Shivajinagar or Blackpally was a barren region when Kempegowda founded modern Bangalore. The first settlers in the area were farmers from Gingee, who set up a village and cultivated white rice. It is believed that the name Black pally for the area came from the bili akki (white rice) that they grew in their fields.
As the British Cantonment was established to its south and east Blackpally along with Ulsoor gradually became a native settlement servicing the needs of ‘native’ residents. Interestingly, the bazaar became popular with the Europeans as well, as they couldn’t resist the possibility of finding a bargain!
Though much has altered now, the remnants of the past are still visible. Russell Market is still the main market, opposite one can see the spires of St Mary’s Basilica. Numerous stalls and different kinds of bazaars, still exist, like those affiliated with the temples in the area including Meenakshi and Dharmaraja Koils along with the shops houses on streets dedicated to a particular trade. Beside these remain lone remnants of building typologies like the Mews, Choultry, Cinemas and Hospitals, which once served the influx of visitors and residents alike. These especially along with the shop houses literally struggle for existence.
Unlike other neighbourhoods where one could work with residents to continue awareness building, it is difficult to find a community that could take ownership of Blackpally as a whole. Most people work and visit the area, few live here…