Nearly two decades after it was first proposed, a museum dedicated to the city's founder, Kempe Gowda, finally opened on Thursday.

The museum that recognises the contributions of the Kempe Gowda family, was inaugurated by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who promised that a statue of Kempe Gowda would soon be installed in front of the Sheshadri Iyer City Central Library in Lalbagh.

Housed on the first floor of Mayo Hall, a heritage building on M.G. Road, only part of the museum has been inaugurated. Those who expect the usual paraphernalia such as swords and armour are bound to be disappointed. What meets the eye, instead, is a huge map of Bangalore, said to be from the 18th Century and drawn by the British. A small statue depicting Kempe Gowda in Savanadurga has been placed at the entrance of the museum.

Digital interface

Former Additional Chief Secretary Chiranjeev Singh, member of the museum committee, said the ground floor will have a digital interface platform. “It will be an interactive museum and people can directly choose the information they want and see the images of the city during Kempe Gowda's reign.”

The first map of the city was available in the library in Lalbagh. There were some other documents from that period in the Archives Department, which will be displayed.

“This museum is not going to be an artefact-based one: we have proposed it to be interactive. However, efforts are on to procure the clothing, weapons and household items from that period from citizens.”


Talks were on with the British Library, which possess some of Kempe Gowda's memorabilia and other items directly related to the 16th Century ruler.

The museum has on display some digital posters, besides photos of the four towers fixed as the city's boundary by Kempe Gowda.

K.N. Suryaprakash, chief designer of the museum, said that Kempe Gowda was honoured with the title Chikkaraya by Srikrishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara dynasty.

He also gave Kempe Gowda financial aid to develop the city and build tanks and lakes.