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Tea with the maharaja in Bangalore

In an attempt to be shack off its colonial past, Bangalore was given back its former name of Bengaluru, which means ‘City of Boiled Beans’, in 2014. But the old part of the city is a top attraction due to its heritage from the time of British rule in India. The royal palace, for instance, suspiciously resembles Windsor Castle and the cathedral is a copy of the famous St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The Kingdom of Mysore was originally an armed-to-the-teeth anti-British stronghold. It was not until 1799, after four bloody years of war, that the colonists succeeded in annexing it into British India as a monarch state. The royal family was allowed to return, but the maharaja became no more than a ceremonial marionette. The British ruled until the formation of the Republic of India in 1947. Mysore then became a state and was later to be named Karnataka. There are three colonial gems here that are worth a detour.

Neo-Tudor palace for a teenage maharaja
Neo-Tudor palace for a teenage maharaja

Bangalore

Windsor Castle in India: Bangalore Palace / Photo: Ashwin Kumar - Flickr

Palace for a teenage maharaja

When ten-year-old maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar the Tenth of Mysore was sent to the colonial high school in Bangalore, the headmaster had a problem on his hands as the very young king had nowhere to sleep. So a fortune was spent building a palace in neo-Tudor style, complete with battlement towers, Victorian furniture and stained glass windows similar to those at Windsor Castle. Nowadays, the garden is used as festival grounds, where Elton John and The Rolling Stones have performed. Bangalore Palace, still in royal possession, can be visited.

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Bangalore Palace, Vasanth Nagar, Bangalore, Karnataka, India Google maps

Miniature of St. Paul’s Cathedral

If you didn’t know any better, you might think you’ve been teleported to 17th century England in a red phone booth. Like St. Paul’s of London, St. Mark’s Cathedral in the hectic heart of Bangalore was built in English Baroque style, including exuberant woodwork, classic arches and a very distinct dome. The copy, built in the early 19th century, is quite a bit smaller than the famous original, yet many claim it is the most beautiful of the approximately one hundred churches found in Bangalore. Open daily to visitors except for Sunday Mass.

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London in India: St. Mark’s Cathedral

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St. Mark’s Cathedral, 1 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Shanthala Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India Google maps

Morning rush in the Krishna Rajendra Market

The most colourful market in Bangalore

Despite an unsightly modern expansion, the old red buildings of the Krishna Rajendra market from 1928 are unmistakably colonial. Everything imaginable is for sale here, from pots and pans to rice balls and from betel nuts to herbs and spices. In the early morning, the market smells of jasmine, lotus, marigolds and rose petals. This is perhaps the oldest, largest, busiest and most colourful flower market in India, where diligent women create garlands for use as offerings in the surrounding temples.

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Krishna Rajendra Market, Krishna Rajendra Road, New Tharagupet, Bangalore, Karnataka, India Google maps