Sunday, January 18, 2009
The Bangalore Palace
We had planned to go to the palace for a long time since our arrival in Bangalore but we finally made it yesterday with Ma Baba in tow! As soon as the family posed for a photo outside the palace we heard a shrill whistle and a cacophony of shouts! No photos unless you pay for the camera! When we entered we were greeted by a genial gentleman who gave a concession on the entry fee for Ma Baba as they are senior citizens although there was no such concession mentioned in the rule book! What a contrast from the whistleman outside! Then we were given an equally genial guide by him. Oh, I forgot to mention that the entry fee is a pretty high 100Rs per person above the age of 10! The camera fee is an even more astounding 500Rs! The two black stately cars parked outside the palace told us that the royal inmate is in town. And later so did the guide. The present king is an enterprising person and is making the most of his vast inheritance by leasing out the royal lawns and the marriage hall in the palace costs 2500,000 per night a sum that many are prepared to pay according to our guide. First we saw the royal conference room, then the head of the mad elephant that was killed by the king in the 1950s, the ancient lift, even the bedrooms of former kings. We had also visited the Mysore palace, it is grander and more well preserved, but this palace won our hearts because it looked lived in, and we were allowed to amble along and sit here and there. We did not pay for the camera but the group of young foreign girls with us clicked away merrily. The most striking was the meeting room with its original furniture, gold plated mirror, stained glass windows and beautiful paintings was wonderful. More wonderful were the photographs of the elephant hunt the dasara festival processions, of lions and one of two deer frolicking in the jungle grass. Some excellent chinese wall paper and kids furniture gifted by the Chinese. Many little things that are worth taking a look at. One suggestion to His Highness Mr Wodeyar- please reduce the camera money to Rs 200 then more people will pay and there will be more publicity for this lovely home of his that he has so kindly thrown open to the public.