BENGALURU: Many believe Bengaluru didn’t just get its name from Veera Ballala’s Benda Kaal Ooru (town of boiled beans). Its origin is traced to a small temple in a village called Begur near Electronics City.
This temple of Naganatheshwara is 1,200 years old and has inscriptions that speak of a ‘Battle of Bengaluru’. Said to have been carved in 890 CE, it is the first reference ever to have been made about a city called Bengaluru. But despite its historical importance, not many know of this monument which is now in a dilapidated state.
A few citizens are now trying to get the attention of the Archeological Survey of India so that the temple is restored before politicians do more bad than good in their attempt to renovate the monument.
Srinidhi from Praja RAAG, a group fighting for the temple’s restoration, says, “We will join hands with Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and the approach the ASI. The temple is in a pathetic state with broken idols and carvings lying around. Politicians, posing as saviours of the temple, are planning to ‘expand’ the temple by building gopuras and other structures.”
“Working on such monuments requires a level of understanding that these politicians lack. This place needs ASI’s involvement to protect it from these harmful developments immediately. If the fact that Bengaluru got its name from this temple is not reason enough, just that it is more than 1,000 years old warrants preservation,” he adds.
Many parts of the temple have been damaged. Restoration must be taken up immediately in a careful, scientific manner. City Express learned that some of the veera gallu (stone slabs) from the temple have been moved to the Government Museum in the city but many are still left behind. The mud fort and Jain Basadi near the temple are also in a dilapidated state.
A state archaeological official said, “There are 820-840 protected monuments and around 30,000 unprotected monuments and structures across the state. We take action when such structures are brought to our notice. For us to give any building heritage status, various conditions have to be met.”
An official from INTACH said, “We have been working towards preserving each and every artifact in the temple. The structure has an important role to play in the history of Bengaluru.”
Local corporator Anjanappa said, “Apart from some damage near the entrance, there isn’t much to fix in the temple. We have been cleaning it regularly and doing minor maintenance work. We are building gopuras as well.”