BENGALURU: Harmony comes in many cadences. Sometimes musical. At times, even architectural. There have been times in history when music, food, art and performing arts from various sources and religious origins have coalesced and organically created a culture that belongs to everyone.
Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace or what remains of it is a seamless confluence of Indian and Islamic architectural traditions. Architect Mansoor Ali, who is also the co-administrator of the Facebook group, Bygone Bengaluru, shares his insights into this languishing piece of history.
Relic of another era
Nestled in the heart of Chamrajpet is Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace. This however is not a place that many people care to visit. According to my research, work on this building started in 1761 and was completed in 1791, as Hyder and Tipu were busy mounting military campaigns against the British and their allies.
The central part of this building is made entirely of wood while the two wings on the west and east were made of brick and lime mortar.
The eastern wing collapsed during the war with the British in 1791 and was hence demolished. Buttresses today support the east side. Being strict followers of Islam, the rulers had the walls and ceilings of this structure decorated with beautiful floral motifs.
After the British captured Srirangapatna, they used this as their secretariat before the Attara Kacheri came up, following which this palace fell into disrepair. The wall and ceiling paintings have since been fading away due to the vagaries of nature as well as lack of proper maintenance. It would be great if a restoration agency like the World Monuments Fund or the Aga Khan Foundation were to fund its restoration.
Ideally, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) can even have a sound and light show on the eastern wall to showcase the history, not only of Bengaluru, but also of Kempe Gowda and Tipu Sultan, the two men who made our city famous.
The museum inside the palace on the ground floor could do with better artifacts and photographs too. A map of the erstwhile Bengaluru Fort, showing the location of this palace at the entrance gate would also help the tourists visualise the setting of this structure in a much better way.
About the palace
Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, was used as a summer residence. Hyder Ali started its construction within the walls of the Bengaluru Fort, and it was completed during the reign of Tipu Sultan in 1791. The palace is located at the centre of Old Bengaluru near the Kalasipalyam bus stand. It is believed that Tipu Sultan used to conduct his durbar (court) from the eastern and western balconies of the upper floor. Beautiful floral motifs embellish the walls. The palace is open to public from 10 am to 6 pm every day (except on Sundays), and there is an entry fee of `5 per person for Indians and `100 per person for foreigners. Photography is allowed.