Cubbon Park  walk is organising morning walks based only on demand. Botanist Vijay Thiruvady, who is also one of the chief coordinators at Bangalore Walks, says, “Since the pandemic, there is a tendency among the participants to take a walk either in Lalbagh Botanical Garden or Cubbon Park. But many participants don’t wear masks. To ensure this, we take requests for morning walks, restricting a participation of only upto 10 members. I wouldn’t say there is a down trend in morning walks, but we are just adapting to the new normal,” says Thiruvady. 

Gully.Tours, a Bengaluru based organisation, has now adopted virtual tours; they also conduct physical private tours. Vinay Parameswarappa, founder, believes that the new normal has forced them to adopt new techniques, therefore giving way for virtual tours. From the Mysore Palace in Mysore to the coffee estates in Kodagu, the organisers are offering real-time virtual guide across the landmark places in different cities to those interested.

“Virtual tour gives more scope for participants to take a look at a journey beyond borders in different cities. We had physical tours lined up in 2020 but had to cancel them. Since then, we’ve gone virtual and are now working on a hybrid model for places that are slowly opening up,” he says, adding that corporates prefer virtual tours  and others prefer physical tours.

“From ‘Death by Dosa tour’ at Chickpet to Mysore Palace, we are now conducting only private tours restricted to only families and friends,” says Parameswarappa. Yash Bhandari, a member of Geechugalu, a collective of artists who took charge beautifying the abandoned walls around Malleshwaram through mural paintings, is organising morning walks around the area, taking Bengalureans around the artwork and helping them decode the stories behind the paints. 

“We are conducting walks for corporates, school students, college students based on inquiries only. These are not held daily but as and when we get requests,” says Bhandari.