Everyone agrees that Bangalore is not what it used to be, say, 20 years ago. But the fact is that it is not what it used to be just 10 or even 8 years ago! All these roads, malls, IT parks, flyovers, elevated highways and huge apartment complexes came up in this decade, and many areas that seem to be integral to the city were actually far-flung green, unpolluted silent outskirts then. What really spurred growth in these areas which later became part of the “IT Corridors” was the building of the Outer Ring Road, which was meant to circle the city but is now a very much integral part of it.
Google Earth is not just a tool for armchair travelers to waste time on, but it is a time machine too! Studying historical imagery that was captured once, we can look how places in reality looked like back in time. And to aid our case, those aerial shots reveal how Bangalore became the traffic-jammed, concrete mess it is today. We can go back in time to see how those places we think existed since forever looked like once upon a time, and for people who knew how those places looked a decade ago can look and be shocked how the place looks like now.
So here is a ride back in time depicting Bangalore’s transition from Garden City to Urban Concrete Jungle.
KR PURAM RAILWAY STATION JUNCTION
2012 – Today’s ever congested KR Puram Railway Station junction. The cable stayed “hanging bridge” across the railway tracks looks quite solid though the design was flayed. Note the little bridge beneath the big one.
2002. The “hanging bridge” is being constructed along with the flyover on Whitefield road. The small bridge used to be the one used for vehicles to cross over to KR Puram, Hoskote and Chennai. There used to be even a level cross here!
TIN FACTORY JUNCTION KR PURAM
2012 – The Tin Factory flyover complex of today, complete with the traffic jam on top of it and the wide Old Madras Road running parallel. Though it looks awesome with crossing railway lines, three arm-flyover and roads beneath it, whoever designed the entire thing did a terrible job with the place being perpetually congested. However, it was not always like this.
2002 – Everything was under construction as part of the Ring Road Project. There was hardly any road connecting Old Madras Road to the other side of the Ring Road. OMR was much narrower with traffic getting stuck under the bridge at Beniganahalli. Kasturi Nagar was just being settled.
BELLANDUR (OUTER RING ROAD)
2012 – Concrete jungle, the place has grown into one of the worst areas in Bangalore. Hot, dusty, barren, traffic-jammed and unimaginably crowded, thanks to the “IT Corridor”. Just look at how all the buildings now cover almost every inch of the land. But this is very recent. Just 10 years, this was a very different place.
2002 The Ring Road has just been constructed, cutting through mostly vacant land and some farmlands and serene orchards. The only settlement is the Bellandur Village, very much removed from the hullabaloo of the city. Compare with the mess today for a study in contrast.
KADUBEESANAHALLI (OUTER RING ROAD)
2012 – Other end of the “IT Corridor”. Like Bellandur, the saga continues with huge apartment buildings and huge-er office complexes covering every square foot of available space, choking on dust and exhaust fumes. Oh my kingdom for some lung space!
2002 – Lung space, plenty of it! Look at all those wide, empty lands! Can you believe that just 10 years back none of all that was even there and this open green space was once the mess that we see today? Incredible!
SILK BOARD JUNCTION
2012 – The Silk Board Junction today with the flyover, complete with traffic jam. But they forgot the underpass.
2000 – When Bangalore was just starting to pick up speed. The Silk Board Junction was an ordinary four-point junction. Look at all those huge empty plots in BTM!
MARATHAHALLI and SURROUNDINGS
2012 – Today’s “Concretized” Marathahalli, chock-a-block with buildings covering every possible space. No parks, lakes etc. Dry, arid, barren, dusty and traffic-jammed. The big bridge over the railway line is a fairly new addition.
2002 – The “Bridge” was present then too, and Airport Road side of Marathahalli was quite the same back then, but notice the absence of buildings elsewhere. The huge apartment complexes hadn’t yet materialized (upper right corner) and so was the railway bridge, the road towards Whitefield was narrow, single lane!
2012 – How the face of Hebbal has changed! The gateway to the rapidly expanding North Bangalore, Hebbal Junction has today the loop interchange which can be said to be the most “spectacular” in Bangalore. The Bellary road has widened into the Airport Highway. Kudos to whoever thought so much in advance and managed to build the flyover without distrubing the lake! But they forgot the underpass for the Ring Road.
2000 – There was no flyover here as well, as people never ventured to this part of town often. The Ring Road was newly constructed, and the Bellary road was single carriage way! No idea what the semi-circle and moon-like things in the lake are.
Magadi Road – Outer Ring Road Junction (Sumanahalli)
2012 – There exists a major two-level grade separator at the junction, thickly bordered by buildings. Many people in Bangalore might not be much familiar with this location though since it is located far in the East.
2000 – Leave alone a grade separator, there wasn’t even a road here! This place was a far outpost of Bangalore once with only the lone two-lane Magadi Road servicing the area. No one would have dreamed of how it would look 12 years later.
There are many more to come. And the greenery meanwhile, disappears…
PLEASE NOTE: (DISCLAIMERS)
All images shown above are taken from Google Earth using their “Save As Image” feature. Google and their suppliers are sole owners of the content and this is used here for illustration purposes only. I do not claim any ownership of the images.
Images of previous years were captured using Google Earth’s “Timeline” feature.
I do not claim any authenticity of the images to represent actual conditions on the ground including alignments, colors etc. Real life conditions might have changed from the day the images were captured.
Google Earth’s image capturing procedures and dates vary and they source images from various vendors as attributed in the images.
The date the image was uploaded by Google can be seen from the bottom left corner. However, the images may not represent actual ground conditions on that particular day.