Nadaprabhu Hiriya Kempe Gowda or Kempe Gowda, a 15th century chieftain under Vijayanagara Empire, is credited with being the founder of Bangalore.
He was born in Yelahanka to Kempananje Gowda, who ruled over Yelahanka Nadu for 70 years. Seeing how just a ruler his father was, Kempe Gowda wanted the best for his subjects.
Although he accepted the sovereignty of Vijayanagara Empire, he ruled independently. Soon, he established himself as a great ruler and minister.
From an early age, he dreamt of building a futuristic state. After getting necessary permission, he laid the foundation for what would become Bangalore in 1532.
The settlement spread across present day Avenue Road, Ulsoor, Yelahanka, KR Market and Malleshwaram.
He is credited with building the Basavanagudi Bull temple, Ulsoor Someshwara temple and Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, all of which stand even today.
According to legend, to mark the boundaries of the city he rode bullock carts in four directions. Wherever they halted, he demarcated the boundary of the city.
The centre of Chickpete is said to the starting point.
Also, the city wasn’t Bangalore then. Bendakaalooru meaning ‘baked beans’ transformed into a Garden City with the present name.
The way he named places indicated the specific trade and specialty of the place — Akkipete for rice traders, Balepete for bangle traders, Aralepete for cotton traders and so on.
Kempe Gowda was imprisoned by Vijayanagara ministers in mid-16th century for minting his own coins known as Pagodas without permission.
He was released after five years and awarded back his territories. He then built the steps leading to Shivanasamudra temple as a mark of gratitude.
After a reign of three decades, Kempe Gowda died in 1569.
To honour his contribution, the government named Bangalore’s international airport, metro stations and several landmarks after him
A metal statue commemorating the leader has also been installed at Bangalore’s Corporation Circle overlooking the bustling city that has grown from the hamlets Kempe Gowda once ruled.
Truly, his contribution is vast and no one can ever forget him.