Monday 4 March 2013

History of Bangalore's stone age

We have all dated Bangalore as a new city and gave credit to the Hoysala Emperor for  the founding of  Bangalore and also for calling it Bandakaluru or the City of boiled beans.
Till recently, this theory about the origin of Bangalore held water. It is only in the last few years that this theory is being shredded as historians and archaeologist have found that Bangalore is a much earlier city than many of its neighbours.
What is more remarkable is that the archaeological remains and artifacts that have been discovered have pushed bank Bangalore’s antiquity to the Stone Age.
What is more amazing is that there is sufficient historical and archaeological evidence that points out to Bangalore’s close link to the Roman and other ancient Empires, showing the trade between these places. Such a trade link could not have been possible had not any settlement or town been in existence.
Till recently, the first mention of Bangalore was in records from the Ganga era as a small hamlet. Though this mention is in the form of a stone tablet in a temple in Begur, the location of this Bangalore coincides with modern Halebengaluru near Kodigehalli. This area is not all that far away from Hebbal.  
A local legend states that Kempe Gowda built his new capital town in about 1537 AD after taking permission from his Vijayanagar overlords. This was so as Bangalore was a part of the Vijayanagar empire and Kempe Gowda was only a local chieftain.
This new town came up in the vicinity of Ulsoor Gate police station and City Market. Kempe Gowda called it Bengaluru as his mother and wife belonged to the older hamlet of Hala Bengaluru which in Kannada means Old Bangalore.
It had always been believed that the story of  Bangalore began with Kempe Gowda. This is not exactly true now, though there is no argument about the fact that Kempe Gowda did found the modern city of Bangalore and was responsible for many of its development.
Some time ago, Stone Age weapons belonging to 2000 to 1000 B.C., have been found near Jalahalli, Siddapura and Gavipura in Bangalore. This has pushed back the date of  Bangalore’s origin to the Stone Age.
By the way, Jalahalli is very near Kodigehalli and it is in the forests here that the Hoysala emperor Balalla lost himself and was fed a cup of boiled beans by an old woman living in a hamlet.
Coming back to the Stone Ag implements, it was the Directorate of Census Operations which discovered that Bangalore had human habitation as early as 4,000 B.C (Middle Stone Age).
The officials of the Directorate discovered stone implements to back their claim in the localities of  Jalahalli, Sudasandra, Siddhapura, and Jadigenahalli belonging to this period.
Besides, burial sites dating back to 1,000 B.C (Iron Age) were discovered at Koramangala and Chikkajala on the outskirts of Bangalore.
Coins of the Roman Emperors, Augustus, Tyberious and Claudius were found at Yeshwanthpur and HAL. These finds are indicative of a trade between Rome and Bangalore. The earliest Roman coin found in Bangalore can be dated to 27 B.C.
Now how did a transoceanic contact emerge between Rome and Bangalore is a subject matter of further research. It is for archaeologists to probe the issue further and settle permanently Bangalore’s timeline.
Unfortunately, even Bangalore’s growth under the Gangas and Cholas is not properly recorded. How many of us now that when the Cholas overran the Ganga kingdom, south Bangalore was a major part of the Chola province and it was called Nikarilacholamandala. This was sometime in 1024 AD.
Several major battles were fought in and around Bangalore and Yelehanka. Not much importance has been given to them. A deeper study of these events would throw up more light on Hale Bangaluru.

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