Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bangalore Sightseeing

Bangalore is not so well known as a tourist spot, nevertheless we took a the opportunity over the weekend to explore some famous places within the capital.

Lal Bagh
Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens is a famous garden in Bangalore. It was commissioned by Hyder Ali in 1760 but completed by his son Tipu Sultan. The park covers around 240 acres, and is segregated by different section such as tropical trees, rose garden, japanese garden, lotus pond and bonsai garden, just to name a few. Most famous attraction is the Glass House, which is modeled based on London's Crystal Palace.

We came across many different trees, some which I've never seen before - such as the cotton tree - and also trees so huge I wonder how old they actually are.

Tree Fossil

Lotus Pond

There is also the hill which is made of 3000 million year old Peninsular Gneissic rock. One can climb up the hill to observe the panaromic view of Bangalore.

The weather was pleasant even though there was a slight drizzle earlier during the day. The park was full of locals and visitors alike. Entrance fee for tourists is 100 rupees per person.

Cubbon Park
Named after Sir Mark Cubbon, Bangalore's longest serving Commissioner, Cubbon Park is Bangalore's prime example of having a green lung within the city. Covering around 300 acres, the park boasts an extensive collection of flora and fauna, making it an ideal place to jog or relax.

The park also houses some buildings such as the Karnataka High Court and Sir Seshadri Iyer Memorial Library. I thought the location of the library is perfect. Nothing beats reading in library within a park!

High Court of Karnataka


Vidhana Soudha
Vidhana Soudha houses the Legislative Chambers of the Karnataka state government. It is a huge structure, overall length is 700 feet, and height of 150 feet, and made mostly of Bangalore granite. It is the most prominent landmark of Bangalore.

{Image credit to Alfred Molon}

My first impression of Vidhana Soudha was 'Wow!'. Such a magnificant structure even from far. Imagine how much attention was paid to construct this building. This is a very popular tourist spot, and we only had 10 minutes to hang around taking photos due to the traffic and no parking rules. Since I could not get a panaromic view, this is the best shot I could take from behind the gates.

One could read more about Vidhana Soudha and its history here.

Bangalore Palace

Bangalore Palace was built in 1887 by Chamaraja Wodeyar, the then ruling Maharaja of Mysore state. The architecture of the Palace was inspired by the Windsor Castle in England, which made it even more unique. Who would have thought that a Maharaja wanted a building of an English castle in their home country?

The interior of the castle is a eccentric mix of east meets west. The walls were filled with the Maharaja's emblem and crest - done in British style. The ceilings and pillars were more Indian than English. There were many open courtyards as well.

Clearly the Maharaja wants the best for his home, hence imported tiles from Italy, and glass chandeliers from Belgium were used extensively as well. The walls were also painted, and that took many years to complete! Some parts of the painted wall still remain and was preserved for tourist like us to gawk at.

We also got a glimpse of the life and passions of the Maharaja. Clearly the Maharaja favours artifacts from the west, judging from the collectibles being displayed - English table clocks, porcelain figurines, vases, etc.

The Maharaja was also an avid hunter, and a proud one as well. There is a head of an elephant mounted on the walls in the entrance of the palace. In one of the courtyards some pictures and preserved animal parts were being displayed as well. This is the first time I've came across elephant feet being made into stools, or a flower vase made from the elephant trunk.

Also equally interesting is the Maharaja's fetish of topless women, as evident in the many paintings of such inside the palace. I inquired the tour guide on this, he sheepishly admitted the Maharaja's taste then was 'very different'.

The entrance fee is pretty steep, we had to pay 200 rupees each, plus 500 rupees for the camera. Don't forget to tip the guide too!

Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace

Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace is a two storeyed wooden structure built in 1778 and was the summer residence of Tipu Sultan.

The palace was entirely carved out of teakwood with decorated pillars, concave arches and balconies. The base of the pillars were concrete granite with the purpose of deterring termite infestation. As Tipu Sultan is a Muslim, the design reflects the style of Islamic architecture. The building was repainted as the most of the original colour has faded or vandalised.

Below are some of the original section of the palace which was being restored. The original colours used were from either mineral or plant dyes, and the motifs were mostly ornate floral patterns.

Entrance fee is 100 rupees. Guide is optional but since we had one so we have to tip him as well.

Big Bull Temple
The Big Bull Temple was constructed in 16th century and is dedicated to a sacred bull - Nandi carved out of a single granite block.

There is a legend that the surrounding area of the temple was cultivated for groundnut. A bull grazed in the said area, invoking the anger of a farmer. The farmer hit the bull, of which the bull sat down motionless and transformed into stone. The farmers then built the temple in repentence. To their surprise the stone bull kept growing. The worried farmer then prayed to Lord Shiva who advised them to place a trident on the forehead of the stone statue to prevent it from growing. The farmers followed Lord Shiva's advice and it worked. Till today one can see the trident placed on the bull's forehead. Since then the farmers offer their first groundnut crop to the bull.

There were many local making their way there for prayers and offerings. We only went up to the entrance of the Bull Temple but didn't step inside. Entrance is free.


mangomoon said...

beautiful statue

reshma M said...
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