Kengeri is about 16 kms from Bangalore, situated along the Bangalore-Mysore Highway. It was till 1873, the headquarters of a taluk. It was earlier, for a short time, the seat of the raw silk trade.
In a 15th century inscription, the place called Tengeri has been indicated. Tengeri in Kannada, meaning place (keri) where tengu (coconut) was grown, may have become Tengeri. Coconut palms found along the banks of the river are an indication of this.
Over the centuries Kengeri has been ruled by a number of dynasties including Gangas, followed by Cholas. In 1050 AD, Chola king Rajendra Chola erected a Tamil inscription depicting details of grants made to Eshwara Temple at Kengeri.
The provinces of Kengeri and surrounding areas came under the control of Kings of Kukkalanadu, who had Kithnahally near Tavarekere as the capital and ruled Nelamangala, Ramanagaram, Bangalore south and Magadi taluks. After Hoysala ruler's regime, during the period of Vijayanagar Empire, Kengeri was vested with Yelahanka province administration. Later, when Maratha warrior Shahaji won Bangalore, Kengeri came under Shahaji's regime. During 1677 AD, King of Mysore Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar won Kengeri and was in the province of Mysore.
Tippu Sultan reportedly took shelter in Kengeri Fort while at war with Britishers. When the English captured Bangalore, the fort was reportedly destroyed to prevent its use. In the survey report prepared by Colonel McKenzie and Bakunin, after death of Tippu, there is mention about remains of Kengeri Fort. The area is now recognised as fort area (Kengeri kote).
During Tippu's reign, Kengeri was famous centre for sericulture industry. It is learnt that Tippu for the first time bought foreign knowledge of sericulture and encouraged people to cultivate and produce the same. In 1866, Signor de Vecchi, an Italian, noticing the then depressed condition of the silk industry made efforts with the help of the government for its revival. He also made some scientific study of silkworm rearing and causes for their degeneration. To remedy these defects, silkworm eggs were imported for the first time from Japan and were distributed among the people of the trade.
This brought about revolutionary changes. Finally, a steam factory for silk-filature was established at Kengeri with eight basins. Mostly female orphans from a private Bangalore convent were engaged in the work. The Kengeri Gurukula Vidya Peeta was founded in 1926 by freedom fighters and Gandhians like Dr C B Rama Rao, Swamy Vishwananda, T Ramachandra and K B Purushottam to motivate youngsters to do their bit for social causes.
When Mahatma Gandhi visited the Gurukula twice he guided the youngsters to visit villages and organise people to tackle socio-economic problems in these villages through collective efforts. A memorial building had been built at the premises to commemorate the visits of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Vidyapeeta, an NGO, runs an orphanage, a free residential school and a short-stay-home for underprivileged women hoping for early rehabilitation.
Kethohalli, is the site of the famous Ramohalli Dodda Alada Mara or big banyan tree. This village is at a distance of 8 kms from the Bangalore-Mysore Highway (from Kumbalgodu) and is 25 kms from Bangalore. The 400-year-old tree covers an area occupying over three acres. At the centre of the tree is a Muneshwara shrine. A jatra is held here during Chaitra Poornima which attracts a large number of people. On the way to the spot is a large water tank in the village and a Veerabhadra Temple of considerable antiquity. In recent years, several industries have come up in and around Kengeri.
Kengeri Railway Station is on the Bangalore-Mysore rail route. Chamundi Express, Mysore-Tirupati Fast Passenger, Mysore-Chennai Express and Tuticorin-Mysore Express are the main train connections. The computerised passenger reservation system is in service. The station is served by the South Western Railways.
Bangalore City Junction Railway Station is to the north-east of Kengeri. Travelling south-west, Ramanagaram Railway Station is the nearest main station.
Kengeri Bus Station is the nearest bus terminal.
Kengeri Satellite Town was developed by Bangalore Development Authority over 30 years ago. However, it took a long time for the satellite town to develop. Cyber cafes, telephone booths, multi-cuisine restaurants and other utility services have come up in recent times. Namma Metro corridor will be extended up to Kengeri Satellite Town from Nayandahalli on Mysore Road. The Traffic Transit Management Centre (TTTMC) of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation is also being constructed here. It is also close to the Outer Ring Road and thus has good connectivity.
The place has some recently built modern temples like Sri Rama, Someshwara, Anjaneya, Yellamma, Ganapati among others. The Karadi Betta near Kengeri has an Anjaneya Temple of great antiquity. It is said that the image was found under a tree and the temple was built about 500 years ago. According to a record here, the temple was rebuilt in 1845.
Inside the garbhagriha, two inscription slabs carpeted into the floor, one behind and another in front of the main deity, are of Hoysala Narasimha. They announce some grants by the king to one Vechiyana for his military success.
There is a Bande Matha of the Veerashaivas said to be about 800 years old. It is said that the mutta was founded by one Channaveeraswamy who is believed to have been a contemporary of Bijjala, the most famous of the southern Kalachuri kings. The place also has one Kabir Mutta. There is also the famous Savan Durbar Ashram of Radhaswamy Satsang which has a large number of followers. There is a samadhi on the outskirts of the town of a well-known Saint Madikeswami who is said to have lived in Bangalore for several decades.
DID YOU KNOW?
* Abhiman Studio in Kengeri was founded by noted Kannada actor T N Balakrishna.
* Mahatma Gandhi visited the Kengeri Gurukula Vidya Peeta in 1934 and 1936.
*Geographer Francis Buchanan, who visited the place in the 1800s called it as Kingara and Tingara.