Mention the word ‘Devanahalli’ to a resident of Bangalore and you are likely to get this reaction: “Isn’t it a rather distant location, on the way to the new airport?” To be fair to them, this town, located to the north of Bangalore along the highway to Hyderabad, only came into prominence, once the new Kempegowda International Airport commenced operations in May 2008. Even today, many pass this town without pausing, on the 6-lane expressway.
Initial appearances can be deceptive. Devanahalli is fast emerging as a modern town, attracting numerous industries ranging from aerospace, logistics and information technology and is in the midst of a real estate boom, with an increasing number of people considering settling here. However, the town itself has a varied history going back many centuries and mirrors that of the state and country. For those of you, who are bitten by the travel bug and looking for an offbeat destination for an excursion, Devanahalli is a place you should strongly consider and we shall see just why this is the case.
Devanahalli: Tipu Sultan was born and lived here
In the vast pantheon of towering historical figures hailing from Karnataka, Tipu Sultan will make it to any listing of the most prominent personalities. Tipu and his father, Hyder Ali, are well-known for their defiance of the British Raj and their battles to protect their motherland from various invaders, are stories of legend. But, how many people know that the story of this great warrior king began in Devanahalli?
Yes, Devanahalli was the birthplace of Tipu Sultan and a memorial plaque, with a surrounding garden, marks the exact spot. His father, Hyder Ali, was employed here prior to joining the ranks of warriors of the Mysore army and Tipu spent his initial years here as well. The house, where Hyder and Tipu lived, is still present inside Devanahalli Fort and many heritage walks cover both the birthplace and this house.
Devanahalli Fort: Imposing and well-maintained
Devanahalli also boasts of a large and well-maintained fort. Covering an area of 20 acres, the fort has its bastions still intact and provides an imposing appearance to a visitor. Having been built as a mud fort by Mallabaire Gowda in 1501, the fort has subsequently changed hands moving to the Wodeyar dynasty of Mysore, the Marathas, then to Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan and finally, to the British, which is an apt reflection of the turbulent times.
Devanahalli Fort is an engineering marvel, having been strengthened by the use of Surkhi, the same material used in the Krishnarajasagar Dam near Mysore, which has enabled the fort to withstand the forces of nature. The fort’s walls can be easily climbed and serve as good viewing/selfie points with views of the adjacent highway, Devanahalli town and of planes landing and taking-off from the airport. Watch towers, guard rooms and gun holes used for firing rifles are all still present inside the fort. The fort also has a thriving town contained within its walls, with some beautiful and historical temples as well.
Devanahalli: The temple town
Devanahalli boasts of some of the oldest temples in the region, all of them are in good condition and attract tourists and worshippers alike. The most popular temple is that of Sri Venugopala Swamy, which you come across after entering the main gate of the fort. This temple has beautiful sculptures and wall-carvings, which depict events of the Ramayana as well as the life of Lord Krishna. A chariot is present in the temple courtyard, which once a year, is used to parade the idol of the Lord through the town.
Next door to the Venugopala Swamy Temple is the equally eye-catching Siddhalingeshwara Temple. Other temples of historical and architectural merit include the Chandramouleshwar Temple, Mariamman Temple and the Raghavendra Swamy Math. All these temples and the fort walls are within walking distance from each other and can be easily covered on foot.
Nandi Hills: A short drive away
Nandi Hills is one of the most popular excursion destinations for residents of the city of Bangalore, who flock there in large numbers during holidays and weekends. This place is renowned for its myriad of attractions. If the amazing rock-cut temple of Bhoga Nandeeshwara does not take one’s breath away, the views of the surrounding valleys, particularly during sunrise, definitely will. For those with a love of history, there is Nandidurga, a key hill fort of Tipu Sultan which boasts of Tipu’s Drop, a cliff from where Tipu had his prisoners thrown to their death. Nehru Nilaya and Gandhi House are where Pandit Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi respectively stayed. These hills also contain the source of four rivers: Palar, Arkavathy, Penner and Ponnaiyar.
While Bangaloreans need to start early to get here, owing to the distance of the hills from the city and the expected traffic build-up, residents of Devanahalli have a big advantage in this regard. Not only do they get a 30km. head start, they need not worry about the congestion often encountered in the big city. Also, for visitors to Nandi Hills, Devanahalli is a nice pit stop to refuel, with some good restaurants serving delicious cuisine. The Signature Club Resort (located inside Brigade Orchards) is a lip-smacking choice for a relaxing stopover.
As we can see, it’s unfair to just tag Devanahalli as Bangalore’s aviation hub. Not only is the town emerging as an industrial and IT powerhouse, its rich heritage and proximity to Nandi Hills means it has a lot to offer casual visitors and hardcore tourists alike. For those of you with wanderlust and intimidated by the chaotic Bangalore traffic, Devanahalli could well be an ideal base camp.
Brigade Group, has visualized the emergence of Devanahalli as a major growth corridor in northern Bangalore. Brigade Orchards – a smart township project aims to provide a luxurious, green and pollution-free, self-sufficient environment to its residents, ensuring that all their needs are met within the neighbourhood itself and they need not travel far to reach their workplace either.
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