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:
Also, we read about the watch towers built by his son 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.
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.
The fort had several gates, among which the most prominent were Delhi Gate (facing north) and Mysore gate (facing south).
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.
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.
In 1791, the British army, led by Lord Cornwallis laid siege to fort of Bangalore, during which part of the fort was damaged.
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.
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.
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)
Next time, we shall find out more about the 1791 siege of Bangalore.
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