Books on Bangalore

I often describe myself as a thoroughbred Bangalorean, and as is the case with many, have been curious about the city. I had previously put out a set of books on or about Bangalore on Twitter (in case the link is broken, please use this link on my self-hosted Twitter Archive), but with social networking sites being what they are today [1]​, [2]​, [3]​, I thought it best to make a perpetual list here. These are books or articles, largely in the non-fiction category and have been of interest to me ( in no particular order).

  1. Sharma, Yashaswini. “Bangalore: The Early City, AD 1537-1799,” 2012., Has a good description of the various ಪೇಟೆ's (pete's or towns) in Bangalore.
  2. Jayapal, Maya, Shiny Das, and Siddhartha Banerjee. Bangalore: Roots and Beyond. New Delhi: Niyogi Books, 2014. Do watch her talk at IIHS City Script.
  3. Jayapal, Maya. Bangalore: The Story of a City. Chennai (Madras) : Calcutta: Eastwest Books (Madras) ; Distributors, Rupa & Co, 1997
  4. Nagendra, Harini. Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future. Oxford University Press, 2016. An interesting discussion around urban commons.
  5. Bhat, Mahesh. Bengaluru/Bangalore In First Person Singular, 2012. You can see more images on the website
  6. INDIAN CULTURE. “Karnataka State Gazetteer: Bangalore District.” Accessed July 12, 2023. The Karnataka State Gazetteer is a treasure trove of information, do take a look at it when time permits, the old URLS for both 1990 and 2016 are missing but this is what I could find.
  7. Carvalho, Stanley. Past & Curious: Forty Tales of Good Old Bangalore. Asian Trading Corporation, 2016. Made and exception because of the beautiful illustrations by Paul Fernandes and the regular stories in Deccan Herald.
  8. Pani, Narendar, Sindhu Radhakrishna, and Kishor G. Bhat, eds. Bengaluru, Bangalore, Bengaluru: Imaginations and Their Times. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2010. A wonderful accounting of Bangalore from the past to the present (2010).
  9. Vanishing lakes: a study of Bangalore city, Social and Economic Change monographs, no. 17, 2009. Take a look at page 8 for the complex governance mechanisms of lakes in Bangalore - as a bonus do read Unnikrishnana, Hita, Seema Mundoli, and Harini Nagendra. “Making Water Flow in Bengaluru: Planning for the Resilience of Water Supply in a Semi-Arid City.” Journal of Sustainable Urbanization, Planning and Progress 2, no. 1 (May 19, 2017).
  10. Srinivasaraju, Sugata. Keeping Faith with the Mother Tongue: The Anxieties of a Local Culture. 1st ed. Bangalore: Navakarnataka Publications, 2008. Not necessarily about Bangalore, but will strike a chord with many Bangaloreans who do not speak Kannada at home.
  11. De, Aditi, ed. Multiple City: Writings on Bangalore. 1. publ. New Delhi, India: Penguin Books India, 2008. A series of essays on Bangalore by some wonderful folk, you can find many reviews of this book online.
  12. Jagadeesh, N. Our Bangalore: A Journey Through Time. Sapna Book House, 1999.
  13. Mathur, Anuradha, and Dilip da Cunha. Deccan Traverses: The Making of Bangalore’s Terrain. New Delhi: Rupa, 2006. Do read the other books available on the website for a wonderful accoutning on water systems.
  14. Nair, Janaki. The Promise of the Metropolis: Bangalore’s Twentieth Century. Oxford University Press, USA, 2005. If you like details, linkages and relationships, this will make for a nice read. Also, do read the endnotes in this book.
  15. Heitzman, James. Network City: Planning the Information Society in Bangalore. New Delhi ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. A relatively newer accounting of the city.
  16. Colaco, Peter. Bangalore. A Century of Tales from City and Cantonment., 2003. A memoir more than an accounting.
  17. Annaswamy, TV. Bengaluru to Bangalore: Urban History of Bangalore: From the Pre-Historic Period to the End of 18th Century. Vengadam Publications, 2003. Names, lakes, gardens, the whole trajectory, one of the few pieces on pre-modern Bangalore.
  18. Parthasarathy, Balaji. Globalization and Agglomeration in Newly Industrializing Countries: The State and the Information Technology Industry in Bangalore, India. University of California, Berkeley, 2000. How did the IT Industry come to be in Bangalore.
  19. Schenk, H., ed. Living in India’s Slums: A Case Study of Bangalore. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers & Distributors, 2001. Read more about the history of slums in India, the state of them, etc. Wonderfully detailed and draws on a lot of data.
  20. Nisbett, Nicholas. Growing up in the Knowledge Society: Living the IT Dream in Bangalore. Cities and the Urban Imperative. New Delhi: Routledge, 2009. An ethnographic investigation of growing up in "IT" Bangalore.
  21. Srinivas, Smriti. Landscapes of Urban Memory: The Sacred and the Civic in India’s High-Tech City. Rev. ed. Hyderabad, India: Orient Longman, 2004. Want to know more about the fairs/celebrations/etc. in the city? Read this and Janaki Nair's book.
  22. Norris, Paul Byron. Follow My Bangalorey Man. London: BACSA, 1996. Mostly accounts by British families in Bangalore between 1923 and 1939.
  23. Issar, Tribhuvan Prakash. Blossoms of Bangalore. Marketing Consultants & Agencies Limited, 1994. If you want an interesting walk around the city to witness all the blooms (throughout the year) follow the dates in the book and you'll be surprised (if the trees exist today).
  24. Prakasa Rao, VL, and VK Tewari. “Structure of an Indian Metropolis: A Study of Bangalore.” Allied publishers private limited, 1979. This from the seventies, do read it and you'll marvel at how good we can be at not learning from history.
  25. Punekar, Vijaya Bhaskar. Assimilation: A Study of North Indians in Bangalore. Popular Prakashan, 1974. Bangalore doesn't have people from the North? Do read this, as is the case with many cities, Bangalore is a city of migrants too.
  26. Thiruvady, Vijay. Heritage Trees. Bangalore Environment Trust, 2014. Wondering where these trees come from? This is a well researched book on heritage trees in Bangalore.
  27. Iyer, Meera. Discovering Bengaluru. Edited by Chiranjiv Singh. INTACH BENGALURU CHAPTER, 2019. A wonderful accounting of historical artefacts around the city.
  28. Hasan, M Fazlul. Bangalore through the Centuries. Jayanagar, Bangalore: Historical Publications, 1970. One more historical account that traces the constant mingling of "migrants" in the city, and the footnotes are gems again.
  29. Vyasulu, Vinod, and AKN Reddy. “Essays on Bangalore.” Karnataka State Council of Science and Technology, Bangalore, 1984. This is a wonderful read for anyone interested and you can find it at

Many of the books use some amazing source material, and if you start reading some of them, you'll find the following names crop up: M N Srinivas, Bargur Ramachandrappa, S K Narasimhaiah, Ba Na Sundara Rao, Lakshman Rau (and his notes), A N Krishna Rao, among others.