Bengaluru has always been ahead when it comes to innovation. It is only fitting then that the first electric street lamp in Asia was installed here. Incidentally, in early August this lamp completes 115 years.
The electric lamp installed in 1905, would replace the kerosene lamps used up until them. The lamp has been preserved for years by the BBMP near KR Market.
Asia's first hydroelectric lamp in Bengaluru
Since 5th August 1905, a lone street lamp near modern-day KR Market has been lighting up the area. Over 100 such lamps later came up in different prominent parts of Bengaluru. Before these street lamps, kerosene lamps were used around the city. Not just the city, the country and all of Asia.
The three behind this visionary lamp was JW Mears the electrical advisor to the then government of India, Colonel PH Benson and the Dewan of Mysore, PN Krishnamurthi. The lamp came up after the state's hydroelectric power plant was set up in Shivanasamudra in 1902. The idea was to draw on the power to help light up Bengaluru.
So after 7 pm on August 5th, 1905, the way Bengaluru's nights went would change. The city became Asia's first in lighting the way forward. The Shivanasamudra power plant was already powering the mining at the Kolar Gold Fields. The Shivanasamudra project was commissioned by the former Dewan to the Mysore Maharaja Seshadri Iyer, who had held the position till 1901.
When excess power was generated to a surplus of 2,000 HP in 1905, the Maharaja of Mysore Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar had decided the power would be diverted to Bengaluru.
Now, the lamp is still preserved by BBMP in the city, BBMP commissioner Manjunatha Prasad tweeted, "Asia's first electric street lamp was installed in #Bangalore in 1905. Today marks the 115th year of the birth of electric street lamps in our city."