Dredging undertaken at the Hosakerehalli lake by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) on Monday turned into an eventful one with the resurfacing of a historic relic, believed to be from the Kempe Gowda era. The black stone ‘mantapa’ was discovered from 25 ft below water at the lake in Banashankari third stage.
Old-timers recalled that the lake, built by Kempe Gowda in the late 16th century, served for drinking, irrigation and fishing purposes until the late 1940s. The 10ft x 10ft wide ‘mantapa’ is made of greyish-black granite. “We were overwhelmed as we saw the ‘mantapa’ emerge inch by inch near the ‘kere kodi’ at the northern side of the lake,” said resident R. Ramesh, an active member of the Hosakerehalli Lake Rejuvenation Project, which is working on its preservation for 20 years.
Residents recalled how their forefathers had narrated stories of the two ‘mantapas’ that were submerged in the lake in the last century or so. “The black stone and its carving resembles the one used for Kempe Gowda’s ‘samadhi’ at Magadi. Gowda supposedly liked the stone,” Mr. Ramesh said.
As of now, the ‘mantapa’ is visible to a height of 8 ft, and the site has to be excavated further, residents said. “As soon as we saw the structure inside the lake, we informed the State Archaeology Department,” he said.
Octogenarian Doddanayaka, a farmer living near the lake, was not surprised to see the relic. “We have heard our forefathers talk of farmers praying during monsoon for water as they offered ‘bagina’ at the ‘mantapa’ on the ‘bandekallu’ (hillock). Perhaps the whole thing was submerged when encroachments and dumping of construction debris started,” he said.
The BDA, which took over the 59.25-acre lake from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, conducted a survey and evicted encroachments around it to renovate the waterbody after a direction from the High Court of Karnataka three years ago.
Residents are elated that historians and archaeology experts can have on record the fact that the lake belonged to the Kempe Gowda era. Mr. Ramesh, who owned a vineyard at the lake fringe, recalled having played on the lake bed and taken his cattle to feed water.
R. Gopal, Archaeology Commissioner, said, “We are sending out engineers soon to study the stone ‘mantapa’ that was discovered at the Hosakerehalli lake.”