The name Bangalore is derived from an indigenous word which means the 'town of boiled beans'. Its recorded history can be traced back to 1537 AD, when a valorous
chieftain, Kempe Gowda, who constructed Gavi Gangadhareswara temple at Gavipuram and Basava Temple at Basavangudi built a mud fort here and set the limit to its expansion by
erecting watch towers at the four cardinal points of the town. In recent years, however, Bangalore has fast outgrown the limits set by its founder. The four watch towers constructed
by him can be seen even today
(1) Near Ulsoor Tank.
(2) Bellary Road near Mekhri Circle.
(3) Near Lalbagh.
(4) Near Gavi Gangadhareswara Temple, Gavipuram.
The mud fort of Kempe Gowda was rebuilt in stone, two centuries later, by Hyder Ali and improved upon by his son, Tippu Sultan. It is a fine specimen of the military architecture of the 18th century.
Bangalore is a planned, modern city. Suburbs like Malleswaram and Basavangudi are well laid out and contain
modern residential buildings. Among the older structures, which contribute so much to the personality of Bangalore, are the Old Secretariat, a huge pile of imposing edifices of
brick and mortar in the lonic style; the Central College with its Gothic spires and turrets and the Vitoria and Ophthalmic hospitals, both sturdy and utilitarian. To this array of Victorian
buildings has been added, in recent years, the imposing Vidhana Soudha, a magnificent post-independence structure which incorporates traditional Hindu elements of architecture. This
building houses the Secretariat of the Goverment and the State legislature.
Beyond the winding drives and avenues, in the neighbourhood of the
race-course the visitor will see buildings of another type-grand, manorial and remote-set in delightful surroundings of parks and gardens. The palace
of the Maharaja, resembling an English Castle, is one of the grandest buildings in the city and its garden is one of the most exquisite in the city.
A most restful spot in Bangalore is the Lal Bagh, a botanical and pleasure garden. Originally laid out by Hyder Ali
and Tipu Sultan, the Lal Bagh is a gift of the 18th century to modern Bangalore. It has been developed with sedulous care for nearly a hundred years and now ranks among the finest
of its kind in Asia. It contains an amazing variety of herbs, plants and trees of tropical and sub-tropical regions.