Among the many legendary
treasures of Tipu Sultan is the toy tiger mauling a British soldier.
Tipu Sultan (1782-1799), the
rules of Mysore,
had a visceral hatred of he British. He did everything he could from building
an army, seeking French assistance to trying to stitch an anti-British
Tipu was continuously at war
with the British and nothing gave him more happiness than having them at his
mercy. His dungeons in his capital of Srirangapatna were filled up with British
prisoners of war.
After Tipu was killed in the
fourth and final Anglo-Mysore war in Srirangapatna on May 4, 1799, many of his
treasures and fabulous wealth fell into the hands of the British who lost no
time in plundering them. Contemporary accounts of the day after Tipu was killed
tell us how mercilessly the British behaved with the residents of Srirangapatna
and how they pillaged the city, stripping it of every conceivable article.
Of course, the first structure
to bear the brunt of the greedy British army and its hired mercenaries was Lal
Mahal, the magnificent palace
of Tipu which today is in
ruins, his store room, armoury, library and private quarters.
One of the innumerable
articles that the British shipped back home from Srirangapatna was Tipu’s Tiger.
The Tipu Tiger is a toy that
Tipu specifically had it built. It is a wooden tiger mauling a British soldier.
The toy has a miniature mechanical organ and when pressed, it begins to emit
the roar of the tiger, punctuated with the groans of a Britisher being
The road comes from the body
of the tiger and a row of keys of natural notes are embedded within the British
soldier. The sounds produced by the
organ resemble the cries of a person in
distress which is juxtaposed with the roar of a tiger. The machinery is
so contrived, that while the organ is playing, the head of the European is
often lifted up, to express his helpless and deplorable condition.
There is a story that Tipu Sultan had this toy made after the death of
Lieutenant Munro — the son of General Sir Hector Munro, who had defeated Tipu
in many battles. The idea of making such a tiger took shape when one of Tipu’s courtiers
told how Munro’s son had been killed by a tiger in the Sundarbans (Bengal).
Tipu discussed the idea of a
mechanical toy of a Tiger mauling a British soldier with his French engineers
working in his munition factory in Srirangapatna.
The organs which can
reproduce the roars of a tiger and shrieks of human beings were made in France. Tipu
kept the toy in his Rag Mahal or room for music.
After Tipu dies, the British
came across the toy and informed the Board of Directors of East Indian Company
who then asked for it to be sent to their head office in London.
The tiger elicited lot of
interest and curiosity among the British and the famous romantic British poet John
Keats has made a reference to Tippoo’s Tiger in one of his poems.
Initially, the Directors of
the East India Company kept the toy in
the company museum in the East India House, but, when the company was wound up
and political power transferred to the Government in 1858, it was shifted to the
office where it remained until 1874. Later, the tiger was stationed at what
later came to be known as the Indian section of the Victoria
and Albert Museum.
The toy is at present a prized exhibit of the museum and lakhs who visit the
museum cannot help but admire the spirit and determination of the Tiger of
Mysore, as Tipu was known .
It was more two decades ago
that this vast reservoir filled up. Built by the Wodeyars, it last filled up in
1992. It almost reached full capacity in 1999. But since then, this water body,
once the lifeline of Bangalore,
has only been able to hold varying levels of water but it has never been able
to supply water regularly.
This is the Tippegondanahalli
reservoir across river Arkavathy, which was built in 1933 after the Hesarghata reservoir
dried up. For the last few years, the TG Halli, as it also called, has never
had enough water.
TG Halli has been in the news
in the last few days as the water level
in it has been steadily going up, thanks to copious rains in the catchment areas.
The TG Halli once supplied
drinking water to areas in the west of the city, but encroachment of lakes,
growing urbanisation and rapid expansion of the city have seen storage levels
The last time the reservoir
was filled was in 1992 and after that the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage
Board (BWSSB), which operates the TG Halli, gave up pumping water and shifted
focus entirely on Cauvery water supply to Bangalore.
BWSSB officials are hoping
that the water level in TG Halli rises further. Last Monday, saw TG Halli hold 26
feet of water and this is encouraging as last year at the same time, the water
level stood at 17 feet.
Since Karnataka received good
rains in September and October, the BWSSB hopes that the water level would go
Constructed at the confluence
of the Arkavathi and the Kumudvati rivers, TG Halli has a depth of 74 ft and its
total storage capacity is 3 tmc ft.
Officials say heavy rain
in catchment areas like Doddaballapur (which recently recorded 11 cm of
rainfall) has seen the water levels in the reservoir rise.
The BWSSB is not pumping any water from TG Halli though if need be it can pump
about 350 mld. However, the water board
wants to keep TG Halli supply as stand by.
If it was the then Dewan of
Mysore, K Seshadri Iyer, who conceived of Hesarghatta reservoir, it was another
Dewan-Sir M. Visvesvaraiah- who recommend TG Halli as a means to ease Bangalore’s growing
thirst for water.
When Hesarghatta proved
insufficient to meet the water needs and it went dry 1925, TG Halli was
commissioned in 1933.
The first stage of TG Halli was
designed to provide a daily supply of 27mld of water for a city's population of
3 lakh, but this too soon proved inadequate. The reservoir was once again deepened
and the water works modified to cater to the population of one million in 1956..
However, with the city's population growing by leaps and bounds and the water
proving inadequate, the State Government decided to supply water from the
Cauvery. In 1964, the Government approved the first stage of the Cauvery Water
Supply Scheme (CWSS). Five stages of CWSS have proved insufficient and the
government is now looking at alternatives to boost daily water supply as the
City currently faces a shortage of 225 million litres of water per day (mld).
This shortage is expected to
go up by 1030 mld in 2036. BWSSB is thinking of supplying water from the Krishna and it has drawn up several other schemes but the
best bet would be to revive the Hesarghatta and TG Halli reservoirs.
If the TG Halli lake has to
be revived, the catchment areas of Devanahalli, Doddaballapur, Magadi and
Nelamangala in Bangalore Rural and Ramanagra districts have to be cleared of
encroachments and the lakes and tanks restored as they form a vital part of the
regeneration programme. Fortunately, all thee areas have so far received good rainfall
and the inflow to TG halli has been steadily rising. Usually, the reservoir starts
filling up in September, October and November.
In the last seven years, the water level had not gone up beyond 43 ft. If
it fills up, Bangalore
can get at least 135 million litres of drinking water every day.
Not many remember that till 1980,
TG Halli was one of the main sources of
drinking water to the city and it supplied water to Bangalore West including
the localities of Rajajinagar, Sunkadakatte and Vijayanagar. It was in 2012
that the BWSSB finally gave up on TG Halli and discontinued supply of water
One of the many options that
the BWSSB is now planning for TG Halli is to recharge the reservoir and the
Arkavathy surface water source, by using treated sewage from the
Koramangala and Challaghatta valley (K&C) waste water treatment plant.
The project proposes to
divert the treated water to Nandi Hills which would flow into various lakes
located downstream and ultimately to the TG Halli reservoir.
It involves construction of four
centrifugal pumps from K&C
Valley till Nandi Hills
and construction of a ground-level reservoir (GLR) at the foot of the hills.
The proposed plan is to pump 200 mld of treated sewage using the centrifugal
pumps, each having 50 mld capacity to an elevation of 980 metres into the
proposed ground level reservoir.
The treated water would then be
pumped using booster pumps to the identified hill surface facing the TG Halli
catchment area. The water would be sent to tanks and lakes along TG Halli which
would ultimately get filled.
The cost was estimated in
2005 at Rs 415 crore. Today, it needs at least a hundred crores more to take up
this project, which also requires an annual operation and maintenance cost of Rs 80 crore.
Apart from this step, the State and the BWSSB have to tackle the issue of unplanned development, encroachment of
catchment areas, altered drainage system, quarrying, denudation of forests and
other related urban issues.
Srirangapatna, the erstwhile
capital of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, has a history dating back to the
New Stone Age. But very few of the thousands of visitors and pilgrims who come
to this island town are aware of this fact.
The New Stone Age is also
called the Neolithic Age and it was a period of human development and
It began sometime in 10,200
BC and ended between 4500 BC and 2000 BC. In south India, the Neolithic period began
in 3000 BC and continued till about 1400 BC. The age in Karnataka is characterised
Robert Bruce Foot (1834
-1912), a British geologist and archaeologist, discovered the first conclusive
Paleolitic stone tool (a hand axe) in Pallavaram near Madras. He then along with William King went
on to discover more such tools and settlements in South and West
India, including Srirangapatna. He is, therefore, often considered
as the Father of Indian prehistory.
In 1884 he discovered the 3.5
kilometres (2.2 miles) long Belum caves, the second largest cave in the
Indian subcontinent. Foote spent 33 years, starting as a youth at the age of
24, working for the geological survey.
Foote's father-in-law was the
Rev. Peter Percival, missionary, linguist and a pioneering educator of Sri Lanka and South India.
Foot’s grandson, Major General Henry Robert Bowreman Foote, was awarded the
Victoria Cross during the second Word war.
Coming back to Srirangapatna,
other archaeologists have discovered some stone tools such as an axe, hammer
and other antiquities of the new stone age culture.
In 1984, Dr C. Mahadeva
discovered stone tools such as bone, Ardha chandra and a chopping splinter
belonging to the microlithic age. It is significant that these tools are made
out of jasper, chert and other stone materials.
The discovery of many
microlithic weapons in the area has led archaeologists and historians to
believe that this must have been a factory site. Historians have discovered
stone age settlements in Pandavapura, Kuntibetta and Srirangapatna. Some
remnants of the stone age culture have been found at Hangarahalli
and Ranganathittu on the
banks of Cauvery, (Srirangapatna taluk); Maralahalli, Belakawadi, Muttatti,
Halagur (Malavalli taluk) Kuntibetta, near Pandavapura and Sanabakoppalu in
The findings suggest that the
population density in this part was very thin. The stone age man who lived
around thick forests, river valleys.
Srirangapatna was originally
built by Udayaditya, the brother of Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana, in 1120 AD. It
soon became an important agrahara during the Hoysala period. In 1454, Timmana
Dannayaka, a local chief of Nagamangala, obtained permission from the
Vijayanagara king Praudadeva Raya, and built a fort at Srirangapatna. Soon, the
Vijaayanagar rulers mde Srirangapatna their provincial capital.
This fort was captured by
Raja Wodeyars from the Vijayanagar Viceroy, Tirumala, in 1610 and it later fell
into the hands of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.
The fort was destroyed in May
1799 in the fourth and final Anglo-Mysore war. After the death of Tipu in 1799
A.D., Srirangapatna lost its glory as the Wodeyars shifted the capital to Mysore.
Since the island is home to
the first of the three Ranganatha shrines on the banks of the river Cauvery, it
is also known as Adi Ranga. As it is located to the west of Srirangam (in Tamil
Nadu), it is also called as Paschima Ranganatha Kshetra.
belonging to the Gangas (2), Hoysalas (2), Vijayanagars (12), Wodeyars of
Mysore (15) Hyder-Tipu (14) and others (22) have been found here. Among them,
four are in Tamil, 36 in Kannada, eight in Sanskrit, 14 in Persian and two each
in Telugu and English.
Thus we see that
Srirangapatna has much more to offer than the Ranganatha Swamy
Temple and the monuments
belonging to the Hyder Ali-Tipu era. A student of history and archaeology would be interested in
the ancient history of the island which is older than the ancient and hoary temple of Ranganatha.
What does a maternity
hospital, a road, temple structure and a lake have in common. Of course, all but
one of them are in Bangalore
but that is not the point of similarity.
All these structures were
built by one person more than a hundred years ago. But today, neither the man
nor his contribution to the then small village of Bangalore
is even remembered. If the road after which bears his name is a busy
thoroughfare in a small town seventy
kilometers away from Bangalore,
the lake which is part of the City is a cesspool of sewage and untreated water.
People living around the lake tend to curse it more than seeing it as a
Once home to hundreds of
migratory birds and also small wildlife, it is now one of the most encroached
water bodies in Bangalore.
And to think it once supplied water to the parched residents of Bangalore.
The temple structure that he
built still stands. Though the temple is one of the landmarks of Bangalore, he is rarely,
if ever, remembered for it. The maternity hospital he built so that poor and
needy residents to get modern care is better known by its initials and even
doctors and patients rarely pause to spare a thought for the man who so
generously donated money for the construction of the building.
The man who built all these is
none other than Yele Mallappa Shetty, a rich merchant of Bangalore who lived in the 19th century. A philanthropist,
he is entirely responsible for constructing the Elemarappakere which is also known
as Yele Mallappa Shetty Kere or lake.
This water body is near KR
Puram or Krishnarajapuram on Hoskote
Road. It was entirely built by Shetty in 1890 and
the entire money for the project came
from his own funds.
Bangalore in 1890 was in the grip of a severe water scarcity.
The existing lakes and ponds had dried up and the British Government and the Mysore Kingdom
were making all out efforts to meet the challenge of providing water to the
While Sankey conceived
what is now called the Sankey lake in Bangalore, Shetty too hit
upon the idea of providing a water body in K.R. Puram. He saw people suffering
due to lack of water and choose the spot after a great deal of research and
planning. Thus was born the huge Yele Mallappa Shetty Kere or lake
The lake served as a lifeline
for people living in its vicinity. Soon, it also began supplying water to Bangalore. This even as
Sankey tank was being built and other water works were being commissioned by
the Mysore Government and also the British.
Today, realms is written about Sankey and
others but there is not a mention of Shetty who was a rich areca merchant involved
in taking up developmental works. A philanthrophist, Shetty was also involved
in constructing the temple structure around the historic Kadu Malleswara
Temple in Malleswaram.
Sadly, while historians and
others wax eloquent about the association of Shahaji, the father of Shivaji,
with the Kadu Malleswara temple, they fail to even mention Shetty and his
contribution. Incidentally, the structure funded by Shetty came to be completed
sometime in 1900.
Shetty also built a maternity
hospital, which today is called Yele Mallappa Shetty's Maternity Hospital.
Not many know that this is one of the oldest hospitals of its kind in Bangalore and that it was
built in 1879.
Supposedly belonging to the Lingayat
community, there is a road named after him in Bangarpet town of Kolar district. The
mining town of Bangarpet
was earlier known as Bowringpet. It is about 71 kms from Bangalore.
Coming back to the lake, it
once occupied more than 300 acres in area. Today it is about 260 acres and it
is home to a variety of migratory birds. Wildlife photographers have sighted
more than 38 species of migratory birds and recorded 28 of them. The Golden
oriole, northern shoveler, green bee eater, bulbul, pied kingfisher, egrets,
Eurasian coot are spotted in the water body frequently.
This is also one of the
largest fresh water lake in north east Bangalore
and its watershed is spread over in an area of 287
km2. It forms part of the Hebbal and
Unfortunately, the lake and
its surroundings are host to a variety of industries and establishments such as
stone crushers, asphalt manufacturing
units, factories, brick manufacturing, dumpsite, fodder industry, garages, solar
cell factory, steel warehouse and even agricultural lands.
Layouts and educational and
commercial centres around the lake and increased urban activity have almost
killed the lake.
There are studies to this
effect by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and by Bangalore University.
Mention Srirangapatna and the
first name that comes to our mind is that of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Similarly, mention Srirangapatna fort and the first thing that
comes to the mind is the heroic death of Tipu on May 4, 1799 just a few yards
away from the massive fortifications.
The Fort, perhaps, is the
second most important monument of Srirangapatna which lends a unique character to the
bustling town (The first important monument should be the sprawling Ranganatha Temple). There are a lot of legends and
myths associating the Wodeyars, Hyder Ali and Tipu with the fort.
But what many have forgotten
is that the fort was initially built by a local chieftain whose name is now
almost forgotten, so much so that the fort is more associated with Hyder-Tipu
and the Wodeyars than this palegar.
There is no plaque, name
board or even a sign board detailing the contribution of this Palegar. What is
more astonishing is that it was this palegar who laid the foundations of the
massive Srirangapatna fort more than seven centuries ago.
Moreover, it was also this
palegar who contributed lavishly to the temples in Srirangapatna, Tonnur or
Kere Tonnur and of course Melukote.
This palegar was the first
chieftain to fortify Srirangapatna and also rule from the area but as a vassal
of the might Vijayanagars. A devout Srivaishnava, he ruled justly and he was
one of the top army commanders of the Vijayanagar forces.
This palegar is none other
than Thimanna Hebbar, the chief of Nagamangala, who was also known as Thimmanna
He rose to prominence because
of his military and administrative prowess and in 1454 A.D., he took the
permission of the Vijayanagar Emperor to build a mud fort in Srirangapatna.
However, even before Thimanna
Hebbar fortified Srirangapatna, it was a thriving and important town. During
the Hoysala rule(943-1340), Srirangapatna was one of the most important
Once Veera Ballala
(1291-1343) died, the Hoysala empire disappeared and Srirangapatna became a
provincial capital of the Vijayanagars. Sometime in 1450 or a little earlier,
Thimanna Hebbar took up the post of a palegar of Srirangapatna and he was a
vassal of the Vijayanagars.
In 1454, Thimanna Hebbar laid
the foundations of the mud fort and also dug a trench around it. He also repaired,
renovated and donated liberally to the Ranganatha temple in Srirangapatna, the
Nambi Narayana temple in Tonnur and the two main temple of Melkote-Cheluva
Narayanaswamy and Yoga Narasimha.
These temples had been
ravaged by Mailk Kafur during his south India invasion of 1311.
Thimanna Hebbar was a
commander of the Vijayanagar forces under Emperor Mallikarjuna Raya (1446-1465)
who continued him in the post of a palegar of Srirangapatna.
The descendents of Thimanna
Hebbar were confirmed in the post of palegar
of Srirangapatna till 1495 when the Vijayanagar Emperor Narasimha Raya (1491-1505) decided to appoint
relatives of the royal family as Viceroys of Srirangapatna.
The royal family of Vijayanagar continued to hold Srirangapatna as
Viceroys till 1610 when Raja Wodeyar defeated Tirumalaraya in the battle of
Kesare and made Srirangapatna his capital.
Raja Wodeyar realised the
strategic importance of the Jaladurga or island fortress formed naturally by
the north and south branches of the Cauvery and renovated the fort.
Later, Kanteerava Narasaraja
Wodeyar in 1654 and Chikkadevaraya Wodeyar strengthened the fortress and Hyder
and Tipu too contributed immensely.
When the British stormed the
fort on May 4, 1799, they admired the massive structure and refrained from
pulling it down.
The fort is on the western
end of the island and it is in the form of an irregular pentagon with a perimeter
of about 4 kilometres.
The fort is a major tourist
attraction as are the many additions to it made by Tipu. Of the brave and just
palegar, there is no mention and it seems time has swallowed his name.
An earlier post had dealt
with the Chamundi Hills and the many names that the hills were called by. This
post is about a few other temples on the Chamundi Hills which unfortunately are
not so well-known as the Chamundi
One of the earliest temples
not only on Chamundi Hills but in the Mysore
region is the Mahabaleshwara
The Mahabaleshwar temple was initially
built by the Gangas during the eighth century and renovated by Hoysalas. Interestingly,
the bronze idols in this temple belong to the Chola period.
The temple is an artistic blend of Hoysala and Ganga
architecture. The main deity is the linga which has Shiva’s face on it. There
is also an idol of Parvathi to the left of the Linga.
The idols of Sapta Mata
(seven mothers), two idols of Ganesha,
Nataraja along with Sivakami are also found in the temple.
Generally, we do not find an
idol of Nataraja in a Shiva temple but this is an exception here. It is also rare
to find a stone idol of Nataraja and this can be seen here.
The priest of the temple says
since the Linga self manifested, it is also known as Aarsheya Murthy.
Outside the temple are the
five avatars of Shiva - Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Eeshana.
These idols were consecrated by Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar.
Another little known temple on
the hills is that of Lakshmi Narayana which is situated behind the Mahabaleshwar temple.
The temple faces West and it is
dedicated to Narayana along with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi.
This deities have been carved
from a single stone. There is a beautiful and unique idol of Hanuman here and
it has been growing for the last 100 years. Strangely, the idol cannot be seen
clearly in the day but it is visible after dark when lamps are lit. This idol
There is an interesting tale
about the idol. According to locals, Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodayer came to the
place and directed a sculptor to break a stone lying on the hill. The sculptor
hit the stone a few times but was only able to make a small dent. Later that
night, Hanuman appeared in the dreams of the sculptor and asked him not to
break the stone. He said he was growing on the stone and, therefore, there was
no need to break it.
The stone then was
consecrated as it is and this has been growing. Maharani Tripura Sundari,
second wife of Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodayer, commissioned a silver
Kavacha for the idol.
There is no Dhwaja Stamba for
this temple. However, both the Mahabaleshwara and Chamundi Temples
have Dhwaja Stambas.
Another interesting temple on
the Hill is the Nandi and the small cave temple of Shiva
The 16 feet high and 24 feet
long monolith Nandi was installed by Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar in 1659. The
significance of this Nandi is that, while Nandi everywhere faces Shiva, it faces
south while Shiva looks towards the east.
Locals say the Wodeyars
installed ten different Nandi idols around the hill to protect their empire. Even
today, some of the Nandi statues can be seen as Neerkal Hatti Basava, Ulluri
Basava, Kodi Basava and Kere Bali Basava.
Coming back to the Nandi on
Chamundi Hills, there is a small Cave temple adjacent to the monolith which houses
a Shiva Linga.
Another temple is that
of Jwala Tripura Sundari, sister of
Chamundi at Uttanahalli.
The idol of the goddess, said
to be an avtar of Lakshmi, is located little below the ground. The hillock on
which this temple is located is called Ramanathagiri. This is so as the temple
also houses the self-manifested idol of Ramanateshwara or Shiva.
Nearby is the ashrama of Markandeya
ashram which is marked by a small temple. Legend is Markandeya worshipped Shiva
at this very spot.
Devikere, which lies
en route to the Chamundi Hill, is a small but beautiful pond meant to draw
water for the temple. The Devi kere is also known as Deva Gange as Ganga created the water here to worship Shiva.
Lakhs of tourists and
pilgrims make a beeline to the Chamundi temple atop the Betta or Chamundi Hills
in Mysore. The
Hills, which are among the eight most religious hills in south India and have an average elevation of a
thousand meters above sea level, are a
natural and religious attraction and give Mysore
a pride of place on the tourist map of India.
The Chamundi temple, which is
situated atop the Chamundi Hills, is one of the largest in Karnataka and rivals
the Ranganatha temple in Srirangapatna and the Nanjundeshwara Temple
in Nanjangud in size and footfalls.
Tourists and first tome
visitors and even many Mysoreans assume that the hills came to called as
Chamundi after the temple by the same name. What they do not know is that the
hills were known by different names and it came to be called after Chamundi
only after the Wodeyars began ruling from Mysore
in the 14th century.
Interestingly, there are many
myths and legends associated with Chamundi Hills and of course Mysore too. Mysore perhaps is the only city in Karnataka after Badami to be named after a
demon. If Badami is named after Vatapi, Mysore city is named after
Chamundi Hills, with along
and winding 12 kilometre road to the top amid forests, is the very place where
the demon, Mahishasura, was slain by Goddess Chamundi. The silhouette of the
hills from the main palace
of Mysore gives an
impression of Mahishasura sleeping.
Located 13 kilometres from
the heart of Mysore
city, the first mention of Chamundi was after Mahabala, a form of Shiva. Centuries
ago, the Chamundi Hills were better known as Mahabaladrigiri. This was so as the main deity on the hill was
Mahabaleshwara (Shiva) and not Chamundi.
The name of Maabbala or
Mahabala Betta or Maabala Theertha is repeatedly mentioned during the Hoysala
period. Mahabala was another name for Chamundi Hills.
Hoysala Emperor Vishnuvardhana
had given funds for the maintenance of the temple and also for the worship of Shiva. Till the reign of Bola Chamaraja
Wodeyar, the Chamundi temple was one of the many on the hills and the Mahabala Temple was the most important structure
atop the hills.
It was when Bola Chamaraja
Wodeyar survived an attack of lightning but lost all his hair that he believed
Chamundi had saved him. Since then, Chamundi began gaining importance and the temple of Chamundeshwari began gaining
Subsequently, Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar
(1659-1673), built 1108 steps in 1659 or 1664 for the benefit of pilgrims. The
steps can still be seen and they are used by devotees and health and fitness
freaks. He also commissioned the 16 feet high monolithic statue of the Nandi on
the hills in 1659.
By the way, the temple of Shiva or Mahabala exists even today and
historians and archaeologists agree that this structure is much older than the
Chamundi temple. The first structure of this ancient temple dates back to the
period of the Gangas.
When the Wodeyars came to
power and began ruling the province of
Purugere from the 14th
century onwards, first as vassals of Vijayanagar and then as independent rulers
Chamundeshwari or Chamundi became their family deity.
The Wodeyars commenced regular
poojas at the Chamundi
Temple and the hills
slowly came to be known as Chamundi Hills. Another name for the hills is Trimukuta
Kshetra or three-peaked hill.
The Chamundi Hill is compared
to a middle bud of a lotus surrounded by eight petals and all these petals represent
different hills. The eight hills are Chikkadevammana Betta in HD Kote,
Gopalswamy Betta, Biligiri Rangana Betta (BR Hills), Male Madeshwara (MM Hills)
Betta, Kunti Betta near Pandavapura, Yadugiri in Melkote, Mallayana Betta in
Pandavpura and Karigatta in Srirangapatna. The Chamundi, therefore, is called
as a bud surrounded by eight petals and, hence, the name Ashtadala Parvata
(hill surrounded by eight petals).
The Chamundi hill is
sandwiched between two rivers. If Cauvery flows north, Kapila flows south. The
Chamundi Hills also has one of the oldest inscription ever found in Mysore and this is dated
to 950A D when the Gangas were lording over the area. There is also a Hoysala
inscription here dating back to the 12th century. The hills not only
provide you with a trekking, walking and motoring experience but also give you
a glimpse of wildlife in the Chamundi
abutting the hill. (This is the first of a three part post on Chamundi Hills,
its temples and other little known spots).
The year 1799 was a watershed
in the annals of the Mysore
Kingdom. It was the year
when the geographical contours of the Kingdom was redefined. It was also the
year when the Tiger of Mysore, Tipu Sultan, was slain by the British and his brave attempt to throw out the British
The year of 1799 also saw a
major change in the political scene of south India. Till then, Tipu and his
father, Hyder Ali, had redefined the polices in the Deccan and their strong
opposition to the British had kept the East India Company on its toes and dealt
a severe setback to their ambition of
taking over south India.
The death of Tipu led to the
extinction of the short-lived Muslim rule over Mysore. Wary of a backlash, the British
cleverly handed back the Mysore
Kingdom to the Wodeyars
but made them sing the Subsidiary Alliance.
The British divided the
erstwhile Mysore State into four parts. While they retained
West Coast and also control over Bangalore Cantonment later, the Nizam of
Hyderabad was gifted Gutti, Gurumakonda and northern part of Chitradurga. The Marathas
were appeased by giving them Harapanahalli, Anegondi and surrounding areas of Bellary.
The remaining portion, which
was a truncated leftover, was created as Mysore State
and handed over to the Wodeyars. On their part, the five-year-old Mummadi
Krishna Raja Wodeyar was coronated the Emperor in a tent in present day
Nazarbad in Mysore.
The capital of Mysore State too was shifted from Srirangapatna to Mysore.
The British initially maintained
a fairly large military presence in Srirangapatna and the expense was borne by
the Wodeyars. They then shifted the military presence to Bangalore and forced the Wodeyars to cede
administrative and military control over the large tract of land to them.
While Srirangapatna continued
to languish and slowly lost out its importance, Mysore
developed rapidly and this is no small measure to the Wodeyars and the Dewans
of the State.
Dewan Purnaiah took over
charge of Mysore State in 1799 and was in the post till
1811. Purnaiah took special interest in developing Bangalore.
He visited Bangalore often and renovated the temple
inside the old fort now located in City Market. He also built a choultry for
travellers in Tulasi Thota near Majestic. He also financially helped farmers to
convert the rocky areas in Sarakki, Jaraganahalli, and Maruthihalli into
When the British started construction
of the Cantonment in Bangalore in 1807, their first base was in 1808 and it was
located near where the Command Air Hospital is located today on Old Airport
The emergence of Cantonment
as a rival to the pete brought in Western thought, culture and lifestyle to Bangalore. When the
British took direct control over the Mysore
Kingdom in 1831 and till its return to
the Wodeyars in 1881, Mysore was lorded by
English Commissioners who had their headquarters in Bangalore. These Commissioners directly
reported to the Governor General of India
and not to the Governor at Madras.
It was during this period
that two Commissioners-Mark Cubbon (1834-1861) and Bowring (1861-1870) gave Bangalore its present
character. They ensured that Bangalore
received the necessary infrastructure to develop into the foremost City of the