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Walk for Arcause

Central Kolkata architect walks for role of designs

Gita Balakrishnan to walk 306 km from the city to Dhaka to raise awareness

Debraj Mitra | Published 23.10.22, 02:55 AM
Gita Balakrishnan walks past Parashwanath Jain temple in Belgachhia on Saturday

Gita Balakrishnan walks past Parashwanath Jain temple in Belgachhia on Saturday

A 53-year-old architect on Saturday started a walk from central Calcutta that would culminate in Dhaka next month.

The objective of the 306km walk — to raise awareness on the role of good design in changing lives.


The same cause saw Gita Balakrishnan, an Alipore resident, embark on a much longer journey earlier this year.

She walked from Kolkata to Delhi, the journey spanning 1,700km and lasting 70 days.

The purpose of the journey, called Walk for Arcause, is to bring the focus on architects in the social realm and on architectural social responsibility.

Like in the first edition, Balakrishnan is carrying with her presentations and flash cards to engage with the local people she will meet along the route. Some of the meetings will be curated interactions while most will be spontaneous.

“I am excited each day; each moment would be a revelation. I look forward to meeting different people and making their stories part of mine. I fondly recall memories from my previous walk. It is important to keep the momentum going,” said Balakrishnan, who graduated from the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi and completed practical training at the Centre for Building Performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, US.

“Design transcends national, geographical and cultural boundaries. Through this walk I am trying to encourage valuable exchange between the two countries. At the border, I want to see how one nation becomes another nation,” she added.

On Saturday, Balakrishnan started the walk from the deputy high commission of Bangladesh. The journey was flagged off by Andalib Elias, Bangladesh deputy high commissioner and Hermanprit Singh, director general of police, coastal security.

The Architects Regional Council Asia (ARCASIA) and the Institute of Architects Bangladesh are among a host of organisations that have come together to be associated with the walk.

Balakrishnan would walk through Dum dum, Barasat and Habra before reaching close to Bongaon. She plans to take an off day on Monday for Diwali and reach the Petrapole border on Wednesday. She is expected to reach Dhaka on November 7.

During her last journey, which started in late February and ended in late April, she used to hit the road by 5.30am and wind up by noon because of the scorching summer sun, keeping the evenings for interactions with locals.

She wants to start early this time as well. “The sun is not as cruel as it was. I will see how things go,” said Balakrishnan.

Last updated on 23.10.22, 02:55 AM

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