Tipu’s summer palace – strictly avoidable.

tipu-1-2When one visits a site of historic importance, one looks for authenticity. What’s the point in visiting a heritage building that looks like a parking lot?

For that is what Tipu Sultan’s summer palace in Bangalore has become. A parking lot – with a couple of toilets attached.

Built during the late 18th century, by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, this modest palace does have interesting features, like the carved wooden pillars and the wooden plinth that support the structure. Wooden staircases lead to the upper floor, but are to be taken with caution. There is a sort of museum in one of the private rooms on the ground floor, with a few unimpressive artifacts from Tipu’s time. Most visitors hardly glance in.tipu-1-4

Go around to the back of the palace, and you will find rusty ladders, poles and other building material lying around. The indifferent paint job on the walls make this heritage palace look like an urban slum.

The chap at the ticket counter and the security guards are polite enough, but there are several surly employees in the place, and they are rude to visitors – especially non-local visitors who do not understand Kannada. Why does a small site like this have so many employees hanging around the place? Seems to me that many of them aren’t even employees. Just localites who wander in for time-pass. Certainly none of them had an ID card on his person.

And why are there so many private vehicles parked inside? A foul-mouthed person deliberately parked his motorcycle in front of me, as I was clicking pictures, and refused to move it.

There is a lawn of sorts, with notices saying “Entry restricted to lawn area” – whatever that means. Nevertheless, you see employees strolling all across the lawn, while yelling at visitors to stay off it.

No wonder there are few visitors to Tipu’s summer palace. If I want to see a parking lot in an urban slum and get abused by random strangers, I don’t need to visit Tipu’s summer palace. I already live in an urban slum.

I won’t bother to give you directions to this depressing and avoidable “historic” site. It’s in Bangalore, that’s all I can tell you. Look it up on google, if you really want to inflict pain on yourself. Better that you just give the place a glance as you drive past.

I’m sure Tipu Sultan would have done the same.

No cheers … Srini.

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