BENGALURU: What began as a roughly 20-acre garden – commissioned in 1760 by Haider Ali and built by his son Tipu Sultan – has grown over tenfold.
While walkers flock there every morning, and it continues to hold a landmark status in the city, many Bengalureans believe Lalbagh has seen more glorious days. Even the structures located within its walls as well are well known in their own way.
If you sign up for a heritage walk here, you’re likely to learn that it was a zoological garden too. “There were caves and other enclosures around the lotus pond,” says artist and art historian Suresh Jayaram.
The animals were shifted to the zoo in Mysuru in the 1980s, adds architect Mansoor Ali, who runs Bengaluru by Foot.
A manmade waterfall, named Jaya Cascade, flowed into the pond, introduced by H C Javaraya, when he was the director of the botanical garden.
The Glass House, conceptualised by the then superintendent of the garden John Cameron, got its eastern wing in 1935, making it symmetrical.
While the poles for the existing structure came from Glasgow, ones for the addition were manufactured at Mysore Iron Works.
While flower shows – crowd-pullers even today – were held in this over-a-century-old structure, it was also used for social gatherings. A farewell tea party for German botanist G H Krumbiegal, who retired as director in 1932, was held here.
A fountain that stood at its centre, and wooden trellis at the arches, added to its attraction. Both these features too have disappeared now.