10 (More) Things you didn't know about Bangalore - part 2

by Goranka Medhi

Posted on 23rd Mar, 2015

Bangalore Palace Picture source - Wikipedia

Bangalore, the "Silicon Valley of India" is a melting pot of cultures. Once considered a Pensioner's paradise, it has metamorphosed into a bustling metropolis, with a vibrant night life that blends in with a rich cultural heritage. Majority of people in the city now are those that came from outside Bangalore to find themselves a career. The number of people who know the historical significance of many Bangalore attractions are dwindling. Here are some of the facts about Bangalore, which are little known to many Bangaloreans! This is a continuation of the first blog on this topic - "10 Things you didn't know about Bangalore".

1. Plaza Theatre

The erstwhile Plaza Theatre on M.G.Road was constructed in 1936 and was modelled after the Piccadilly circus in London. The owners of the theatre visited Great Britain before constructing the theatre to understand how a great film theatre should look like. In its initial days, the theatre was used mostly by the English soldiers for viewing Hollywood movies. The theatre had a wooden dance floor which was used by English soldiers for ball dancing.

Plaza Theatre Bangalore
Plaza Theatre on M.G.Road

Source - Wikipedia

2. The origins of Malleswaram and Basavanagudi

Bangalore was afflicted by a devastating plague epidemic in 1898-99. This led to the creation of 2 new suburbs - Malleswaram and Basavanagudi and people moved from the congested city areas to these suburbs(then). These suburbs were well-planned and hygiene and sanitation were given importance. Basavanagudi was named either after the Basavanna Temple or the Bull Temple in the village of Sunkenahalli and Malleswaram named after the Kadu Malleshwara Temple in the old Mallapura village.

Malleswaram shelters plague
A sketch of the temporary shelters set up in Malleswaram during the plague outbreak.

Old map of Malleswaram
An 1899 map of the layout of Malleswaram

Source - The Hindu

3. World's largest Meditational Pyramid

The pyramid at Pyramid Valley International, located at Kebbedoddi near Bangalore, is the world's largest Meditational Pyramid. Called the Maitreya-Buddha Pyramid, the 102 ft tall structure can house 5000 people. The outer surface of the pyramid is decorated with murals depicting various elements of nature.

Pyramid Valley Bangalore
The Meditational Pyramid

4. The birth of Rava Idli

During the Second World War, rice was in short supply and this made it difficult for MTR to make idlis. According to MTR, they experimented with using semolina instead of rice and thus the famous breakfast item was born - Rava Idli!

Rava Idli MTR
Enticing Rava Idli

Source - Wikipedia

5. Double Decker buses in Bangalore

Did you know that Double Decker buses once used to ply on Bangalore roads? They were in operation during the 1980s but were phased out slowly. What fun it must have been to ride on the top deck of these buses!

Double Decker Bus Bangalore
A Double Decker bus in Bangalore

Picture Source - Flickr

6. Car designed by HAL

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL) has always been a shining icon of Bangalore's development, involved in the design and manufacturing of aircraft, jet engines, helicopters etc. But did you know that HAL had designed a car way back in 1964? Here's a picture of a car designed by HAL:

HAL designed car
Car designed by HAL

7. Planes landing in Bellandur Lake

There existed a SeaPlane channel in the Bellandur Lake during the second world war. The seafaring Catalina planes would land in the Bellandur Lake and then be towed to the nearby HAL Airport where they would be kept under warps in hangers.

Seaplane Bellandur
A SeaPlane in Bellandur Lake

8. Cave Temple in Bangalore

Do you know that there's a cave temple in Bangalore? The Hulimavu Cave Temple, also known as the Hulimavu Shiva Cave Temple or simply the Cave Temple, is located in Hulimavu, Bannerghatta Road, very close to the BGS National Public School. The Cave Temple is administered by the Sri Sri Bala Gangadaraswami Mutt. The temple was cut out from a natural monolith rock. The inner sanctum of the temple is situated inside a cave carved out in the rock. The main attraction of the temple is the granite pillars situated in the forecourt of the temple. Two of the pillars support huge discs that represent the sun and the moon. The other two pillars have a trident (trishul) and a two-headed drum (damru), representing the two significant possessions of Lord Shiva.

Hulimavu Cave Temple
Hulimavu Cave Temple

9. Bugle Rock was once a Watch Tower

The Bugle Rock is a massive rock in the Basavanagudi area of Bangalore. The rock has been assessed to be 3000 million years old. Kempe Gowda II(who came to power in 1585) built a watch tower on the top of Bugle Rock, since it used to command a panoramic view of Bangalore city. It is said that at sunset a sentry would blow the bugle and hold a torch (Kannada:panju) which was visible from the other three watch towers (one on the southern bank of the Kempambudi tank on the west, the second near Ulsoor Lake in the east and the third tower adjoining Ramana Maharshi Ashram on Bellary Road, namely Mekhri Circle in the north). This was done to inform people that everything was safe at that location and to give a warning bugle call to alert the citizens of any intruders into the city. Most of the rocks on the Bugle Rock, next to the Bull Temple, have hollows, which were once used to light lamps.

Bugle Rock Bangalore
Statue of a Sentry with his Bugle

Source - Wikipedia

10. First Department Store in Bangalore

Spencer's & Co, which was started by Mr.Oakeshott, was the first department store to be established in Bangalore. It was located on South Parade Road(now M.G.Road). The Spencers first found success as Wine Merchants and then expanded into department stores and also hotels as they built their business catering to the need of the English upper classes trying to adjust to life in India. The Taj West End Hotel, the oldest Hotel in Bangalore, was also originally owned by Spencer's & Co.

This blog is a continuation of the first blog on this topic - "10 Things you didn't know about Bangalore".

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About the Author: Goranka Medhi

Goranka Medhi

Goranka is a hardcore techie with a penchant for new and emerging technologies. He's an avid traveller and loves long drives. His philosophy is that weekends are meant for exploring new places. You can follow him here.


Bangalore, Unknown Facts, Unique attractions, Bellandur Lake, MTR, Rava Idli, Pyramid, HAL, Spencers