After arriving in Bangalore, I was sort of trying to figure out what to do and where to go. I ended up check out the palace and it was interesting. I don’t know if I’d say it’s worth the price of admission but it’s a nice way to spend a couple hours if you’re in the area and want to do something different.
Bangalore Palace is an old campus that used to house the royal family. Now, it functions more like a venue for conventions and concerts. The site is centrally located so it really shouldn’t be too difficult to get to from anywhere in the city.
For foreigners, the entry fee was $480 INR (about $6.50 USD). I thought that was a little steep already to be honest. However, here’s the kicker. If you want to take photos, it’s another $300 INR. And that’s for photos on your phone. If you have a regular camera, it’s extra. If you want to take video, it’s more as well. If you really wanted to go all out, it could really cost you quite a bit. And yes, you do need to pay or the security guards roaming the halls will ask you to either pay or put away your phone.
I guess maybe that was why I didn’t really think too much of this from the beginning. I don’t really like it when sites nickel and dime visitors especially when they charge such an exorbitant rate to tourists. It just leaves a very bad impression on me.
After they fleece you for the entry fee and all the extras, you’re given an audio guide that gives you a tour through the palace. The entire tour takes about an hour and that’s if you find it really fascinating. There are certainly parts of the tour that can be skipped or fast-forwarded.
One thing to note is that when I was there, a group of young kids walked in right after. It was no fault of their own since kids will be kids, but know that sounds do tend to be magnified as you walk through the palace mainly because of the design. If you’re unlucky enough to be caught right when large groups come in, it may make for an uncomfortable situation.
As I was walking and listening to the audio guide, it takes you through some “old” black and white photos of animals, ancestors, or events. I guess the cynic in me just came out because there really is nothing to say that these old photos at all. They could be just regular black and white photos. And the photos of ancestors could just be random kids. It sounds odd but it just didn’t convince me that the palace really put in that much effort to get everything right.
For me, I thought the palace interior was really unmemorable. A lot of it was roped off for maintenance or whatever. That really wouldn’t be a problem if the rest of what’s inside were really interesting artifacts or if the interior were really impressive. Especially with the cost, I guess I expected more but instead it was a lot of pretty generic stuff.
One Redeeming Quality
I will say as disappointing as the interior is, the exterior is beautiful. Now I’m not sure if taking the time to go to the palace just to see the exterior is worth it but that was definitely the highlight for me. Even the garden in front of the palace was nicely manicured and made for a pleasant stroll.
This may not be for everyone and I certainly can’t recommend anyone going. It would be one thing if the site were really special that warranted the high price to visit. But for me, I honestly thought it was a huge let down. I guess it started with the entry fee and all the added fees they tack on that just started with a bad impression of the site and only got worse as I noticed so many things closed or roped off. I guess if you want a break from doing whatever else you had planned for the day, this might be a good way to spend a couple hours but I’d rather go do something else.