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Bangalore Monuments, Fairs and Festivals

History of The City

Anyone who sees the Bangalore Palace is bound to fall in love with it. Once youget over the initial shock of finding Tudor architecture surrounded by Indian urban scenery, it's quite an intriguing place worth exploring. It was built byMonuments, Fairs and Festivals Chamaraja Wodeyar, Maharaja of Mysore in 1887. The Palace flaunts turreted parapets, battlements, fortified towers and arches. At that time it costed about Rs One lakh to construct it. The land cost Rs 10 lakh.

During a visit to England, Chamaraja Wodeyar was inspired by the Windsor
Castle in London, and along similar lines he built this palace in Tudor style. The palace was earlier surrounded by beautiful gardens in the midst of a vast open rea, which have reduced considerably today.

Spread over an area of about 430 acres, the Palace is famous for its elegantly carved woodwork. It is right in the heart of the city. With a built-up area of around 45,000 sq. ft., this 120 year old monument is a popular tourist attraction. It is surrounded by a garden all around, almost giving it a fairytale setting.

The structure has fortified towers complete with Gothic windows, battlements and turrets. This palace is largely constructed of wood, and is famous for its carving and paintings. An exquisite door panel at the entrance leads to grand settings inside.

Reverend Garret originally owned the land, on which the palace stands today. Located between Jayamahal and Sadashivanagar areas, the palace ground has become a venue for various exhibitions, concerts and cultural programs. The palace is truly an architectural splendour. The interiors have breathtaking floral motifs, cornices, mouldings and relief paintings on its ceilings. However, entry to the palace is restricted.

Location: In Palace Guttahalli. The majestic looking Vidhana Soudha houses the State Legislature, and is the largest Secretariat in India. Kengal Hanumanthaiah, Chief Minister of the thenMonuments, Fairs and Festivals Mysore State between 1951-1956 was responsible for the concept, the structure and the setting of this magnificent building.

Supervised and executed by engineers and architects led by the then Chief Engineer, late B.R.Manickam of the Public Works Department, the Vidhana Soudha is an arresting monument. The building project was started in 1952 and took five thousand labourers, 1500 chisellers, masons and wood carvers four years to complete. Built entirely from Bangalore granite in the Dravidian style, it has floral motifs on stone carvings drawn from the celebrated temple craft of South India.

Total floor area: 5,50,505 square feet. Length: 700 feet. Width: 350 feet. Height from floor level to top of central dome: 150 feet. The project begun in 1952 was completed in 1956.

The magnificent Vidhana Soudha is the largest legislature-cum-secretariat building in the country. Situated in the heart of the city, the state secretariat building is essentially Indian in style. It is built mainly on the union of Dravidian, Rajasthani, Chola and Kannada styles of architecture, which evolved in India. The ornamental motifs, floral patterns and chiselled geometric designs are all distinct and not a single design has been repeated. The woodwork throughout the monument is exceptional, particularly the sandalwood doors, which are famous for their intricate carvings. The floral motifs of the stone-carvings are Dravidian in style and are drawn entirely from the temple-craft of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

During an interview, the Chief Minister of the erstwhile Mysore State (1951 to 1956), Kengal Hanumanthaiah, explained the reasoning behind the architectural styles of the monument. A Russian cultural delegation was visiting Bangalore and K Hanumanthaiah took them around to show the city. Every now and then they queried, "Have you no architecture of yourMonuments, Fairs and Festivals own? They are all European buildings". Stung, K Hanumanthaiah, vowed to create a monument so magnificent that it would showcase the best of South India's indigenous architectural styles.

The stone-structure is built entirely with the granite excavated from the vicinity of Hesaragatta and Mallasandra. The grand entrance of the Vidhana Soudha faces the Attara Kacheri (now called the High Court), another imposing structure. There was a debate on constructing a separate building for the Secretariat and the Legislature, the latter being a simple building and the former having decoration and adornment. K Hanumanthaiah was of the view that by having two separate buildings, time, space and expenditure would be doubled and there would be inordinate delay in going from one building to the other.

The entire building of Vidhana Soudha covers an area of 720x360 ft. At the centre of the building is an open quadrangle of 260x250 ft. The building consists of three floors, each over 1.3 lakh sq. feet, and a top floor of 1.01 lakh sq. ft and storage rooms in the cellar. The Banquet Hall (192x120 ft.) has to be approached from the east, while the Assembly Hall above this measures 132x125 ft. and the Council Hall to the South measures 100x78 ft. On the third floor is the Cabinet Meeting Hall and on all the floors in the northern wing are halls measuring 80x40 ft. On the eastern side is a porch with eight tall decorated cylindrical granite columns of 40 ft. in height.

Granite stones of different colours found in and around Bangalore were used for the building. The building's four corners have four towers, supporting domes topped by metallic kalashas, one of which is bigger and taller than the others and has been placed at the front (east). Two small towers flank it. The metallic gold glittering national emblem atop the majestic dome was artistically wrought by a sculptor from Bangalore, Shilpi Shamachar.The ideas from many old Indian buildings were borrowed and incorporated in this dream building of Kengal Hanumanthaiah.

The average cost of construction was Rs 30 per square feet. About 5,000 labourers and 1,500 sculptors worked for it under a team of engineers led by B R Manikam.

The Vidhana Soudha project, from conception, execution and completion can be attributed completely to the dynamic leadership of late K Hanumanthaiah. His grand vision was of an imposing monument vital on the city's sightseeing map combined with a seat of excellence from which the government secretariat functions.

Attara Kacheri literally means "eighteen offices" or departments. In 1864, Commissioner Bowring conceived and prepared the plans for setting up a full-fledged secretariat building, almost a century before the Vidhana Soudha was even thought of.

It was earlier known as the Old Public Offices, housing the general revenue and secretariat of the State government. It now has the offices of the High Court of Karnataka.

The Attara Kacheri building was completed in 1868 at a cost of Rs 4.5 lakh. The work on the building was executed by Rao Bahadur Arcot Narayanaswamy Mudaliar. It is an impressive two-storied building of stone and brick, red in colour and has been built in the Greco-Roman style.

Location: In Cubbon Park The State Archeological Museum is similar to the Attara Kacheri with the same red colour and architectural style. The original block was designed and built by Colonel Sankey, in 1876. Several wings have been added on in the later years, all of which remarkably conform to the parent style. The original collection in the museum belonged to B. L. Rice of the Mysore Gazetteer.

TIPU'S FORT In the busy, crowded City Market area lies the remnants of Tipu's Fort. Originally this fort was built by Chikkadeva Raya and was later extended, dimantled and rebuilt by Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan.

What remains now is parts of the fort wall with a tablet marking the place where Cornwallis had breached it in 1791. In the courtyard is the Ganesha Temple that is popularly thought to represent Tipu Sultan's religious tolerance. The fort is noted for its beautifully carved arches on the gate walls.

Within the fort are the remains of Tipu's Palace. Haider Ali started the construction which was completed by Tipu Sultan in 1791. It was used as a summer retreat. It was known as the "Abode of Peace". Currently the settings evoke memories of a two storied ornate wooden structure with pillars, arches and balconies. Location: In the City Market area.

This red building with gables, in Cubbon Park was built to commemorate Sir K.Seshadri Iyer, who was the Dewan of Mysore State from 1883 to 1901. The library housed in the building was set up in 1915.The statue of Seshadri Iyer in a small rose garden, in front of the Hall was put up in 1913. The building with the statue in front forms a focal point of a long avenue coming from Hudson Circle

Fairs and Festivals in Bangalore

All major Indian festivals are celebrated with traditional pomp and gaiety. Bangalore also celebrates some regional festivals.

Karaga festival
It is celebrated in March and April.Karaga, an earthen pot embodying Shakti is taken out in a night procession for more than 12miles before being immersed in the Sampangi tank. Devotees balance pots on their heads to test the strength of their character. A priest attired as a woman also does the same thing in the main temple procession.


It is celebrated in November. It is also called Peanut festival as the farmers celebrate the first groundnut crop of the year. The local farmers worship at the Bull temple and seek blessings.

Makara Sankranthi or Pongal

It is known in the South, is celebrated to mark the beginning of the harvest season. People believe that the first rays of the sun on Sankranthi will bring them a good harvest. It is also celebrated to mark the change of seasons from winter to spring.

Ganesh Chaturthi

It is celebrated in September all over the world, the day before Swarna Gowri.


The pride of Karnataka's festivals is Dussehra. It is a celebration that lasts for ten days. The rulers of Vijayanagara Empire used to celebrate Dussehra with remarkable brilliance. The rulers of Mysore continued the tradition. The Maharaja of Mysore used to hold a Durbar for 9 days and on the 10th day went in a procession on a caparisoned elephant.

With the ending of the royal rule, a picture of Bhuvaneshwari, the patron goddess of Karnataka, is taken out in procession. It is a unique and significant festival of the Hindus.


The Kannadiga New Year day of Yugadi falls on the second half of March or early April is celebrated with devotion and delight. This day is considered very auspicious to start new ventures. The festival begins with ritual bath and prayers and continues till late night. It is generally held that Brahma created the world on this day. Also Lord Vishnu is said to incarnate himself, as Matsya.Brahma is the chief deity worshipped this day. Ugadi also signifies the advent of spring with colorful blossoms, green fields all heralding a new beginning. The vibrancy of life signifying growth, prosperity and well-being filling the hearts of people with joy and contentment. On Ugadi the predictions are made for the New Year among the chanting of mantras. The preparations are made a week ahead with houses given a thorough wash and shopping for new clothes. People also decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves and draw colorful floral designs in front of the houses. The women prepare special dishes to mark the occasion.


The annual Lakshmi Pooja is celebrated all over Karnataka in August. The origin of this puja lies in the Vedic age. On this auspicious day married women make offerings to Mother Lakshmi in the form of garlands of cash, jewellary and other valuables. They pray for prosperity, peace and happiness for their families and husbands. All financial problems are said to be solved after performing this puja. People meet each other and women perform puja together. It is also customary to offer vermilion or kum-kum to at least five married ladies.