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 HH
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.
In 1970, HH
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 HH
Jayachamarjendra Wodeyar 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 to expropriate the entire premises spreading over 450 acres
of prime real estate in the world for a farthing of 11 crores Rupees.
This dispute is pending
before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India till date as it needs
constitutional issues like whether material resources of the community
under Article 39(b) of the Indian Constitution covers what is privately
owned. The same awaits decision by a 9 Judge Constitution Bench of
Indian Supreme Court. This will be a landmark decision as otherwise it
will open flood gates of vexatious legislation to confiscate similar
properties all over the Country without paying even a fraction of market
value. This is in quite contrast to new Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation
and Resettlement Bill, 2013 recently passed by the Indian Parliament.
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
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 worked 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 (entry is from Palace Road near the railway over bridge 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). 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
Fun World is an amusement park situated in palace grounds complex. It
has various joy rides, water park and snow room.