Friday 5 April 2013

A locality named after mosquitoes

If Panipat is known for flies, Bangalore is known for its mosquitoes. Infact, the garden city is today better known as the Mosquito capital of India.
The uncleared mounds of garbage, stagnant pools of water, the humidity of the city and a few other factors are all favourable for mosquitoes to breed in large numbers in Bangalore.
The mosquitoes belong to Culicidae and they are small, midge-like flies. A few species of mosquitoes are considered harmless or in a handful of species useful to humanity, but most are a nuisance and  they suck blood from living vertebrates, including human beings. The females of many species of mosquitoes are blood eating pests. In feeding on blood, some of them transmit extremely harmful human and livestock diseases, such as malaria, yellow fever and filariasis.
In Bangalore, they are known to be carriers of dengue and other diseases that spread during Summer.
Amazingly, the Bangalore mosquito is immortalized by naming an well-known or rather upmarket locality after it. However, not all city historians are convinced about the locality being named after  mosquitoes.
Does the locality stand for the mosquito or any other being. Anyway, here is the story of the locality and it is for you to choose between the two.   
Domlur is one of the few localities that are sandwiched between prestigious localities. Initially, a small village, Domlur had outgrown and outlived its rural colours and today it is a prestigious postal address.  
Domlur lies in the IT corridor and was close to the erstwhile HAL airport until the airport was shifted to its present location near Devanahalli.
The road connecting the HAL airport and Bangalore city passed through the heart of Domlur and it was an important thoroughfare for employees of IT and BT companies and the many industries situated in and around the area.
A few local historians trace the name Domlur to Telugu speaking people who settled down in and around the area. Since Domlur had a huge drain running through it and it still does, swarms of mosquitoes welcomed people to their houses and parks.
Houses, offices, business and commercial establishments suffered from mosquito attacks every day and while householders took the usual precaution of closing doors and windows from the afternoon till evening, business and commercial establishments could not have any such luck.
Many Telugu speaking people, who had settled down in the area, called the mosquitoes Domalu. The word Domalu is Telugu for mosquitoes. They labelled the place as Domalu Ooru or the place where mosquitoes breed. Subsequently, Domalu Ooru became Domalauru and then Domuluru and finally Domlur.
Even today, Domlur and its surrounding areas like Indiranagar have a substantial number of Telugu speaking people.
However, not all accept this mosquito theory.
Localities say Domlur is a local name and it is part of the living history of Bangalore. The word Domlur came from the word Tombalaru, which is a flower used by residents to worship Shiva at the Chokkanathaswamy Temple in Domlur.
The localities buttress this argument by pointing to an inscription in Tamil in the temple which calls the locality Tombaluru. The inscription belongs to the Hoysala King Ramanatha, the son of Someshwara.
In 1254AD, Someshwara divided his kingdom between his two sons, Ramanatha who ruled from Kannanur and Narasimha III who ruled from Halebidu or Dwarasamudra. Like his father Narasimha II, the Hoysala King Someshwara stayed back at Kannanur with Ramanatha where he was killed in a war with the Pandyas.
Ramanatha ruled the whole of Salem district and parts of Kolar and Bangalore district which is why the temple has inscriptions in Tamil dating back to his reign.
The name Domlur continued to be in circulation even after the Hoysalas disappeared from south India, leaving the Vijayanagars and Bahamanis to battle for supremacy.
Earlier to the Hoysalas, Domlur was held by Cholas who were soundly defeated in a war and had to surrender the area to Hoysalas. Domlur was also ruled by the Gangas and Nolambas.
Interestingly, one of the localities in Domlur is called Rustam Bagh.
Towards the turn of the century, a lot of land in Domlur belonged to the erstwhile royal family of Nepal. The royal family lived at the present Om Mahal which now houses the office of the Bangalore district police at the junction of Millers Road and Cunningham Road.
The royal family sold almost all its land here in 1935 to Z. R. Kothawala.  He named the land  as Rustam Bagh after his father Rustam.
Kothawala added Bagh-meaning garden- to the name as it was more garden and farm land. The area was wooded and its had scores of flowering plants, coconut and sapota trees.
The family then sold part of  the land to the late Tamil filmstar Gemini Ganeshan. Four decades ago, a bigger portion of the land was sold and this came to be known as Rustam Bagh Layout. A road leading to the layout was also named as Rustam Bagh Road. At present, the Rustam family owns about two acres of land in the area.
By the way, Domlur was earlier known as Bhagat Singh Nagar. However, Bangaloreans preferred to call the locality by the old name rather than call it by the renamed nomenclature.
Today, Domlur has as many mosquitoes as any other locality on Bangalore. However, very few localities have such an interesting story about its origin and certainly not about its connection to mosquitoes.  

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