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Nadaprabhu Hiriya Kempe Gowda, also known as Kempe Gowda was a chieftain under the Vijayanagara Empire. The city of Bengaluru, capital of the Indian state of Karnataka, was fortified by Kempe Gowda in 1537. He erected many Kannada inscriptions in the Kannada Country.

Kempe Gowda was one of the well educated and successful rulers of his time. Being a successor of Kempananje Gowda, descendants of Morasu Gowda lineage started as Yelahankanadu Prabhus (ruler of Yelhankanadu). The Yelahankanadu Prabhus were Gowdas or tillers of the land. Fourth in succession from Rana Bhairave Gowda, founder of the dynasty of Avati Nadu Prabhus and great grandson of Jaya Gowda, who established separate dynasty, is the famous Yelahanka Nadu Prabhus, Kempe Gowda I who ruled for 46 years commencing his reign from 1513. Jaya Gowda accepted the sovereignty of the Vijayanagar emperor. He later left Yelankanadu and was successful in planning and building Bengaluru Fort and Bengaluru Pete, the foundation of the current city of Bengaluru. He is also noted for his societal reforms and contribution to building temples and water reservoirs in Bengaluru. His ancestral origin is near Denkanikottai a small town in Krishnagiri District

Kempe Gowda's birth anniversary celebrations are organized by the state government every year across Karnataka from 27 June 2017, and is seen as Kempegowda day or ′Kempegowda Jayanthi′. An award is established and named after the ruler, called Kempegowda Award, which is presented annually at a ceremony held by BBMP.