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Social and Religious Public Spaces

The religious and social layers of the public spaces are often intertwined in the Indian context. For instance, in the case of ashwath kattes in Bangalore, the religious layer of the public spaces caters to the social layer. Residents of the neighbourhood visiting the temple and the peepul tree shrines for praying spend time with their family or friends at the katte. Or on the way back home, they may take a route where they can make a pit stop at a small neighbourhood public space like a streetside chai vendor, thus, creating a network of public spaces.

In another instance, the Motera street edge in Ahmedabad houses an old Banyan tree that facilitates multiple activities. There were shrines kept under the sacred tree and over time, benches were installed as well. This space is appropriated by those who visit to pray and then sit on the benches & interact during mornings and evenings. The benches are also used by vendors seeking tree shade and a seating space for storage. Cows can be seen roaming around looking for offerings to the shrines as food. In this instance, the sacred tree facilitates the interrelationships between the religious & social activities and accommodates individual activities that cordially exist in the same space.

In what ways does your neighbourhood’s public space create or facilitate the interrelationships between the social and religious activities?

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