Did you know that Bangalore was once marked by the four watch towers that were built by the city’s founder Kempegowda I? Yes, these four watch towers marked the boundary of the city which has now way grown beyond those boundaries. In this post, you will find the details of the towers that is open to public.
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About Kempegowda I
Ruling for 46 years from 1513, Kempegowda I was a chieftain under the Vijayanagara Empire. Officially named as Nadaprabhu Hiriya Kempe Gowda, he was the founder of Bangalore. He was responsible for building many beautiful landmarks, such as Bangalore Fort, Cantonment, Water tanks and lakes, and temples.
Karnataka celebrates Kempegowda I’s birth anniversary on 27 June. Bangalore’s main and international airport is named after Kempegowda I. Bangalore also has a museum dedicated to Kempegowda I.
Another notable fort that was built by Kempegowda I was the Uttari Betta located in Kunigal taluk.
About Kempegowda’s Watch Towers
To mark the boundaries of Bangalore city, Kempegowda I built four watch towers in four cardinal directions in 1597. During the 16th century, it was believed that the city was to end at these watch towers.
The Four Watch Towers
- Note that the below watch towers are not listed in any order.
- Except for the watch tower in Ulsoor, you can visit all the towers for free of cost. But note that the watch tower in Ulsoor is sometimes open to public on Kempegowda I’s birth anniversary (27 June).
- Visiting all these towers is free.
Built on Peninsula Gneiss that dates back to 3.4 billion years, the first watch tower is part of the Lalbagh Botanical Garden. This watch tower is open to public and you can see it from up close. You can access this tower at any time when Lalbagh botanical garden is open. This tower marks the southern end of Bangalore.
How to get to Lalbagh?
- Metro – Getting to Lalbagh is very easy. Lalbagh has a metro station of its own and that is best and closest way to get to the watch tower in Lalbagh.
- Drive – Lalbagh is around 3.5 kilometres from Bangalore General Post Office (GPO) and by road, the journey takes about 10 minutes. There is a paid parking available in Lalbagh.
Located in Sri Ramana Maharishi Park at Mekhri Circle is the second watch tower. Sri Ramana Maharishi Park is a green space that is used by people for meditation and walks. You can access this tower at any time when the park is open. This tower marks the north end of Bangalore.
How to get to Mekhri Circle?
- Metro – The closest metro station to Mekhri Circle is Mantri Mall metro station. From Mantri Mall, the park is around
- Bus – The best way to get Mekhri Circle by public transport is by taking a bus. You can take a bus from Majestic (Kempegowda bus stop) to Palace Ground. And the park is just opposite to the Palace Ground.
- Drive – The park is around 6 to 7 kilometres from Bangalore GPO and by road, the journey takes 20 minutes. There is street parking available behind the park.
Located right behind the Bande Mahakali temple is third watch tower. A short muddy path leads to the tower and is hidden and unknown by many, including the locals. You can access this tower at any time during the day. This tower marks the west end of Bangalore.
We went on a hunt to find this ancient and historical tower as part of our Gavipuram heritage trail. It was a hunt because most of the people did not even know this existed. Every time we asked for the tower, people gave us directions to Kempegowda Circle and his statue.
How to get to Gavipuram?
- Metro – The closest metro station to Gavipuram is the Krishna Rajendra Market metro station. From Krishna Rajendra Market metro station, the tower is around 4.5 kilometres. You can either walk or take an auto rickshaw.
- Drive – The tower is around 7 kilometres from Bangalore GPO and by road, the journey takes just a bit over 20 minutes. Paring is a little difficult at Bande Mahakali temple, but you can park at Kempambudhi lake and then walk to the tower.
Located inside the Madras Sappers, the fourth watch tower is not accessible to public. It is situated in a protected area. There is a point around Ulsoor lake (one of the lakes in Bangalore) where you can get a glimpse of the tower. Also, this year on Kempegowda I’s birth anniversary (27 June), the public was allowed to go inside and see the tower. This tower marks the east end of Bangalore.
How to get to Ulsoor?
- Metro – The best way to get to Ulsoor is by metro as Ulsoor has a metro station of its own and the Ulsoor lake is just around 10 minutes walk from the metro station.
- Drive – The tower is around 4 kilometres from Bangalore GPO and by road, the journey takes just 15 minutes. There is street parking available at the lake.
Today Bangalore has outgrown these watch towers and have now become one of the biggest cities in India. But still these watch towers stand tall reminding us of the old days when this city was envisioned and built. You can visit all these four watch towers in a single day but I recommend taking your time and exploring the other monuments and landmarks as well around each tower.
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