From here & there

From here & there

A forgotten tank

The year was 1889. Prince Albert Victor, son of reigning queen of British India, Queen Victoria alighted at the Bangalore town railway station. In front of the railway station was a vast expanse of cool, clear water where on a float the prince was welcomed by Bharathanatyam dancers in colourful attire. This place was the Dharmambudhi tank where at present the BMTC and KSRTC bus stands are situated.

The Dharmambudhi tank was one among the several tanks built  by Kempe Gowda I when he laid the foundation of Bangalore in 1537. This tank was once the chief source from which the inhabitants of Bangalore pete got their supply of drinking water. From this tank, water was supplied to the streets through channels and taken out by the people from square troughs called karanjis at convenient points.

Among the several meanings ascribed to the word dharma in Kannada language, one is donation. Ambudhi in Kannada means a place where water collects. Hence as a person (Kempe Gowda I) had donated/utilised his funds to construct this tank, people probably began to call it by the name Dharmambudhi.

In 1877, when famine struck Mysore state, the government to provide employment took up the desilting work of the Dharmambudhi tank and repaired its supply channels which resulted in increased supply of good drinking water to the residents of the pete.

During 1892-93, when the monsoon failed, Bangalore witnessed water shortage. The government took up a project for pumping water from the springs in the Jakkarayana tank valley into the Dharmambudhi tank. From 1896 onwards, Bangalore town was supplied with piped water from the Hesaraghatta reservoir. This resulted in the municipality neglecting the Dharmambudhi tank.

Later, the Dharmambudhi tank bed came to be used for public meetings. In 1931, Jawaharlal Nehru addressed a meeting here and hoisted the tricolour. It was much that later that, in honour of Subash Chandra Bose, this bed came to be named as Subashnagar and apart from public meetings, exhibitions and shows were held here at regular intervals. In 1963, the government handed land of the Dharmambudhi tank bed to KSRTC to construct a bus stand.
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