Bangalore Palace is the most iconic structure in Bangalore, and one of the most interesting colonial buildings in all of India. This smaller replica of the Windsor Castle in England took more than 80 years to complete from 1862 to 1944 during the Wodeyar Dynasty. It was first established by Reverend J. Garrett, who was principal of the Central High School of Bangalore (now Central College of Bangalore). He used his personal money to pay construction expenses. In 1884, it was purchased by Chamaraja Wodeyar, the Maharaja (King) of Mysore, for 300,000 rupees. It used to be surrounded by lush, beautiful gardens and other attractions that have long disappeared. Today, the palace’s rightful owners are members of the Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar royal family of Mysore. The family members, however, have long been in dispute over who owns which part of the palace.
Also known as Bengaluru Palace, the palace has been a venue for rock concerts, important exhibitions, wedding ceremonies, private functions and sporting events through the years. National tennis, cricket, and golf events are held here. There is also a horse riding school. Some of the international rock stars that have performed in the palace are Aerosmith, Sir Elton John, Black Eyed Peas, The Rolling Stones, Scorpions, Flo Rida, and Metallica, just to name a few.
This 19th-century European-influenced structure stands out because of its very distinct Tudor-style architecture. Adorned with magnificent woodcarvings, the palace is made up of several rooms, floors and facilities. The ground floor has a ballroom and a massive open courtyard that is lavishly marked with granite seats that are covered with blue fluorescent ceramic tiles. An ornately decorated staircase leads to the elaborate Durbar Hall on the first floor, where the king used to regularly address his assembly. There are noted art pieces in this area, including rare paintings along the staircase, a huge elephant head mounted in Durbar Hall, and Gothic-style stained glass windows on one side of the hall. One part of the hall is veiled, which served as a special area for the women as they watched the assembly proceedings. In other parts of the palace are old 19th-century Greek and Dutch paintings. Another notable work of art that is found in the palace is an old dining table that is inlaid with mother-of-pearl and Chinese lacquer work.
Located at the heart of the city within the Palace Gardens, Bangalore Palace never fails to attract tourists from all over the world. Its towers, windows, turrets, and stately exterior that are mostly made of wood make the palace very unique and extremely attractive to see. Its interior is as intriguing and magnificent. It was first opened to the public in June 2005 to raise money for palace maintenance. A recent addition to a tour of the palace is an audio guide, replacing the services of traditional tour guides. Based on research that was completed by a team of professionals, the one-hour audio tour is recorded in seven languages, namely English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Kannada, and Spanish.