Bangalore (Bengaluru) is the capital and the largest city of the Indian state of Karnataka. It was founded by in 1537 by a local chieftain, Kempe Gowda. It became a fortress town under Tipu Sultan and later turned into a British Cantonment during the British rule. Major defence and telecommunications establishments soon came up. Hindustan Machine Tools, Hindustan Aeronautics, Defence Research & Development, Indian Telephone Industries, Bharat Electronics are some of the major public sector organizations operating in the city.
The Hoysalas and the Gangas - 8th Century to 11th Century AD
The Hoysala architecture is noted for its elaborate motifs. The Gangas ruled Gangavadi from kolar starting c. 350 and later shifted their capital to talakadu.Their rule often extended over large parts of tamilnadu. An article, published in The Hindu, states: An inscription, dating back to 890 AD, shows Bangalore is over 1,000 years old.
But it stands neglected at the Parvathi Nageshwara Temple in Begur near the city ... written in hale Kannada (old Kannada) of the 9th Century, the epigraph refers to a Bengaluru war in 890 AD in which Buttanachetty, a servant of Nagatta, died.The later Gangas often fought alongside the Chalukyas, Rastrakutas and the Hoysalas. In 1117 AD, the Hoysala king Veera Ballala II defeated the Cholas in the battle of Talakad which leading the downfall of the Chola empire.
A popular anecdote recounts that the 11th-century Hoysala king Veera Ballala II, while on a hunting expedition, lost his way in the forest. Tired and hungry, he came across a poor old woman who served him boiled beans. The grateful king named the place "benda kaal-ooru" ("town of boiled beans"), which was eventually colloquialised to "Bengalūru". There are also theories that the name has a floral origin and is derived from the tree Benga or "Ven-kai", also known as the Indian Kino Tree (Pterocarpus marsupium). The city as it is known today was named by Kempe Gowda I.
Kempe Gowda's Reign - Bangalore is established - 15th Century AD
Kempe Gowda I (1510 - 1570), Modern Bangalore was founded by a feudatory of the Vijayanagara Empire, who built a mud fort in 1537. Kempe Gowda also referred to the new town as his "gandu bhoomi" or "Land of Heroes". Within the fort, the town was divided into petes or market.
The town had two main streets: Chickkapete Street ran east-west and Doddapete Street ran north-south. Their intersection formed Doddapete square - the heart of then Bangalore. Kempe Gowda's successor, Kempe Gowda II, built temples, tanks including Kempapura and Karanjikere tanks and four watching towers that marked Bangalore's boundary.
The four watching towers built then in Bangalore are still seen today.
in Lal Bagh
near Kempambudhi tank
near Ulsoor Lake
near Mekhri Circle
It was captured by the Maratha chief Shahaji Bhonsle, father of Shivaji, then working for the Adil Shahi sultans of Bijapur in 1638. During the siege of Bangalore, Shivaji's elder brother Shambaji was killed by Shahaji's rivals, led by the Ghorpade of Mudhol, for which Shivaji was to later exact revenge.
The Mughals - 1600s - 1800s
After conquering the Sultanate of Bijapur, the Mughals under the commandership of Khasim Khan, then arrived in Bangalore, which was then ruled by Shivaji's brother Vyankoji Bhonsale as a jagir (fief) of Bijapur in 1686; Vyankoji retreated further south.
The Mughals in turn leased Bangalore to the subsidiary Kingdom of Mysore's ruler Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar in 1689. In 1759, the Wodeyar's Commander-in-Chief Haider Ali made himself the de facto ruler of the Mysore Kingdom, including Bangalore, but maintained the Wodeyars as a figurehead.
Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan - 1800s
When Hyder Ali died, his son Tipu Sultan deposed the weak Wodeyar, proclaimed himself Sultan. Under Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali the state progressed economically and trade flourished with many foreign nations through the ports of Mangalore.
The French under Napoleon had promised to drive the British from India. Tipu successfully stalled the British in the first, second and third Anglo-Mysore Wars. Tipu, however, was defeated and ultimately killed in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War.Bangalore Palace, built in 1887, was home to the Rulers of Mysore and was modelled on the Windsor Castle, England.
Wodeyars of Mysore
pon the passing of Tipu Sultan, the Wodeyars returned to the throne of Mysore, and therefore Bangalore, although only as figureheads. Bangalore remained part of British East India until Indian independence in August, 1947.
The 'Residency' of Mysore State was first established at Mysore in 1799 and later shifted to Bangalore in the year 1804. It was abolished in the year 1843 only to be revived in 1881 at Bangalore and finally to be closed down in 1947 with the departure of the British. (http://rajbhavan.kar.nic.in/history/fromresi-rajbhavan.htm)
British Occupation - Modern Bangalore
The British troops which were first stationed at Srirangapatna after the fall of Tipu Sultan in 1799 were later shifted to the Civil and Military Station of Bangalore in 1809.
The salubrious climate of Bangalore attracted the ruling class and led to the establishment of the famous Military Cantonment, a city-state close to the old town of Bangalore. The area became not only a military base for the British but also a settlement for a large number of Europeans, Anglo-Indians and missionaries.
In Cantonment, the names of many of its streets are derived from military nomenclature - Artillery Road, Brigade Road, Infantry Road and Cavalry Road. The South Parade (now known as Mahatma Gandhi Road, was to the south of the Parade Ground. The Plaza theatre was constructed in the year 1936 on the South Parade and was used by the soldiers for viewing Hollywood movies.
The British representative maintained a residence within the cantonment area and his quarters was called the Residency and hence the name Residency Road. Around 1883, three developments were added to the cantonment - Richmond Town, Benson Town and Cleveland Town.
The Cantonment has retained it distinct atmosphere through the years with large populations of Anglo-Indians and Tamils from the British era.
First city to be electrified in India
In 1906, Bangalore became the first city in Asia to have electricity, supplied by the hydroelectric plant situated in Shivanasamudra.
Early Localities of Bangalore
Basavanagudi (named either after the Basavanna Temple or the Bull Temple in the village of Sunkenahalli) and Malleshwaram (named after the Kadu Malleshwara Temple in the old Mallapura village) were created during this time. Kalasipalyam (near the old fort) and Gandhinagar were created between 1921-1931. Kumara Park came into existence in 1947 and Jayanagar in 1948.
The Vidhana Soudha, the seat of Karnataka's legislative assembly, is located in Bangalore.
In the 1960's and 1970's an elite neighborhood was developed in the former gardens of the Bangalore Palace, which was known as "Palace Orchards" now called Sadhashivnagar. The area is now home to many of the wealthy members of Bangalore society, celebrities and politicians.
Post Independence Industrialization created further growth of extended from the Peenya Industrial Area in the west to Indiranagar and Whitefield in the east; from Yelahanka Town in the north, to J.P. Nagar in the south. Presently the city has overtaken these places to spread out, as the city chokes with over 7 million population and ever choking road traffic.
Prior to developments in the last few decades, Bangalore was a well laid out city with many spacious gardens, which provided it the moniker, the Garden City. It therefore served traditionally as a retreat for people from the surrounding South Indian regions. Even today, the city administration manages to maintain several excellent parks. Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh are just two such examples.
See Bangalore's tourist attractions or Return to Bangalore City Guide Overview