Bengaluru is a symbolic of progress and development today, regarded as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of India. The transformation of its urban landscape did not happen overnight however, and there are a number of old neighborhoods with a rich history. Bengaluru’s many localities, both old and new tell a story of the birth and reinvention of the city. Find out how Bengaluru’s different localities derived their names to unravel the story of this city.
Basavanagudi has long been an important commercial hub in the city and is one of the oldest localities of Bengaluru. The suburb is located just next to Jayanagar and it took its name from an important landmark in the area – the famous ‘Bull Temple’ with its monolithic bull structure ‘Nandi’. In the local language the words basava and gudi meant bull and temple, respectively. Thus, the city arrived at the name of Basavanagudi.
The origins of many localities in Bengaluru can be traced back to a disastrous event, the plague epidemic of 1898. As the epidemic ravaged the city, panicked residents began to move out of the main city area, building temples in the new localities that they created. Malleswaram, which is in the north-western region of the city, is one locality which took its name from the temple built in the area, the Kaadu Malleshwara temple.
BTM Layout is one of the most popular residential neighborhoods in Bengaluru, but most city dwellers have scarcely a clue about the reason for its name. While many will craft imaginative stories, the truth is a lot simpler in this case. As with many localities in the city, this region takes its name from the initials of other neighborhoods. BTM Layout is a connecting region for the vicinities of Byrasandra, Tavarekere and Madivala, which give it the name.
Residency Road is today home to Bengaluru’s premium hotels and is at the heart of the city’s entertainment hub. The origins of its name however, can be traced much further back in time. Just as the city’s pleasant climate charms visitors today, it held great appeal to the colonial rulers, who established a huge military cantonment area in the old town. The residence of the British representative, called the Residency, was located in this area, giving the locality its name of Residency Road.
Banashankari, commonly referred to by the locals, simply as BSK is an old neighborhood in the southern part of the city. Like many localities in the city, the area’s name is tied with the spiritual life of its inhabitants. The region is home to one of Bengaluru’s oldest temples, the Banashankari Amma temple, which is located on Kanakapura Road. The area takes its name from the famous temple. Today, this area is home to numerous music studios and aspiring musicians can even sign up for workshops to learn various instruments like the table, mandolin, keyboard, and lots more through Cleartrip’s mobile app.
Domlur is a small township located in the eastern region of Bengaluru. The area has grown in importance because of the huge number of multinational software companies that have sprung up in the surrounding regions. According to local legends, the name of the locality derives from a flower, called Tombalur, which had religious significance in the worship of Lord Shiva. These legends have been lent credence because of inscriptions found in Domlur’s Chokkanathaswamy Temple, which was most likely constructed by the Cholas.
Jayanagar is renowned for its planning, as it was one of the first planned localities to be developed in the city in 1948. The name Jayanagar can be literally translated from the local Kannada dialect as ‘Victory City’. Although the specific reasons for the name may be lost in time, many believe that it is a tribute to the Maharaja of Mysore, who’s first name was Jayachamaraja.
Nagarbhavi is an important residential area in the city that is also regarded as an education hub, as it is home to centers of learning like Bangalore University, National Law School of India University, and Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Technology, among others. The origins of the name of the locality are not clear, but it means ‘Well of Snakes’. The locality may have earned this name because of the presence of a large population of snakes in the area. The area was also surrounded by hillocks that may have formed a well-like structure, but all traces of these hills have been obliterated by urbanization today.
The name of the Church Street area can also be traced back to a time before rapid urbanization took hold of the city. The road took its name as it led directly to the Anglican church, St. Mark’s Cathedral. Before all of the buildings in came up in the area, the church was visible as you walked down this street. Although it is now hidden by the new structures, the name has remained.
Electronics City is an area that embodies the modernity of Bengaluru and is one of the latest additions to the city’s thriving localities. This locality is spread out over a huge area of 332 acres and is one of India's largest electronic industrial parks. The locality is home to a staggering 200 plus IT companies. It houses the headquarters and offices of some of the biggest brands like Wipro, Infosys, Motorola, and Siemens, among others. In this case, the name of the locality is self explanatory and apt.
The next time you are travelling through the city that you call home, spare a thought for the history behind the names of these localities. You will discover that travelling through the city does not have to be a chore, but can actually be fun.