Tourists unhappy with the poorly preserved premises of the Bangalore Palace
The hallway was dimly lit – setting an eerie atmosphere right from the moment you step inside. Once take the stairs, following the audio-guide, you reach the hallway upstairs as you steadily step into a brief history of the royalty that had inhabited the palace at one point of time.
The very first artifacts and the sculptures steal your glance, and make you gasp. Hold on. No, it is not the beauty that shock you, but the state that they are in. The torn canvases of the paintings, the names of the painters that you cannot decipher has been lost into oblivion due to the broken frame, the uneven polish of the sculpted figurines in display is what you are a witness to.
The property that once belonged to the royals of Mysore was purchased by Maharaja ChamarajendraWadiyar X in 1870s and is owned by Maharani Pramoda Devi Wadiyar (Maharani of Mysore) at present. The Bangalore Palace – a palace that was purchased and constructed as the royals did not have a suitable place to stay in Bengaluru, dates back to 1880s and is open for the public viewing for a fee.
The entry fee is Rs. 250 for the Indian tourists and the cost of carrying a DSLR camera inside is Rs. 850. But most of the tourists, be it an Indian or a foreigner, complain that the visiting fee or the cost of photography inside is not worth the experience.
“The Hall was okay but there was nothing very interesting that justified visiting this Palace. There were damp patches in some areas that desperately needed painting and redecorating. The whole place needs some TLC (tender love and care). On discussion with others who visited, most said that we would not have missed muchby giving the palace visit a miss.,” stated Glen Harbott, a tourist from England.
“There were also some annoying guards stopping people from taking photos. To charge fees for cameras is not justified as the Palace was not worthy of photos. You could easily take photos from just outside so it was pointless to be so petty. Overall, it was not at all an enjoyable visit,” he added.
Glen also commented that the palaces that he had visited in Rajasthan and Mysore were more interesting and well maintained in comparison.For a palace that contains and displays the heritage of the royalty, the Bangalore Palace does a shoddy job when it comes to preserving the same.
“I am not a history student, nor do I know much about art and history. I am just a tourist, visiting the palace for the first time. Even I was surprised. It is clear that this place needs some proper maintenance. I have been to other palaces too, but compared to those the Bangalore Palace has been a shocking experience,” stated Farha, a tourist from Bombay.
“I would not disagree with your view regarding the maintenance. But I can tell you that we are starting the renovation process. The Durbar Hall is closed at the moment and the public cannot visit it as we are about to start renovation. I agree that the palace needs better maintenance, and we will attend to it,” said Mr. Pandey, the authority in-charge of the palace.
Ironically, the Durbar Hall has been closed for tourists since last fall. But no signs of renovation are visible.. Rather, shocking deterioration of management can be observed. The hallways adorned with paintings, lack proper lighting for viewing – which was not the case even a year ago. Apart from that, certain paintings of Raja Ravi Verma, works of Leon L Brom and other oils on canvas, and a few expensive antique pieces lay without proper maintenance.
“There should not be too much light as light damages the paintings. But it does not mean that you should dim it to the point when one cannot even see the paintings or read the painter’s details. There is a proper way to do it. Take the Mysore Palace for example,” stated Anaa, a tourist from Spain.
“The damp patches are everywhere. Also, the artifacts and the sculptures are within the reach of the public, as if open for damage and destruction. This place needs proper maintenance,” she added.
When compared to the Mysore Palace, another property that is owned by the same family of the Rajawadiyars, about 170 kilometers away, the Bangalore Palace has had complaints of maintenance for a very long time now.
“Most of the tourist spots in Bangalore need better maintenance. But, the Bangalore Palace provides the worst experience. It is shocking how a place like this is not well-maintained,” noted Brinda, a visitor at the palace and primary school teacher based in Bangalore.
As days and months pass, and the palace falls apart, the Bangaloreans can only sigh, and await better conservation efforts of the royal heritage.