By Rashmi Terdal, TNN | Dec 2, 2012, 02.11 AM IST
BANGALORE: Begur, a village off the Bangalore-Hosur highway, has seen rapid growth in the past few years thanks to its proximity to IT companies in Electronics City. Property values have multiplied, with residential layouts, high-rise apartments and malls coming up near the once-sparsely populated village. The proposed Metro connectivity heralds further prospects for the region.
Amid all this development lies neglected in theheart of the village a precious inscription stone, said to over 1,000 years old. It bears the earliest reference to the name ‘Bengaluru’.
The stone, dating back to around 890 AD, was found at the Parvathi Nageshwara temple. Written in Halegannada (ancient Kannada), it mentions ‘Bengaluru Kadana’ (battle of Bengaluru) that took place between the Gangas (Jains) and the Nolambas (Shaivites).
When the Nolamba army attacked Begur, the Ganga administrator Nagattara was killed in the battle. It was a significant turning point in the history of Bangalore, as it led to the eventual decline of Jain kings and the rise of the Shaivites. Thereafter, Shaiva settlements and temples came up in Bangalore, including the famous Someshawara temple in Ulsoor, according to SK Aruni, deputy director, Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), Bangalore Regional Centre.
The inscription seems to refute the popular ‘Benda Kalooru’ theory behind the origin of the name ‘Bengaluru.’ While the boiled beans anecdote relates to Hoysala king Veera Ballala’s regime in 1120 AD, and modern Bangalore was built by Kempegowda I in the 1530s. But the Begur inscription indicates that a settlement called ‘Bengaluru’ existed much before that, as early as 890 AD.
This has been recorded in the ‘Epigraphia of Carnatica,’ compiled by the Mysore archaeological department. Even though the Begur stone was identified and recorded in 1915 itself, no efforts have been made to preserve it. It lies against a compound wall in the Parvathi Nageshwara temple. Several other stones (veeragallus) are lying along beside, cracked in two pieces, echoing the tales of battles bygone.
“Some pillars inside the ancient temple are gradually sliding and caving in. The government should take immediate steps to preserve the temple and the monuments,” said Venkatesh, a villager who is also a member of the Rajagopura Construction Committee. The committee, formed by locals, raises funds from devotees and is building four Rajagopuras (high towers) around the temple. The construction in the premises poses further threat to the inscription. There should be care taken that the new concrete cement towers don’t ruin the beauty of the temple.