Bangalore Palace : A Reminder of the Colonial Legacy

Bangalore is the city of huge gardens, of thriving cafes, of IT hubs, of an incredible bus service. Bangalore is the birthplace of Coffee Days and has at least one CCD at every street corner. It’s also a city of richly painted city walls. Bangalore is also a city with many personalities, shaped over time due to its multi-layered history. And, Bangalore Palace, a landmark destination, is an indisputable slice of city’s cultural history.

Front view of the Bangalore Palace

The Bangalore Palace is situated at the Vasanthnagar area of the old city. It looks look like a smaller replica of the Windsor Castle, Berkshire, UK and is closely intertwined with the legacy of the city. The palace has a floor area of about 45,000 sft, and the surrounding ground spreads to 454 acres of land. The architecture of the palace is a reminder of the colonial legacy of the town while its opulence also showcases the riches of the Wadiyar kings.

An elephant head mounted on wall facing the main staircase to first floor
The ground floor hall inside the palace

A section of the palace is open to the public and one can witness the lavish and elegant splendour of one of South India’s most enduring dynasties, after paying for a ticket. Remaining portions of the palace are used as the private residence of the royal family.

Magnificent main staircase to the first floor
The grand roof and chandeliers in first floor Durbar Hall
Lavishly decorated interiors of first floor Durbar Hall of the Bangalore Palace
Decorated staircase to the first floor

THE HISTORY OF THE PALACE
The construction of the palace started in 1862. In 1873 partially built property was purchased by the guardians of Chamarajendra Wadiyar X (the twenty-third maharaja of Mysore). Construction restarted in 1874 and completed in 1878. Extensive landscaping of the palace and surrounding areas were done by John Cameron, the person behind Lalbagh gardens. Changes, renovations and subsequent additions have been carried out since. It was last renovated by Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar (1953-2013), the twenty-sixth maharaja of Mysore.
Wood has been used extensively in interiors of the palace. The architectural style is a mix of Tudor and Scottish Gothic. Many decorative items used inside were imported from Britain and other European countries. The palace is surrounded by a large, landscaped and well preserved garden.

Lavishly decorated interiors of first floor Durbar Hall of the Bangalore Palace
A stylish chandelier in first floor Durbar Hall
The grand roof and chandeliers in first floor Durbar Hall
A view of the Darbar Hall on first floor

Some of the defining features of the two-level granite structure include the fortified towers and the turreted parapets, Roman arches at the entrance. These are quintessential elements of Tudor buildings. The vine-covered walls of the palace gives a differently unique look.

CHARMING INTERIORS
Only a small portion of this remarkable place is open for public view. These portions reflect a more traditional Hindu style of decor. Pillars and arches dominate the interiors. The luxurious setting of the building include ornate cornices, beautifully decorated staircases, lavishly patterned walls and stylish chandeliers. The courtyard of the Maharaja features a delicately designed fluorescent blue ceramic tile bench and a fountain gifted by a Spanish royal. The courtyard also features an art-deco octagonal design of fluorescent ceramic tiles on its floor. Many hunting trophies are displayed in different parts of the palace. It seems hunting was a favoured pastime of Wadiyar kings.

The beautiful framed gallery on first floor
courtyard of the Maharaja with its fountain
Lavishly decorated galleries and courtyard of the Maharaja
The framed gallery on first floor

Many paintings of renowned 19th and 20th century Indian painters, including those by Raja Ravi Varma are display. Also on display are a great collection of photographs. These images chronicle the different generations of the Wadiyar dynasty. Out of the collection of 30,000 photographs currently present in the palace, it is planned that about 1,000 of them will be restored and put up for viewing in an exhibition. Replicas of the royal Coat of Arms (gifted to the Wadiyars by the British) are also displayed at different walls of the Palace.

Elephant foot stools : Hunting-trophies
A decorated staircase inside near king’s space
Delicately designed fluorescent blue ceramic tile design in the courtyard of the Maharaja
The courtyard of the Maharaja with fluorescent blue ceramic tiled bench
The courtyard of the Maharaja with its fluorescent blue ceramic tiled bench
Old lamp case used in palace
A replica of the Royal Coat of Arms

The large grounds around the palace are regularly used for holding public events like music concerts and shows. It has hosted rock-n-roll biggies such as The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Deep Purple, Scorpions, Backstreet Boys, Textures, Amon Amarth, Lamb Of God, Mark Knopfler, Roger Waters, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Enrique Iglesias etc. Portions of the palace are also rented out as a popular venue for functions such as weddings. The Palace and surroundings have been used for shooting of numerous Hindi and regional movies.

A silver Shield with king’s image

BANGALORE PALACE : QUICK FACTS
Timings: 10 AM to 5.30 PM
Entry Fees: Indians (INR 240), Foreign guests (INR 500), Mobile Camera (INR 300), Still camera (INR 700)
Visit Duration: 2 to 3 hours
Phone: +91 80233 60818/15789

Bangalore Palace and its towers : A view
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1 Comment Bangalore Palace : A Reminder of the Colonial Legacy

  1. Milton D'Silva July 15, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Well, what a marvellously written blog! The prose is so well matched to the visual delight provided by the pictures – a veritable feast for the eyes. The hunting trophies makes one sad, but guess those days it was not viewed from the environmental angle we are now sensitised to. Thanks for a great treat!

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