I have been to Bangalore Palace twice. The first time, I was an inquisitive tourist, willing to soak in the royal history, marveling at the remnants of the strikingly beautiful regal affair on display. The second time, I was invited to a friend’s marriage party at the Bangalore Palace Grounds.
Both the times the sprawling Palace left me enchanted.
If you are still wondering if it is worth visiting the Bangalore Palace? The answer is yes, the Bangalore Palace is the Crown Jewel of Bangalore and is worth the visit. The humongous Bangalore Palace is an epitome of medieval British architecture from late 19th century. However, elements of Indian architectural influence and art make their presence felt at the fold of every pillar at the Bangalore Palace.
There is more to the palace which was the royal residence of Mysore Maharajas than what i have mentioned above. Let us explore this architectural marvel in detail.
History of the Bangalore Palace
Bangalore Palace’s history is surprisingly linked with that of Mysore Palace and royal dynasty of the Wadiyar Kingdom!
When Krishnaraja Wodeyar III ascended the throne in 1799, he was only five years old. When the boy-king attained the age of sixteen in 1810, he assumed the full control of the administration. There was an advisory council for the king with the Diwan as its head. The king was a great scholar and lover of literature and music.
Unfortunately for the Maharaja, there was a peasant’s revolt. The collection of the revenues was affected. The British Government took over the direct administration of the state on 19 October 1831. The Maharaja became a titular head.
Maharaja was well aware of the value of western education to his subjects. He was keenly observing the establishment of schools in his kingdom by the Wesleyan Missionaries from 1823 onwards.
In 1839, Rev. John Garrett was sent from London. He was a printer before taking up the Ministry in Bangalore. Garrett built up the Wesley Press which helped in printing departmental proceedings, forms, records, and miscellaneous matter.
Garrett resigned from the ministry in 1858 and became the first principal of the Central High School.
Garrett owned the present Bangalore Palace property which he later sold to Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar. (You can read more in the book – “The Kingdom in a kingdom: English Methodist Mission in Mysore State 1813-1913” – By A J Anandan. You can buy this book on Amazon. This book looks into the unique nature of the relationship between the Maharajas and some of the missionaries.
Construction of the palace building was started in April 1874 and was completed by 1878. However, renovation work is ongoing till date for maintenance and better preservation of the property.
Towers, turrets and battlements were constructed to add a touch of regal grandeur to the sprawling palace and befitting the taste of the royal residents. Roughly 35 rooms and a swimming pool was built inside the palace.
The famous horticulturalist, Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, (who had also developed the famed Lalbag gardens of Bengaluru, earning the city its endeared title “city of gardens”) were assigned with the task of landscaping the garden area.
Who is the king of Bangalore Palace?
Who is the king of Bangalore Palace? Bangalore Palace is owned and managed by H.H.Smt Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, legal heir to H.H.Sri Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar.
It is privately owned till date however is open to public visit and events of huge scales. Many musical gala events and exhibitions are held at the Palace Ground (the adjacent sprawling garden, a part of the property).
The architectural style is a mix of Tudor and Scottish Gothic
The frontal facade of the Bangalore Palace depicts a typical European architecture.
The medieval Tudor style of architecture testifies in the high arches, towering Gothic structures, wood curving, floral motifs, all tastefully done in old English style.
Every corner of the Bangalore Palace speaks of old regal opulence.
Few of the royal relics adorn the halls, balconies, bedrooms. A profound elephant head with ivory tusks is mounted at the entry gate.
Interestingly, the Durbar Hall of Bangalore Palace transported me back to the medieval British castles and its interiors, as read in Shakespeare’s plays.
Profound Victorian chandeliers, now dull under the blanket of a few layers of stardust of timelessness, stand still singing a melancholic tune. Sun-rays play with the Belgium mirrors, wood furniture,and stained glass.
The original bright yellow paintings on the wall has been redone. They add a touch of glamour to the huge Durbar Hall from where the king would address his assembly.
Many artifacts collected from around the globe adorn the Palace. From Chinese lacquer ware to dining tables studded with mother of pearl, a few of the antiques are carefully kept on display.
The king had a penchant for hunting and many of his hunts are mounted on the wall. Hinds of elephants are used as chairs or stand-alone pillar and I will be honest these relics sent a chill down my spine!
Courtyards inside the Palace
Bangalore Palace has two courtyards inside. The larger was is inspired by Arabic style and the smaller one is a joyous celebration of blue paints in Spanish style.
The marble chairs with paisley work placed at the smaller courtyard is one of the finest I have seen. Even though the palace yells British style of architecture, you cannot give amiss to the typical colorful paintings, mandalas etc.
Oil paintings of eminent painters, including some Greek and Dutch artists, adorn the staircase and interiors.
Bangalore Palace Ground
The Palace ground is increasingly becoming a favorite venue for Big Fat Indian Weddings too!
I have had an exciting opportunity of attending a friend’s wedding in the Bangalore Palace Grounds.
It was a typical big fat Indian wedding with thousands of guests, plush cars, suave sparkling jewelry and intricately detailed Kanjeevaram Sarees and lehengas galore. What better place than the Palace garden to host such an exquisite glittery night?
Musical Concerts in the Palace Grounds
I have learned that the Palace Ground used to be open for rent for the musical concert and other cultural activities of humongous scale too.
Some of the bands which performed on the sprawling palace Ground gardens are Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Backstreet Boys, Don Moen, David Guetta, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, etc.
Metallica was the last to perform on the Palace grounds.
Top 5 Things to Do Near Bangalore Palace
Since the Bangalore Palace is located at the heart of the city, there are many other places of interest you can plan to visit on the same day.
1. Fun World is situated right on the Palace ground. It is an amusement park with plenty of joyrides and many activities for children. Together with Bangalore Palace, it is a perfect family day out in Bangalore city.
2. Snow City is another amusement park situated close by which I highly recommend if you are looking to escape cruel heat of the summer months.
3. However, my favorite spot near Bangalore Palace has to be the Cubbon Park. Often touted as the lungs of the metropolis, Cubbon Park is a green retreat amid the bustling maddening crowd of Bangalore.
4. I often end my day at NGMA, National Gallery of Modern Art, situated very close to the Bangalore Palace with an incredible display of modern art by Indian artists.
To commemorate 150th Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, NGMA is also holding a special exhibition on his life and work throughout the year.
5. Situated close to the Bangalore Palace, Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technological Museum is an interesting institution where many scientific experiments are on interactive display.
It is quite a huge museum and demands at least an hour to explore.
What to eat near the palace
Bengaluru takes particular pride in a lot of eating joints, staring from quaint cafes to old school military hotels.
You shall be spoilt for choices while trying to find a great place to eat near Bangalore palace!
Millers 46 steak House and Bar is an obvious choice for an elaborate continental menu, styled after ranches.
You may also visit Caprese, located at the 18th floor, the place gives a panoramic view of Bangalore.
Salvadores is another great hidden gem that serves old school and authentic Anglo-Indian cuisine!
Trust Karama restaurant to serve you with the best Mandi rice in Bengaluru, if not the kebabs and Nihari.
If you are ready to ride a car for 15 minutes, you must visit Tom’s restaurant. One of the oldest and quintessentially best Mangalorean cuisine in the city. I highly recommend trying their squid fry!
If this is your first trip to India, You will find these posts helpful.
Opening & Closing time
Bangalore Palace is open for public visit from 10 am to 5:30 pm on all 7 days of the week.
The sprawling Palace Garden and huge Palace can be explored in a couple of hours.
Entry ticket to the Bangalore Palace is priced at INR 230 for Indians and INR 460 for foreigners.
Does one need a Guide to Explore the Banglore Palace?
Though there is no availability of any guide for assistance, you can rely on the audio guide presented to you as you purchase entry tickets.
It is interactive, detailed and guides you as you find your way into the exquisite interiors of the summer Palace of the Mysore Maharajas!
Is photography allowed in Bangalore Palace?
For still or video photography, you have to pay INR 695 fee. This is in addition to the entry fee.
Accessibility by wheelchair
The ground floor of the Bangalore Palace is accessible by wheel chair.
Nearest Metro Station to the Palace
The nearest Metro station to Bangalore Palace is located at the Cubbon Park. From Cubbon Park metro station you can walk for 10 minutes. Uber or Ola will help you reach the main entrance.
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Good to Know before you go:-
Is Bangalore safe to travel?
Bangalore is a very safe place to travel, especially as a solo woman. People are warm and can communicate in English. The tech city runs on myriad list of apps. It is better to call an auto/cab through apps rather than trying to rent an auto through bargaining power.
While most of the city is well connected with metro or public transport and generally speaking is safe any time of the day, I urge visitors to practice common sense and show respect to the locals for an overall safe experience.
When is the best time to travel to Bangalore?
Situated on a relatively higher altitude, Bangalore is often praised for a relatively cool weather in Indian peninsula. Apart from the two months of summer (March and April), Bangalore is mostly moderate on heat quotient.
Neither winter is harsh, nor rain is fierce. In fact it is during the few days of heavy torrential rains, you need to take out your blanket.
Through my travels, I have experienced a fair share of India’s royal heritage.
The UNESCO site of Agra Fort to the “Birmingham Palace of the East” Cooch Beher Rajbari or Tripura’s Neermahal, I have seen different styles of royal architecture that talk about splendor of India’s ultra rich dynasties.
Each region, each kingdom, and each palace has its own taste and style and exquisite collections on display, differing a lot in art and historical value.
If you are visiting Banglore you must not miss visiting this Royal Palace
If you happen to be a Bangalorian and you still haven’t visited the palace, then don’t delay your visit to this architectural marvel in Namma Bengaluru (our very own Bengaluru).