Ulsoor, or Halasuru, is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city of Bangalore. It is located in central Bangalore, and begins roughly near the eastern terminus of MG Road. It is renowned for its numerous temples and rather narrow streets.
The village of Bangalore is said to have been gifted to Kempe Gowda I (1513–1569), the founder of Bangalore, by the Vijayanagar emperors. The Ulsoor Lake was built by his successor, Kempe Gowda II, and is the only surviving tank built by the Gowda kings in Bangalore.The first British military station was set up in Halasuru in 1807.
There used to be a jackfruit orchard near the Ulsoor Lake, and the Kannada name for jackfruit being ‘Halasina Hannu’, the area came to be known as Halasuru. During the British rule, the name was anglicised to ‘Ulsoor’.
There are several old temples in Ulsoor, which are scattered throughout the area. The oldest temple is the Halasuru Someshwara Temple, was built by Kempe Gowda I in the 16th century and is a mixture of Hoysala, Chola and Vijayanagara architecture.The Subramanya Temple, which is more than 800 years old, is also a prominent temple.
Ulsoor Lake, one of the biggest lakes in Bangalore, is located on the eastern side of the city. It derives its name from the name of the locality it is situated, namely, Ulsoor, close to M G Road. It is spread over 50 ha (123.6 acres)) and has several islands. Even though the lake is dated to Kempegowdas’ time, the present lake was created by Sir Lewin Bentham Bowring, the then Commissioner of Bangalore.
The lake was subject to several types of pollution threats.