Namma Bengalooru (History)

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 the local Kannada language that was given to a town. The T 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."

Kempe Gowda marks the four corners of the city
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. Hunting seemed to be a favourite past time in those days. During one of his hunting bouts, Kempe Gowda was surprised to see a hare chase his dog. Either his dog was chicken hearted or the hare was lion-hearted one does not know, but the episode surely made an impression on the feudal lord. He told himself this is a place surely for heroes and heroics, and he referred to Bangalore from then onwards as "gandu bhoomi" (heroic place). Kempe Gowda I, who was in charge of Yelahanka, built a mud fort in 1537. With the help of King Achutaraya, 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 son's 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 present city. A hundred years later the Vijayanagara Empire fell, and in 1638, it was conquered by Mohammed Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur.

Power shifts from Sultans to Marathas to British
In 1638, Bangalore was conquered by Bijapur Sultan and ruled for next 50 years. Later it was captured by Mughals who held it for 3 years. In 1687, the Mughal Sultan of Sira province sold Bangalore to king Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar of Mysore for 3 lac pagodas, who built a second fort to the south of that built by Kempegowda
In 1759, Hyder Ali received Bangalore as a jagir from Krishna raja Wodeyar II. He fortified the southern fort and made Bangalore an army town.

When Tipu Sultan died in the 4th Mysore war in 1799, the British gave the kingdom, including Bangalore back to Krishna raja Wodeyar III. The British Resident stayed in Bangalore. In 1831, alleging misrule by Krishna raja Wodeyar III, the British took over the administration of the Mysore Kingdom.

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. 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 HQ. 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 more central and better linked with the major cities of the country.

Today, Bangalore is booming, and a look at some of its nicknames says why: "India's Silicon Valley," "Fashion Capital of India," "The Pub City of India," and on. 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.

Important Historical Dates

  • BC (-) Stone Age implements, Roman coins & burial grounds unearthed.
  • 850 AD 'Bengalooru' appears on Mauryan empire milestone
  • 1015 Chola Empire takes over City
  • C.1120 Veera Ballala II calls it 'Benda Kalooru' or 'Town of Boiled Beans' (after a poor woman feeds him beans in the forest)
  • 1537 Kempe Gowda I designs City as it exists today. (KG II builds the 4 towers)
  • 1638 Shahaji Bhonsle (Shivaji's father) captures City for Adil Shah who gifts it to him
  • 1640 Shivaji marries Bangalore girl
  • 1687 Aurangzeb's army captures City
  • 1690 Sells it to the Wodeyars for 3 lakhs!
  • 1759 Wodeyar gifts it to Hyder Ali who builds Lal Bagh
  • 1791 Cornwallis defeats Tipu but returns City to him
  • 1799 Tipu dies. City returned to Wodeyar
  • 1800 Bangalore GPO opened
  • 1809 Cantonment established
  • 1812 St. Mark's Cathedral built
  • 1831 British take-over administration
  • 1853 Sunday declared weekly holiday
  • 1859 1st train steams out of City
  • 1864 Sankey builds Cubbon Park
  • 1867 Attara Kacheri built
  • 1887 Bangalore Palace built
  • 1898 The great plague. (Another plague-the 1st telephone rings)

There are a number of tourist destinations to be visited in Bangalore. Most of the travel agencies in Bangalore offer travel services like air tickets, car rental, hotel room reservation and packaged tours.

Some of the most important places worth being visited in Bangalore are:

The Vidhan Soudha that is based on the neo-Dravidian style of architecture is an imposing building that currently houses the Legislative Assembly and part of the Karnataka secretariat.

The Cubbon Park has an exquisite layout spread over an area of about 300 acres. The Lal Bagh is a riot of red roses in bloom throughout the year. This garden is well frequented at all times.

Venkatappa Art Gallery has about 600 paintings and some exclusive collections of scenic displays.

The Bangalore Palace was built in the Tudor style in 1887 and is located in the middle of the city. It covers an area of about 800 acres and resembles the Windsor Palace of England.

A visit to the palace and fort of Tipu Sultan must not be missed by any tourist. The architecture and layout are a reflection of the ethnic Mughal lifestyle

The Bull Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva's Vahana (vehicle), Nandi the bull. The huge monolithic statue of the sitting bull draws a large number of people every day. It is 4.5 meters high and 6 meters long and was built much before the temple.

The Aquarium and the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium are both worth a visit. The former is the second largest in the country and has a good collection of a variety of aquatic life is a must see

The Shiva Statue is 65 feet high and depicts Lord Shiva in the Padmashan or Lotus position. Mount Kailash, the Lord's heavenly abode and the river Ganga flowfrom his matted locks in the background.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON Temple Complex of Bangalore is a marvellous blend of Dravidian and modern architecture. The building has modern facilities like a cinema theatre, computer aided presentation theatres, and a vedic and a preaching library. There is also provision for good accommodation facilities for members and guests.

Bangalore has a number of excursion sites. Some of the better known ones are:

Nandi Hill is situated 60 kilometres from the city, about 1,615 m above sea level. Its shimmering lake and green valley make it a popular summer retreat

The Big Banyan Tree is located about 28 kilometres away and is spread over almost three acres of land.

The Banerghatta National Park is a birdwatcher's paradise with more than a thousand species of birds in it. Located about 11 kilometres away from the main city, one can also explore the temples nearby Butterfly Park.

  • 1903 1st motorcar pollutes city
  • 1905 India's 1st electric bulb lit in Bangalore City Market
  • 1909 Indian Institute of Science built
  • 1940 1st flight Bangalore / Bombay
  • 1948 Deccan Herald launched
  • 1954 Vidhana Soudha built

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