Garden city, Silicon city - Bangalore

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Published: 26th March 2010
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Bangalore is the capital of Karnataka from 1956 and it took the status of a capital in modern times from 1831 when the British Commissioners took over the administration of Mysore State from the Mysore Prince. The place name is found mentioned in a 9th century record of Begur as 'Benguluru' 'Bengu' meaning a Shrub colloquially called Rakta Honne (Benga trees) . Kempegowda II gave the same name to the new town, he founded i.e., the present Mega City. Earlier, it was the headquarters of the Yelahanka Nadaprabhus who ruled under Vijayanagara Empire and built the new town with the fort. Kempegowda II is believed to have raised the fort in 1537 as per the orders of Emperor Achutharaya of Vijayanagara. The old Gavipura natural cave shrine of Gangadhara built during the Ganga period came to be expanded during the Vijayanagara period and the monolithic Basava in Basavanagudi was got engraved by this family. The family also built the most beautiful Someshwara Temple at Ulsoor. The dynasty also created many tanks which include the
Ulsoor tank, Dharmambudhi tank (present Bus Stand), Chennamba tank (now called Chennamma tank) near BSK II stage and Kempambudhi tank. In 1637 Bijapur Army conquered Bangalore and granted it as Jagir to Shahji, Shivaji's father. Shahji and his son Ekoji had Bangalore under their control till 1687 when it was conquered by the Mughul army and the city was given on lease to Chikkadevaraya of Mysore. He built the Venkataramana temple and a new fort beside the existing old fort. Bangalore which had grown as an industrial and commercial centre under the Kempegowda family and the Marathas, was further developed by Chikkadevaraya as he invited weavers from Baramahal (Tamilnadu) area to come and settle down in Bangalore. Later Bangalore was granted as Jahgir to Haider and when he usurped power from the Wodeyars, he strengthened the new fort by using granite blocks.
He built a palace near the Venkataramana temple and started Lalbagh, the famous Botanical Garden of Bangalore. Later a beautiful Glass House was built in 1889 due to the efforts of the government modeled on the Crystal Palace of England. This imposing structure has been renovated with attractive imported coloured glasses. Bangalore was captured by the British in 1791 under the leadership of Lord Cornwallis and it was returned to Tipu after he signed a treaty with them. He dismantled the existing fort as it was found to be more useful to his enemies than to himself. Under Haider, Bangalore grew as a prosperous commercial city also catering to the needs of luxury of the Srirangapattana court. But under Tipu, its trade declined. The British who defeated Tipu in 1799 handed it over to the Mysore Hindu Prince. Diwan Purnaiah rebuilt the demolished fort. The British stationed their troops in 1809 at Ulsoor and a twin town, Bangalore Cantonment emerged helping introduction of European way of life and modern ideas to the old Bangalore town which became the capital in 1831. The Atharakacheri, High Court, Central College, and Museum buildings were raised in the European Renaissance style and English education was introduced into Bangalore.Many churches in European Renaissance style were built in Bangalore during this period. Modern Textile mills like Binny Mill were started in the city. The city came to have a municipality in 1862 and the Cantonment area also had a separate Municipality called Civil and Military Station. The two came to be merged in 1949 to form the Bangalore City Corporation. After Independence, many Central Government Industries were started in the city. There are ancient temples at Begur, Madiwala (Tavarekere), Kadugodi, Hesaraghatta and Dommalur. Other temples like Gavi Gangadhara in a natural cave, Basavanagudi with monotithic Nandi, Rangaswamy temple built around 1600 in the Rangaswamy Temple street, the Someshwara temple at Ulsoor and Kadumalleswara temple in Malleshwaram which had received a grant from Ekoji, are some of the interesting monuments. In addition, a large number of new temples have come up. The Dharmaraya temple of the Tigala community celebrates the famous Karaga festival on the full moon day of Chaitra. Satya sai Baba Ashram otherwise called 'Brindavan' started its activities about more than two decades at Kadugodi. Besides havbing a huge Prarthana Mandir, the Ashram runs several educational institutions. Its Bangalore Branch of the High Tech Mega Hospital has been widely appreciated for its dedicated services and utmost cleanliness. Omkar Hills, situated on the outskirts of Bangalore near Kenchenahally is an important religious centre with serene natural settings, where a huge Banyan tree crowns a circular hillock. Alround the sumit of this hillock a series of mantapa symbolizing the religious insignia of all the major religions Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam have been built with brick and cement in respective traditional styles of architecture. The Omkar Ashram has also takenup the stupendous task of building the 12 Jyotirlinga temples being a miniature representation of respective architectural styles of India. Every year devotees throng this spot especially during the swamiji's birthday. A huge Electronic clock designed by HMT having a temple gong and Shanka for the hourly time beatings are embedded, which gives a pious and pleasant sound to a distance of nearly 1.5km radius. Being just 13 km. from the city this is an important religious place for peace aspiring tourists and devotees. The Art of Living Centre Ashram has recently been built by Saint Ravishankar on the Kanakapura Road near the city. Special Bhajans and Art of Living courses are organized on weekly basis. Of late it is attracting tourists from India and also abroad. A huge Rajarajeshwari temple built in Dravidian style at Kenchenahalli on the Mysore Road and the Meenakshi Temple on the Bannerghatta road have been raised more than a decade ago are attracting a large number of devotees Amrita Anandamayi Ashram has also started its branch in the city and has been attracting thousands of devotees regularly. Sri Koladamath on the Siddaiah road has been undertaking several social as well as people oriented programmes since several decades.
Iskcon now situated atop a small hillock arranged in a row of rising shikaras overlooking the hillock is an attractive spectacle. It spreads in an area of seven acres on the West of chord Road in Rajajinagar is an hitech temple complex and is regarded as an important tourist destination of this garden city. The temple complex has been architecturally designed in such a way that it is visible as a glowing hillock during night and can be described as a visual bounty. How this huge temple complex came to be created makes an interesting episode. About 25 years ago ISKCON was founded (1978) in a rented building (Rs.2000 PM) and made a humble beginning. Later on with the efforts of the organisers it gained prominence and today it is one among the most celebrated 108 ISKCON branches functioning all over the world. Its natural elevation of the land area has been fully exploited and an attractive but, complicated architectural designing has been accomplished with utmost cleanliness and perfection. There are five typical Dravidian shikharas built at three stages with a tall attractive rayagopura at the main entrance. The central garbhagriha has been designed on the Egyptian Pyramidical Model with three cells in a row comprising the images of Sri Nitay Gowrang in the first cell to the left Sri Radhakrishna Chandra in the central cell and Krishna-Balarama in the cell to the right. There are short but, attractive Dravidian styled shikharas above all the three cells. There is a spacious/pentagonal central hall in front of the three garbhagrihas with a hallow domical ceiling decorated with delicate stained glasses intercepted by brass partitions. The pentagonal roof drops have excellent Mysore traditional glass paintings depicting Krishna's life history. The artistic designing of this pentagonal hall has been a beautiful creation with aesthetic outlook has been largely appreciated.
Besides these there are small shrines dedicated to Sri Venkatesha and Sri Narasimha with separate short Dravidian styled shikhars. Facing the main temple is a 56 ft. tall dwajasthambha covered with gold plated decorated brass sheets. Special pujas are offered thrice daily one at sunrise, at noon and in the evening. Annually special pujas are performed during Gokula Ashthami (Lord Krishna's birthday), Nandotsava and Vaikuntha Ekadashi. Daily delicious prasadam prepared with utmost hygienic method are offered to the devotees visiting the temple. Another impressve programme of this organisation is the 'Akshaya Patra' yojana initiated mainly to cater the needs of less privileged children studying in government schools in the rural areas. Recently, the same scheme is being extended in and around the city of Hubli. Being very much inside the Mega city The ISKCON temple offers a beautiful, serene and calm atmosphere for the visiting devotees. ISKCON also conducts elocution competitions on the Krishna's lifetime episodes and also on other Vaishnava philosophy. It conducts also several cultural activities all through the year. Bhakti Vedantha, a monthly magazine dedicated to spread the gospel of Vaishnava philosophy and also the spiritual ideologies of ISKCON is being published regularly. Vishwa Shanti dhama, Lord Shiva (near Air Port) etc., are the new additions to the long list of temples in Bangalore.
The Muslims have the Taramandal Sangeen Jamia Masjid built by a Mughal Officer in around 1687. The Ibrahim Shah Shahib's Mosque at Kumbarpet was raised in 1761, the Jamia Mosque at the City market is the creation of the 1940s and it is a vast modern building, equally impressive, built by using white marble. There is a dargha of Mastansab Wali at Cottonpet which is highly respected by Hindus as well as Muslims.
The oldest Church in Bangalore is St. Mary's Basilica in Shivajinagar supposed to have been originally built in around 16th Century, but took the existing shape in 1832. There is the Trinity Church of the Anglicans on the M.G. Road and St. Marks Cathedral on the same road. St. Patrick church was originally for Irish Catholic soldiers and St. Andrew's, on the Cubbon Road for the Scottish soldiers. The Catholic Cathedral is St. Xaver's, a large granite building. The London Mission raised the Hudson Memorial Church. There are many Jain Basadis of which the one in Gandhinagar and Jayanagar notable though modern. The Sikhs have their Gurudwara at Ulsoor, and Parsis have their fire temple. Bangalore has beautiful gardens like Lalbagh and the Cubbon Park, which are the pride of the city. One of the fine large modern buildings raised by using granite is Vidhana Soudha built in traditional Dravidian style. Of late the government has constructed Vikasa Soudha beside Vidhana Soudha immitating the same traditional Dravidian style of Vidhana Soudha is nearing completion. Tipu's palace is a wooden structure and Bangalore Palace is modelled on the Windsor Palace of Britain. Bangalore has the Govt. Museum, Sir M. Visveswaraya Industrial Museum and the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetorium. Bangalore is well connected by roads, railways and airways and has pleasant weather, attracting tourists from far and near. Bangalore being a celebrated education and advanced technical education as well as higher research facilities, boasts of several Educational Institutions suchas Bangalore University, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts-South Zone (IGNCA) started recently, Agricultural University, the Indian Institute of Science, Institute for Astrophysics, Indian Statistical Institute, Institute for Social and Economic change (ISEC), National Law School, Regional Institute of English, National Aeronautical Laboratory (NAL), Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) and many others. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Institute of Management and all modern amenities for education. It has industries producing tractors, railway coaches, aeroplanes, etc. and finer things like silk sarees and sandal wood images. It is called the electronic and Silicon City of India, for its unparallel progress in the field of computer science and Information Technology.

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