The Changing Rhythm Of My Hometown

All change is not growth,
as all movement is not forward.

~Ellen Glasgow

Change in Mangalore

Little heed has been paid to the preservation of the traditional tile roofed structures of my once charming hometown in its race to ‘big-townhood’. Their distinctive profiles are fast being replaced by characterless concrete high-rises. And malls!

What is it with Asians and malls? How many malls does a town really need? How many generic chain stores can one shop in?

Our visit to Mangalore last week marked the passing of yet another elder of the family and the changing rhythm of the place echoed our sadness. We felt an urgency to ‘experience’ what is left of its slow cultural landscape as we walked past its once beautiful narrow lanes lined with countless terracotta roofed buildings desultorily awaiting their turn to be sacrificed at the altar of progress.

Posted by

Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

54 thoughts on “The Changing Rhythm Of My Hometown

  1. Some thing everywhere …. old has to give place for new … the visit gallery is wonderful … the narrow street is my pick. No people around ????? Looks very quite. Really like the photo with all the palm trees too. Have a great weekend.

  2. Yes, indeed…
    but what can we do, dear Madhu, to change the happening?
    My husband is active into architecture preservation (restoration) a.s.o. sometimes, he said, it is less expensive to throw down everything and rebuild. The problem is that many reconstruct according to “modern” parameters without considering the possibility of maintaining the architectural features of the place.
    Have a lovely weekend :-)claudine

  3. Oh, it will be such a shame if these beautiful dwellings are demolished to make room for malls or any other new development. It’s always sad when you see something sentimental being destroyed, but even worse when it’s in the name of commercialism, I think.

  4. How lovely these buildings are, and the way of life they represent. I hate people messing with the place where I live: it makes me appalled. I do hope some of the character of your town is saved.

  5. It is very sad. People just don’t understand the value in this throwaway world. Newer isn’t necessarily better. When I first came to Seattle I went to the little restaurant on the ground floor of the Hungerford Hotel downtown. Not a thing had been changed since the 1930s; it was like traveling back through time. A year later I brought a friend downtown to see it. I was just sick to discover they had gutted the restaurant to build a Red Robin burger joint, just like every other plastic and neon Red Robin in the restaurant chain. Who in his right mind could see that as an improvement?

  6. the traditional houses have a wonderful character, spacious and shapely, with their unique decorations, walls and gardens, number 8 was my favourite image …. so sad to see them being demolished … replaced by the same bland concrete horrors that upset me on the gold coast here … these ugly new buildings will never be treasured because there is no attention to detail, no hand of man in their construction, just the roar of machinery and commerce 😦 …. thanks for showing us the beauty of the old madhu!

  7. Every time I visit Bangalore some old building has been demolished ~ it makes me really sad 😦

  8. Nice photos. Don’t you sometimes feel sadness to see the old make way for new,steel, glass and concrete?

  9. It is so sad to see our old neighborhoods being torn down to make place for buildings with no character.


  10. Those damn blinking chain stores . . . I am sorry for the passing of your family elder and sincerely hope the strong tenets of tradition are not sacrificed for the glass walls of the malls.

  11. It’s a good thing you’ve captured some of Mangalore’s sleepy charm because, yes, I can see how much and how fast your old hometown is changing. Here in Colombo unfortunately I’ve missed capturing so much of the ordinary domestic architecture, what with the rush to modernize, and egrandize. The other disfigurement comes thanks to street widening, where whole rooms have been excised from people’s
    houses. It’s as though a giant wielding a monstrous knife has carved a path through whole streets, revealing the insides of people’s lives I don’t have the heart to shoot it, all dusty and indecent.

  12. I hate it when i find old lovely houses being replaced by malls or flats..
    some people have got the meaning of progress all wrong….there are places/town where i feel suffocating when i can’t see a single tree anywhere..

    i remember my grandmas house how without airconditioning it used to stay cool inside..the beauty of architecture of those ol’ times
    having said that the imshots are amazing Madhu 🙂

  13. It’s funny you mention Asians and malls, since in Korea I only know of one real mall, and that’s up in Seoul. It must be more south Asia. I think of it as an American thing, since there are tons over there.

  14. Oh, I agree Madhu. I hate it when they break down lovely buildings with character and replace it with steel and glass. Great post and photo’s hon. 🙂 *hugs*

  15. Sorry for the loss in your family. Thanks for your nice comment on my blog of change today. I enjoyed your photo gallery, too. Best, Ruth in Pittsburgh

  16. It is always sad when old, yet beautiful things must make way for ‘progression’. I enjoyed your photos and am glad you immortalized the details in a digital way.

  17. I tend to find that in the country the villages remain the same. I have just been to a small town today near Perth called Dunkeld. The buildings are all very old and I expect if I had walked through the town 100 years ago everything (apart from the motor cars) would look the same.

    In cities, there are always buildings being demolished and new ones being built. Glasgow City is a good example of this. They pulled down the tenements in the slums like the Gorbals and threw up high rise flats.

    They are now pulling down the high rise flats as nobody wants to live in them and are building houses again. I wish they would make up their minds!

  18. When we were not living in a “home on wheels” we always gravitated to older homes. They seem to have so much more character, as if the spirits of those who lived there before us still occupied some of the space. It is a shame to see so much commercial building occurring in some of these quaint towns.

  19. Everything is changing – but not always for the better. I love old things. I love to be able to go back to childhood buildings and landscapes that are still there. I think every person has this feeling built in. Wonderful post as usual.

  20. Today the poem ‘Hollow men’ is going thru my mind and as I read your post, I believe that, more and more, hollow men are the norm.
    So it is with all Indian cities and you are right, what is it with us and malls? I still prefer the ambience of the corner store where I can exchange the latest news of the neighborhood.

  21. “How many malls does a town really need?”. That’s exactly what comes in my mind every time I see new malls being built. It seems like building malls seem to be a lot more interesting than reviving old markets and beautiful old buildings. Such a shame indeed. I hope more and more people become more aware of the importance of the preservation.

  22. What beautiful photos. I can feel the personality of your hometown – as it was. I too feel sadness when there isn’t a respect for the history and personality of a place. I have come to realize that there needs to be a balance between preserving what needs to be preserved and embracing the new. And you are right, the world does not need another mall – I can’t foresee malls becoming quaint places where people stroll and think about all the feet that have passed before.

  23. Stop stop Madhu… 🙂
    All these boring malls aren’t just an asian problem, my home land Denmark have same problem where malls pops up close to every larger cities – and the result is that trading life in the surrounding cities but also the big cities are like deserts.

    These characterless concrete high-rises projects – it’s the same story in Denmark – so the outer edges become depopulated – in Denmark they mentions them as “the marginal areas of Denmark – and consider them almost as a kind of reserves – where large cities export their problems with a little money in their backpack – so many social problems end up in a place where there are no resources to keep an eye on them – there have been a number of cases of abuse of children – almost all in these marginal areas and all then tries to tell that it is not their fault… :-/

    So it isn’t only an asian problem, it’s a worldwide problem…

    Okay I’m not only negative… 🙂

    Really like your photos, very beautiful and cozy – very well captured… 🙂

  24. Always sad Madhu. We have a very active Conservancy organization here, and try very hard to maintain a balance between old and new. Still the development is inevitable 😦 Highrises…..UGH!

  25. Condolences to you and your family, Madhu. Your photos are really lovely. What a pity that such charm has to make way for so-called progress.

  26. I go to Mangalore quite often,yet the M’lore in these pictures is quite new to me.Much more beautiful than the commercialized places I’ve been to.

  27. Beautiful collage Madhu.
    I too cant understand the rush to pull down the old historical charming buildings and replace them with ugly highrises and malls. When we were in South Africa two years ago (good grief already!) I was shocked to see how mall disease has infected their cities – Johannesburg airport has one of the largest malls I’ve ever seen!

  28. My condolence to you for the passing of one of your family elders.
    I agree with you about “Asians and malls!” When I visited the Philippines last year, all I saw were malls, bigger, bigger than the last one; renovated to compete with the last biggest one. To have a great mall was like a mark of progress. And you are so right, to have those big spanking new buildings, old ones – character-filled ones – were being demolished.

    My husband had a theory – we Asians (especially those in the hot climed ones) have turned the malls into our own living rooms where we play, eat, and generally escape the heat.

  29. The pics are amazing! I could not believe my hometown is so beautiful. I have seen similar places countless times, but never like this! Ordinary places, Extraordinary photos.

  30. Having lived in India on and off over twenty plus years have watched the changes, especially in the cities. Much of the countryside though still has that sweet India India-ness. shanti….

  31. Sad but seemingly inevitable —
    both the passing of your relative, and of the “person – ality” of your home town.
    The only thing inevitable is change.

    1. Hey, very nice photos. Please could you let me know your email so I could send across an email for you? Thank you.

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s