Bangalore Fort: Grand, but still under siege

Ideal backdrop to narrate the story of the growth of Bengaluru

The Bangalore Fort is a part of the legend of the conquest of India by the British. It was one of the well-fortified forts in south India. The legend of the fort, the British siege and subsequent conquest of the fort have been well-documented. Hence, I was expecting a lot when I went to this fort.

Bangalore Fort signboard
Bangalore Fort signboard

Sadly, most of it is gone, fallen prey over the years to the building and expansion of the modern city of Bengaluru (aka Bangalore). What is left can be best described as a studio apartment among forts.

The remnants are surrounded by a hospital, a market, bus stand and a college. Fortunately, the remnants are well-preserved and give a fairly good idea of what the fort must have been in its heydays.

The walls are think and gigantic. The gates are tall and can fit in two elephants standing one above the other. The spikes on the doors to prevent elephants from ramming into the door are long and sharp. The turf is a beautiful shade of green.

A gate in Bangalore Fort
One of the gates of Bangalore Fort
Gate in Bangalore Fort
Try ramming into those

 

All in all, a beautiful location. In fact, the walls are so thick, they pretty much shut out the noise from the bus stand and market outside.

Inside the Bangalore Fort
Once here, you can’t hear the noise outside

The fort would have been the ideal backdrop to narrate the story of the growth of Bengaluru from the time founder Kempegowda established the mud fort, which was later strengthened by Hyder Ali, the de facto ruler of the Mysore kingdom and the father of Tipu Sultan.

There are several stories of the pete (market) nearby and the villages in the vicinity.

Roshini Varsha has covered some of these in her blog.

Apart from that, there are several stories of the confrontation between the British and Tipu Sultan. All of which you could have heard in the ambiance of this historic fort, instead of reading online. Some places can make the internet seem like a boring place.

And then, we have some modern stories. Here’s one.

Path to the ramparts
Path to the ramparts. The steps on the right take you to the place where British soldiers were imprisoned by Tipu Sultan

Inside the Bangalore Fort is a dungeon where Tipu Sultan had imprisoned British soldiers. It is, naturally, a big attraction and a big draw for local tourists. Here’s the dampener: to see this dungeon, you need to get written permission from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). A guard in the fort told me that the office of the ASI is in Koramangala, which is about 10 kilometres away.

Now, isn’t that a story you will be narrating to all your friends!

The walls of the fort are thick, but the pressure to cede ground is immense. While the portion facing the hospital and college seem secure, the portion facing the market seems vulnerable to encroachers. It is quite possible that in a few years, encroachers will claw away at the walls and reduce the fort to rubble. Now, there is no Tipu Sultan to fight back.

Details of Bangalore Fort
Details of Bangalore Fort

After a tour of the fort, you should visit Tipu Sultan’s summer palace nearby, which was once within the walls of the fort. The temples in the immediate vicinity were also within the fort.

How to get there

The fort and summer palace are right next to the K R Market Metro Station. This is the best way to get there.

If you opt for an autorickshaw or a cab, specify Bangalore Fort or Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan in Kalasipalya.

 

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