Bygone beauty

All things old Bengaluru feature in Ramjee Chandran’s lastest podcast The History of Bangalore, which also includes trivia about the city
Town Hall and Canara Bank, 1968
Town Hall and Canara Bank, 1968

BENGALURU : It may seem like Bengaluru is at its hottest that it has ever been but podaster Ramjee Chandran says that the city has experienced heat waves before. “For about 85 years, the record for the hottest day of Bengaluru was 38.9 degrees Celsius, set on May 22, 1931. That record was broken on April 22, 2016, with 39.2 degrees,” says Chandran. His latest podcast The History of Bangalore is filled with more such facts about the city.

The podcast comes from Chandran’s curiosity about breaking myths and finding more information about Bengaluru’s history. “I have attempted to find out more and more about the city. I thought I knew some of the history and I tried to figure out what drove some events of history at what point in time. As far as history is concerned, a lot of what is told is lost in a great deal of trivia,” says Chandran.

As with any other history project, Chandran’s research also started from archives. “I’ve been doing a lot of study, getting into the archives

and even mining the other state archives as well. I have read some 88 books written about the colonial period,” says Chandran. So far, season one has got five episodes, which are less than half an hour each. The season primarily revolves around the city’s early history up to the time that Kempegowda built the city.

Ashoka Pillar, 1948
Ashoka Pillar, 1948

While there are many things that Bengaluru has been a pioneer in, there are details about certain parts of Bengaluru that do not get much spotlight. “For instance, you will hear how we had a very modern water management system in the eighth century in places like Begur. We know that Roman coins were found in Bengaluru, we have also found seals of the Roman coins here. So I have been interested in figuring out how all of this happened,” he explains.

Being one of the British cantonments, Bengaluru has many stories around Winston Churchill; the most popular being Churchill’s unpaid bill at Bangalore Club. However, Chandran claims the address of Churchill’s residence is questionable. “46 Trinity Church Road, that’s where he lived, and I found that after digging through the British Library Archives. But tracking it on Trinity Church Road is next to impossible since this dates back to the late 1800s,” says Chandran, adding that there are many stories of Churchill wooing the inn owner’s daughter in Whitefield but there is nothing in the archive confirming the same. “How is it that every little detail of Churchill’s life is documented but not something like this,” wonders Chandran, whose podcast is a part of the history book that is work-in- progress.

Attara Kacheri
Attara Kacheri

Did you know?

In 1884, the Dewan of Mysore Sheshadri Iyer, hired Benjamin Lewis Rice, a historian and Kannada scholar, as director of archaeology, and asked him to find out more about Bengaluru’s history. The result was Epigraphia Carnatica, a 12-volume collection

The earliest known shopping complex or mall of Bengaluru was around in the 1920s, at Campbells, 7 Brigade Road

While the British loved Bengaluru’s weather, the only reason they moved from Srirangapatna was due to the mosquito menace

In 1982, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed to protect a building from being torn down by the state. That was the first-ever PIL to be filed in the Karnataka High Court, and ironically, it was to protect the court.

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The New Indian Express