Most of us are caught up with our daily routine, so much that we forget to explore our own cities as a tourist would. Yours Truly is also, guilty of the same. I recall exploring Bangalore way back in the 1990s – the first time around that I shifted here and since then, while the city changed, I took the changes for granted and never really visited those tourist places again – one being the Bangalore Palace. 2015 was the year I realized that I needed to visit those places all over again – rediscover and relook at my own city.
The realization also, came in from the fact that my own daughter who was born here, did not really know her city. With the X’mas vacation on, I embarked with my daughter on a tour of Bangalore – visiting one attraction a day. This is when Bangalore Palace happened – the first time both of us – Mom and Daughter saw it.
To be fair to myself, the Bangalore Palace was closed to the public way back in the 1990s. It opened up later for the tourists and well, I can only give excuses of having a full-time job and other commitments for never having stepped in earlier. Honestly, it was a sin to have not done it earlier.
Smack in the middle of the city, the Bangalore Palace is impressive from the first time that you set your eyes on it. I had been informed that the palace was a copy of the Windsor Castle, a fact that was promptly corrected by the audio guide at the Palace. The Bangalore Palace is not a replica of the Windsor Castle but just built in the Tudor Style by the Maharaja of Mysore – Chamrajendra Wadiyar X in the year 1887. The entire palace is quite European in style but along the tour, you will find a few shades of Indian Culture.
Set on the sprawling property of over 450 acres, the Bangalore Palace was definitely fairy-tale like. My daughter too remarked that the castle looked like Rapunzel’s castle. The verdant exteriors got me really excited about what I would actually find inside.
The palace is actually, a small one – with just around 35 rooms and is made of wood. This was to be the Summer retreat of the Royal family. As soon as you enter, you must look up above you to spot this huge stuffed Elephant head – a hunting trophy from one of Maharaja’s expeditions.
After the entrance formalities are done, you just need to follow the audio guide for spotting the highlights within the palace. So, while I will not take you through the entire 40-minute guide, I will share 10 highlights of the Bangalore Palace that I discovered during my tour.
1) The Coat of Arms at the Bangalore Palace
The Maharaja of Mysore was awarded a Coat of Arms by the British. The Coat of Arms includes the symbol of the Wadiyars known as the Ganda Bherunda. This is the two-headed bird in the center. Along with the same, check out the sides for mythical creatures with the head of the elephant and the body of a lion. These are to represent power and royalty.
The Coat of Arms is a prominent part of the decor throughout the Bangalore Palace and you will find it in almost all the rooms of the Palace.
2) The Ballroom at Bangalore Palace
I will not lie and say that this is one of the most amazing ball rooms that I have seen. It sure is not but then, this palace isn’t one of the biggest that I have seen.
However, having said that, this ballroom is impressive with its colors and lighting and is an important part of the Bangalore Palace. As the audio guide informed me, there were plenty of ballroom parties and dancing that this hall has witnessed.
3) The Spiral staircase
An ordinary wooden spiral staircase but with some lovely artifacts and decor on it – the lovely lamps and the antique vases kept along the corner. One thing that I found unusual here were the custom-made three legged stools. Notice one leg is longer than the others – just to accommodate them on the staircase.
There was something charming about the brown intricately carved, wooden staircase – something antique, something different. 🙂 I can’t explain that feeling except that is how I feel around heritage properties that I have encountered in Old Mumbai.
4) Durbar Hall
Now this was really, impressive. With its amazing chandeliers, yellow and gold decor, stained glass and majestic looking furniture. Unfortunately, you have to watch it from the sides and are not allowed to enter it.
There is a separate partition for the women as they were not allowed to be part of the proceedings directly. Unlike the palaces up North India, these did not have any jhalis or jharokas but was just a partition covered with curtains.
5) Corridors with its antique cases and pictures
Throughout the palace are corridors lined with beautiful paintings and artifacts from the palace. Be it the painting of the Maharajas or the black and white photos of him and his family on various occasions, it is indeed fun to observe them.
Various gorgeous paintings adorn the wall. A lot of them are not originals as informed by the audio guides of Bangalore Palace but beautiful and priceless, nonetheless.
Here are some dressing tables and desks that were used by the Royalty.
I loved the wide open corridors with its Gothic and Tudor styled carvings. The natural sunlight coming through added a certain beauty to the entire place.
6) Wildlife spoils
Now here are some exhibits that I am not really fond of but well, they are unique to the Bangalore Palace. These are made of real animal hides – like the one above which is a stool made from Elephant’s legs and the one below which is a vase made of the elephant’s trunks.
The Maharaja Jayachamrajendra Wadiyar was an avid hunter, rumored to have killed over 300 tigers. His wildlife expeditions are well chronicled through the audio guides and the pictures on the wall. Something that really did not impress me, for I really felt sad after listening to it. The irony of it all is that when he quit hunting, he was elected the president of the Indian Board of Wildlife !!!
7) Maharani’s courtyard at Bangalore Palace
This one had a few open rooms for you to explore. Though there isn’t much in the room, it did satisfy my curiosity piqued by the closed doors of the palace. I wondered how big the rooms were, what colors, etc etc. I have to say that they were fairly big, not as small as the ones that I happen to see in some of the famed palaces of Rajasthan. Most of them had a high ceiling with some impressive chandeliers within them.
The courtyard has a central fountain along with some patches of green around. Unfortunately, when we went, the same was dried up. However, it is easy to imagine how gorgeous they must be when in full bloom.
8) Maharaja’s courtyard at Bangalore Palace
The Maharaja’s courtyard was Colorful!!! No other adjective springs to my mind except that!
A unique tiled bench is the first thing that you see. The same is made of Spanish tiles and has a picture of a stag being attacked by dogs while the birds watch. There is no partition around it and you are welcome to sit on it and rest. A few seconds of Royal pleasure for you. 😀
The bench along with the fountain above was a gift from the King of Spain. The entire courtyard looks vibrant, thanks to these gifts. Along the corridors are kept some lovely curios from the Western world like the ones below.
9) The Jockey’s chair
Kept along the Maharaja’s courtyard is a wooden chair with a small weighing scale attached. This isn’t any chair but a chair to measure the weight of a jockey. Right next to it is a wooden stand to measure the height of the jockey. The Royal family of Mysore was heavily into horse racing as you can guess. 🙂
10) The Chandeliers
Throughout the palace are amazing and colorful chandeliers. While some of you may argue, what is the big deal about them for they are not the largest or the most intricate. But for me, these chandeliers added to the charm of the Bangalore Palace. They lit up the place – not just literally but in terms of the vibrancy and decor. I would have loved to see them at night.
There are plenty of more things that may interest you at the Bangalore Palace – like the office of the Maharaja, the lovely gardens in front of the Palace or even the history behind several paintings. The wardrobe of the Royal family is also, open to the public but honestly, I wish they displayed it better. It is just bunched into cupboards. If someone from the officials of the Bangalore Palace is reading this, please do make some corners for a lovely display of some of the garments – especially the festive ones. People like me would love to have a look at them.
Having come back from my recent visits to the Royal Rajasthan palaces, I cannot but draw some comparisons. Yes, the Bangalore Palace is not as big or majestic as the Rajasthan ones or even for that matter, the Mysore palace, but it is charming nonetheless. I felt shameful about not seeing it earlier.
Here is hoping that the rest of you don’t make that mistake. If you are in Bangalore, keep aside just two hours to see the small but unique Bangalore Palace. Leaving you with a panorama of the Bangalore Palace.
What is the best way to reach Bangalore Palace?
- Bangalore or Bengaluru is the silicon city of India and one of the major metros in India. With an international airport, it is well-connected to the world. You can even hop into the city through domestic flights from any part of India.
- Bangalore is well- connected to all the major cities in India through railways and roads.
- One can use any of the public transport options – autos, buses or cabs to reach the Bangalore Palace. It is located within the Palace grounds, near Mount Carmel College.
- Bangalore Palace is still owned by the Royal family and is open to public on all days between 10 am to 6 pm.
- The entrance tickets to Bangalore Palace is INR 225 for Indians and INR 450 for foreign tourists. This includes the audio guide to the palace. The audio guide is available in English, Hindi, Kannada, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
- Photography is charged for. You need to shell out INR 675 for still camera, INR 1000 for Video cameras and INR 100 for mobile cameras. Anyone without the permit is fined and they are quite strict about it. You will find guards and officials within the premises checking for the same.
- The audio tour lasts for 40 minutes and the officials do expect you to finish within that time. I spend a tad bit of extra time and well, they did not really say much as it was a weekday. However, I suspect I would have been shooed out if it were any other day.
- There are rest-rooms within the Palace for public use. However, there are no cafes or restaurants here. Though there are plenty of them outside the palace grounds. Hence, do plan your visit accordingly.
My other posts on Bangalore:
- Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan and his armoury
- Bangalore Fort
- Blooms of Lalbagh
- 3 Places in Bengaluru for Kids
Popularly referred to as a Restless Ball of Energy. My Mom refuses to entertain my complaints about my equally restless daughter & assures my husband that I was born with a travel bug.
I am a Post-Graduate in Marketing by qualification and a travel blogger by passion. Besides travel, I enjoy photography and if you don’t find me at my desk, I would be out playing badminton or swimming or just running. I believe in planning for every long weekend through the year. And when I cannot travel physically, I travel virtually through this travel blog. My travel stories have also, got published on various websites and magazines including BBC Travel, Lonely Planet India and Jetwings. I have recently published my first book – When Places Come Alive – a collection of stories that are based on legends, landscapes, art and culture of a place which is available in both ebook and paperback format.