Bangalore is hardly the market area, or majestic people know of today. Back then the city was started with the pété’s, and then the Cantonment. 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. Bangalore was administered by the Cholas, the Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar Empire, the Sultans of Bijapur, the Marathas, Tipu Sultan, and also the Mysore Kingdom. Looking back some areas have an interesting story behind its creation.
The Bangalore Cantonment
A cantonment is a military establishment or a military quarters. The French word canton means district. After the British defeated Tipu Sultan in the Fourth Mysore War, they established a military garrison 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 after Tipu let the British use the 9000 acre land to build a cantonment.
The British wanted entire Bangalore for them, but Cantonment is all they got. At its peak in the 1820s, 8000 infantrymen and cavalry were stationed in the garrisons. There are many streets and avenues in the Cantonment Area. The erstwhile South Parade road is now Mahatma Gandhi Road. There is Cavalry Road, Artillery Road, Infantry Road, Brigade Road, and many others.
Electronics City, India’s first 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. He made Baliga the Chairman of the Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation (KEONICS) in 1976, and my 1883 many electronics industries established offices here. After the liberalization of economy in 1991, Electronics City brought in lot of profits to the city. Electronics City is very well in Bangalore today, and well connected to rest of Bangalore, for many people it felt like going to a neighboring city back then.
Other than Electronics City, 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. This vision of this settlement was to be self sustaining by practicing agriculture. 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 says he was in love with Rose Hamilton, the daughter of James Hamilton, the owner of Waverly Inn. People today come there to walk around the house and talk how decrepit it is today. However there are many namesake of the Waverly Inn.
Basavanagudi & Malleswaram
During the year 1898-99, a devastating plague struck Bangalore due to poor sanitation conditions. People needed a new place to stay. This led to the creation of two new suburbs of Basanagudi and Malleswaram. They started doing this by building makeshift health clinics in Malleswaram. Later, these two suburbs were well planned and was important for Bangalore as new immigrants and traders who came to Bangalore ended up settling here. Basavanagudi got its name from the temple dedicated to Nandi, the divine bull, and Malleswaram got its name from Kadu Malleswara temple built by Venjoki, the Maratha king.
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. While the authorities looked at the epidemic more closely, and to nip it in the bud; people built temples dedicating it to Mariamma. The people of Bangalore hold the annual Karaga festival in honor of Mariamma, the Goddess who keep Bangalore safe.
Kempegowda I in 1537 established Bengaluru Pété. Pété is a market area where traders who associate themselves with various trade and profession lived. The trade and the profession names of the areas in the pété was the name of the profession that was pursued in the area. 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 different directions.
These four lines became the first street of Bangalore. The line from East to West became Chikkapété Street from ‘Surya Beedi’ in the beginning, and the North-South became Doddapété Street from ‘Chandra Beedi’. 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 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. The Dharmambudhi tank supported Kempambudhi in supplying water to Bangalore. For the purpose of irrigation, Kempe Gowda built the Sampangi tank.
The list of pétés in Bengaluru to begin with:
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 in the comments.