The Bangalore Palace
Recently, I read in the newspaper that the Bangalore Palace had been thrown open for public viewing.
However, even a month later, when I made enquiries at the KSTDC (Karnataka Tourism Discouragement Corporation) counter at Bangalore airport, I was told that there was no information about it.
I persevered, and a friend of mine, Jayashree Thiagarajan, spoke directly to one of the ladies of the Wodeyar clan, Urmila Devi.
So off we went, on Monday (2nd of April) to see the Palace. Here’s what the Palace looked like, as we approached:
It was an incredible experience to see and experience…both for good and for bad.
The good part is the beauty of the Palace itself, the expansiveness of the old-world construction, where materials were available aplenty and craftsmanship was honoured and utilized….
Here are some stained glass panels to illustrate the good:
The bad part was, the way things have gone to rack and ruin. There was a HUGE round carpet, obviously Axminster, made to order, which was nothing but rot and mould now; here’s a picture of the ceiling in one of the rooms:
And what we found even more amazing was the way some exquisite pieces co-existed peacefully with some utter junk, or some awful work lay behind something of beauty. An example: here’s an incredible piece of craftsmanship, a child’s cradle in teakwood, and the awful plastic wiring behind it on the wall:
Or this wonderful dressing table with a totally crappy sofa next to it:
Well…I have tooooo many pictures of the Palace, and if you would like to see them all, do go and visit my Flickr site at
and go through them…I have added descriptions, too.
We paid our one hundred rupees per head admission, which was pretty reasonable for what we saw…but were then told that the brochures “got over” (had run out) and we wouldn’t get any. With a helpful smile, the lady at the counter said, “You can go and try in the main office madam. They also won’t have them.” ;-))
The camera charges were….Rs.500. Why on earth?? I don’t know. How were they going to prevent someone from not paying, and then going in and discreetly using a mobile phone or even one of those powerful little matchobox cameras that are so great nowadays?
A “guide” was assigned to us. He was a guide in inverted commas, because he kept giving us wrong information. He first pointed to a painting and said it was by Raja Ravi Varma. NO such thing, I assure you! If we pointed at someone in one of the photographs and asked who it was, sometimes we got a reply and sometimes a response, “Athu ellaa halaya raja” (all those are the old rajahs)…oh, like we couldn’t figure THAT out! I think he was there more to keep an eye on us (suppose we walked away with one of the 6feet by 8 feet Belgian mirrors?)
But still, what’s lovely about the Bangalore Palace is SO lovely that it is well worth a visit! Or two!
For details about timings, contact phone nos, etc, see my Metroblog post at
If you live in, or are visiting, Bangalore…do visit the Palace. You will come away happy and sad, proud and ashamed, satisfied and frustrated, all at the same time….