The Story of Bangalore Fort

In an earlier article, we had found out how Kempe Gowda established Bangalore in 1537 as a business hub and a city with scientific temper:
http://guruprasad.net/posts/how-kempe-gowda-built-bangalore/

Also, we read about the watch towers built by his son Kempe Gowda II:
http://guruprasad.net/posts/bangalore-watchtowers-built-by-kempe-gowda-ii/

Today, lets find out more about Bangalore Fort.

As Bangalore quickly changed hands between rulers as a result of wars throughout 17th century, development remained stagnant. In 1687, Chikka Deva Raja Wodeyar purchased Bangalore from Mughals (who had captured it for few weeks) for a tidy sum of Rupees 3 lakh which bolstered Bangalore’s prospects. Chikka Deva Raja realized the importance of a military garrison to house soldiers (along with ammunition) and built an oval fort adjacent (just south) to the existing large fort (covering the city) built by Kempe Gowda.

1791 Map of Bangalore

1791 Map of Bangalore.

 

fort_plan

Bangalore Fort blueprint reproduced by British in 1791.
Image courtesy: British Library

When Hyder Ali presided over Bangalore in 1761, being a military chief himself, he rebuilt the entire fort (and enlarged it as well) using modern techniques with materials like granite for construction. The strong fort with 26 bastions (circular projections like towers, at regular intervals which could station several soldiers) gave the city of Bangalore a new look altogether especially due to its imposing appearance.

1791_bangalore_fort_painting

View of Bangalore. Painting from 1791.
Image courtesy: British Library

 

The fort had several gates, among which the most prominent were Delhi Gate (facing north) and Mysore gate (facing south).

detail_fort_bangalore

Detailed map of Bangalore Fort in 1791. Image courtesy: British Library

The Delhi Gate was splendid, ornate with decorations and was large enough to easily allow even elephants to traverse through it. Following are some paintings of the Fort from 18th century.

1792_fort_north_entrance

A painting from 1792 depicting one of the entrances to Bangalore Fort.
Image courtesy: British Library

1804_fort_delhi_gate

1804 painting of Delhi Gate, Bangalore Fort.
Image courtesy: British Library

1804_fort_south_entrance

1804 painting of Bangalore Fort’s south entrance.

1804_mysore_gate

1804 painting of Mysore Gate, Bangalore Fort.
Image courtesy: British Library

 

As with all other military forts, the Bangalore military fort was also surrounded by a ditch filled with water (moat). The following photographs from 1860 shows how the splendid military fort overlooked the city.

1860_bangalore_fort 1860_bangalore_fort_side

In 1791, the British army, led by Lord Cornwallis laid siege to fort of Bangalore, during which part of the fort was damaged.

1791_siege_bangalore

Eventually, as Bangalore came under the control of British, they established a new cantonment region while allowing the locals to continue residing in the Pete region. Even till the early 20th century, the fort remained intact with all the 26 bastions.

The following map of Bangalore from 1900 shows the oval fort in perfect condition. (click the map to enlarge)
1900_bangalore

However, over the next 2 decades, several parts of the fort were dismantled by the civil administration authorities to make way for new buildings, hospitals, and roads for easier access.

The following map of Bangalore from 1924 suggests that the southern part of the military fort was completely dismantled to allow new arterial roads & layouts. (click the map to enlarge)
1924_bangalore_map

By 1940s, the fort was gradually dismantled and its granite was used by the administrators for construction purposes. Today, only 1 bastion of the fort remains, along with the Delhi Gate and the remains have been declared as protected monument by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). Following is a screenshot from Google Earth showing satellite image of the remains of Bangalore Fort (Also called Tipu Sultan’s Fort)

google_map_bangalore_fort

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Tippu+Sultan’s+Fort,+New+Tharagupet,+Bangalore,+Karnataka+560002,+India/@12.9626086,77.5758751,531m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x3bae15e3043a1d57:0xb2a4590209bde6d7

The remains of the fort is at a walkable distance from City Market and is open to public.
2014_bangalore_fort_city_market

Only 1 out of the 26 bastions remain today
2014_fort_bastion

Remains of the Delhi Gate
delhi_gate

Next time, we shall find out more about the 1791 siege of Bangalore.

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