Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Bengaluru

“To not know what happened before you were born, is to forever remain a child” – Cicer, Roman philosopher.
History and heritage have always excited me. The palaces, forts and rulers, and what remains today is a small part of their dream centuries ago. Being in Bengaluru for such long years, I had this urge to discover Bengaluru’s history and heritage. A weekend fortnight before, I chose to visit the Bengaluru fort and Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Bangalore which is located in the heart of the city market. The Bengaluru fort covered a huge area and also enclosed the Tipu’s palace. Sadly, only 5% of the fort remains today. Have a look to discover Bengaluru Fort and its history.

Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace is a unique palace. A typical palace will have rich marbles, carvings and filled with luxury. But, this is an unconventional palace made up entirely of teak wood and has its own grace. So, let me take you through the tour of this palace.

The elevation
The elevation

A charming wooden palace with dark brown teak wood pillars, gold painted surrounded by a green lawn excited us as we entered. There was a huge crowd including foreign tourists. As we neared the palace, we noticed the two levels of the palace – ground floor with huge wooden pillars and first floor with balconies and arches.

The two levels of the palace
The two levels of the palace

The palace is entirely built using teak wood and is an example of the Indo-Islamic architecture. The Islamic touch of  beautiful arches and Indian style of the brackets around the pillars are notable.

The arches

This is popularly known as Tipu Sultan’s Summer palace as it was the summer residence of Tiger of Mysore – Tipu Sultan. The construction of the palace was commenced in 1781 by Hyder Ali and completed by Tipu Sultan in 1791.

Chronology Inscription
Chronology Inscription

Post Tipu’s death, British used the palace for their Secretariat. Currently, Government of Karnataka maintains this palace as a tourist attraction. We wondered this small palace took 10 years, but it was delayed due to Hyder Ali’s death and Tipu’s continuous struggle against the British.

The smaller rooms on the ground floor have been transformed into museums depicting the administration and achievements of Tipu Sultan. The paintings of Tipu Sultan, Hyder Ali, a rocket missile and Tipu’s Tiger organ can be found her. With the exhibit of the rocket missile, it is said that Tipu’s army had mastered rocket technology. This innovation during Tipu’s era shows us the advanced thinking  he had. The Tiger Organ is an interesting instrument designed by Tipu.

By Victoria and Albert Museum http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O61949/mechanical-organ-automaton-tippoos-tiger/, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15792659
By Victoria and Albert Museum http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O61949/mechanical-organ-automaton-tippoos-tiger/, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15792659

The Tiger Organ is an interesting instrument designed by Tipu.  Once a tiger killing a British Officer inspired him to design this. The instrument has a key, on operating two sounds are heard – a Tiger roaring and a British weeping in pain. Tipu imagined himself as the Tiger defeating the British. The instrument displayed here is just a model and the original is taken away by British and exhibited in Victoria and Albert museum, London.

The painting of grand throne visualized by Tipu Sultan himself is also displayed here. The throne was coated with gold sheets and decorated with precious emerald stones. Tipu had vowed never to use it until he completely defeated the English Army. After Tipu Sultan’s death, the British dismantled the throne and auctioned its parts as it was too expensive for a single person to buy whole. The photography is prohibited in these rooms, so no photos to add here. However, the walk through these rooms reveals us the dreams and warfare technology used by Tipu.

Beautiful floral wall paintings with detached gems
Beautiful floral wall paintings with detached gems
floral motifs / paintings
Floral motifs / paintings

Another room has the wall paintings made of vegetable dyes and the small quantity of gold. It is said the whole palace had similar kind of paintings and studded with precious gems. The British carried away all the gems while leaving India. The room served as the dressing room for Tipu Sultan to get ready for the durbar. It has a big mirror and a painting of Tipu’s emblem.

the staircase structure
The wooden staircase structure

Taking the wooden staircase, the first floor leads to the small rooms, which are Zenana quarters where the ladies are seated to mask away from the public. Once upstairs, we can notice the balcony structure is extended to both sides of the palace. Tipu Sultan used both sides of the balcony to conduct the durbar and judgments. The public seated to the outside and the courtiers seated in the balcony.

the durbar hall
The durbar hall
The teak wood pillars
The teak wood pillars
The interior wall paintings
The interior wall paintings

The palace walls and ceilings are decorated with beautiful paintings.

The paintings on the ceiling
floral motifs
The finest floral motifs

Though the palace is simple,  it has its own uniqueness and charm.  During Tipu’s period, this palace was  magnificent and he described the palace as “Abode of Happiness and Envy of Heaven”. The inscription in Farsi revealing it can be found at the left entrance of the palace.

Farsi inscription – Abode of Happiness and Envy of heaven

Adjacent to the palace, we noticed Kote Ventakaramana temple which was built by Chikkadevaraya Wodeyar in 16th century. This also shows Tipu’s tolerance towards all religions in his kingdom. The temple was also enclosed with the fort hence the name Kote which means adorned by the Fort.

View of temple
View of Kote Venkataramana temple

The garden surrounding the palace is maintained by Horticulture department of Karnataka. The green lawn relaxes you and helps in spending a peaceful time.

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There are various local guides here, who are not funded by any department. But still, they are helping tourists in explaining the importance of this place and expect very little money. A great hats-off to their interest.

The palace and the fort together can be covered in less than 2 hours. The walk between them is around 15mins. There is a metro construction which has blocked the shortest path between them. So use Google maps or people are happy to help.

Hope this tour of Tipu Sultan’s Summer palace was great. Please pay a visit once to explore the heritage and history.

Visiting tips :

  • The place is located in the heart of the city market. Use Google maps to reach on own vehicle. The nearest bus stops are Kalasipalya bus stop/KR Market bus stop.
  • The palace with the fort can be covered together. Check the Bengaluru fort post here.
  • An entry fee of Rs.15 for Indians and Rs.200 for foreigners is collected at the entrance. This sounds very economical.
  • The palace is open to public every day from 8:30am to 5:30pm.
  • The photography is not charged. The photography is prohibited in the archaeological museum.
  • However, the video camera is charged Rs.25. This also excludes the archaeological museum.
  • The wheel chairs are provided for the physically challenged.
  • The palace is made of wood and owing to its age, please don’t scribble or engrave the palace walls.
  • Smoking is prohibited and is punishable.
  • Facilities of drinking water and wash rooms are available.


Other posts on Bangalore:
Bangalore Palace
Bangalore Fort

See you seen with another interesting post. Till then, keep travelling 🙂

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