Bengaluru (better known as Bangalore), the IT hub of India, is an aggressively developing cosmopolitan city. Long known as “Garden City,” Bangalore probably has the best climate in India and is no doubt one of the greenest cities. But perhaps best of all, there is a casual vibe that effortlessly mixes with the colonial past, traditional culture and modern life. Though rapid growth has eroded the laid-back charm of this former colonial outpost, there still are places in the city where one can see the past unfold.
One such forgotten place is the very well-known Old Bangalore market, Krishna Rajendra Market. Yes, I am talking about the famous City Market in South Bangalore. It is not only a super busy and crowded wholesale market dealing with enormous varieties of commodities in Bangalore, but it also has a history dating back to almost 87 years. K.R. Market or the City Market was a gift from the Krishnarajendra Wodeyar, former ruler of the Wodeyar Dynasty of Mysore in the year 1928.
Being one of the oldest markets in the city, City Market offers the visitor an opportunity to get the sense of local life and experience the ambiance of a traditional local market. When asked about the prominence of the place, Hamid an old shopkeeper who dealt with utensils said, “I have sat here, at the same place, for the past 25 years. Being the only bread winner of the family, this place offers me more business than anywhere in Bangalore”. It might also interest you to know that this place was once part of a battlefield. It was a buffer zone between the fort area and what is at present the Avenue Road area till mid-19th Century. It played a vital role during the Third Anglo-Mysore war which took place in 1791 A.D. Only a handful of people know that Bangalore was the first city of India to be lit with an electrical bulb in the year 1906, and even less know that the first electrical bulb in Bangalore was lit in the lamppost right in front of the KR Market.
City market primarily is a fruit and vegetable market and the best time to visit is early morning. The original building of the market still exists without a scratch, however to extend the market a new and much larger complex has been built behind the building. A road side vendor Vijaya said: “Most of the vendors have a fixed place and if they do not turn up nobody occupies their place. It is an unsaid rule.” Beside fruits and vegetables there is a huge flower market which is a part of it. There is also a part of the market that deals in extra-large aluminium utensils. There is a large banana market right at the foot of the new building dealing with both wholesale and retail selling of bananas. Also, there is a lot to explore for the street food lover.
Tipu Sultan’s palace is only a kilometre away from the main market area. Other
nearby attractions include Kote Venkataramana Temple, Lalbagh Botanical Garden.
Avenue road near the market area is also a very vital place for business in various commodities including books, garments and textile, jewellery and electronic items. A visitor Shyamala, who had come from Bhuwaneshwar, sat the Tipu Sultan’s palace told me “What a beauty! I have visited many palaces in different locations of India as I am an art lover. But the carvings in this palace are unique and rare.” She further added “However, the maintenance of the place is poor and has to be taken care of better.”
A person going to KR Market will not only be able to enjoy the typical bazaar environment but also be able to visit many old buildings reminding of the rich heritage of Karnataka. So, happy exploring!