Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
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Defining the Vibrancy of the Temple Square: A Case of Car Street Udupi, Karnataka

Authors: Nivedhitha Venkatakrishnan

Abstract:

Walking down busy temple streets in India is an experience in lifetime. Especially the temple streets are one of the most energetic places not only because of the divinity but also because of the streets itself which provides place for people to relax, meet, shop, linger, just walk around these activities create a set of experience which results in memories that lasts longer. Thinking of any temple street in India the image that comes to anyone’s mind are the elegantly sculpted Gopurams (Gateway) that depicts the craftsmanship and the history of the place, people taking a holy dip in the water, the aroma of the agarbathi’s, flowers with the divine Vedic chants and the sound of the temple bell flock of pigeons flying from the niches of the Gopuram with the sun in the backdrop. It gives a feeling of impulse energy that brings in life to these streets. Any temple street with even any one factor missing would look dead. This will be amiss in the essence in the scene of one’s experiences. These Temple Streets traditionally cater not only for religious purpose but to a wide range of activities. A vibrant street that facilitates such activities are preferred by the public any day. The research seeks to understand and find out the definition of Vibrancy in Indian Context. What is Vibrancy? What brings in the feeling of Vibrancy/Liveliness/Energy? Is it the Built structure and the city? Or is it the people? Or is it the Activity? Or is it Built structure – city – People – Activity put together brings the sense of Vibrancy to a place? How to define Vibrancy? Is it measurable? For which a case of Car Street Udupi, Karnataka is taken. The research is carried out in two stages. ‘Stage One’ makes use of ethnographic fieldwork as a basic method, complimented by structured field observations using a behavioral mapping procedure of the streets. Stage Two’ utilizes surveys that collected. This stage seeks to understand what design characteristics and furniture arrangements are associated with stationary, social and gathering activities of people by each cultural group and all groups collectively. The main conclusion from this research is that retail activities remain the main concern of people in cultural streets. Management and higher-level planning of retail activities on the streets could encourage and motivate possible Shops to enrich the trade variety of the street that provides a means for social and cultural diversity. In addition to business activities, spatial design characteristics are found to have an influence on people’s behavior and activity. The findings of this research suggest that retail and business activities, together with the design and skillful management of the public areas, could support a wider range of static and social activities among people of various ethnic backgrounds.

Keywords: activity, liveliness, temple street, vibrancy

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