The end of the Vijayanagar Empire in 1565 saw the rise of several small chieftains and minor rajas and nayakas who held sway over small parts of the once mammoth Vijayanagar Empire.
The Vijayanagar Empire stretched practically over the whole of south
and comprised vast areas of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa. The demise of the empire saw the rise of provincial chiefs such as Nayakas of Madurai and Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu and Palegars and Gowdas in Karnataka. India
They ruled over principalities of Abbludu, Anekal, Avati, Bairanadurga, Bengalore, Chikkaballapura, Devanahalli, Doddaballapura, Gauribidanur, Gudibande, Heb-Holavanahalli, Hoskote, Hulikaluru, Huliyurdurga, Jangamakote, Kolar, Koratagere, Kunigal, Magadi, Mulabagalu, Nandi, Ramapura (Ramagiri), Sarjapura, Savanadurga, Shiddlaghatta, Utridurga, Vadigenahalli (Vijayapura), Sugaturu, Yelahanka in Karnataka; Berikai, Sulagiri, Madurai, Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu and Punganuru in Andhra Pradesh.
These local chiefs often fought among themselves and later onlt the fittest survived. In Karnataka, the Wodeyars ruled over
Mysore and Srirangapatna the erstwhile capital of a province in Vijayanagar empire, while Kempe Gowda reigned over , Yelahanka, Magadi, Hosokte and surrounding areas. Bangalore
The ancestors of Kempe Gowda are believed to have migrated to Yelahanka from Tamil Nadu. Historians surmise that it was towards the beginning of the 14th century that Mallabhaire Gowda or Ranabhaire Gowda migrated into
province along with his family. Bangalore
Legend has it that the Gowda family comprised of seven members and they moved into an area adjacent to a village at the foot of Ramaswami Betta which is situated east of Nandi Hills or Nandidurga.
Since they were wealthy and they had arrived at the Betta in carts, they were called by the locals as Bandi Koppallu or Vokkalu, which meant those who had come in carts.
The Ranabhaire Gowda family is also invested with a Telugu origin and hence they are also called as Morasu Vokkalu. Members of this family worshipped Baire Deva.
The Telugu legend of the origin of Kempe Gowdas say that Ranabhaire Gowda was compelled to leave Yanamanji village near Kanchi in Tamil Nadu in the dead of night to ensure that his beloved daughter, Doddamma, did not fall into the hands of a local chief who belonged to a lower caste. You see, the local chief was supposed to have been enamored of Doddamma’s beauty and he wanted to marry her.
The Gowda escaped from the village with his immediate family members and several clansmen. However, there is another version of this story and according to it, Yanamanji was part of Mulabagal in Kolar district and the Gowdas made their way from near Mulabagal to present day
Whatever their place of origin, the Hoskote inscription of 1367 is emphatic that the founder of the line of Yelahanka Nada Prabhus was Ranabhaire Gowda of Avati. Another inscription of Subramanya says that the family of Ranabhaire Gowda came to Bangalore and that his brother Jayagowda was the founder of Yelahanka and his successors were called Kempanache Gowda, Hiriya Kempe Gowda (founder of Bangalore city) and
Ranabhaire Gowda, a farmer, first came to Avati and slowly began ruling over provinces surrounding
. His brother, Jayagowda or Jayappagowda founded the lineage of Yelahanka Nada Prabhus. Bangalore
Jayagowda served as a vassal of Vijayanagar and he is believed to have ruled for 15 years. He was succeeded by his son, Gidde Gowda. When Gidde Gowda did not have children, he prayed to Kempamma, the consort of Bhairedeva, that if he was blessed with a son, his descendents forever would bear her name.
When a son was born to Gidde Gowda, he called him Kempananje Gowda or Kempnache Gowda. He ruled Yelahanka and
from 1443 to 1513. Bangalore
Kempnache Gowda was succeeded by his son, Kempegowda I, in 1513. This ruler was a contemporary of the Vijayanagar Emperor, Krishna Deve Raya. It was he who decided to shift the capital from Yelahanka to
and this was sometime in 1537. Bangalore
Kempe Gowda sought permission from the Vijayanagar Emperor, Achuta Deva Raya, to build
and also construct a mud fort. It was during this time that a small dam was built across the Arkavathy at Hesarghatta. Bangalore
Achuta Deva Raya was impressed with the sincerity, dedication and faithfulness of Kempe Gowda and bestowed on him twelve hoblies of Kengeri, Kumbalgod, Hesarghatta, old Bengaluru, Varthur, Yelahanka, Begur, Halasuru (Ulsoor), Talagatpura, Jigani, Kanneli and Banavara and Hesaraghatta earning a revenue of 30,000 pagodas.
Kempe Gowda then went on a city building spree. He constructed the Basava temple at Basavanagudi temple, repaired and renovated the Gavi Gangadhareswara temple in Gavipuram and the Someshwara temple in Ulsoor He also built several tanks and lakes such as Dharmambudhi near Majestic, Sampangi where the Kanteerava indoor stadium stands today, Siddikatte which today houses the City Market bus stand and market, Kempambudhi, Karanji adjoining the Basava temple in Basavanapura village, and Bellandur and ensured that Bangalore got adequate water supply.
Unfortunately, Kempe Gowda’s ambition of making
a thriving city suffered a setback when he was imprisoned by the Vijayanagar Emperor for having dared to establish a mint and issued coins called Virabhadra Varaha. Bangalore
Historians ascribe this setback to several contemporary Palegars who were jealous of Kempe Gowda and his rising graph. His principal enemy was Jayadevaraya of Chennapatna. When Kempe Gowda was in the Vijayanagar prison, his territory was handed over to Jayadevaraya.
Kempe Gowda was in the prison at Anegundi (near Hampi) for five years, after which he was released and his province restored to him. He was followed by his son Immadi Kempe Gowda or Kempe Gowda II who extended the territory and conquered Savandurga and Magadi.
Kempe Gowda II constructed five towers in
which today are called Kempe Gowda towers. These towers, which acted as watch towers, were located on elevated ground or on small hillocks. Thus, they came up at Oyalidinne which is today near Mekri Circle, (north), Halasur rock tower which is near the Someshwara Temple (east), natural rock in Lalbagh (south) and near Kempambudhi tank (south-west). Bangalore
Unfortunately, Kempe Gowda II had many enemies and they all ganged up with Muhammad Adil Shah of Bijapur and in 1638
fell to the marauding Adil Shahis. Bangalore
The local chieftains likc Jagadevaraya of Chennapatna, Seeryada Rangappa, Anantha Raja, Immadi Baira, Aayama Gowda sided with Adil Shah Generals Ranadulla Khan and Shahaji and Kempe Gowda II was forced to surrender
to the Muslims in 1638. Bangalore
The Adil Shahis permitted Kempe Gowda II to relocate to Magadi after the latter agreed to pay heavy royalty. This was how Kempe Gowda II came to be called as Magadi Kempe Gowda.
Kempe Gowda II was succeeded by Mummadi Kempegowda who is also known as Male (rain) Kemparaya. He got the name Male when he prayed for rains when his province was in the grip of severe drought. When copious rains lashed Magadi and surrounding areas, a grateful populace called him Male Kemparaya.
He was followed by his son Dodda Veerappa Gowda (1678-1705). Then came Kempaveerappa Gowda who assumed the title Mummadi Kempa Veerappa Gowda and he ruled from 1705 to 1728. By then, the Wodeyars had gained prominence and they were eying the rich
. province of Magadi-Savandurga
The Wodeyars attacked Kempaveerapa Gowda in Nelapatna which was the earlier name of Magadi. The fort of Nelapatna was breached and the
army under Dalvoi Devarajayya overran the city in 1728. Mysore
Both Magadi Kempegowda and his general Veerabhadra Nayaka were taken prisoners and sent to Srirangapatna where they were imprisoned. The city of
Nelapatna was destroyed and the Magadi-Savandurga province annexed to the . Kempaveerappa Gowda were captured and sent to Wodeyar Kingdom
Srirangapatna.With the death of Magadi Kempe Gowda, the reign of the Yelahanka Nada Prabhus came to an end.