Bangalore is hardly the pété (town) and the gramas (villages) that surrounded the main town. It is more of a global village where road traffic thrives these days. Back then, when the city was started with the pété’s, people did not complain of much, except for how many mosquitoes that lived in the swamp next to their house.
The growth story of Bangalore, the city of villages is interesting. The villages grew to become little towns which in turn merged to form the city of Bangalore and everybody were happy. Many kings invaded Bangalore, moved here and lost it to the next king who took it from him.
Bangalore was administered by the Cholas, the Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar Empire, the Sultans of Bijapur, the Marathas, Tipu Sultan, Britain and the Wodeyars of the Mysore Kingdom. Each time, Bangalore was taken, there was something or the other contributed to the city, and why not, it was of military importance and taking it was a matter of pride.
Even after India’s independence, the new government created and christened new neighbourhoods. These are some of the areas of Bangalore and the stories behind its creation.
The British created Bangalore Cantonment next to Bangalore City
After the British defeated Tipu Sultan in the Fourth Mysore War, they established a military garrison at Srirangapatna. Because of the cooler climate of Bangalore, and the mosquito menace in Srirangapatna, they saw Bangalore as an ideal place to set up.
The King of Mysore who took over the Kingdom of Mysore from Tipu, let the British use the 9000-acre land to build a cantonment.
The British wanted the whole of Bangalore for them, but Cantonment is all they got from the king because as per the agreement Bangalore belonged to the Kingdom of Mysore, so should they live here at all.
At its peak in the 1820s, the British stationed 8000 infantrymen and cavalry at the garrisons of Bangalore. There are many streets and avenues in the Cantonment Area.
The erstwhile South Parade road is now the Mahatma Gandhi Road. There is Cavalry Road, Artillery Road, Infantry Road, Brigade Road, and many others, all of them named by the British.
Government of Karnataka created Electronic City
If you have not heard of Electronics City, it is where some of the top IT companies in India are at. This software technology park is the brainchild of Ram Krishna Baliga. His vision of making Bangalore the “Silicon Valley of India” impressed the then Chief Minister of Karnataka Devaraj Urs.
Perhaps his government wanted Bangalore to talk about something newsworthy than his connections with the underworld. Hi Bengaluru.
The Chief Minister made Baliga the Chairman of the Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation (KEONICS) in 1976, and by 1883 many electronics industries established offices here.
After the liberalization of economy in 1991, Electronics City brought in lot of profits to the city, made IT in Bangalore sustainable enough for people to move here.
Electronics City is very well within the bounds of Bangalore today, and well connected to rest of Bangalore. For many people it felt like going to a neighbouring city back then, because of lack of transport. It still feels like going to a neighbouring city today because of excess traffic.
Whitefield was created to host Anglo Indians
Another place where technology companies like to have their office is in Whitefield. It was set up in the 1800s after Mysore Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar IX granted the Eurasian and Anglo-Indian Association, Mysore and Coorg 3,900 acres of land to build a settlement for Anglo Indians, and thus the name.
The vision of this settlement was to be sustainable by practicing agriculture and selling the produce. Today the IT boom transformed Whitefield into more than an agriculture village.
The population of this settlement increased after people working in Chennai and Kolar Gold Fields came to live here. Former Prime Minister of the UK, Winston Churchill was one of the residents here when he was in the British Army, and was living at the Waverly Inn.
History books say he was in love with Rose Hamilton, daughter of James Hamilton, the owner of Waverly Inn. People today come there to walk around the building and write how decrepit it is today.
However, there are many namesakes of the Waverly Inn, so do not bother looking for the real one.
Basavanagudi & Malleswaram grew because of a devastating plague
During the year 1898-99, a devastating plague struck Bangalore due to poor sanitation conditions. People who survived the plague needed a new place to stay.
This led to the development of the suburbs of Basanagudi and Malleswaram. Thanks to these two neighbourhoods, we got Malgudi Days by R.K. Laxman.
The epidemic alarmed Dewan Sheshadri Iyer because the plague spread to Mysore too killing 80% of the people that it effected. So, people avoided the crowded spaces like the market areas, and moved to open spaces reducing the effect.
The authorities built makeshift health clinics in Malleswaram. Later on, they planned and improved the layout of these two suburbs. It was important for Bangalore as new immigrants and traders who came to Bangalore ended up settling here.
While the authorities looked at the epidemic more closely, and to nip it in the bud; people built temples dedicating it to Goddess Mariamma. The people of Bangalore hold the annual Karaga festival in honor of Mariamma, the Goddess who keep Bangalore safe.
Bengaluru Pété was established as a market town
One auspicious morning in the year 1537, four young people each controlling a bullock cart with a plough, on the orders of Kempe Gowda drove the cart in four different directions, thus drawing a line in four opposite directions.
Kempegowda I in 1537 established Bengaluru Pété. Pété is a market town where traders who associate themselves with various trades and professions lived. The neighbourhoods inside the pété got its name from the trade and the profession practiced.
These four lines became the first street of Bangalore. The line from East to West became Chikkapété Street. When this street was drawn at the beginning it was known as ‘Surya Beedi’.
The North-South street became Doddapété Street from ‘Chandra Beedi’ at the beginning. The intersection of Surya Beedi and Chandra Beedi became Doddapete Square (Avenue Road).
After drawing a big line across, he built a mud fort, and surrounded it with a moat calling it Bengaluru. Mr. Gowda took help from a lot of people and built many tanks around Bangalore to supply water to the pétés of Bangalore.
Kempambudhi tank is the biggest among all the tank, and it was to be used for daily usage. It supplied water to Bangalore.
Today in place of Dharmambudhi, there is the city bus station, known as the Majestic bus station. One should note that he built many temples around the fort area and there are too many to mention.
The list of pétés in Bangalore at the beginning:
Chikkapété – For small traders
Doddapété – For big businesses
Upparapété – For salt traders
Mamulpété – For general traders
Balepété – For bangle traders and flower sellers
Akkipété – For rice traders
Aralpété (Cottonpété) – For cotton traders
Ganigarpété – For oil traders
Kumbarpété – For mud pot makers
Mutyalpété – For pearl traders
Nagarthapété – For pearls and jewelry
Ragipété – For ragi traders
Sannakalpété – For limestone traders
Kurubarapété – For sheep traders
Pétés added later:
Chamarajpété – Named in honor of Chamaraja Wodeyar, the Maharaja of Mysore
Cubbonpété – Named in honor of Sir Mark Cubbon
Have I missed any pété? Please let me know.
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