Inside the ramparts of the Bangalore Fort
Bangalore Fort is situated bang in the middle of the city market area, which is also known as K.R. Market. The foundation of the fort was laid by Kempegowda marking the four corners of the city, one at Yelahanka, another at Mekhri circle ( Ramanshree garden), Ulsoor gate in the East, Kengeri in west and City market as the southern boundary.
Tracing back the history of Bangalore from 1537, one comes across various twists & turns in its history. Bangalore was essentially under the Vijaynagar empire, Kempe Gowda was a feudal lord under Vijaynagar emperors. In 1565 Sultans witch hunted the fleeing Vijaynagar royalty for their unparalled wealth. In 1638 Adil shah army captured the Fort. They ruled Blore for 5 decades and it was attacked and captured by Mughals belonging to Aurangazeb from Sira. In 1687 Bangalore was sold to Chickadevaraja Wodeyar for 3 lakh pagodas. The wodeyars built a fort near the bellary road stretching upto cant area. In 1759, Hyder Ali who was serving as one of the commander’s under Wodeyar’s received Blore as a Jagir. Hyder Ali wanted Tipu Sultan to establish his skills in territorial development. The foundation for Lalbagh was laid. Basically Bangalore seemed to have served as a Barracks for armies of Vijaynagar Rulers, Wodeyars, Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and the British. The British defeated Tipu sultan in 1791 and took over the Blore Fort. Tipu sultan was betrayed once again and he died fighting the British in 1799 @ Srirangapatnam. The province was handed back to Wodeyar’s till 1831. The British could not ignore the abundant wealth of Gold being mined at KGF. They took charge of the Golden goose till 1947, when attained freedom.
The Government of Karnataka has now located Vani Vilas and Victoria hospital in the Fort Area, using the barracks. There is a new complex under construction, wherein we hope the entire hospital will get shifted leaving the heritage to be preserved. It is sad to note that slowly the historical edifice is getting destroyed day in day out. The Fort enterance is preserved in pristine condition, with some vandalism. The gatekeeper who is presently housed to take care of the historical Fort seems to be a doubtful character. I hope proper protection in the form of recognized security is provided to safeguard the Fort.
Hyder Ali laid the foundation for the summer palace just adjacent to the Fort which was completed by Tipu sultan in 1791. He seems to have hardly stayed in Blore to enjoy the luxury, since the British defeated him and evicted him from Blore Fort in 1791. Tipu Sultans palace in Srirangapatna is much more lavish and pomp. But if we add Lalbagh to the Fort and Palace one can imagine the grandeur of the design, which unfortunately was not enjoyed by the planners. The British seems to have really enjoyed their stay in the Fort.
It is now the responsibility of the govt. to restore the heritage of Bangalore by clearing hospital and other municipal school occupants. The grandiose of B’lore can be retained if only authorities take note and act on it.