Full Name : The B. J. Entee Dharmasala
Postal Address :
The Lady Jehangir Kothari Memorial Hall Annexe
14/4 Venkataswamy Naidu Road
Bangalore 560 051
Telephone No. : +91(80) 41239102
E-mail : Trustees@bpza.org
WWW : http://www.bpza.org
Visiting Hours : From Seven AM to Eleven PM .
Landmark : At the junction opposite Agiary and the Indian Express building.
Adjacent toThe Lady Jehangir Kothari Memorial Hall.
The Bangalore Anjuman had under its management the Agiary and the The Lady Jehangir Kothari Memorial Hall for social functions but there was no Dharmasala for visiting Parsees. The establishment of a Dharmasala in Bangalore was on the minds of early migrants and the Trustees too were eager to establish a Dharmasala in Bangalore. At that time, four Parsee families were running Guest Houses and charging between Rs. 2 to Rs. 4 per head, per day. (People should know that in the 1940s there were very few hotels in Bangalore. The premier one among them was the West End Hotel, which used to charge Rs. 16 per day. Central Hotel used to charge Rs. 10 per day.) The Parsee-run hotels were (1) Prince Hotel (where Hotel Chalukya stands) by Mr. Manekji Mysorewalla (2) Sun-Beam Hotel on Lalbagh Road by Mr P. P. Arsiwalla (3) Rugby Hotel on Cubbon Road by Mr. R. P. Pagdiwalla and (4) A guest house on Infantry Road by Mr. Malegaumwalla. These hoteliers used to charge Rs. 2.50 per passenger for boarding and lodging. They approached the Trustees requesting them not to set up a Dharmasala as they would lose their livelihood. Therefore, the Trustees dropped the idea of establishing a Dharmasala.
By the late-forties Parsees started visiting Bangalore as representatives of various companies. As hotel charges were increasing they were not able to stay there from their meagre allowance. Besides, middle-class Parsees too started visiting Bangalore with their families and were not in a position to stay in hotels. Soon they started requesting for a local Dharmasala.
Among the old Parsee settlers there was a family by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Burjorji Entee, who had come to Bangalore in late 1935. Mr. Burjorji Entee was a wealthy, retired gentleman from Surat. He was a sharebroker by profession and also an avid reader. He was staying at Edward Road in a bungalow purchased by him. His collection of books was about 6 cupboards full and well maintained. After his demise, as per the terms of his will, the books with the cupboards were given to the Bangalore Public Library - The Sheshadri Iyer Library. In recognition of this gift, the Government of Mysore has placed his portrait in the Library Hall. All these books are of great importance and of a political nature but our local Parsees have no time to visit this library!
Mr. Entee, though a wealthy man, had a soft corner for poor and middle class Parsees. He realized that many Parsees who visited Bangalore could not afford to stay in hotels and pay fees of Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 per head, per day. So he met the President, Mr. E. K. Palia and expressed his desire to establish a Dharmasala. Mr. Entee approached the trustees and even deposited Rs. 25,000 to build a Dharmasala. As the amount was not sufficient the Trustees appealed to Bombay Parsees to donate some funds but without success. They then returned the deposit amount to Mr. Entee and requested him to buy a Bungalow and hand it over to the Anjuman. Mr. Palia and Mr. Entee were very good friends. After six months, in 1956, Mr. Palia helped Mr. Entee locate some existing bungalows and Mr. Entee finally selected a bungalow at Benson Cross Road and purchased it at a cost of Rs. 45,000 in the year 1957. There was no money set aside for a maintenance fund.
Mr. Entee negotiated the deal with the owner of the bungalow and entered into an agreement with the Bangalore Anjuman to establish the Dharmasala. Mr. and Mrs. Entee were eager to have the Dharmasala in the vicinity of the Agiary so that they could also visit it once a week. When the Dharmasala was handed over to the Anjuman, Mr. Entee entered into an Agreement with the Anjuman. Mr. Entee’s chief wish was to have the Dharmasala near the Agiary so one particular condition stated that the Dharmasala, if shifted, should be of equal accommodation and at a location nearer the Agiary. Thereafter, the Anjuman could sell off the bungalow he had purchased. He specifically told me that in future, if an occasion arises to shift the Dharmasala in the vicinity of the Agiary, the trustees after making arrangements could shift the Dharmasala and sell the present building. Mr Entee’s desire was to provide comfort and advantage to the middle-class and less-fortunate Parsees so he requested the trustees to charge a nominal fee of Re. 1.50 per head for lodging.
Two years later the trustees thought of adding some more rooms to the Dharmasala so they constructed out-houses in the compound.
The Trustees over the years have appointed about half a dozen Managers to try and make a success of the Dharmasala, but the managers often complained that the Dharmasala was situated far from the Agiary and proper public transport was not available. This made it difficult to attract many visitors. The Anjuman resolved, after calling for a General Body Meeting, to shift the Dharmasala to the third floor of The Lady Jehangir Kothari Memorial Hall Annexe. The Anjuman was not able to get permission for more residential flats, therefore they thought of putting up a Dharmasala and built about 3,500 square feet providing a 22-bed facility to accommodate visitors. This was the equivalent of the accommodation available in the old building. After shifting the Dharmasala near Queen’s Road, its use and occupancy has gone up considerably.