Army restoring Mhow’s British Raj heritage to its glory
Rutton Bungalow, built in 1925 by a Parsi contractor in Mhow , is being renovated by the army. Heritage lovers were sad when this bungalow was abandoned six years ago and was now on the verge of collapse.indore Updated: Jul 10, 2016 19:41 IST
The old bungalows and buildings built during the pre-Independence era give the small cantonment town of Mhow a beautiful colonial ambience.
One of the most famous bungalows here is Rutton Lodge or Bungalow 157 on Post Office Road. Heritage lovers were sad when this bungalow was abandoned six years ago and was now on the verge of collapse. But the decision of the defence authorities to renovate it and bring it back to its former glory has been welcomed by one and all.
Rutton Lodge, which was built in 1925 by a Parsi contractor named D J Patel for the sum of Rs 70,960, is different from all other bungalows in Mhow and has had many illustrious occupants. One of them is Lt Gen Ravindra Singh Panwar, former commandant of MCTE Mhow, who has recently retired from the army. His father BS Panwar, then a colonel, was posted in the School of Signals (present day MCTE) Mhow from 1955 to 1957. He was allotted Rutton Lodge and it is while the family was living here that Ravindra was born in 1956.
“I have no memory of those days,” says Ravindra, “I am happy that I was played a role in ensuring that this elegant house got earmarked for renovation and not for demolition.”
According to the Garrison Engineer (MCTE) Lt Col Dinesh Kumar of the Military Engineering Services, who is in charge of the renovation, the bungalow has a floor area of 5283 square feet. “The house has been built with a very high degree of workmanship. The brick walls are two feet thick and have been made with lime and mud. The foundation is rocky and stone masonry can be seen here. We are providing cement plaster to the inner and outer walls and also doing the floor, roof and false ceiling. After this the doors, windows and fixtures including electricity and sanitation will be completed,” he says.
Contractor Vijay Goel says the bungalow had a tiled roof which, in later years, was covered with tin and asbestos sheets. These are being replaced with 5 mm profile sheets. Termite infested wooden beams in the roof and false ceiling are being removed, he informs.
The house has a drawing- cum-dining hall in the centre. Both these have irregular octagonal ceilings. On either side of this is a set of rooms comprising of a bedroom, a dressing room, a study room or guest room and two bathrooms.
There is also a kitchen. In the earlier days when wood and coal were the cooking fuel the kitchen was in an outhouse. This is now being rebuilt as a quarter for domestic staff. A small cellar in the basement is a unique feature of this bungalow.
Lt Col Dinesh Kumar says it should take another three months before the bungalow is restored to its former glory and a new occupant steps in – a moment which heritage lovers are waiting for with bated breath.