Kempe Gowda who built the four towers more than 4 centuries ago to mark the ‘eventual’ boundaries of Bangalore, would never have imagined the city’s transformation over the last 150 years. The evolution from a city of a mud fort, few markets, military establishments and hamlets, to a British Cantonment – a mixture of army barracks, marching roads, parade grounds, and the attendant conceniences of ‘ a bit of England’ – started in 1809 when the English shifted their troops from Srirangapatna to Halasooru (Ulsoor). Modern Bangalore, and most of its architectural tradition, has its origin in the cantonment seeding of the city and the introduction of bungalow style homes.
Bangalore’s climate and setting, its strategic location in the political struggles of the time, the high ground nippiness of its air, and the sheer beauty of its landscape made it a easy choice.
Built in the architectural style of the Royal Palace of Mysore, Leela Palace epitomizes the opulence of a bygone era. The Leela was voted as the Best Business Hotel by Conde Nast in 2007 and as the business hotel with the best rooms in 2008. The rooms are large, airy and all of them come with pool or garden views.
The pictures here are of the hotel, its rooms and the royal portraits that adorn the corridors and rooms. Look carefully! The jewels on the portriats are real gemstones and pearls that have been embedded into the drawings!
Earlier, as I drove down to Pune airport to catch my flight to Bangalore, I was not sure what to expect. There was an airport strike and yet I found flights on-time– airport privatization is already proving good for us! Of course, Calcutta was the only one completely in disarray. The Telegraph carried an article about a man who cracked his skull when he slipped in the puddle in the airport bathroom that had not been cleaned due to the strike. The poor guy is still in an ICU and not out of danger yet. That’s Bengal for you – more communist than even China and willing to go on strike at the drop of a hat!
I flew Kingfisher to Bangalore this time. Very much like Jet Airways in service quality if you can stand that much of red! They have hired all the cute girls from Jet, have decent airline food, complimentary headsets, and – believe it or not – live TV on-board. The news was not so good though! More signs of recession in the US, a slowdown in industrial growth in the country, and the markets were crashing – again!
Modern Bangalore, and most of its architectural tradition, has its origin in the cantonment seeding of the city and the introduction of bungalow style homes.