The word Bangalore or Bengaluru evokes different feelings and opinions among different people. While many have lived here and experienced the city first hand but many more by the perception & reputation it has built over the years . I for one belong to the former category and have personally witnessed the massive makeover of the city between 1994 and now. So in that sense a book on the city and its history evinced my interest and I picked it recently.
The 16th century history provides the early backdrop of the city and its founder Kempegowda emerges from the political fog of the Krishnadevaraya’s rule of the period. The early parts of the city, Pete’s (markets) divided on the basis of caste and later the emergence of the British cantonment that heralded the earliest recorded migrations to the city makes for interesting reading. How the early migrations induced language and not class conflicts particularly evokes interest.
Tracing the roots of a city and its various facets spanning a 500 year period is no doubt arduous and this book will disappoint those seeking scholarly depth. However many interesting & informative nuggets on the various aspects of the city can be found here and the book covers in a manner that juggles between documentary, academia, and coffee table reading .
(Other trivia about Bangalore outside the scope of the book)
10 Interesting facts about Bangalore
1. It has the impeccable record of highest growth within a span of 20years.
2. Bangalore city has highest number of pubs in Asia.
3. It has highest number of cigarette smokers in India
4. Bengaluru has the highest number of software companies in India - 212, followed by Hyderabad -108, Pune - 97. Hence called the silicon valley of India.
5. It has 21 engineering colleges, which is highest in the world in a given city. Bangalore University has 57 engineering colleges affiliated to it, which is highest in the world.
6. It is the only city in the world to have commercial and defense airport operating from the same strip.
7. Bangalore has highest number of public sectors and government organizations in India.
8. Bangalore University has highest number of students going abroad for higher studies taking the first place from IIT-Kanpur.
9. The mega city has only 48% of local population (i.e.#Kannadigas). Hence a true cosmopolitan with around 25% Tamilians, 14% Telugites, 10% #Keralites, 8% Europeans, 6% a mixture of all races.
10. Bangalore police has the reputation of being second best in India after Delhi.
History Trivia of Bangalore
1. When Kempegowda presented blue print for constructing Bengaluru city to the Vijayanagara King, impressed with the vision & planning, the king not only approved it, but also gave 50000 gold coins(varahas), & six nearby areas of Bengaluru to be included under the new city.
2. Kempegowda had studied 8 years in a Gurukula, in Hesaraghatta before taking the reigns of Yelahanka ruled by his ancestors for decades. Vijayanagar Kings advised Kempegowda to ensure the new city of Bengaluru will be a commercial & dharmic Centre & self sufficient in water requirement.
3. Bhoomi Puja of Bengaluru was done in an area between Domluru & Yelahanka. Havana & Yagna was Conducted by the Gurukula teachers where Kempegowda had studied. Massive Smoke and Vedaghosha had filled the air due to Vedic rituals.
4. East-West line became Chikkapete(retail market), North-South line became Doddapete (wholesale market-current avenue road). Akki,Ragi,Arale & taragu petes for grocery market, ganigara pete for oil, uppara pete for salt, kumbara pete for pottery, Tigalara pete for flower business, Nagarth pete for gold/silver biz, Bale pete for bangles and chain came up.
5. Dharmambudhi lake (busstand), Kempambudhi lake, Halsuru lake & Yediyuru lake were constructed for mobilising water for drinking & washing.
6. For Irrigation requirement Kempegowda constructed Sampangi lake (Current indoor stadium).
7. Having studied in Gurukula & being a totally dharmic king, Kempegowda constructed Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, Basavanagudi’s Big bull -Nandi temple, Doddapete’s Anjaneya temple.
8. Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, in Gavipura, continues to amaze people with the extraordinary knowledge of astronomy and temple architecture it synthesises to ensure Sun rays fall on the murthy of Lord Shiva on Makarasankranti every year.
9. For protection Kempegowda constructed forts all round Bengaluru. Mahadwaras(main entrances) for these forts were constructed at Yelahanka, Halasuru, Kengeri, & Anekal.
10. Important aspect of Bengaluru, was the design, implementation & interlinking of Raja Kaluves (king canals which exist even today). When a lake was filled with rain water, extra water was fed into other lakes through these King canals, and finally to outside the city.
11. By the quirk of fate, Kempegowda who founded Bengaluru, was arrested and imprisoned at anegondi on charges of treason. The complaints to the Vijayanagar king was given by Channapttana local chieftain. At this time Vijayanagara Kingdom was getting weakened with rebellion.
12. To protect Bengaluru from evil enemies, Kempegowda’s sons constructed watch towers at Lalbagh, Halsuru, Sadashivanagara, and chamarajapete. It is believed Dharmaraya temples lies at equidistant from these watch towers.
13. Every evening from atop an elevated boulder, bugle sound (KahaLe) was blown to indicate all is well in the city. If the the bugle sound was heard at other times, it indicated threat to the city. This place is today’s Bugle rock in Basavanagudi.
14. King Aliya Ramaraya released Kempegowda from the prison after five years, realising Kempegowda was innocent. Kempegowda returned to Bengaluru on a triumphant note with people giving him a a rousing welcome reception. His popularity had in fact increased after his arrest.
15. Kempegowda was made to sit on a silver swing(vuyyale) & milk abhisheka was performed on him as part of his welcome. The place where this welcome was given to Kempegowda, was called VuyyaLe Kavalu, which in due course has become Vyali Kaval.
16. Kempegowda who was an outstanding visionary, planner, dharmic leader, and a people’s leader whom every Bengalurian must thank, accidentally died in 1569, near Magadi while returning from Kunigal