Pune’s cultural centre inaugurated by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan preserve life and times of Mangalore’s Tulu Bunts

With over 2,000 families, the Tulu Bunts community in the city is looking forward to celebrate traditional functions, social events, and create awareness about the community and society at their newly opened Buntara Bhavan in Baner

pune Updated: Jul 29, 2018 17:00 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,maharashtra,tulu bunt
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan inaugurated the Bhavana in April 2018.(HT File Photo)

The Buntara Bhavan, a cultural centre built by the Bunts Sangha Pune at Baner, wears a festive look on Friday. While the ground floor hall is filled with members discussing the day’s events, the second floor auditorium is buzzing with activity as people get ready for an event.

Such programmes are a regular at Bhavan since its inauguration on April 7, 2018. It is a first-of-its-kind cultural centre built by the Bunts community.

The Bunts Sangha used to conduct meetings and plan events for the year at a small office in Camp. Soon, they felt the need to have a larger space to organise events, spread awareness about the community and help the underprivileged.

Thus was born the idea of having a one-stop destination, which included a conference room, banquet hall, auditorium, A/C dining, non-AC dining, mini party hall and rooms.

The Buntara Bhavana in Baner was inaugurated in April 2018. It houses eight floors, with a designated main hall, auditorium and more. (Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Santosh V Shetty, president, Bunts Sangha Pune, and owner, Coronet Hotel, said, “In 1975, the Bunts Sangha, Pune, was formed by a few people, including Govardhan Shetty, late Gunduraj M Shetty, Subbanna Shetty and Jagannath B Shetty, who entered the hospitality industry in Pune after migrating from Udupi in Karnataka in the 1960s. At that time, we were a community of hardly 200 families and around 1,000 individuals. Today, we are close to 25,000 individuals and over 2,000 families living in the city.”

The Sangha has around 5,000 registered members and 22 core committee members. “We hold private events catering only to our community as well as events that involves everyone. We organise sports, picnics, felicitations and educational programmes, besides our core traditional programmes,” said Santosh, who is the youngest president of the community and has been working with the Sangha for 14 years.

The main auditorium has 1,200 seats. (Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Shravan Shetty, a member of the Sangha and one of the young members of the community, points out that one of the biggest advantages of the Bhavan is the different cultural shows that happen at the auditorium.

“It helps us stay connected to our roots and learn more about our culture. A common meeting place helps in networking amongst different young Bunts, which in turn helps us in our respective business. It is a good initiative and helps people like us, born and raised in Pune city, to get a feel about our culture and what our parents and grandparents have experienced throughout their life in terms of lifestyle, culture and folklore,” he said.

Ganesh Shetty, president, Pune hoteliers and restaurant association, feels that the Centre will serve as one of the most useful premises for Puneites and the community. “The idea is to utilise it to its fullest potential, and whatever surplus earned will be used to improve the society. We want our generation to understand the importance of giving and living together. We are also planning to start a hotel management college and a few more exciting projects,” said Ganesh, adding that the place is open to all to organise events and functions.

The events organised by the members include sports day; annual gathering; World Bunts’ Day; Ugadi Parba (New Year) and Tulu Yakshagana (traditional folk play).

The community also organises free distribution of biscuits, fruits, masala rice and snacks to the Pandharpur pilgrims during the palkhi procession. They also celebrate Independence Day, Ganeshotsav, Dassera, Diwali and other important festivals and days.

Sujith Shetty, member, youth wing and committee, said, “We organise many charity drives, including medical check-ups and health-related camps. Following the nation’s cleanliness drive, we have also arranged similar drives in the city. We also visit orphanages and old-age homes.” The youth wing, introduced in 2015, holds monthly meetings and plan events related to social awareness, culture and sports.

Buntara Bhavan

The architecture and design of Buntara Bhavan has been done with an intention to bring a slice of Mangalore to Pune. Carpenters in Mangalore were assigned the job of the main entrance and the work was 90 per cent completed there before it was transported to Pune and assembled.

Ganesh said, “We wanted the appearance of the building to take us back to one of our ancestral homes in Mangalore. Hence, you will notice the tiled rooftops, which is a common site in the village of Udupi.”

First Published: Jul 29, 2018 16:30 IST