Know your neighbourhood - 14: Basavanagudi & Thyagarajanagar

Overview: Basavanagudi, carved out of an old village named Sunkenahalli, is one of the oldest extensions of Bangalore and a traditional locality with rich Kannada flavour, existing since 1898.
Initially planned to rid the Pete area of plague, Basavanagudi was designed to suit people from all communities, with wide roads, shops, hospitals and a Post Office. With most of the streets named after famous Kannada poets and writers, this place is a favourite among old timers. The traders used to pay entry tax at Sunkenahalli which is now Gandhi Bazaar before proceeding towards the Pete area to sell goods. DVG Road and Gandhi Bazaar are famous shopping areas in Basavanagudi. The whole area around Gandhi Bazaar is scented with flowers in the mornings and evenings when fresh flowers are sold. 

Gandhi Bazaar and DVG Road
Gandhi Bazaar and DVG Road

Basavanagudi gets its name from the ancient 16th century Bull Temple, having a huge monolithic Nandi bull, measuring 10 ft high and 15 ft long which dates back to the 16th century during Hiriya Kempegowda-I. Just below the front pedestal of the Basava statue is a 17th century inscription, which mentions about the origin of Vrishabhavati river below the place.

At the foot of the hillock is the Dodda Ganapati temple, also built during the Kempegowda's times, which has a Ganesha image carved on a rock.

Big Bull Temple
Inscription mentioning the source of Vrishabhavati river

Adjoining the Bull temple is the Bugle rock, a 3000 million years old single rock, on top of which stands a watch tower built by Kempegowda for a panoramic view of Bangalore of his times and have someone to blow a bugle to sound alert. Being in proximity to the Peninsular Gneiss, this rock has attracted a lot of researchers. It has risen abruptly from the ground from the gneiss, and is believed to be older than the Peninsular Gneiss. Another feature of the rock formations at Bugle Rock is the formation of hollows.

Bugle Rock

One of the very famous eateries in Basavanagudi is Vidyarthi Bhavan, started by Mr Ural from Udupi as a small students’ joint in 1943. This eatery is usually very crowded during business hours and their dosa has still retained its original taste since last 70 years. Its not only famous for its dosas, but also the personalities which it has served over the years like DVG, Masthi Iyengar, and other Kannada poets.

Vidyarthi Bhavan

Basavanagudi has been home to classical Kannada poets and musicians. The area also boasts of several classical music teaching centres and Veda schools. Some of the notable Kannada poets who are Basavanagudi residents are DV Gundappa, Masthi Iyengar, Nissar Ahmed.
A popular festival of Basavanagudi which is well known across Bangalore is the Groundnut Fair, or Kadalekai Parishe, which is held during the last week of Karthika. Here the farmers from the neighbouring villages offer their first harvest to the temple of Nandi Bull, which has been practiced since ages.
Kadalekai Parishe

Apart from groundnuts, lot of entertainment is arranged for the public like joy rides, snacks, and other shopping articles. Another prominent landmark in Basavanagudi is Ramakrishna Ashrama, established in 1906 by Swami Abhedananda by laying 5 kinds of metals called panchaloha. Holy mother Sri Sharada Devi stayed at this Matha for four days in March 1911. 

Ramakrishna Ashrama

Karanji Anajaneya temple: This is an ancient temple, built by Kempegowda in th 16th century, when he saw a massive idol of Hanuman on the banks of the Karanji Lake, which stretched from the Bugle Rock hill to today’s National College. The idol of Hanuman is said to be tilted towards Lanka and is depicted as returning back after meeting Sita and fighting the guards of Ravana, and the fury is visible in the face.

Karanji Anjaneya temple
Site of erstwhile Karanji Kere

The Sri Rama temple next to Karanji Anjaneya temple (developed during Kempegowda’s time) in Basavanagudi was built in the 17th century by a Maratha chieftain from the Scindia clan. This is built in such a way that Hanuman is facing Lord Rama. Inside the temple, Lord Rama is seen with wife Sita and brother Lakshmana.

SriRama temple

Mallikarjunaswamy temple: The history of this temple dates back to 1689 during the rule of Chikkadevaraya Wodeyar, who is also credited for his work in building Kote Venkataramanaswamy temple. The temple was buit by the efforts of Bellave Venkatanarayanappa, a Kannada writer & scholar.
The Basavanagudi Club, which was formed in 1904, has seen many big personalities meet at a common place. 

Mallikarjunaswamy temple

In Thyagarajanagar, there is an interesting temple dedicated to Plagueamma, which is known to eradicate deadly Plague, which had spread across Bangalore in 1898.

Plagueamma temple

Theosophical Society: Sharing the KR Road stretch with the likes of Basavanagudi Club, Gayana Samaja is the historic Theosophical Society. The founders, Madame Blavatsky and HS Olcott, who travelled all the way to establish the society from New York, were given 1.27 acres of land by the Maharaja of Mysore in 1909. The City Lodge, the foundation of which was laid by Annie Besant in 1909, is the oldest lodge in Indian chapter.

Theosophical Society

Krishna Rao Pavilion: Otto Königsberger was a German architect who was a specialist in urban planning and development. Königsberger was appointed chief architect and planner for Mysore State in 1939 under the invitation of Diwan Mirza Ismail. His work for Bangalore include Krishna Rao Pavilion, inside the Krishna Rao Park.

Krishna Rao Pavilion

KR Road

Erstwhile Taxi stand
Basavanagudi Middle Shool

Other Posts in this series: 


  1. Very nice to know officially my great grand father's name bellave venkatanarayanappa who built Mallikrjuna temple. When we were children my granad father Mr SHANKARAIAH and My grand mother Acchamma used to do poja during shivarathri from night to early morning . My self and my sister used to give paper for all to give kadale hittu prasda for all. He worked for kannada sahitya parishth and ramakrishna student home and he had written a very big english to kannada dictionery which our father had bought and given when we were studying in the school in 1970s. My mother as a grand daughter used to tell about him . They used to adjust the clock according to his arrival and departure to central collage as he was a physics professor. Where ever i used to go and when they came to know that we are from his family our teachers and elders used to respect us. we gone kannada sahithya parishth functions in 1970 as guests sitting in the front rows along with our mother and her siblings. Now also they the road IS named Bellave Venkatanaranappa road in DVG ROAD and Police station road opposite krishna sweets. The house built by him is still there along with the more than 100 years sampige mara under which we grand children played with his cousins grand children still where his cousins houses of 100 years houses are there.


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