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  5.4 Tipu's Summer Palace, Bangalore  


©Anne Buddle
Tipu's Summer Palace, Bangalore

Modern photograph, 1997

ipu's Summer Palace was completed in 1791, and still stands in the Petta area of Bangalore. It is not far from the Fort which Haidar Ali reconstructed in 1761, and the Lal Bagh Botanical Garden, which he planted with tropical plants and shrubs, an interest in horticulture which his son inherited.

Of Tipu's palace within the fort, only fragments remain. Although the original surfaces have been much restored, the surviving Palace still possesses the ornate but airy elegance which delighted contemporary visitors. It is interesting to compare the description of Robert Home (1794) with that of Francis Buchanan (published 1807). Home wrote enthusiastically:

'........the most splendid fabric within the walls is the palace built by Tippoo for his own residence. This is grand and spacious, displaying to the round winds of heaven as many ample fronts, each composing a lofty hall, the wooden roof of which is supported by colonnades of the same material. The pillars are connected by scolloped arches; the whole is superbly painted and gilt. The walls in front of the entrances to the east and west halls have balconies, richly carved, and raised by small pillars, united by arches. In the middle of each balcony is a square projection, which we suppose to have been introduced for the seat of state, whenever the Sultan held durbar. The north and south fronts are extremely airy, no wall dividing them, so that the eye completely pervades the building. In front of each face of the palace is a fountain; and on the north, south, and west are jenanas (sic), not yet finished, low, but highly ornamented with painting and gilding. Opposite the north, and south fronts are small flower gardens, on the right and left, in which the pink of Europe vies with the variegated flowers of the east.'

Buchanan was less receptive:
'The morning (May 10th, 1800) being cool and pleasant, I walked through the ruins of the Fort of Bangalore, which was constructed by Hyder after the best fashion of the Mussulman military architecture; and which was destroyed by his son after he found how little it was fitted to resist british valour.....The garrison contained......no good building except the palace. Although this is composed of mud, it is not without some degree of magnificence. On the upper storey it contains four halls, each comprising two balconies of state for the prince, and each balcony faces a different Cutchery, or court for giving audience. No person, except a few trusty guards, were admitted into the hall with the Sultan: but at each end of the court was erected a balcony for the officers of the highest rank. The interior offices occupied a hall under the balcony of the prince. The populace were admitted into the open court, in which there were fountains for cooling the air. At each end of the halls are private apartments, small, mean and inconvenient. The public rooms are neatly painted and ornamented with false gilding.'


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