Bangalore has witnessed the rule of several dynasties at different periods of time. It has been governed by South Indian kingdoms like Chalukya, Hoysala and the Vijayanagara Empire. Additionally, the British and Mughals have also ruled here. And over the centuries, these dynasties have left their mark on the city, historically, culturally and architecturally. There are many forts, palaces and buildings found across Bangalore that are evidence of the wealth of those kingdoms, as well as offer a window into the region’s rich history. From Tudor-style Bangalore Palace to classical European buildings, read on to discover the best historical places in Bangalore, India.
Situated in the center of Old Bangalore, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace was first built in 1537 by Kempe Gowda (Bangalore’s founding father) with mud bricks. Later it was modified and rebuilt by Mysore ruler Hyder Ali and finished by his son Tipu Sultan in 1791. It is a two-story palace and is predominantly made of teak. The most striking feature is its architecture that embraces the influence of both Hindu and Islamic styles - and is adorned with intricately carved pillars and arches that rest over a stone base. The walls and ceilings are decorated with beautiful floral motifs. Today, the ground floor of the palace stands as a museum, showcasing antiques, artifacts, and photographs of the royal era.
Duration: 2hrs30 Min Duration
The sprawling and architecturally magnificent Bangalore Palace is not only one of the most important landmarks in Bangalore, but also a treasure trove of the city’s history. The story of Bangalore Palace starts in 1873 when the young Chamarajendra Wadiyar X came to Bangalore for his training but didn’t find a suitable place to stay. The British guardians of the Maharaja bought a piece of land from educationist Rev. J. Garrett, and in 1878, Bangalore Palace was established. Today, it is cherished for its architecture that is inspired by England’s Windsor Castle. It boasts Tudor-style of architecture, complete with turreted parapets, Gothic-style stained glass windows, fortified towers, floral motifs, wood carvings, and embellished doors. This ancient palace houses paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries and other memorabilia. Several programs are also held here, from cultural shows to musical concerts. Artists like Elton John, Metallica, Enrique, and Backstreet Boys, among others, have performed here.
Duration: 4 to 6 hours
We can’t talk about the history of Bangalore without mentioning Bangalore Fort that marked the birth of the modern Bangalore as we know it. It was established in 1537 by Kempe Gowda as a mud fort and was reconstructed by Hyder Ali in the 18th century with granite stones. While today the fort has fallen into disrepair, but it is still one of the ancient heritage of the city that is worth a visit. You’ll find remnants of two bastions and two large iron cannons. Besides, there’s also a temple, a park and Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace situated on the premises.
Duration: 3 hours
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4. Devanahalli Fort
Located at a distance of 35 kilometers (21.74 miles) north of Bangalore, Devanahalli Fort was constructed in the early 16th century by Malla Baire Gowda. Since then, it has been under the control of several rulers and the British, each leaving behind their signatures on the fort architecturally. The fort, although in a dilapidated state now, is a popular historical place in the region - and the unique feature is its 12 semi-circular bastions. Within the fort also lies several temples that reflect Vijayanagara and Dravidian styles of architecture.
Address: Devanahalli Near Bangalore -Hyderabad Highway, District, Devanahalli, Karnataka 562110
Website: Devanahalli Fort
Opening hours: 24/7
5. Vidhana Soudha
Vidhana Soudha is one of the most symbolically significant buildings in the city, standing as the focal point of the legislative branch of Karnataka. Established in 1956, it is the largest building of its kind in the country - and the credit for its design goes to Kengal Hanumanthaiah. Taking much inspiration from his travels across the world, the structure blends Neo-Dravidian and Indo-Saracenic styles of architecture. The building is not open to the public, but is truly a must-see site when in Bangalore (and makes for a great Instagram post, too). It is even more beautiful in the evening when the lights bring the facade to life.
Address: Ambedkar Veedhi, Sampangi Rama Nagara, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001
Website: Vidhana Soudha
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
6. Attara Kacheri (Karnataka High Court)
Facing the Vidhana Soudha, Attara Kacheri - meaning 18 offices - is an equally beautiful building that houses the high court of Karnataka. It was established in 1868 and later was revitalized by Lewin Bentham Bowring, an erstwhile Commissioner of Mysore. Though the public is not allowed on the premises, it is worth visiting for its architecture alone. It is a two-story red brick building that mimics the European classical style, with its Graeco-Roman architecture complete with Corinthian columns.
Attara Kacheri (Karnataka High Court)
Address:High Court Buildings, Opp. to Vidhana Soudha Dr Ambedkar Veedhi Bengaluru Karnataka 560001 IN Doctor BR Ambedkar Veedhi Bangalor KA 560001 IN, Devaraj Urs Rd, Bengaluru, Karnataka 56000
Website: Attara Kacheri
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 5pm; Sat: 10am - 2pm (closed on Sun)
7. Seshadri Iyer Memorial Hall (State Central Library)
The Seshadri Iyer Memorial Hall was constructed in 1915 in commemoration of Sri K.Seshadri Iyer, who served as the Dewan of the Kingdom of Mysore for 18 years. The hall is home to one of the historic libraries of the country - the State Central Library that houses an extensive and wide-reaching collection, ranging from periodicals to rare volumes. It has more than three lakh books, plus has a separate Braille section. The library building is an attraction in itself, with classic European architecture and surrounded by the calming lush greenery of Cubbon Park.
Sheshadri Iyer Memorial Hall (STATE CENTRAL LIBRARY)
Address: Cubbon Park Road Near Ambedkar Veedhi, Sampangi Rama Nagara, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 8:30am - 7:30pm (closed on Mon)
8. Mayo Hall
Established in 1883 in honor of Lord Mayo (India’s fourth Viceroy), the Mayo Hall is one of the most distinct buildings in the city. With its beautiful neo-classical architecture, complete with Italian chandeliers, Tuscan columns, Greek ledges, elaborate furnishings, and wooden flooring, this two-story building is a sight to behold. Today it houses several government offices on the ground floor and a museum dedicated to the founder of Bangalore on the upper floor. The pièce de résistance of this colonial structure, however, is the bird’s eye view of the city from its top.
Address: 14, 7, MG Road, FM Cariappa Colony, Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 6:30pm (closed on Sun)
9. Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
Also known as the Gavipuram Cave Temple, the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple is one of the finest examples of the Indian rock-cut architecture. Constructed in a natural cave in the 16th century, the temple houses a stone monolith of Lord Shiva, who is the presiding deity of the temple. In addition, it also has several monolithic sculptures and pillars. The most striking feature of the temple, however, is that on Makar Sankranti day, the evening sunlight passes through the horns of Nandi (Lord Shiva’s mount or vahana) and further illuminates the Shivalinga residing within the cave. Thousands of devotees flock here to catch this miraculous spectacle.
Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
Address: Gavipura, Kempegowda Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560019
Website: Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
10. St. Mark’s Cathedral
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
A walk around the MG Road will reveal several colonial-style structures, and one of the most prominent ones is the St. Mark’s Cathedral. It was built during the time of East India Company’s control of India in the early 19th century, and since then, it has suffered natural disasters and reconstructed several times. The current structure dates back to 1927 and features English Baroque architecture that is often likened to London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. One of the main architectural highlights is an exquisitely decorated dome and stained glass work.
St. Mark’s Cathedral
Address: 1, MG Road, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001
Website: St. Mark’s Cathedral
Opening hours: Sun - Fri: 9am - 1pm, 2pm - 5:30pm; Sat: 9am - 1:30pm
Bangalore is a place for history buffs
Bangalore is home to numerous historical landmarks that have shaped it into a diverse and unique metropolitan city it is today. Check out our pick of the best historical places in Bangalore.
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