Know your neighbourhood - 27: Bangalore Palace & surrounding areas

Overview: Bangalore Palace was built in 1880s by Rev J Garret, the first Principal of Central High School. This was later bought by Chamrajendra Wodeyar at a cost of Rs 40000. The Wodeyars renovated the Tudor style Palace with exquisite woodwork and wall paintings. The Palace overlooks a vast colourful garden with fountains and trees. The Palace went into a dispute of ownership in 1970 with the Maharaja of Mysore HH Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar sold the property through fraudulent transaction and was under civil suit instituted by Srikanthadatta Wodeyar and some of the disputes are still pending with the Supreme Court. The Palace is built on the lines of Windsor Castle in England. The initial Palace grounds was spread to a vast area of 454 acres. However, the area was reduced when settlements came post Independence and the areas of Upper and Lower Palace Orchards were formed out of the grounds.

Bangalore Palace

Just north of city centre, close to Cantonment Railway station, is the Jayamahal Palace. This was the summer palace of the Royal family of Gondal (Gujarat). Built by a British architect in Gothic and traditional architecture, this palace is now a heritage hotel, owned by the Maharaja of Gondal. According to Mr. Vallabh Rathanpura, the caretaker of the hotel, this palace is situated on 24 acres of land and the adjoining 3-acres of land belongs to the Maharaja of Dharmapuri. Along the Jayamahal Road, one can feel the calmness of Old Bangalore, which is joined by Nandidurga Road near Snow City.

Jayamahal Palace

Doordarshan TV Tower: Just after the Snow City, on the right hand side is the Doordarshan TV Tower of Bangalore. This tower was once one of the tallest structures in Bangalore and a popular landmark. Further down the TV tower takes us to RT Nagar and Sultanpalya extensions, which were formed in the 1960s and 70s.

TV Tower

Mehkri Circle: On the right side of the TV tower, the Jayamahal Main road joins the Bellary Road at Mehkri Circle. There is a very interesting piece of history behind Mehkri Circle. Long before the underpass near the Palace Grounds came into existence, there used to be a circle at the very place. The story goes back to the 1930s when a city based businessman, Mr. Enayathullah Mehkri, who also took part in India’s freedom movement, was moved by the plight of the bullocks who had to negotiate through the tough terrain from Hebbal to Jayamahal Road, and spent his own money to level the road. This was appreciated well by the Maharaja of Mysore and named the circle on Bellary Road as Mehkri Circle. The British built a square around it and was officially inaugurated by Lord John Hope, the Governor of Madras Presidency, in 1937. 

Mehkri Circle

Raintree Boutique: An Irish bungalow near Windsor Manor, more than 60 years is one of the prettiest colonial bungalows now converted into a boutique. The Windsor Manor bridge is also one of the most prettiest underbridges in the city.

MTC Tower: A tower has been installed near JC nagar on the way towards RT Nagar which is dedicated to the services of Mysore Lancers who played a crucial role in winning one of the greatest battles in World War–I, the battle of Haifa after defeating the Turkish army. 
Masjid-e-Khadira at the start of Nandidurga Road is one of the most beautiful mosques in the city and is also known for holding Haj pilgrimage.

MTC Tower

National Gallery of Modern Art/Manikyavelu Mansion: One of the few palatial Victorian man- sions built in 1915, this 2-storeyed building was built by the Wodeyars, which was later sold to Manikyavelu Mudaliar in 1939. This mansion is currently home to the National Gallery of Modern Art. Perched in the middle of beautiful garden and old trees, the gallery has a variety of collection such as sculptures, paintings, graphic prints and photographs of contemporary and modern art. 

Manikyavelu Mansion

Balaboorie Guest House: Built around 1850, this was the residence of Sir Mark Cubbon, then later became the official residence of commissioners of the city.

Balaboorie Guest house

Planetarium and the Musical Fountain: Two of the popular tourist attractions in Bangalore, The planetarium was founded by then BCC in 1989. The German Carl Zeiss projector has been providing information on space technologies. The musical fountain was commissioned in 1996, offering dancing movements of fountain using binary movement concept. Next to the fountain is the Open air museum, the National Military Memorial, displaying artifacts from the Military.

Musical fountain

National Military Memorial
Unknown Soldier

Windsor Manor: Now a luxury hotel, this building was called as Bedford House and also Baqarabad which was owned by Aga Ali Askar in the late 19th century. The interiors bring back the elegant British architecture, and one of the restaurants 'The Raj Pavillion', is modelled on the Lalbagh Glass house.

Windsor Manor
Windsor Bridge

Taj West End: Reviving the memories of the Raj era, this luxury hotel was started as a boarding house in 1887 by a British woman called Bronson. This was later taken over by Spencers, and was host to many celebrities like Devika Rani & Svetoslav Roerich, Jagardiar of Arni, the ruler of Chettinad and Winston Churchill. The property also has a variety of trees, around 125, and one of the rain trees is older than the hotel and has been standing since 1848.

Taj West End
Golf Club

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