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- Mayo Hall, Town Hall
 
& Ravindra Kalakshetra


Home » Places to see in Bangalore » Mayo Hall, Town Hall, Kalakshetra

Mayo Hall

Mayo Hall is a stone and mortar structure built at the heart of the city of Bangalore, India. The towering hall is situated next to the Public Utility Building on the Mahatma Gandhi Road. The Mayo Hall, which lies on a hill, offers panoramic view of the Parade grounds and Ulsoor Lake on one side and the Bangalore Race Course and Brigade Grounds in the south.

Mayo Hall in Bangalore (Bengaluru) - 1878-79.
Mayo Hall in Bangalore (Bengaluru) - 1878-79.

This two story building is decorated with Italian chandeliers, ornate furniture, exquisite furnishings, architrave, pediment windows, key stoned arches, balustrade ledges, beautiful consoles, Greek cornices, Tuscan columns and wooden floors. Mayo Hall is now home to numerous departments of BMP (Bangalore Mahanagara Palike).

Mayo Hall: Still a picture of Elegance by Janardhan Roye Bangaloreans searching for a house to rent in the 1950s, was as simple as going to the Rent Controller's office located in the Mayo Hall near Dozey's Garage on South Parade. The office periodically and dutifully listed on a notice board, residential accommodation available. Listed were details of the premises, location and expected rent. "Typically you read the notice board, noted down the most suitable house for your needs and budget, and applied for it in a form. And without much ado or long wait, you'd be allotted the house of your choice. “A huge bungalow went for rents as low as Rs 140 per month," remembers Dr T R G Anand, a Cantonment old-timer and well-known homoeopath physician.

Mayo Hall , Bangalore
Mayo Hall , Bangalore

To be sure the colonnaded Mayo Hall had other offices in its magnificent granite and mortar structure. Black coated lawyers, typists, stamp vendors and such personae were testimony to that. Civil cases from minor traffic offences such as 'double-riding' on bicycles to the more serious ones were tried here. It was also the place for 'registered marriages'.

When originally built, the ground floor had the Municipal Office for the Cantonment, several public offices and law courts. The upper floor was designed for important 'Public meetings and Exhibitions'.

Going back to its very beginning, Mayo Hall became a part of a larger design to develop the cantonment into an integrated Bangalore Civil & Military station. Accordingly, around the mid-1800s, began a series of developmental activity.

The army that defeated Tipu Sultan in the 4th Mysore War was shifted from the swampy environs of Srirangapatana to the more salubrious Bangalore. It was 1809 and the new garrison town began to grow. The crown's administrative staff and the army's families began arriving in droves, taking the arduous sailing route around the Cape of Good Hope. Sensing the business opportunities tradesmen also took the boat. Soon items never before seen in Bangalore started arriving, for, it was a century of dramatic happenings. The world saw many firsts: postage stamps, automobiles, electric light bulbs, motion pictures, phonographs, photography, repetition rifles, railroad locomotives, steamships, telegraphs and telephones.

With this revolution began the 'westernisation' of Bangalore. "Roads, parks, promenades, churches, schools, hospitals, shopping centres, dance halls, pubs, clubs, cricket, golf range, and a race course came up where there were none," says Major-General (retd.) John Verghese, the widely read raconteur extraordinary, "Everything in Britain was brought here. Well, almost everything. Houses with fountains, tennis courts, and gardens came up in areas such as Richmond Town, South Parade, and St John's Church Road. Even flowers - phlox, zinnias, dahlias, and so on - and veggies such as cauliflower, cabbage, carrots and beetroot were brought from good ol' Blighty!"

In this period of rapid change, Lord Mayo (christened Richard Southwell Bourke) was appointed the Viceroy and Governor General of India, who hastened the development process. In the short 1869-72 period he was in India, this Trinity College, Dublin graduate travelled extensively, was greatly impressed with the people and the land, and said that Britain should hold India "as long as the sun shines in heaven". This sentiment was widely and enthusiastically shared in the Empire.

However on a visit to Port Blair's prison, Lord Mayo's life was cut short. He was assassinated, stabbed to death by Sher Ali, a Pathan life convict, the only Indian Viceroy to be murdered in office. His murder was an act of vendetta. The convict who killed him did so to avenge his father's death in the Anglo-Afghan War.

Mayo Hall , Bangalore
Mayo Hall , Bangalore

As a tribute to this administrator a commemorative building was erected on South Parade, on a flat ground with trees, flowering bushes and a low wall on the south side. Terraced lawns surrounded the two-story building. It cost about Rs 45,000, a sum largely raised through public subscription.

The Mayo Hall was inaugurated by the British Resident on June 6, 1883 - with considerable pomp and pageantry. As per the Bangalore District Gazetteer, "The building in elevation is remarkable for its composition of architravated and pedimented windows, varied with key-storied arches, beautifully executed consoles, balustrated ledges and typical Greek cornice."

Inside the building had a number of exquisitely framed pictures of the British nobility and outstanding citizens in the hall. In the first floor there were Italian chandeliers, ornate furniture and exquisite furnishings. Being on a hill, Mayo Hall offered a panoramic view of the Parade grounds and Ulsoor Lake on the one side and the Shoolay Lake, Race Course and Brigade Grounds in the south.

The late Kora Chandy described the Mayo Hall as 'one of the most elegant public buildings of the era in Southern India.' Several Greco-Roman elements and influences are apparent in the building: architrave and pediment windows, key-stoned arches, balustrade ledges, beautiful consoles, Greek cornices, Tuscan columns, and wooden floors.

Today Mayo Hall stands shorn of its greenery and breathing space. Tall buildings such as the Public Utility building, and the Central Mall, form its neighbours. The snarl of heavy traffic can be heard non-stop. So what is the future of this historical building?

As old buildings bite the dust one by one, there is an apprehension a similar fate awaits many of Bangalore's landmarks. In the Western world we see the community take pride and interest in history and heritage.

Many a philanthropist and the local government collaborate to support efforts that preserve and promote heritage and culture.

Mayo Hall is a case in point in history-rich Bangalore that deserves such support.

Address & Contact Information

Mayo Hall
NH7, Sivanchetti Gardens, Bengaluru, Karnataka

 
 

Sir Puttanna Chetty Town Hall Bangalore

Bangalore Town Hall is a neoclassical municipal building in Bangalore, India. The town hall is named after the philanthropist and former president of Bangalore city municipality, Sir K.P Puttanna Chetty.

Town Hall , Bangalore
Town Hall 1943 , Bangalore

The foundation stone for the building was laid by the then Maharaja of Mysore, Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar, on March 6, 1933. The building was completed on September 11, 1935.

Town Hall 1943 , Bangalore
Town Hall 1943 , Bangalore
It was inaugurated by crown prince Kanteerava Narasimharaja Wadiyar. Built by Sir Mirza Ismail, the building features a flight of steps leading to the entrance porch resting on Tuscan columns with identical columns extending on either sides.

Financial assistance was provided by Kanteerava Wodeyar.

Due to improper acoustics, a renovation was proposed estimated at Rs 1,000,000 in 1976. Postponements delayed renovations till March 1990, when the building was finally closed for renovation. The cost then was 6.5 million rupees (approximately US$371,400).

Town Hall 1950 , Bangalore
Town Hall 1950 , Bangalore

The auditorium has two floors with a previous total capacity of 1,038 seats. The seating capacity has been reduced to 810 following the renovations.

 
 

Ravindra Kalakshetra

Ravindra Kalakshetra is a cultural centre in Bangalore which provides a home for musical and theatrical performances. Located in heart of Bangalore city, it was built to commemorate the birth centenary of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

Ravindra Kalakshetra, Bangalore
Ravindra Kalakshetra, Bangalore

Government of Karnataka planned to build an auditorium to commemorate birth centenary of the great poem and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. They began to collect funds towards the purpose. Famous personalities like Sivaji Ganesan, a popular Tamil cine actor and others came forward to contribute for the construction of the Kalakshetra. The Kalakshetra was eventually inaugurated on 9 March 1963 by Dr Humayun Kabir, the then Union Minister for Education of Karnataka.

Ravindra Kalakshetra, Bangalore
Ravindra Kalakshetra, Bangalore

The Kalakshetra has a highly modern and technically developed auditorium with comfortable seats, great lighting systems, an improved acoustics and many other facilities. In the entrance stands a statue of the great poet in a glass showcase that greets the audience visiting the kalakshetra. Audio system, imported from France, includes special front speakers for VIP members in the front row and monitor speakers for the performers on the stage. The entire theatre is equipped with computerised lighting system, with around 120 lights. It also has proper communication system between backstage and control system using Production Intercom Communication System.

Address & Contact Information

Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Rd, Bangalore, Karnataka Phone: 080 2222 1271

 
 
 
 
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Tourist Places in Bangalore, Karnataka
 

Bheemeshwari
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