Filter kaapi city

Read this fascinating book about Bengaluru and you will get a sudden urge to visit all the places mentioned, says Srinivas Alavilli

K R Market in the 1970s. (Spot the Austins).

Rarely do you chance upon a book that you not only enjoy reading, but also can’t wait to grab more copies of, to share with others. ‘Discovering Bengaluru’ is that book.

As the title claims, the book is about history, neighbourhoods and walks. The book shines in all three areas and, quite literally, walks you through the fascinating history of this amazing city that has seen so much churn over the centuries.

The dynamism of Bengaluru has very little to do with the IT boom in the 1990s that catapulted this city to global fame but, as the book reveals, everything to do with centuries of wars, pride, vision, planning and innovation.

Meticulous research

The colonial history of Bengaluru is well-known and symbols of that period are still around and very much a part of everyday life. But did you know the symbols of the past, much before the British arrived, are also still very much around? The author, Meera Iyer, might well become a scriptwriter soon, considering how she excels in depicting the drama of kings and wars, scene by scene with references to existing monuments and symbols in the city. The action episodes make you feel like you were in the middle of it all and a sudden urge to go visit these places takes you over. This book will always find a special place in the chronicles of Bengaluru for its meticulous research of the city’s history as well as geography and for presenting it in a way few history books do. 

There is a raging controversy about Tipu Sultan in Karnataka these days but wait till you read this book that reveals the awe-inspiring connection between Tipu’s rockets and the national anthem of the United States of America. We learn that Bengaluru’s ‘first nerd’ Tipu’s technical innovations were stuff of legend across the world.

The book also tells the story of Syed Tipu of whom you may have never heard of. Syed Tipu led the Bangalore Mutiny or Bangalore Conspiracy, in 1832, 25 long years before the first war of Independence, or the Sepoy Mutiny (1857). His last words, at his public execution in the Parade Grounds, will give you goosebumps.

For those looking for a modern history of Bengaluru, the book offers that too, including the story of the excavation of an entire temple with a functional kalyani in the middle of Malleswaram just 20 years ago. 

‘Discovering Bengaluru’ is not just a book. It is your tour guide. It is your story book to read to your children as they go to bed. It is your companion on a rainy day as you enjoy that hot cup of filter coffee. 

 

 

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