The fertile soil and ample water resources around Hennur shaped its history and led to urban settlements in the area

The fertile soil of Hennur valley — Hennur is located on the banks of South-Pennar river — has helped shape the area’s history.

Earliest evidence of human activity in this region is found at Managondanahalli village, where a culture that is over 1,00,000 years old has been unearthed.

Tools from an ‘Upper-Paleolithic culture’, considered pre-Ice Age, were recovered by archaeologist C. Krishnamurthy in 1970 and point to a nomadic community that travelled place to place for food.

More recent Iron Age-sites, around 3,000 years old, have also been found in this area. Several villages near Hennur, including Kannur, Managondanahalli and Chikkajala, have Iron Age burials, with iron implements that were used for agriculture.

K.R. Puram’s hero

The great prosperity that agricultural surplus brought to the area led eventually to the emergence of empire sates in this region. The western Ganga dynasty emerged from the Nandi-hills region, not far from here.

Wars were fought to protect villages and property. The Ganga period ‘hero-stone’ or viragallu, still found at K.R. Puram town, has an inscription that speaks of ‘Mareya’ who fought to protect his village in 750 A.D., ultimately losing his life to the cause.

Women played a role

The many reservoirs built in the Hennur valley — Hennur, Rachanahalli, Horamavu, Kempapura, K.R. Puram, Agrahara, Kacharakanahalli, Mahadevapura, Kaggadasapura Hebbal, Nagavara and Jakkur — played an equally vital role in the history of the region. Some of these tanks are a thousand years old. Several ancient inscriptions offer insights into the construction of these tanks and the land donations made for their maintenance.

Women too actively participated in the construction of the tanks for irrigation. According to an ancient inscription at Kyalasanahalli near K.R. Puram, a woman called Nagasani at Kyalasanahalli village constructed a tank in 1366 A.D. This Telugu inscription also mentions that she would be awarded for her valuable social work and that 21 future generations in her family would reap the benefits of her work.

Fortified town

The fertile land and ample water sources promoted not just agricultural settlements at Hennur, but also urban growth. Ancient inscriptions at Allalasandra refer to the existence of the fortified town there in 1340, during the Hoysala rule.

Many such urban settlements around the region are also referred to in ancient inscriptions. These include Hebbal, Hennur, Nagavara Nagasettihalli, Jakkur, Kodihehalli, Allalasandra, Kempapura and Hudi.

Link to Kempe Gowda 1

It is interesting that the founder of Bangalore city, Kempe Gowda I, also made his first settlement in this region.

The author is Deputy Director, Indian Council of Historical Research, Southern Regional Centre

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