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Bangalore Palace was constructed by the Maharajahs of Mysore. For many years the building was neglected as a tourist attraction, but is now open to the public.
Bangalore Palace, a palace located in Bangalore, India, was built by Rev. Garrett, who was the first Principal of the Central High School in Bangalore, now known as Central College.
The construction of the palace was started in 1862 and completed in 1944. In 1884, it was bought by the Maharaja of Mysore. Now owned by the current scion of the Mysore royal family, Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar, the palace has recently undergone a renovation.
It is mistakenly believed to be a replica of the Windsor Castle in England. The audio tour at the Bangalore Palace clearly says that there was no reference to the Windsor Castle.
Rev. Garrett, the first principal of the Central High School, built this palace with a floor area of 45,000 sq ft (4200 m²). The Palace and the grounds surrounding it are spread across 454 acres (183 ha). British officials who were in charge of the education of the young prince Chamaraja Wodeyar bought the palace in 1873 A.D. from him at a cost of Rs. 40,000 and later renovated it. The palace was built in Tudor style architecture with fortified towers, battlements and turrets. The interiors were decorated with elegant wood carvings, floral motifs, cornices and relief paintings on the ceiling. The furniture, which was neo-classical, Victorian and Edwardian in style, was bought from John Roberts and Lazarus. The upkeep of the gardens was the responsibility of the horticulturist Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel. A total of 35 rooms were built in the palace with most of them being bedrooms. The renovation included addition of stained glass and mirrors, specially imported from England, besides a manual lift and wooden fans from General Electric. The Wodeyars used to own the palace till the demise of the king Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar in 1970. In 1970, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar is said to have transferred the possession of the property to two companies promoted by a civil contractor by name Chamaraju, close to the corridors of power. These companies were known as Chamundi Hotels (P) Ltd (110 acre) and Sree Venkateswara Real Estate Enterprises (p) Ltd (344 acre). But on the given date the companies were yet to be incorporated and there was no sale deed either. It was a fraudulent transaction. Maharaja's only son Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar instituted a civil suit against this deal. But the Maharaja died in 1974. The legal battle continued and in the mean time Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar gave 28 acres (110,000 m2) each to his five sisters namely Late Gayatri Devi, Meenakshi Devi, Kamakashi Devi, Indrakshi Devi and Vishalakshi Devi in 1983 along the Ramana Mahasrhi Road. They are in possession of their respective portion and many events like Rock shows, exhibitions, marriages, tennis, cricket, golf and horse academies are conducted in those portions. Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar ultimately compromised with the Chamaraju Group in the years 1990 and 1994, and got back his portion of the property including the Main Palace except 45 acres (180,000 m2), which the Chamaraju group still retains along the Jayamahal Road. All along, the Government of Karnataka was making various attempts to confiscate the property under Land Acquisition Act 1894 and Urban Land (ceiling and regulation) Act 1976. Having not succeeded in their designs, the government ultimately enacted the Bangalore Palace (Acquisition & transfer) Act 1996 under Mr. H.D. Deve Gowda. This dispute is pending before the Supreme Court till date. It is located in Mekhri circle.
The ground floor consists of an open courtyard containing granite seats covered with fluorescent blue ceramic tiles. It also contains a ballroom for holding private parties. The first floor, containing an elaborate hall known as the Durbar Hall, can be reached by climbing a decorated staircase. This is a sprawling hall where the king used to address the assembly. The walls along the staircase are adorned with paintings and the Durbar Hall has a massive elephant head mounted in it. One side of the hall contains stained glass windows in Gothic style. The yellow colour is used profusely and the walls and the sofa set in the hall are in yellow. A screen on one end separates the area where the ladies used to sit and watch the assembly proceedings in relative privacy. Some paintings of Raja Ravi Verma are also displayed here.
The interior walls of the palace are adorned by old paintings belonging to the mid-19th century, including some Greek and Dutch paintings. Some of the other attractions include a dining table belonging to the Diwan of Mysore, Sir Mirza Ismail. This table contained a mother-of-pearl inlay with Chinese lacquer work.
Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar is working towards renovating this palace after he obtained the right to own it. The woodwork has been renovated and the ballroom has been redone. Even the brass-fittings and lamps have been replaced and the furniture has been newly upholstered. 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. A room has been converted into a boutique where silks and other garments used by the royal family will be exhibited. The palace is open to the public who can visit it after paying a fee (status June 2012). There are also plans to rent out the ballroom for private parties and to sell silk scarves, photographs and other articles used by the royal family to tourists. Illumination of the palace and renovating the gardens using Mexican grass is in progress.
The sprawling grounds surrounding the palace are used for holding public events including music concerts.Many international artists have performed in the grounds.
Over the past few years, Palace Grounds have been hosts to major artists like: Iron Maiden (twice), Opeth, Metallica, Aerosmith, Backstreet Boys, Elton John, Deep Purple, Textures, Amon Amarth, Lamb Of God, Mark Knopfler, Akon, Black Eyed Peas, The Rolling Stones, MLTR, Roger Waters, Guns N' Roses, The Prodigy, No Doubt, Scorpions, Enrique Iglesias, Machine Head, Cradle of Filth.
Iron Maiden's performance in 2007 was a historic gig named Eddfest in the sub-continent. The concert was part of the band's A Matter Of Life And Death Tour. The name Eddfest is taken from the band's mascot Eddie. The concert is the largest paid concert ever to take place in India with an estimated 38,000 people in attendance with 4000 people watching from outside the venue without tickets. It marked the first visit of Iron Maiden to the Indian subcontinent, and the first major heavy metal concert to take place in the country.
Jay Sean, Ludacris and Flo Rida performed in Palace Grounds on 22 September 2011 for the opening ceremony of the Champions League T20
Metallica performed at Palace Grounds on Oct 30, 2011 as part of the Rock N India festival, their first show in India which was attended by 31,000 people.
The palace is open to the public who can visit it after paying a fee (entry is from Palace Road near the railway overbridge and as of August 2013, the ticket is for Rs. 225 per head for Indians/Rs. 450 for foreigners including a nifty audio guide. Using a still camera is another Rs. 675).