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The History of Bangalore..ExcellentViews: 7054
Nov 10, 2005 6:16 pmThe History of Bangalore..Excellent#

An interesting history of Bangalore and its well known landmarks.

The tale of Bengalooru (now Bangalore) getting it's name from 'Bende Kaalu Ooru' meaning 'Town of boiled beans' after King Veera Ballala II of the Hoysala dynasty in 1120 AD was fed boiled beans by an old woman in the forest is historically incorrect. The name 'Bengalooru' was recorded much before King Ballala's time in a 9th century inscription found in a temple in Begur village near Bangalore.

Bangalore was founded by Kempe Gowda I, who in 1537 AD built a mud fort in an area which is now K.R Market, Avenue Road and it's nearby areas. Kempe Gowda built 8 gates for this fort:

* Yelahanka Gate (present Mysore Bank Square).

* Yeshwantpur Gate (near Upparapet police station).

* Kengiri Gate (now a police station is named after it).

* Halasoor (Ulsoor) Gate. (now a police station is named after it).

* Kanakanahalli Gate (near Vokkaligara Sangha Bldg).

* Sonde Koppa Gate.

* Anekal Gate.

* Delhi Gate (at the Fort in K.R Market, which was rebuilt in stone by Hyder Ali). Inside the fort, he built the localities (pets) of Balepet, Aralepet (Cottonpet), Chickpet, Doddapet (Avenue Road), Upparapet, etc.

To this day these areas bear their old names, and serve as major wholesale & commercial markets.

Kempe Gowda II came to power in 1585 and it was he who set the limit for Bangalore's expansion by erecting 4 watch towers. These Watch towers still exist and are known as the Kempe Gowda Towers.

In 1638, the army of Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur, led by Ranadulla Khan & Shahaji Bhonsle (Shivaji's father) captured Bengalooru fort. Kempe Gowda II was then forced to retreat to Magadi, from where he and his successors ruled as Magadi Rulers. Magadi was later annexed to Mysore Kingdom in 1728.

Bangalore was gifted twice as a Jagir and sold once. In 1638 AD, Adil Shah gifted it to Shahaji Bhonsle, thus starting the Maratha rule of Bangalore. In 1689, the Mughals captured Bangalore from the Marathas and sold it to Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar of Mysore for 3 lakh pagodas (gold coins). In 1759, Hyder Ali, commander of Mysore's army, received Bangalore as a Jagir from Krishnaraja Wodeyar II. Later Hyder Ali declared himself ruler of Mysore Kingdom after Krishnaraja Wodeyar II's death. Bangalore returned to the Wodeyars after Hyder's son, Tippu Sultan, died in 1799 fighting the British.

The British established the post of 'Mysore Resident' of Mysore Kingdom in 1799 and appointed Col.Sir Barry Close as the first Resident. In 1804 The Mysore Resident was shifted from Mysore to Bangalore. The Resident's office & house known as 'The Residency' was first situated in the SACRED HEARTS SCHOOL (GOOD SHEPHERD CONVENT) building opp St.Joseph's college in Bangalore. It also housed a jail, while the site across the road where convicts were hanged now houses the ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE. Many a ghost was seen wandering about before the College came up! The Road along the 'Residency' came to be called 'RESIDENCY ROAD' and even today it's known as Residency Road though officially it has been changed to 'Gen. Cariappa Road'. In fact 'The Residency' later in 1881 shifted to what is today the RAJ BHAVAN, but Residency Road has retained it's name ever since 1804 (now 200 years).

The Raj Bhavan in Bangalore was built in 1840s & owned by Sir Mark Cubbon, who was Commissioner then. Cubbon was passionately fond of Arabian horses and used to keep at least fifty horses in his stable here. Lewin Benthem Bowring who succeeded Cubbon as Commissioner purchased the bungalow with its vast estate in 1862 for the British Govt to be used as the official Commissioner's Bunglow. Later when the post of Commissioner was abolished, the Resident came to stay here and it came to be known as 'The Residency'. But the road still was known as Commissioner's Road, that is the reason why the road on the old Residency building continued to be known as 'Residency Road'.

In 1806, the British established a new CANTONMENT AREA in Bangalore (at Ulsoor) for it's army and called it the 'Civil & Military Station'. Till India's independence this Cantonment area was ruled directly by the British. Thus Bangalore comprised of two separate areas, to the West, Bangalore (Pettah) administered by the Mysore Maharaja, and to the East, Bangalore Cantonment, administered as a separate unit by the British Govt through the Resident. Soon the Cantonment area became not only a military base for the British army & it's family, but also a settlement for a large number of Europeans, Anglo-Indians, missionaries, and Tamil speaking workers & traders from the neighbouring British controlled Madras Presidency.

The Cantonment area under the British consisted of Shoolay, Blackpully (now SHIVAJINAGAR), The Parade (M.G ROAD AREA), St. John's Hill, Fraser Town, Benson Town, Cleveland Town, Cox Town, Richard's Town, Ulsoor, Knoxpet (Murphy Town), Agram, Richmond Town, Langford Town, Austin Town (named after British Resident, Sir James Austin Bourdillon), Whitefield (Anglo-Indian Colony created in 1882), etc. Even today these Suburbs still exist. The names given to the roads in the Cantonment were according to the military arrangement and campus. Thus, there was Artillery Rd, Brigade Rd, Infantry Rd, Cavalry Rd, South Parade (now M.G ROAD), East Parade (near Mittal Towers), etc. The heart of the city in those days was the so called MacIver Town, the area around South Parade, St. Mark's Road, Brigade Road and Cubbon Road.

The Shoolay area (now Ashoknagar) still has streets named Wood Street, Castle Street, etc. The name 'SHOOLAY CIRCLE', however, still exsits near Brigade Towers. The famous Shoolay Police Station of the Cantonment was renamed Ashoknagar Police Station and now it has been demolished.

COLES PARK is named after British Resident of Mysore Kingdom, Arthur.H.Cole, who was Resident from 1809 - 1812 and again from 1818 - 1827.

The British Cantonment area was also a host to SIR WINSTON CHURCHIL, the future British Prime Minister who stayed in Bangalore from 1897 to 1900.

In 1892, new extensions were added to the old town of Bangalore (Pettah) by creating CHAMARAJPET (named after Chamarajendra Wodeyar) and SHESHADRIPURAM (named after the Mysore Diwan Sir K. Sheshadri Iyer).

In 1898, a plague broke out in Bangalore. The Bangalore Administration at once laid out 2 new bigger extensions to the City to meet the demand that had risen due to people being forced to leave their original areas that were affected. This resulted in laying out a suburb, named BASAVANGUDI after the Basaveswara (Bull God) Temple (also called Bull Temple) erected by Kempe Gowda I and another suburb, named MALLESWARAM, after the Kadu Malleshwara (Siva) Temple in the old Mallapura village.

In 1901, VICTORIA HOSPITAL was established in commemoration of Queen Victoria of England's Diamond Jubilee.

In 1902, VANIVILAS HOSPITAL & SCHOOL was opened and the Road was also named VANIVILAS ROAD in memory of Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhana, the Queen Regent of Mysore.

In 1905, Bangalore became the first city in India to get electrical power.

During the post-Independence period KUMARA PARK area came into existence in 1947, JAYANAGAR was inaugurated in 1948, and at Binnamangala was created the INDIRANAGAR extension during the late 1960s.

The large stone building on Residency Road, now housing L.I.C adjacent to Devatha Plaza once housed The Reserve Bank of India. The present canteen of L.I.C was once the strong room of the bank!

One wonders why in the old records there is a reference to 'CENOTAPH ROAD' in Bangalore when there is none to be seen. Cenotaph Road is today the NRUPATHUNGA ROAD named after Kannada poet Nrupathunga. The Cenotaph (Tomblike monument), was there at what is now the Corporation Circle. This Cenotaph was built in memory of Lt. Col. Moorhouse, Capt. Delany and about 50 soldiers who died in the siege in 1791, besides soldiers who died in different wars with Tipu Sultan till 1799. This monument was destroyed on Oct 28th 1964, by the Bangalore City Corporation and even the engraved stones are not to be traced! Only one broken small section piece has been located in the Corporation compound, used as a bench.

CUBBON PARK is named after Sir Mark Cubbon, who was the British Commissioner of Mysore Kingdom from 1834 to 1861. Sir Mark, incidentally, had never set his eyes on the park. He left India in April 1861, and died on his way back home at Suez on 23rd April 1861. Cubbon Park was planned in 1864 by Sir Richard Sankey, the then Chief Engineer of Mysore (SANKEY TANK & SANKEY ROAD is named after Richard Sankey). The park was initially known as 'Meades Park' after John Meade, the then acting Commissioner of Mysore. Subsequently it was rechristened as Chamarajendra Park in 1927 and later came to be known as Cubbon Park.

CHURCH STREET at M.G's is called so, because the road used to lead directly to St.Marks Church. At one time the compound of the Church was much bigger and the Church could be seen as you walked along Church Street.

MUSEUM ROAD next to Church Street was named so since the Museum was located there before it was shifted to the present Kasturba Road in 1866.

MAYO HALL at M.G Road was erected in memory of Lord Mayo, the Governor-General of India who was assassinated in the Andamans in 1872. Built with public subscription it was handed over to the Municipal Commission in 1883.

LALBAGH (meaning Red Garden) is not the original name of the famous garden in Bangalore, which was established by Hyder Ali in 1760 as a mango garden. In earlier records it was referred to as the Mango Tope & the Cypress Garden. The reason why people started calling it Lalbagh was due to the fact that Hyder & Tipu had a beautiful garden called Lalbagh at their capital, Srirangapatna.

THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH at Trinity Circle, at the end of M.G Road, was earlier the British Army's Garrison church, opened in 1851. The beauty of Trinity Church is not only in it's tall tower & unparalleled pillars, but also the British military memorials inside.

In 1868 the construction of Attara Kacheri (present High Court) was completed. The Secretariat (with 18 revenue departments) was shifted to Attara Kacheri from Tippu's Palace at K.R Market. Attara Kacheri literally means '18 Courts/Offices'.

The TAJ WEST END HOTEL is the oldest Hotel in Bangalore and still maintains some of it's earlier memories!! The original Proprietors were Spencer & Co Ltd, Madras. Today it's owned by the Taj Group of Hotels.

Opposite the Telegraph Office near Bangalore GPO, is the compound of the most famous Hotel of the late 1800's, The Cubbon Hotel. Today it is in ruins.

Spencer & Co (where FOOD WORLD is now located) started by an Englishman, Mr. Oakshot, was the most sophisticated and only Departmental Store in B'lore in earlier days.

On the West of Spencer's (present Food World) one used to find Liberty Theatre (today, try Handloom House!). Before it was called Liberty, it was The Globe, and before that the Crystal Picture Palace.

The very popular Funnel's Restaurant of the 1800's & early 1900's stood where the present DECCAN HERALD Office stands at M.G Road.

S.J POLYTECHNIC & SILVER JUBILEE PARK (at K.R MARKET - KRISHNA RAJENDRA MARKET) was set up in 1927 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee Celebration of Mysore Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. The SJP ROAD thus got its name.

J.C ROAD (Jayachamarajendra Road) is named after Jayachamaraja Wodeyar the last Maharaja of Mysore.

The TATA SILK FARM was established south of Basavanagudi in 1906. The farm no longer exists but the area however is still known as 'Tata Silk Farm'.

In 1910 a General Hospital was opened at Malleshwaram and named after Mysore Princess Kempu Cheluvarajamnanni. Today this Hospital at Malleshwaram Circle is popularly known as K.C GENERAL HOSPITAL.

Bangalore once had 141 lakes (tanks) of which 7 are untraceable, 7 are now small pools of water, 18 are illegally occupied by slums & private parties, 14 were dried up & leased out by the Government, 28 have been converted as parks, BDA housing extensions, & commercial areas and the remaining 67 lakes are in fairly advanced state of deterioration, save for two or three like

Ulsoor lake, Sankey tank, Hebbal, etc.

Some famous water bodies (tanks) which no longer exist are :

Dharamambudi tank (present SUBASH NAGAR, BANGALORE CITY TRANSPORT SERVICE & KSRTC BUS stands are built on the bed of this lake). That's why we still have a road named TANKBUND ROAD in that area.

Sampangi tank (present KANTEERAVA STADIUM was built on the bed of this lake).

Miller's Tank (now houses Guru Nanak Bhavan, schools,and several buildings).

The Halasoor Tank (now called ULSOOR LAKE), is the only surviving tank built by the Gowda (Kempe Gowda) Rulers in Bangalore.

Gandhinagar area is popularly nicknamed MAJESTIC, because of the Majestic Talkies (Theatre), which still exists in that area.

ANANDA RAO CIRCLE at Majestic is named after Shri T. Ananda Rao, who was Dewan of Mysore from 1909 - 1912.

VIDHANA SOUDHA, which houses the state Goverment's Secretariat & Legislative Assembly. It was planned & constructed in 1954 by Kengal Hanumanthaih, Chief Minister of the then Mysore State (between 1951-1956). The Double Road near Lalbagh is now named KENGAL HANUMANTHAIH ROAD (K.H ROAD).

CHOWDIAH MEMORIAL HALL, opp Sankey Tank, has been built in memory of T. Chowdiah, a noted musician & violinist. This building is shaped like a violin, the stringed instrument of Chowdiah. Also the road along the Nehru Planetarium near Raj Bhavan is named T.CHOWDAIH ROAD.

*RAVINDRA KALAKSHETRA, near K.R Market was built to commemorate Rabindranath Tagore's centenary. It promotes cultural activity. R.T NAGAR is also named after Rabindranath Tagore.

Private Reply to V C

Nov 11, 2005 3:30 amre: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Shobha(usha) gowri
wonderful article-also a great reminder that bangalore had a history! and that we have buried it in the blink of an eye

Private Reply to Shobha(usha) gowri

Nov 11, 2005 3:41 amre: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Siddhartha Deb
Brilliant! A very painstaking effort...thanx Vibha for those interesting insights.

Private Reply to Siddhartha Deb

Nov 11, 2005 4:22 amre: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Bangalore also has a Taj Mahal i.e a castle/palace built for a Lady Love. Called Brett's Folly, this castle/palace was supposed to be a replica of the Windsor Castle. Now it is in ruins. Frankly speaking I havent seen this place. The ruins are supposed to be somewhere near Hosur Road!! I remember reading about this in Deccan Herald 7-8 years ago.

Nt much information is available on the internet about this place, but I managed to trace an old fotograph here
The foto says the location of Brett's Residence is Oopoor, near Bangalore.

Maybe a search of Deccan Herald's archives will throw some more light!!

Private Reply to Rudy

Nov 11, 2005 11:29 amre: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Raunak Kundu
Excellent stuff a must read for all Bangalore Lovers.

Private Reply to Raunak Kundu

Nov 11, 2005 11:56 amre: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Ramaa Rao
The well-known Malgudi town of Malgudi days of RK Narayan's name is inspired from Mal(leswaram) and (Basavana)gudi
Mal+ Gudi = Malgudi...


<< This resulted in laying out a suburb, named BASAVANGUDI after the Basaveswara (Bull God) Temple (also called Bull Temple) erected by Kempe Gowda I and another suburb, named MALLESWARAM, after the Kadu Malleshwara (Siva) Temple in the old Mallapura village.>>>

Private Reply to Ramaa Rao

Nov 11, 2005 12:38 pmre: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Sandeep Moonka

Hi Vibha,

Congratulations on such exhaustive compilation of this data, really u make us proud of our glorious past.



Private Reply to Sandeep Moonka

Nov 11, 2005 2:47 pmre: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Chandrani Choudhuri
Hi Vibha,

Thanks for the wonderful info.
Just one question, could you please let me know of the resource of your these info. It will be a lot of help.


Private Reply to Chandrani Choudhuri

Nov 11, 2005 3:48 pmre: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Jayant Ranade
Wonderful info. One can come and stay there with complete info to tell others too!I have already stored this story in my folder for future use.
...jayant ranade

Private Reply to Jayant Ranade

Nov 11, 2005 4:46 pmre: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Vignesh C A
Hello Vibha -

That was indeed one amazing compilation. It's good to know about the history of Bangalore, seldom we realize the richness of city we live in.

It's good of you to mention about Begur. I stayed close to the village for about 10 years. The temple you mentioned is indeed very old and I remember of speaking to the priest there about the age of the temple, he mentioned it's about 400 years old, guess he knew only that much.

Private Reply to Vignesh C A

Nov 14, 2005 4:34 pmre: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Arundhati Raghavan

That made for some amazing reading. Thanks!!

Private Reply to Arundhati Raghavan

Nov 14, 2005 5:27 pmre: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#


Good to know that so many of you read it and thought of actually telling other about it.Also great contributions to the list.I know this correction is coming a little too late but in a couple of Pm's and replies it looked like a few of you thought I compiled the article.It was forwarded to me by my Dad-in-law and Mo shared it with bengaluru Buddies.
I'll try and come up with something original soon :-)


Private Reply to V C

Nov 14, 2005 6:15 pmre: re: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

The Minkey Chief
Also of interest... the Bangalore Club has an old book in its main building that has the minutes of a club meeting from the past. One line mentions that certain sums of money have been written off because they couldn't be collected. One of the sums is Rs.13 and the person who owed it is Lt WLS Churchill.

Private Reply to The Minkey Chief

Nov 15, 2005 2:54 amre: re: re: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

SK Mangalam


This is incredible.I am new to Bangalore , landed up on 9th.I was looking for some clue where to start and there VIBHA with all i wanted in a platter.Excellent work.Thanx.


Private Reply to SK Mangalam

Nov 15, 2005 3:53 amre: re: re: re: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Musten Jiruwala Fading away into oblivion
I am lost for words! It was amazing reading thru the entire post!

History, I thought was interesting. Now, I think History is Amazing!

Thanks for sharing this...


Private Reply to Musten Jiruwala Fading away into oblivion

Nov 15, 2005 5:46 amre: re: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

GM & Associates
Hi vibha,

I will send you all other stored info on Bangalore in my records, we have publicise this in a big way.



Private Reply to GM & Associates

Nov 15, 2005 6:15 amre: re: re: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Wow....One simple Article is turning into such a great source and ammendments and additions seem to be flowing too.Awesome..Madhu I will wait for your contributions and will also go ahead and send this article to some reputed Indian Mags and Newsletters.I might need help from few of you with regard to pictures.

If there is anybody that'd like to add this to your website please come froward.

Private Reply to V C

Nov 17, 2005 10:01 amre: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Kirthiga S

No doubts it was a refreshing to know about my land that i am away for the last four years brought back good old memories to me.... Not to forget the Ulsoor area where I lived my childhood, The huge Begum Mahal That stood like a mamooth suddenly got destroyed one day..also still famous Someshwara temple in ulsoor- which guess was built by the pallavas. it is huge and has a history to say. Also the famous May season "Palaquen"(pallaki) and "Thair" (Local Language)which takes place in a difference of 15-20 days... the fragrance of the flowers are still fresh in me.The amazing huge teak wood Rath that was burn out during a festival season......All these seems to have gone with the wind. Now it is no more the silent city that I saw just 8 years back....

Private Reply to Kirthiga S

Nov 17, 2005 5:00 pmre: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Paresh Nagara
Hi Vibha,

Here is a peek into the history of Whitefield, Bangalore the current hotbed for Software companies. Check this link


Private Reply to Paresh Nagara

Nov 17, 2005 5:22 pmre: re: re: re: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Sathish Chandra P D
Another Article I stored from Deccan Herald!! Intersting reading again!! Didnt know there were so many people who liked trivia about Bangalore!! Will post one more after this!!

OUR CITY'S buildings, streets, circles, statues, and monuments have many an anecdote to tell, for those who care to listen.

Lalbagh, for instance, is not just a beautiful garden, but is also a geological monument. The Lalbagh rock, on which the Kempe Gowda tower was built, is estimated to be about 3,000 million years old. This rock, known as peninsular gneiss, is one of the oldest land formations on earth. The fossil tree in front of the band stand, brought from the Thoruvakkaru National Forest in South Arcot, is estimated to be 20 million years old. Compared to these old relics, the 200-year-old mango trees planted by Tippu and the 160-year-old building (now the National Horticulture Library) are veritable newborns.

Kempe Gowda's towers were essentially watch towers that also indicated the anticipated external limits of the City's growth. The four towers are located at the Kempambudhi tank bund, on the Lalbagh rock, near the Ulsoor tank, and adjacent to the Ramana Maharshi Ashram on Bellary Road. Historians refer to four more towers at Gavi Gangadhareswara, Nanjamba Agrahara, Basavanna temple, and near Binny Mills. Unfortunately, these four have not been traced.

During the III Mysore War, in 1791, one of the gunshots from Cornwallis's army hit the Garudagamba in front of Venkataramana temple inside the fort. The damaged pillar remained in the same position till 1984 when it was shifted to a side of K.R. Road. This was considered as a traffic hazard and was removed. In the process, the pillar broke into four pieces and it was dumped near a temple in Seethapathi Agrahara. The pedestal was placed in the Satyanarayana temple nearby. Possibly, the other pieces of the relic are being used as fence posts or may have come in handy for a washerman!

Tippu's armoury near the Bangalore Medical College is yet another uncared for monument. The Cenotaph was a 35-feet tall pillar erected as a memorial for the heroes who died in the Mysore wars. This memorial was considered a bitter reminder of the colonial rule and broken overnight (1964) and carted away.
There are many other war memorials and the prominent ones are: The memorial for the Madras Pioneers at the Residency Road (I World War), for Madras Sappers near Ulsoor Lake built in 1922 and later shifted in 1986 to MEG area, memorial in MEG and Centre shifted to the Museum Complex of Madras Sappers, for Mysore Imperial Service Troops near Doordarshan building, for Mysore Lancers near Kaval Bhairasandra (First World War), Minx War Memorial Park on Raj Bhavan Road, for martyrs of Freedom Movement near Mysore Bank Circle, for MEG soldiers, who died in Kargil Park, in Coles Park.

Every locality, extension, garden, boulevard, circle, or street naturally requires a name to identify them. Reputed persons could be thus honoured and their memory perpetuated. But unfortunately, some of these names get distorted, shortened, or changed in the process. The original name may stay on, but the person's good deeds are scarcely remembered. With the lapse of time, the extensions grow, roads become more busy, circles get greener, but alas, the person's claims for fame become dim! Take for example Chamarajpet I Main Road, which was named Albert Victor Road in 1889. It was soon shortened to A.V. Road. Kannada enthusiasts renamed it Alur Venkatrao Road, which was again shortened to A.V. Road. However, people still refer to it as I Main Road only.

Cunningham Road was renamed Sampige Ramaswamy Temple Road, shortened to S.R.T. Road. But the old name has stuck. The old name of Hudson Circle continues even after it was renamed as Rani Kittur Chennamma Circle.

However, a few names have been accepted readily - Nrupathunga Road (Cenotaph Road), Pampa Mahakavi Road (Hardinge Road), Vittal Mallya Road (Grant Road), Prof. Shiva Shankar Circle (Irvin Circle), etc.

A few cases of anglicising the Kannada names and shortening these to the initials are: H.B. Samaja Road (Harikathe Bhajana Samaja), M.K.K.V.P. Road (Mahakavi K.V. Puttappa Road, why not simply Kuvempu Road?), K.V. Lane (Kottige Veerabhadrappa Lane), and E.A.T.S. (East Anjaneya Temple Street).

Many names kindle a historian's curiosity - South Parade (M.G. Road), Cavalry Road, Millers Road, Standage Road, Wheeler Road, Sadashivanagar, Fraser Town, Murphy Town, Richard Town, Benson Town, Coles Park, Sarvanton Circle, Hudson Circle, Briand Circle, Nanjappa Circle, Nettakallappa Circle, Sajjan Rao Circle... One may mention here that many circles have disappeared in the growing traffic - Mekhri, T. Siddalingaiah Circle, T. Ananda Rao Circle and so on.

Visits of some great personalities and the places associated with them have also come to be forgotten. Sharadadevi is said to have gone into deep meditation on a hillock in the Ramakrishna Ashram (1911). It is said that Vivekananda used to rest daily on a stone in front of a tank in Tulasi Thota (1882). Gandhiji and Madan Mohan Malaviya together visited the Dairy Research Institute at Adugodi in 1927. Malaviyaji delivered a lecture in Sanskrit at Shankar Math during this visit. Famous personalities such as Julian Huxley, Arnold Toynbee, the Panchen Lama, Martin Luther King addressed gatherings at the Institute of World Culture. Many dignitaries were welcomed in the Lalbagh Glass House. Jawaharlal Nehru stayed with his wife and daughter in a house in Aralepete during his 1931 visit. Winston Churchill lived in Bangalore Cantonment during 1895. Rabindranath Tagore (1919) and Sarojini Naidu (1920) attended the annual functions organised by the Amateur Dramatic Association. Annie Besant was here in 1916. Many of these historical moments do need to be preserved for posterity.
The memory of many remarkable persons is preserved by setting up statues for them - Queen Victoria, King Edward, Chamaraja Wadiyar, Sir Mark Cubbon, B.M. Sree, Kuvempu... These statues need to be kept neat and clean, and our sense of history needs to be more than brushed up.

K. CHANDRAMOULI (Written in DH!)
Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Private Reply to Sathish Chandra P D

Nov 17, 2005 5:26 pmre: re: re: re: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Sathish Chandra P D
Here is another article!! This was written by me for Deccah Herald, lots of internet research and did meet quite a few interesting people for this article including the old man/priest of Kadu Malleshwara temple! well not as interesting as the other two articles on this post but I hope it will be worth reading!!

History of Bende kaalu ooru

Several speculations have been made about how the name Bangalore came about. Based on information from the Gazetteer of India, Karnataka State, Bangalore District section, the name Bangalore is an anglicised version of Bengalooru, a word in Kannada that was given to a town. The story goes that this word was derived from the phrase bende kaalu ooru, which translates into "the town of boiled beans."

It is said that King Ballala of the Hoysala dynasty lost his way in the jungle while on a hunting expedition. Tired and hungry, he encountered a poor, old woman who offered him the only food she had - some boiled beans. Grateful to her, the king named the place "bende kaalu ooru." However, historical evidence shows that Bengalooru was recorded much before King Ballala's time in a 9th century temple inscription in the village of Begur. Bengalooru still exists today within the city limits in Kodigehalli area and is called Halebengalooru or Old Bangalore.

Another historical figure instrumental in shaping the city of Bangalore is a feudal lord who called himself Kempe Gowda, and who served under the Vijayanagara Kings. Kempe Gowda I, who was in charge of Yelahanka, built a mud fort in 1537. With the help of King Achutaraya, he built the little towns of Balepet, Cottonpet, and Chickpet, all inside the fort. Today, these little areas serve as the major wholesale and commercial market places in the city. Kempe Gowda's sons erected the four watch towers to mark the boundaries of Bangalore which are traceable even today and they stand almost in the heart of the city! A hundred years later the Vijayanagara empire fell, and in 1638, it was conquered by Mohammed Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur.

But under the British influence, Bangalore bloomed with modern facilities like the railways, telegraphs, postal and police departments. In 1881, the British returned the city to the Wodeyars, the ruling dynasty of the area. Diwans like Mirza Ismail, and sir Vishweshwarayya were the pioneers to help Bangalore attain its modern outlook.

With the direct rule of the British Commissioners based in Bangalore, it became the State Administrative Head Quarters. The destiny of Bangalore thus took a historic turn, making it eventually a major city of India and one of the fastest growing in the world.

After independence, Bangalore's choice as a state capital was only logical. Mysore had too many associations with the royal family to be the capital of a new state with an elected Chief Minister and a nominated Governor. Finally, for an enlarged Karnataka, Bangalore was better linked with the major cities of the country.

In 1956 it became the capital of Mysore State and in 1973 the state was re named as Karnataka under PM Indira Gandhi (who was re elected in Chikmagalur).

Today, Bangalore is booming, and has earned quiet a few sobriquets like India's Silicon Valley and The Pub City of India etc. Home to well over 6 million people, and a base for 10,000 industries, Bangalore is India's fifth largest city and the fastest growing city in Asia.

The city, which is spread over an area of 152 square kilometres, enjoys a pleasant throughout the year. Its tree-lined streets and abundant greenery have led to it being called the Garden City of India.

Private Reply to Sathish Chandra P D

Nov 18, 2005 9:00 amre: re: re: re: re: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Rashmi Tandon
Thanks to all for providing such a valuable inputs about Bangalore; the silicon valley or The Garden of city. 3 cheers to all.

Private Reply to Rashmi Tandon

Nov 22, 2005 12:46 pmBangalore Bytes#

Avinash Mudaliar

I had this programme called Bangalore Gyaan happening on RadioCity...this link brought back some pleasant memories.

Hope you all find this interesting...

Munch on...

Starting off with my favourite watering hole in the whole of Bangalore - Koshy's

P.O Koshy was a banker, who, after the closure of the Quilon Bank looked to catering as a career, and with the help of Canon Elphick and Dewan Bahadur K. Matthan, set up his establishment on St. Mark's Road. And the rest is history! Koshy's, earlier called The Parade Cafe, was host to the filming crew of Harry Black and The Tiger, starring Stewart Granger! The Jewel Box, an attachment, was started in the 1960s, complete with jazz band, and dine and dance!

A certain person moved to Mysore from Mokshagundam, a village in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh in the 19th century. And the rest is history!Sir M. Visveswaraya, was born in 1861 in Muddenahalli, a short distance from Bangalore. He went on to form the Mysore University and the Mysore Bank, serving as Dewan of Mysore from 1912 for a period of six years! He was also responsible for the Krishnarajasagar Dam, and for the operations of the Bhadravati Iron and Steel Works. The technological museum is one of the tributes to the brilliance and vision of Sir M. Visveshwaraya, one of the pioneer architects of modern Karnataka!

Registered in 1966, the Karnataka Mountaineering Association began it's rustic origins from the steps of the Kanteerava Stadium, not to mention meetings on rocks and open grounds, with ropes borrowed from the fire department! It was with the patronage of the likes of Brigadier V. P. Naib, Shri Nettakalappa and Shri Kondajji Basappa, that the association grew in size, and a breakthrough came when the Government Karnataka gifted them a piece of land at Ramanagaram for the construction of a fully equipped Rock-Climbing Institute. The foundation stone for the Institute, incidentally, was laid in 1977 by none other than Tenzing Norgay!

Ever wondered how the Town Hall gets it's name? The Puttanna Chetty Town Hall, was named in honour of Sri Puttanna Chetty, who was the President of the Bangalore Municipality from 1913 to 1920.Responsible for a number of donations, and constructing a boarding house for Veerasaiva students, and an outpatient ward in the Victoria Hospital, Sir Puttanna Chetty was also responsible for a substantial grant, in the construction of the Town Hall, which took place during the 1930s, alongside the construction of the Corporation offices!

A statue of Dewan Rajyadurandhar Sir Seshadri Iyer in bronze, was unveiled by Lord Hardinge, the preceding Viceroy on November 20th 1913 - and if the location is a doubt, then one hasn't visited the Central Library enough! The red brick structure located in the heart of Cubbon Park, was dedicated to Sir Seshadri Iyer, a Dewan who was in post for eighteen years, and houses one of the most massive collection of volumes in Bangalore!

Did you know while walking through the annals of the main gate at Lalbagh, that it had a name? The Cameron Gate, named after the Superintendent of the Botanical Gardens in 1874, namely John Cameron. Cameron incidentally, was also responsible for the proposal for the construction of the Lalbagh Glass House, which is modelled on the Crystal Palace. The three gates constituting this main entrance, were manufactured by Walter Macfarlane and Company, Glasgow. An interesting feature in this premise, is the statue of a person called Dr. Mari Gowda, who was the one responsible for the development of the Seed and Soil Testing Labs, and the Plant Protection Lab at Lalbagh!

What is the Garden City of India without gardens! Early planting in Bangalore owes itself to Krumbiegal, a German born botanist, who was responsible for laying the foundation of the significant parks and gardens in the city. During the planning phase, Krumbiegal and his disciples Dr. H. Marigowda and Javaraya conceived flowering trees as an integrall part of the city's aesthetic philosophy, which explains the tree lined avenues in bloom at different parts of the year! Sir Mirza Ismail, the then Dewan, continued the trend, and planted peltophorum in many roads and an avenue with champaks in Malleshwaram, calling it Sampige Road! Other botanical species found in the city include cassias, cassia siamea and cassia spectabilis, peltophorum, sampinge and the likes!

The St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral was built originally, in 1851, by Father Chevalier, on a small site of five hundred and fifty square feet, and sold for one thousand rupees by the French Catholic widow of an English commander. When the ritual became too large for the premises, and the cross of the old Church collapsed in 1905, the need was felt for a new building, and in 1911, the foundation stone for a new Church was laid. Unfortunately, tragedy in the form of World War I struck, and the Church lived to see it’s completion only in 1932! Father Sarvanton went from home to home collecting donations for the construction of the Church!

September 1987, found ISKCON Bangalore operating from a rented house in the city with a handful of devotees. With the incentive of the temple president, Madhu Pandit Dasa, ISKCON Bangalore applied for a seven acre hillock from the Bangalore Development Authority, which the BDA anyway titled “karaab land”, meaning “waste land” as it was basically a huge monolithic rock and could not be converted into individual plots! On Lord Balarama’s appearance day, on September 1988, the Deities of Krishna Balarama were moved to a temporary shed on this land. The master plan was conceived by Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, a civil engineer from IIT Mumbai!

A telegraph office storehouse, and a scattering of large cable drums - this is the neglected campus of the infamous hotel of yesteryears - the Cubbon Hotel! It originally consisted of a main building with an annexe that was built to house bachelor guests, where today Mrs. Joey Wilson , wife of the late Leslie Wilson, famous Sports Editor of Deccan Herald, resides. The hotel is located beside the statue of the Unknown Soldier War Memorial, and faces the Central Telegraph Office, and was a popular hangout of the heyday, especially with the military crowd!

The statue of Chamaraja Wodeyar in Lalbagh was originally constructed and erected in Curzon Park, in Mysore City, and shifted to Bangalore only in 1908. The structure consists of four alcoves in the pedestal, which supposedly house a statue each! Today, statues can only be found in two of the alcoves, and the entire structure stands in a landscaped garden! The statue is found beside the Aquarium.

Achyutadeva Raya, the successor of Krishnadeva Raya, while in reign, was so pleased with Kempe Gowda's prowess, that he granted him a revenue of thirty thousand pagodas, which were basically gold or silver coins having a value of around three rupees, for future development. Kempe Gowda immediately went on a campaign of development, including layouts within the city. Most noted of his planning, were the temples he built in Bangalore, including the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple in Gavipuram, and the Venkataramanaswamy Temple in the Fort!

The heyday of the 19th and early 20th centuries saw riding becoming one of the key activities in Bangalore, so much so that polo was finally introduced to the town. Winston Churchill wrote of polo being "the serious purpose of life" in Bangalore, commenting on the facilities available for the same. In fact, the polo club in Bangalore was once supposed to have planned to buy out the Poona Light Horse's collection of twenty five ponies! A polo club finally emerged around 1850, which in 1860, was converted to the United Services Club.



Private Reply to Avinash Mudaliar

Nov 23, 2005 4:25 amre: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Zanral Maximus Minimus
Amazing Facts! , We are quite unfortunate that we dont have as many lakes anymore that is mentioned. I wish .... forget it :> !

Private Reply to Zanral Maximus Minimus

Oct 29, 2006 5:20 pmre: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Kiran Pereira
Hi all,

Happened to read this thread today. Thought I must share with you something I discovered recently.

Did you know that there were once over 400 lakes and tanks in and around Bangalore?
• By the early 1980s, that number came down to 262
• By 1996,the number of wetlands in the Bangalore district had dwindled to 141.
• Today, there are around 80 out of which only 64 are "alive" as water bodies and even as we speak, more and more water bodies are being destroyed due to encroachments by land sharks, legal and illegal dumping of untreated industrial effluents and domestic sewage, growth of water hyacinth etc.

This article tells us how today we are courting disaster by disbanding our lakes and tanks and depending only on one water source that is nearly 100 kms away. Read more at ...


If there is one thing I would like to change in Bangalore, it would be our attitude of “Swalpa adjust maadi”.

Here's a powerful parable I read sometime back.

"If you place a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately try to scramble out. But if you place the frog in room temperature water, and don’t scare him, he’ll stay put. Now, if the pot sits on a heat source, and if you gradually turn up the temperature, something very interesting happens. As the temperature gradually increases, the frog will become groggier and groggier, until he is unable to climb out of the pot. Though there is nothing restraining him, the frog will sit there and boil. Why? Because the frog’s internal apparatus for sensing threats to survival is geared to sudden changes in his environment, not to slow, gradual changes.

(We react much like the frog, don’t we?) We are conditioned to see life as a series of events, and for every event, we think there is one obvious cause.
Conversations in organizations are dominated by concern with events: last month’s sales, the new budget cuts, last quarter’s earnings. Who just got promoted or fired, the new product our competitors just announced, the delay that was just announced in our new product, and so on. The media reinforces an emphasis on short-term events – after all, if it’s more than two days’ old it’s no longer “news”.

Our fixation on events is actually part of our evolutionary programming. If you wanted to design a cave person for survival, ability to contemplate the cosmos would not be a high-ranking design criterion. What IS important is the ability to see the saber toothed tiger over your left shoulder and react quickly. The irony is that, TODAY, THE PRIMARY THREATS TO OUR SURVIVAL, BOTH OF OUR ORGANIZATIONS AND OF OUR SOCIETIES, COME NOT FROM SUDDEN EVENTS BUT FROM SLOW, GRADUAL PROCESSES.

Think about it: the arms race, environmental decay, the erosion of a society’s public education system, degradation of values in society…. All these are not sudden events but slow, gradual processes that escape our notice."

Source - Peter M Senge, The Fifth Discipline

Trust I have given you enough food for thought. If you want to know how you and I can make things better, PM me and we'll talk.....


Kiran Pereira

Private Reply to Kiran Pereira

Oct 30, 2006 4:34 amre: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Er... Vibha

Excellent and lucid article.

Taking the liberty, without your permission, of course, of pinching it and circulating it to my egroups and friends and all others.

Hope you do not mind!

Private Reply to Ramji

Oct 31, 2006 6:48 amre: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

ditto! ramji! hope u dont mind Vibha :) excellent article.

Private Reply to sushwin

Oct 31, 2006 9:45 amre: re: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

vinutha raju
WOW! Most interesting thread I have read in a long time. Thanks a ton to Vibha for initiating so many articles and discussions. Truly enjoyed the article.

I am a avid bangalorean. Many of my colleagues crib and crab about bangalore its traffic, etc(though many are planning to settle down here and are unable to leave this lovely city), i am very vociferous in my arguements.

But I do agree with Kiran. We Bangaloreans need to start mobilising and taking concrete steps to maintain the beauty and livable conditions of this city.


Private Reply to vinutha raju

Nov 06, 2006 9:45 amre: re: re: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent - Kempegowda Towers#

Srimatesh K
Here is some info on the Kempegowda Towers.

One of the oldest monuments of Bangalore history and representative heritage structures of the city are Kempegowda towers. The general belief is that the Kempegowda I who built the city also erected 4 towers in 4 directions as the borders towers of the city. However a close study of these monuments reveals the fact that they were built for some other purpose during Kempegowda II's period. By the time he took over the reins of administration from his father, the city had been so prosperous that the neighbouring chieftains envied the grace of the city. Any time they could attack the town. Kempegowda I had already taken all the necessary development measures for his subjects. Thus for Kempegowda II security of the city became foremost important task. For this purpose he selected a few elevated points in and around the city. They were all located by the side of water resources and also the roads which were leading in and out of the city. Then he erectedtowers on these high grounds and placed guards to oversee the entry or exit of any strangers. In case of any such events he would blow the bugle which would alert the army inside. THus they were all considered as watch towers. The towers were also built with excellent carvings over the dome. Except one, we can see all of them even today. The tower to the south of Kempambudhi tank (1), by the side of Ulsoor tank (2), in Mahanagara Palike park by the side of Bellary road (3), on the geological monument behind glass house in Lalbagh (4) are the 4 prominently mentioned towers. The other 3 towers are found near Gavigangadhareshwara temple(5), on the other side of Kempambudhi tank (6), behind bull temple on Basavanagudi(7) another tower is said to have been near Binny mill tank but now it is no more. Except the Bellary road and Ulsoor tank towers the others are not in the proper shape. When Hyder Ali took over Bangalore he had altered the structure of the tower in Lalbagh so that he could sit and watch the vast landscape in front of him. However in 1954 the BCC re-built it and we are seeing the same today. The towers near Kempambudhi tank and Gavigangadhareshwara temple are not in good conditions. In 1949 when BCC was formed Kempegowda's tower was made its insignia and remains the same even today.

Private Reply to Srimatesh K

Nov 08, 2006 5:51 pmre: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Joydeep Paul
Amazing piece of work Vibha. Kudos to you. I am really enlightened about our city. All this information is probably there somewhere but none of us would have had the inclination to go and retrieve it. BUt when you read it here, its amazing. Good Work.



Private Reply to Joydeep Paul

Oct 16, 2007 9:13 amre: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Chittaranjan Babu
Managed to dig out some more information on 'Brett's folly' if interested.



Private Reply to Chittaranjan Babu

Oct 16, 2007 10:27 amre: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#


I have pasted this above link for those who want an insight in to the history of this ancient temple..

On the road behind the Malleswaram Corporation Market - There used to be a a huge banayan tree..cut down in late 1990.. it was a 200 year old Banyan... Alas we could not save it..

The land behind the Malleswaram Market housed a Basket ball club till late 70s & now the place is 30 ft taller & has a park housed in side.. Adjoining is the Chamundi Scouts which was created in late 60s.

Also on the same road is the Venugopal Swamy temple - which is 150 years old.

More Later!


Kudos to all who have contributed here.. the very mention of Bangalore's history gives me immense excitement!

Private Reply to Karthik

Oct 16, 2007 2:06 pmre: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Ravi Srinivasan
Hai All:

Srimathesh is almost right with his information on the watch towers constructed by Kempegowda to keep watch and vigil.

The one in Basavanagudi he has mentioned is popularly known as Bugle rock ( Khahale Bande in Kannada). It is infact in the midst of a park which is now well developed and maintained. There is a beautiful music fountain which is operated on all week ends and festive holidays.

This bugle rock also houses two great temples of historic importance - Big Bull Temple & Dodda Ganesha Temple. Another famous temple Karanji Anjaneya ( fountain hanuman) is just parallel to it and the oldest Mallikarjuna temple is just behind it.

Today the bugle rock park has a amphi theatre where renowned muscians and police band play on certain days.

It is here that the famous "Kadalekai Parishe" (Groundnut crop festival) takes place. Even today there is a belief that a bag full of ground nuts are kept as an offering to the Big bull on that day night (festival nite) and in the next morning when the temple is opened only the shells are found.

I am sure there are other too on this network who would like to add more to this....

Namma Bengalooru......

Ravi Srinivasan

Private Reply to Ravi Srinivasan

Oct 19, 2007 5:03 amre: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Shobha(usha) gowri
"Finally his wife came unwillingly to India and died in Salem after a short stay. Her grave is to be found in St Johns cemetery in Bangalore."
Interestingly the grave is also to be found in the cemetery opposite the Govt Hospital in Salem-a grave yard that was a history lesson in itself

Private Reply to Shobha(usha) gowri

Apr 21, 2009 2:47 pmre: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

david J
nice read...although iam almost 2 years late...

my hair stands up when i read that my college was a lynching home....brrrrr

cheers bangalore ..

Private Reply to david J

Sep 22, 2009 7:05 pmre: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Arun Kumar
An incredible effort in getting the facts right and straight.

Truly a work which worth commendable.

The article reminds every bangalorean about its rich history and also the growing pace.

There is lot that in the ity that finds its roots from the Good Grand Old Days of the Founder-KEMPEGOWDA

Private Reply to Arun Kumar

Sep 23, 2009 4:19 amre: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Though i have read this article before,i read it again with the same zeal and enthu.How beautiful our Bangalore was and how beautiful it could still be made.
Actually there was this red coloured double decker bus some 2 years earlier,with the top open,i believe the same buses are there still in service in London.This one bus used to go around Bangalore,for sight seeing,it this bus still in service,does anybody have info,on who runs this service,and where they should be contacted.
One other interesting peice of information i have read sometime,somewhere before is that Bangalore was divided into 2 parts,somewhere near the present day kanteerva stadium,i guess there was a toll gate for people to cross over either ways,the British brought in this system you know why,one side of Bangalore had many freedom fighters and the Britishers felt that the other part of Bangalore,controlled by them,should'nt get influenced by the freedom movement,that is why the toll gate.They probably thought that if the people from their controlled Bangalore go over to the other side,they may be get influenced and come back and start freedom fighting movements.

Private Reply to BGS

Sep 23, 2009 9:33 amre: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Satish Kumar BV
a very nice read :)

Private Reply to Satish Kumar BV

Sep 28, 2009 11:57 amre: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Rohit Hangal
do check www.bangalorewalks.com or
www.royalmysorewalks.com for Mysore

they have got some interesting walks on heritage for history buffs in Bangalore & Mysore..



Private Reply to Rohit Hangal

Mar 02, 2010 5:55 pmre: re: re: re: re: The History of Bangalore..Excellent#

Rohith kg
This is a very interesting piece of information about Bendakalluru (Bangalore). I would like to post these info on Orkut for sharing with my friends.
You ppl have really worked hard to procure such info for the young Bangaloreans. I would love to say THANKS for this.

Private Reply to Rohith kg

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