History of Bangalore Fort
Bangalore Fort was built in 1537 as a mud fort by a Tribal Chief of the Vijayanagar Empire, named Kempe Gowda I. He is regarded as the founder of Bangalore (currently known as Bengaluru). After erecting the fortress, Kempe Gowda developed the region as his province as Bengaluru Pete. Kempe Gowda I desired to develop a grand city after visiting Hampi and the capital city of the Vijayanagar Empire. He acquired permission to build a new city from the then ruler of the empire, King Achutaraya. The King provided financial support to Kempe Gowda to meet the expenses of constructing a new city
He then went to select the site for the fort and the Bengaluru Pete in order to build his new principality, after gaining support of King Achutaraya. He went towards the west of his ancestral land of Yelahanka and reached ShivaSamudra village, located near Hesaraghatta and is around 10 miles from Yelahanka. He planned to develop a city with a fortress, temples, water tanks and a cantonment. Thus Kempe Gowda I performed holy rituals and ploughed the land with 4 pairs of decorated white bulls in 4 directions. Then he erected a mud fort with 9 large gateways and a moat that surrounded the entire structure. Gradually he also developed the nearby area and formed the city of Bengaluru Pete.
The Bangalore Fort prospered and developed during the reign of Kempe Gowda. The commander of the Bijapur Sultanate, Rustam-i-Zaman, took over the fortress in 1637. Later he handed over the administration of the fort to Shahaji and Bangalore was developed as his headquarters. During the reign of Chikkadeva Raya Wodeyar, the mud fort was extended and re-built as a stone fort from 1673 AD to 1704 AD. It was later renovated with stones and strongly fortified by Hyder Ali, ruler of Mysore in 1761. During the battle between Tipu Sultan of Mysore Kingdom (the son of Hyder Ali) and the army of British East India Company, a portion of the fortress was damaged. However, it was eventually restored by Tipu Sultan.
The forces of the British East India Company besieged the Bangalore fort under the command of Lord Cornwallis, during the Third Mysore War. The army of the Kingdom of Mysore retaliated under the leadership of Commander Bahadur Khan. After a fierce battle, the fortress was seized by the British East India Company. The British army used the structure as a strategic base to attack Srirangapatna which was the capital of Tipu Sultan.
Architecture of Bangalore Fort
The fort at Bangalore was constructed with an external fortified town. The town was guarded by a rampart, a ditch and dense growth of cactus and thorny bushes. The fort was primarily utilized as a shelter or refuge for the residents when the town was under attack from enemies or under any other risk. The perimeter of the Bangalore fort was around one mile. It was a solid granite stone structure which was bounded by a wide trench. There were about 26 towers along the ramparts that were located at intervals. There was also a temple of Lord Ganesha in the premises of the Bangalore fort.
At present the fortress is in ruins and only 2 bastions and one of the main gates (known as Delhi Gate) remain. Since the conquest of Bangalore by the British administration in 1791, the fort started dismantling. Currently the site has been developed as a tourist destination and is managed by the Archaeological Survey of Karnataka.
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