Every place might have stories, legends, and mysteries buried under years of civilization and development. It’s most likely that they almost always surprise us. Some are made up of facts, some are spun and some are modified over years of narrations without any literary proof. Regardless, they are always fascinating and the legendary stories of Bengaluru are no exception.
Before the city became a hub of It, software, and urban development, Bengaluru was steeped in traditions, religion, and history that has faded over time. Ever since the discovery of a veeragallu, a hero stone dating back to the 10th century AD, it is estimated that the city is at least 1000 years old.
It was a part of the Ganga kingdom back then and after its fall, Bengaluru has been in the hands of many empires. Surely it holds many stories and legends that are hard to uncover beneath the immense urbanization.
We dug into history and found some fascinating stories, legends, and mysteries that Bengaluru holds.
Note – All the stories are written after deep research online and offline. If you wish to change the story or provide additional facts or have it removed, please do get in touch with us. We’re happy to cooperate.
Legend of the Bangalore mud fort
Kempe Gowda was the founder of Bengaluru, a chieftain during the Vijayanagara empire in the 16th century AD. He had great leadership qualities and envisioned a city built for his people. He was a great town planner as well. The landscape and the foundation of Bengaluru are credited to the brilliant planning of Kempe Gowda.
He set out to build a mud fort in 1537 AD to establish his principality. The construction was started on an auspicious day and four bullocks were run in all cordial directions from a point. The bulls were elaborately decorated. The main point of commencement was the junction of Doddapete and Chickpete.
Image source – Wikimedia commons
During the construction of the mud fort, the southern wall kept collapsing. No matter how many times the workers built it, it kept failing. A human sacrifice was suggested to ward off the evil spirits. But Kempe Gowda was against it. He drew the line at human sacrifice and probably didn’t believe in it.
However, his daughter-in-law did. Lakshmamma realizing her father-in-law’s predicament, slit her throat and sacrificed herself secretly in the dead of the night. After that incident, the southern gate could be constructed without any mishaps. The mud fort finally had 9 large gates and a moat surrounding it.
To honor her sacrifice, Kempe Gowda built a temple in her name which is now located in Koramangala.
The story of the bull temple
One of the famous legendary stories of Bengaluru is the story of Bull temple.
It is said to have been built in 1537 AD by Kempe Gowda. The main attraction of the temple is the massive bull statue which is steeped in legend. It is perched atop the Bugle rock hill. They say that the river Vrishabhavathi flows from the feet of the bull. Though it is so polluted today, a century ago it was one of the most pristine rivers in Bangalore.
Image source – holidify.com
The legend goes that, a long time ago, the area of the Basavanagudi was covered with fields of groundnut and other crops. The place was then called Sunkenahalli. However, the fields were ravaged by a bull and as the damage grew bigger, it left the farmers worried. One version of the story goes that the bull turned to stone when it was hit with a club.
The farmers were shocked. To prevent any misfortunes, they decided to build a temple around it and offered a share of their groundnut harvest every year. The temple reflects the Dravidian architecture and has Vijayanagara’s influence.
Another version goes that to pacify the bull, the farmers decided to build a temple l and prayed to the bull to stop ravaging the fields. They said that if he stopped damaging the crops, they would offer a large amount of groundnut to it every year.
Whatever version is true, the outcome remained the same – since then, every year, a groundnut fair, Kadelekai Parish is held to keep the promise of the farmers. They all gather at Basavanagudi in December and exhibit huge heaps of groundnut all over the place.
Image source – timesofindia
It is said that the bull idol would grow and grow and stop that, a small iron plate is placed on top of its head to prevent it from growing further. The legend has attracted many devotees and it remains one of the most important sites in Bangalore.
Shivaji’s arrival in Bengaluru
One of the lesser known legendary stories of Bengaluru is of the arrival of Shivaji.
Sometime during the mid 17th century, the young Shivaji with his Mother Jijabai visited Bengaluru to meet his father Shahaji Bhonsle, who was a jagirdar of the Bijapur rulers. Jijabai had written a letter to Shahaji saying that Shivaji is well past his marriageable age for a Maratha Nobleman, so Shahaji had called her and Shivaji to Bengaluru.
After they arrived in Bengaluru, Shivaji was married to Saibai Nimbalkar of Phaltan in the palace. Historians say that the Gauri Mahal Palace in the Chickpete area is the place where Shahaji and his family lived in Bengaluru. Very little evidence and sources describe the time Shivaji spent his time in the city.
Gauri Mahal palace. Source – timesofindia
At the time, India was known to attract many foreigners due to its abundance of wealth, spices, culture, etc. One such foreigner, a traveler, and a linguist from France, Jean De Thevenot recorded his experiences of traveling in India.
Image source – thebetterindia.com
In his notes, Thevenot mentions meeting a King during his visit to the Southern part of India. He describes this king and we quote, “The Rajah is small and tawny with quick eyes which indicate an abundance of spirit.” It is evident that he was referring to Shivaji.
During his stay in Bengaluru, young Shivaji observed and absorbed the unique socio-cultural essence of the city. It is said that he also received warfare training. Shivaji was also inspired by the administrative initiatives taken by Kantirava Narasaraja, another local kingdom between Hampi and Thanjavur, and introduced these ideas when he established his Swarajya.
Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
This famous rock-cut temple that’s built in the 16th Century is a major attraction for many devotees during January. During Makara Sankranti when the Sun enters Capricorn, the rays passing between the horns of Nandi fall on the Shivling and illuminate it for a short while.
Image source – Deccan herald
Thousands of devotees come here to witness this phenomenon. The Shivling rests inside the cave and the structure surrounding it is embellished with artworks. What’s interesting about this temple is the astrophysical quality of the architecture. Unlike many south Indian temples, it faces south-west.
In the front of the temple stand two giant stone discs supported by pillars. One is called Suryapana and the other, Chandrapana. Engravings of sitting bulls below the discs face each other. The discs are identical in size and have a diameter of about 6ft. In between the two discs rests a brass dwajasthambam (flagstaff), and a small cubicle housing a statue of Nandi. The discs are shrouded in mystery and no one can confirm why it was built.
Image source – myshoka.com
The temple is steeped in legend and popular beliefs. It is believed that there are two secret tunnels. One extends up to the Garbha Gudi or the sanctum sanctorum of the Shivagange Temple 50 km away from Bengaluru. Another tunnel leads to Varanasi. There is also a rare idol of the Hindu fire god, Agni which is believed to cure all defects of the eye when people worship it.
A very popular urban myth and widely known legendary stories of Bengaluru is the Naale ba. Back in the 1990s, there roamed a witch in the night, knocking on the doors of the civilians. She would call out to them in the voice of their beloved and whoever opened the door would die or disappear on the spot. Men were the main victims of the disappearance.
To avoid any misfortune or disappearance, people would write “naale ba” on their doors, which means come tomorrow in Kannada. So when the witch sees it, she would come back the next day and when she did, she would see the message again and come back again the next day. It’s an endless cycle of arriving tomorrow.
Image source – quora
The myth became so popular that it’s still one of the most famous haunted stories in Bangalore and you can still the message written on doors of the houses in some rural parts of Bengaluru. The myth is said to have also inspired the Bollywood movie, Stree.
Do you know any other legendary stories of Bengaluru? Or any mysterious stories that you’d like to share? Do let us know and we’ll add it here! We love mysteries and legends as much as you do!