The Indo-German Urban Mela at Palace Grounds saw an enthusiastic response from locals and visitors to Bangalore. From innovative and sustainable technology to performances, stilt walkers and clowns – the Mela had it all.

The Indo-German Urban Mela, a 10-day long extravaganza, started its journey in Mumbai before making a stop in Bangalore. It is the centerpiece of the Germany and India 2011-12: Infinite Opportunities’ which was kicked off in September 2011 and has brought forth a succession of cultural programmes over the past few months with a focus on ‘StadRaume – CitySpaces’.

The Mela is celebrating the German-Indian collaborations over the years while looking forward to strengthening ties and forging new partnerships. Interestingly, the Karnataka-Germany connection can be traced back to 1843 when Hermann Mogling, a German missionary considered as the father of Kannada journalism, founded the first Kannada newspaper in Mangalore called ‘Mangalooru Samachar’. Another German missionary Ferdinand Kittel compiled the first English-Kannada dictionary in 1894.

The innovative structures – 15 pavilions in various geometric shapes mimicking gemstones and designed by Markus Heinsdorff – were set against the stately Bangalore Palace.

Multi-purpose pavilions at the Indo German Urban Mela, Bangalore

It was opportunities galore for students at the Indo-German Youth University which had laid out prospects for education and research through interactive sessions with entrepreneurs and professors, along with counselling, lectures and quizzes.

The Deutsche Bank pavilion offered a peek at the projects supported by the bank as well as guest projects which included the Solar Impulse project, a solar powered aircraft and the Windowfarms hydroponic farming system by Britta Riley. The Dream:in project had set up a wishing tree, where you could tie your dream for your city which was later collected by Dreamctachers.

At the Bosch pavilion, there was a display of products for ‘cities of the future’ including a model of an Energy-Plus house while Lapp India offered safe cabling and wiring solutions. A popular stop was the Airbus pavilion which showcased a breathtaking Airbus concept plane and highlighted the current scenario in the aviation industry in an animated film.

Dream City Wall at the Indo German Urban Mela, Bangalore

Other pavilions included those of the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Goethe Lounge, Siemens, Bajaj Allianz, Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, SAP, Metro and BASF.

There was a steady stream of families, students and professionals at the Mela. It was non-stop action with seminars, workshops, teaser German classes, storytelling, theatre, film screenings coupled with music performances. There was never a dull moment, not with stilt walkers from Germany and Bornfree Art School who walked and twirled.

Clowns at the Indo German Urban Mela, Bangalore

Adding colour and smiles were the clowns, Josef Bogenfuerst (aka Jockel the clown) and Sanjay Balsaver. The interactive bamboo installation by Steffi Silbermann was another crowd puller. With flash mobs and dances, visitors could jump in and do an impromptu jig, get inked with a tattoo, try their luck quotient with the treasure hunt and a lucky draw or wield their creative vision on the Dream City wall.

Of course, a visit to any German affair is incomplete without beer and pretzels. There was plenty of that and a choice of Indian cuisine to be had at the Beergarden. A curtain raiser to the Oktoberfest by musicians from the Bavarian Reisbacher Musikanten brass band was scheduled on Jun 27.

The Mela closed on July 1 in Bangalore but will continue to travel to Chennai, Delhi and Pune.

By Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media Features/

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