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Bangalore. It’s cool, hip urbanism at its best – tall, smart buildings, pubs, a thriving underground music scene, plenty of green, leafy public spaces. But before Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley, Pub capital of India, Rock capital of India, there was a mud fort, the Vijayanagar Empire and a cantonment. And not much else.

So just how does a tiny city turn cool overnight? Is it IT, is it the rock and roll? Nobody knows, but we can show you just how this happens, in a collection of pictures that show the city’s transformation over time.

Bangalore city

There are two kinds of Bangalore, as far as local tradition goes. There’s British Bangalore – the former cantonment area – and pre-Brit Bangalore. And then there’s new Bangalore; the IT parks and the hep, happening neighbourhoods springing up towards the outskirts of the city.

Map of Bangalore, 1924.

Map of Bangalore, 1924.

Map of Bangalore today.

Map of Bangalore today.

A view of Bangalore, 1794

A view of Bangalore, 1794

A view of Bangalore today.

A view of Bangalore today.

Brigade Road

Once upon a time, this was a quiet road in the cantonment area. But times change and today it’s anything but quiet – it’s a thriving commercial hub.

Brigade Road, 1946.

Brigade Road, 1946.

Brigade Road today.

Brigade Road today.

South Parade

South Parade, now better known as the ubiquitous M.G. Road (every major city in India has one), was once the centre of all residential and public life. Today it is one of the busiest roads in the city, with the metro line running through it.

South Parade, early 1900s.

South Parade, early 1900s.

South Parade, better known as M.G. Road, today.

South Parade, better known as M.G. Road, today.

Vidhana Soudha

This grand and imposing building is the seat of state legislature in Karnataka and was completed in 1956.

The Vidhana Soudha under construction

The Vidhana Soudha under construction

The Vidhana Soudha today.

The Vidhana Soudha today.

Russell Market

The former beef, poultry and fruit market was established in 1927 by the British. Today its shops sell everything from antiques and second hand goods to regular meat and foodstuffs.

The market in 1946.

The market in 1946.

The market today.

The market today.

Bangalore Fort

The mud fort widely regarded to have been the foundation for the city was built in 1537 and converted into a stone fort in the late 17th century. In March 1971 the British laid seige to and captured the fort from the Mysore kingdom.

The fort in the 1790s.

The fort in the 1790s.

The fort in 1860.

The fort in 1860.

The fort today.

The fort today.

Oriental Building

An iconic stone building, now home to LIC insurance, at the intersection of M.G. Road and St. Marks road, yet another unchanging face caught up in the winds of change around it.

Oriental Building.

Oriental Building.

The building today.

The building today.

West End Hotel

It really is as posh as it sounds. Established in 1887 and now run by the Taj, it’s played host to Winston Churchill and Prince Charles in the past. With the obligatory dose of rock and roll in the form of Aerosmith frontman, Steven Tyler.

The West End Hotel

The West End Hotel

The Taj West End Hotel.

The Taj West End Hotel.

Bangalore Palace

An excellent example of how the old and the modern mix together in Bangalore today. Modelled on the castles of the Tudors, the palace was completed in 1944. Today, the grounds host the odd rock concert every now and then (among other public events).

The Palace in the 1890s.

The Palace in the 1890s.

The palace today.

The palace today.

Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace

Made entirely of French Rose wood, this palace served as the summer palace for Tipu Sultan till his death in 1799.

North view of the summer palace in the 1790s

North view of the summer palace in the 1790s

The palace today.

The palace today.

The Karnataka High Court (Attara Kacheri)

Attara Kacheri or Eighteen Offices, the former house of the public offices in the general and revenue secretariat of the Mysore Government, (which is why the number eighteen is used – there was a reason) is made entirely of red brick and is one of the most iconic buildings in Bangalore.

Attara Kacheri (Eighteen offices) in the 1890s

Attara Kacheri (Eighteen offices) in the 1890s

The building today.

The building today.

The Town Hall

A neoclassical building from the 1930s, the Town Hall is an iconic building. Its surroundings? Not so much, having changed very drastically over the years as the city was built up.

The Town Hall in the 1950s.

The Town Hall in the 1950s.

The Town Hall today.

The Town Hall today.

Mayo Hall

Some things don’t change. Like the former council hall for the Bangalore city corporation, named after the Earl of Mayo – the fourth Viceroy of India, who was assassinated in 1872 by an irate convict.

Mayo Hall.

Mayo Hall.

Mayo Hall today

Mayo Hall today

St. Patrick’s Church

Built in 1844, rebuilt again in 1894, this 150 year old church was originally built for Irish soldiers stationed in Bangalore.

St. Patrick’s Church.

St. Patrick’s Church.

St. Patrick’s church today.

St. Patrick’s church today.

Victoria Hospital

Completed in 1901, the hospital was constructed in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. The hospital is now affiliated with Bangalore Medical College.

The hospital in the 1890s.

The hospital in the 1890s.

The hospital today.

The hospital today.

Bangalore Rifle Volunteers Armoury Building

Once an armoury for the Bangalore Rifle Volunteers, the building was also used as a movie theatre till the 1970s. Today, the building’s returned to its military roots and houses several canteens and stores.

BRV Talkies

BRV Talkies

The building today.

The building today.

Bangalore Turf Club/Racecourse

Founded in the 1920s, the racecourse is one of the city’s major landmarks.

The stands at Bangalore racecourse

The stands at Bangalore racecourse

The stands and the racecourse today.

The stands and the racecourse today.

Lady Curzon and Bowring Hospitals

The oldest hospitals in Bangalore, they are affiliated to Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute.

The hospital in the 1890s.

The hospital in the 1890s.

The hospital complex today.

The hospital complex today.

New Opera House

Now unoccupied, this building once used to serve as a ballroom and a musical theatre in the 1930s, and a theatre in the 1960s.

The New Opera House in the 1960s

The New Opera House in the 1960s

The building today.

The building today.

 

1 comment

  1. chotu Reply April 4, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Hii, I have one request.Please add a filter for Independent house in the search list, so that it will be easier for those who are searching for it.

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