Bangalore - The City

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Once known as The Garden City of India, earliest records of a place named ’Bengaluru’ come from a 9th century temple in an area that is now known as ’Old Bangalore’. Legends surrounds Bangalore. One legend has it that Bengaluru (meaning ‘Town of Boiled Beans’) got its name after an old woman served cooked pulses to a lost and hungry Hoysala king. Another has it that the feudal lord Kempe Gowda was hunting in the area when a rabbit turned and attacked his dog. This made a great impression on the lord and he gave the place a title of gandu bhoomi (the place of heroes).

In 1537, Kempe Gowda constructed three districts protected by a walled fort on the site. For the next three centuries, Bangalore existed very much in the shadow of its neighboring city Mysore and control of the town changed hands many times. It became an important fortress city under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. In 1809 the British Cantonment was established. In 1831, after claiming misrule by the king Krishna Raja Wodeyar III, the British moved their regional administrative base from Srirangapatnam to Bengaluru and renamed the city Bangalore. Winston Churchill enjoyed life as a junior officer here, famously leaving a debt of Rs 13 at the Bangalore Club. The city’s reputation as a technology hub was established early in the 20th century. In 1905 it became the first city in India to have electric street lights and since the 1940s has been the home to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, India’s first aircraft manufacturing company.

Bangalore is constantly changing. A new international airport has opened while a new city centre has risen in a clutch of skyscrapers on the old United Breweries site at the Cubbon Park end of Vittal Mallya Road. The city is split into two main districts, ’Urban’ and ’Rural’. Within the city itself, Mahatma Gandhi Road (M.G. Road) running from Trinity Circle at one end to Anil Kumble Circle at the other is the main thoroughfare filled with banks, smart shops and restaurants. To the west is the city’s other main hub, Gandhinagar to the west is where you will find the central bus stand and the main railway station. Nicknamed “Majestic”, the area is crowded, busy and and full of shops, cinemas and budget hotels. Between M.G. Road and Gandhinagar is Cubbon Park, Bangalore’s very own Central Park in New York. In the northern part of town are the Raj-era buildings, the High Court and the racecourse. The Bangalore Urban district contains the city itself and many of the main sights. This is further divided into the North, South and also the Anekal districts, comprising more than 600 villages in total. Anekal is about 40 kilometres from Bangalore city centre and is known for being home to Muthyalamaduvu, a gorgeous picnic spot that boasts excellent views of the surrounding hills, and includes other draws including the ancient Kambada Ganesha and Sri Bandi Mahakaliamma temples.

The Bangalore Rural district comprises in excess of 1.000 different villages and is a good place to visit if you want a break from the city in the lush countryside. Outside the city, Savandurga, 60 kilometres away is a famous hilltop with temples dedicated to Gangadeshwara, Hanna Devi and a cave spring called Pattala. When viewed from a distance, the outline of the hill looks like the figure of a bull (on the east, Lord Ganesha from the west, a cobra from the north and a Shiva linga from the south).