Bangalore Fort : Rediscovering the history

Bengaluru, currently is a hub of IT companies. This city has given lives to millions on daily basis. Have you ever pondered over the history of this city. If you are curious on knowing that,I have this story of Bangalore fort which dated 1537.

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Bangalore Fort – The first sight !

Yes it has history of 479 years. Finding this fort in the busy KR Market was not straightforward. Before exploring the current status of the fort,lets go back to 1537 and discover some history.

History of Bangalore Fort

The history of the fort relates to prominent rulers. A brief history of the fort as follows.

Kempegowda : The founder of modern Bengaluru

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Kempegowda

Kempegowda, widely known as founder of modern Bengaluru. He served as a feudatory under Vijayanagara empire. He had a grand vision on building of a suitable capital city with a fort, a cantonment, tanks (water reservoirs), temples and people of all trades and professions.

 

On his hunting expedition in Bengaluru, he witnessed an omen during which hares chased the hunter dogs, unusually and a dream of Goddess Lakshmi. Based on these good omens,  a saint suggested him if he would build a new city in that place, the city would prosper infinitely. This made Kempegowda to choose this place as his capital, which we know now as Bengaluru.

In 1537, He constructed a mud fort with 4 gates. The fort was in Oval shape as below image. The perimeter of the fort was almost 1.6 km. Gradually around this fort, the town, trade and the city (Pettah) flourished.

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Bangalore Fort plan as sketched by British – Credits: Wikipedia

Later, the fall of Vijayanagara empire by Sultans of Bijapur led the Bengaluru under the control of Marata chief Shahji Bhosle. Subsequently, Sultans of Bijapur were defeated by Mughuls. The Mughuls sold off Bengaluru to Wodeyars of Mysore for just 3 lakh rupees. Later on, Hyder Ali captured this city by defeating Wodeyars.

Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan

Hyder Ali, during his reign renovated the mud fort and made it strong with stones. 26 bastions (circular projections like towers, at regular intervals which could station several soldiers) gave the fort and city a new look.

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Delhi Gate – Painted by James Hunter – Credits: Wikipedia

Hyder Ali commenced building of a palace inside the fort, which Tipu completed and is now called as Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace. Imagine that the fort was so huge to include the palace and many more. I will be writing it on my next post.

The third Mysore War ( between Mysore Kingdom and the British East India Company) saw the breach of Bangalore Fort in 1791. Governor General Cornwallis captured Bangalore Fort. So this fort has witnessed the notable history, which would fascinate a history buff.

Current remains of fort

The actual fort was vast and covered a huge area, sadly only 5% of the fort remains now. Currently the fort is a protected monument, declared to be national importance under the ancient monuments and archeological sites and remains.

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Bangalore Fort Entrance

The first sight of the Bangalore fort is a large bastion adjacent to the road. The Delhi Gate welcomes you with its huge arch and wooden doors. The Delhi gate has an Islamic architecture with arch and decorated motifs.The granite walls are sloping with beautiful stucco carvings.

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Finest stucco carvings intact even after 479 years

The huge doors with spikes on it, to discourage the elephants (used by enemies) to open the doors. This is a unique technique used in olden days to guard the fort. The lattice windows are found adjacent to the doors.

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Gigantic doors
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Lattice windows

Once you enter the fort, there is a Ganapati temple built by Kempegowda. This temple remains closed now. The roof of the temple has the Gandaberunda (two-headed bird) icon, the coat of arms of the Mysore Kingdom.

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Ganapathi temple – built by Kempegowda
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Gandaberunda – Coat of arms of Wodeyars

Around the temple, I could capture the glimpse of few carvings of Hindu style.

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One can notice small resting places for soldiers, which remains closed now.

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Resting place for soldiers

To the left, we see a open courtyard. The open space covered with lawn.

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Open courtyard

Around is the large fort walls made of huge stones. A large bastion can also be found, which is unspoilt nad covers most part of this court. The canons were operated over the bastion to defend the enemies. There is a small tunnel like structure with Hoysala Symbol (found at Belur).

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Huge bastion
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Hoysala emblem

There is another gateway in the courtyard, but it remains closed now. However we can notice small prisons here. Beyond this, the whole fort has been occupied aiding to growth of the city.

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Prisons

Though the fort is small and literally looks isolated, the history and the structures kept me interesting. This visit/ trip made me realize the history of Bengaluru. These heritage walks have triggered an urge to revisit past and keep present alive.

Visiting tips:

  • The fort is located near City market bus stop next to Victoria hospital. It is reachable by all bus, auto, cabs etc
  • The fort is open on all days from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. The entrance is free for all.
  • The photography inside the fort is not charged.
  • Please keep the fort area clean and do not litter.

Other posts on Bengaluru :

Bangalore Palace – Castle and Royalty

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