Explore Basavanagudi ward in Bengaluru , the cultural treasure

Basavanagudi is one of the oldest and most prestigious areas of Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka. It is a place where tradition and modernity coexist harmoniously, where ancient temples and colonial bungalows stand alongside educational institutions and commercial establishments. It is a place where art, literature, and intellectualism flourish, where many eminent personalities from these fields have left their mark. It is a place where festivals are celebrated with fervor and enthusiasm, where people come together to worship, to enjoy, and to share. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of Basavanagudi that make it a cultural and historical treasure of Bengaluru.

The Origin of the Name

The name “Basavanagudi” derives from the Bull Temple, which is the main attraction of this area. The temple is dedicated to Nandi, the bull that serves as the vehicle of Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities of Hinduism. The temple houses a monolithic statue of Nandi, which is one of the largest in the world, measuring about 15 feet in height and 20 feet in length. The statue is carved out of a single piece of granite and is believed to be continuously growing in size.

The temple was built in 1537 by Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bengaluru, under the patronage of the Vijayanagara empire. According to legend, a bull used to roam around the nearby fields and destroy the groundnut crops every year. The farmers prayed to Lord Shiva to stop the menace, and he obliged by making the bull statue appear inside a temple. Since then, the farmers offer groundnuts to the bull every year during a fair called Kadlekai Parishe, which means Groundnut Fair. The fair is held in November or December and attracts thousands of devotees and tourists who come to witness the festive atmosphere and the offerings of groundnuts to the deity.

The Development of the Area

Basavanagudi was one of the first planned localities in Bengaluru, designed by Sir K. Seshadri Iyer and Sir Mirza Ismail, who were the Dewans (prime ministers) of Mysore state. The area was developed as a residential area for the elite class after the plague epidemic of 1898, which forced many people to move out of the congested city center. The area was laid out with wide roads, spacious plots, parks, and gardens. The architecture of the area reflects a blend of Indian and European styles, with many bungalows having sloping roofs, verandas, and arches.

The area witnessed many social and political movements during the freedom struggle against British rule. Many prominent leaders such as Annie Besant, Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru, C. Rajagopalachari, and others visited Basavanagudi and addressed public gatherings here. The area also played a key role in the development of Kannada literature and cinema, as many renowned writers, poets, and filmmakers were associated with this area. Some of them include Masti Venkatesha Iyengar, DV Gundappa, Kuvempu, TR Subba Rao (TaRaSu), GV Iyer, Puttanna Kanagal, Shankar Nag, Girish Karnad, UR Ananthamurthy, and others.

Explore Basavanagudi ward in Bengaluru , the cultural treasure


The Attractions of the Area

Basavanagudi is home to several famous temples, parks, educational institutions, restaurants, and markets. Some of them are:

  • Bugle Rock: A massive rock formation that was used as a watchtower by Kempe Gowda’s guards. It also has a water tank with motifs of famous people from Karnataka such as Basavanna (a 12th-century poet and social reformer), Akka Mahadevi (a 12th-century female saint and poet), Rani Chennamma (a 19th-century queen who fought against British rule), Sir M. Visvesvaraya (a 20th-century engineer and statesman), etc.
  • Dodda Ganapathi Temple: A temple dedicated to Ganesha, the elephant-headed god of wisdom and success. It has a huge idol of Ganesha that is about 18 feet in height and 16 feet in width. The idol is decorated with different ornaments and flowers every day according to different themes.
  • MN Krishna Rao Park: A serene park that was developed by Sir Mirza Ismail in memory of his predecessor Sir K. Seshadri Iyer’s son-in-law MN Krishna Rao. It has a bandstand, a library, and a children’s play area. It also hosts cultural events such as music concerts and book fairs.
  • Vidyarthi Bhavan: A legendary vegetarian restaurant that was established in 1943. It is famous for its crispy dosas and filter coffee. It has hosted many celebrities and dignitaries over the years such as Rajinikanth, Amitabh Bachchan, APJ Abdul Kalam, Ratan Tata, Narayana Murthy, etc.
  • Gandhi Bazaar: A bustling market area that sells fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables, spices, and other items. It is also famous for its eateries that serve traditional South Indian cuisine such as idli, vada, sambar, chutney, etc. Some of the popular ones are Brahmin’s Coffee Bar, SLV Corner, VB Bakery, etc.
  • NR Colony: A residential area named after Sir M. Visvesvaraya’s father, Mokshagundam Narsimhaiah Rau. It has many temples, parks, schools, and colleges. Some of the notable ones are Ramakrishna Ashrama, Lalbagh Botanical Garden, National College, Homeopathic Medical College, etc.
  • VV Puram: A locality that hosts many educational institutions such as National College and Homeopathic Medical College. It is also known for its food street that offers a variety of street food items such as dosa, chaat, pav bhaji, jalebi, kulfi, etc.
  • Shankarapuram: A locality that has many religious and cultural centers such as Shankara Matha (a monastery of the Advaita Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy), Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs (a think tank and research center), Indian Institute of World Culture (a cultural organization that promotes international understanding and cooperation), etc. It is also famous for its silk saree shops that sell exquisite and expensive sarees.

The Experiences of the Area

Basavanagudi is a place where one can experience the rich culture and history of Bengaluru in various ways. Some of them are:

  • Enjoying the delicious South Indian food at Vidyarthi Bhavan, Brahmin’s Coffee Bar, or any of the other eateries in Gandhi Bazaar. The taste and aroma of the food will transport one to the olden days of Bengaluru.
  • Visiting the Bull Temple and Dodda Ganapathi Temple during Kadlekai Parishe, the annual groundnut fair, and witnessing the festive atmosphere and the offerings of groundnuts to the deities. The sight and sound of the fair will fill one with joy and devotion.
  • Attending the cultural programmes at Bengaluru Ganesha Utsava, which is held on the grounds of National College or Acharya Pathasala Public School during Ganesh Chaturthi. The event showcases various forms of art and music by artists from all over India. The performance and participation of the event will inspire one with creativity and enthusiasm.
  • Exploring the heritage and history of Basavanagudi by taking a guided walk or a tuk-tuk tour that covers the temples, parks, markets, and monuments of this area. The tour will enlighten one with interesting facts and stories about Basavanagudi.
  • Shopping for silk sarees, handicrafts, books, and other items at Shankarapuram, DVG Road, or Gandhi Bazaar. The variety and quality of the products will impress one with their beauty and value.

Basavanagudi is a place that has something for everyone. It is a place that reflects the past, present, and future of Bengaluru. It is a place that deserves to be visited, admired, and cherished by all.