KempeGowda International Airport, Bangalore

Kempegowda is the name of the International airport at Bangalore / Bengaluru. Some international airports are obviously named after a person (John F Kennedy, Charles De Gaulle, Indira Gandhi) or the city in which they are (Cairo, Ouagadougou, Dallas Fort Worth). (Cue everyone googling Ouagadougou.) Kempegowda is named after an ancient feudal ruler.

Who is Kempe Gowda?

Kempegowda is named after Kempe Gowda who founded Bengaluru in 1537. He was also known as Hiriya Kempe Gowda and was a feudal ruler under the Vijayanagara Empire.He got two pairs of bullocks and plough the ground. While one pair ploughed east to west, the other pair went from north to south and made the four main streets in the upcoming town. Along these streets and sublanes developed various markets (petes). His vision for the city included forts, farms, petes (markets), tanks (water reservoirs) and temples so that people of all trades and professions could live there.

The bullocks started ploughing in a place called Doddapete Circle today. There are four tower like structures which were built to mark the importance of that place. (They are derelict today – maintenance of historical monuments is not a priority here.) 

Kempegowda International Airport 

The airport serves Bangalore, the state capital of Karnataka in Southern India. It is spread over 4,000 acres and is located 40km /25m north of the city near the village of Devanahalli. It opened in May 2008 as an alternative to the congested HAL airport. It is the third busiest airport in India (after Dehli and Mumbai). It handled 18 million passengers in 2015 with 400 aircraft movements a day. International flights arrive in the early hours of the morning and the cacophony of noise from the cars, taxis and other vehicles beeping and jockeying for space is phenomenal as they try to pick up their passengers. 

Like any other airport it has cargo as well as passenger facilities, cafes, some shops and duty free stores. The cafes are popular in the mornings but the shops are very quiet and rarely have many, if any, customers. The prices are expensive compared to what can be bought in the city.

Getting into the airport itself is interesting. Only passengers on the manifest lists who can show a valid ticket and passport are allowed past the armed border security at the doors. There can be some confusion if for example a passenger is not in the BA flight manifest when their ultimate destination is London, UK. BA is the only flight that flies direct to London so any passenger getting an internal flight to eg Dehli to change to Virgin to fly to London causes much consternation.

When you’re flying home to the UK there is no greater sight than seeing the airport, knowing you are leaving the chaos that is Bangalore behind you.

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