The two major green spaces in Bangalore are the Lalbagh & the Cubbon Park; the former a botanical garden and the latter a proper park. I have been to the Lalbagh, a sprawling 240 acres of greenery; but Cubbon park visit happened only this year.
The first visit to the Cubbon Park was in March this year when the Tabebuia Rosea were in bloom in Bangalore 👉 Tabebuia bloom in Bangalore 🌸🌸 . Google maps took us to the main entrance of the park near Corporation Circle and we parked in the nearby paid parking slots along the Kasturba Road, very convenient !
There at the main entrance, we saw the map of the Cubbon Park, which showed 8 different gates for entry/ exit. Is there a single trail we can follow to cover the whole park in one go? Didn’t look like there was. Instead, there was a walking trail from Gate no. 6, where we arrived, covering a cross-section of the park and ending back at the same spot. We walked that trail last March.
It was a Saturday afternoon, the park wore an empty look except for the workers engaged in laying the tiles for the walking trails and couples looking for privacy in a public space. I expected the park to be crowded. It’s broad daylight, but the eerie emptiness begets the question, is it safe to wander alone !? I am not confident to say yes ! I so much prefer to visit the park when there are more people around, esp if venturing out alone.
And our second visit was on a Saturday evening and the park was full of people; still not crowded (it’s a huge park!). This time we entered the Cubbon Park from Gate no. 3 on the MG Road side and that’s where the walking trail begins.
As you walk towards the entrance of the park; there is an island of trees in the middle of which stands the statue of Queen Victoria, almost hidden by the foliage 🌳. The gate to the enclosure was closed, so we couldn’t get a closer look.
The statue was unveiled on 5 Feb 1906 by then Prince of Wales (King George V). Queen Victoria passed away in 1901 and the statue was to commemorate her memory. The Queen is seen carrying a sceptre and an orb. The statue was made by Sir Thomas Brock the famous sculptor from Worcester, England and it looks exactly like the statue he made of the Queen for Shire Hall, Worcester in 1887. The statue seems to have a cross on both the sceptre and an orb in the Worcester piece, which got broken off in the statue here. But it’s still standing and a majestic sight !
Then you enter the Cubbon Park; auto wallahs near the entrance will entice you with a tour of the city for half an hour at very low rates; but beware !
Enjoy the walk and the greenery 🌿.
You will come across sculptures made from the Araucaria tree wood; evergreen coniferous trees, native to Australia. There also plenty of them growing in the park and they grow very tall !!
The next landmark there is the Bandstand. It stems from the efforts to replicate the typical structures seen in parks in England. It’s shaped like an octagon with cast iron columns and and railings and sloping roofs. Free concerts used to be held here. The structure has had renovations.
Below in an enclosed and manicured garden is a statue of a regal gentleman on a rather ferocious looking horse. The facial features and dressing announce English but who is he?
Sir Mark Cubbon !
Sir Mark Cubbon, the British Commissioner of Mysore state from 1834-1861 is credited with many reforms such as streamlining local administration, building roads and railway lines, establishing a police force for the state, introducing the telegraph, changing the official language from Persian to Kannada.
The statue of bronze and stone was sculpted in 1866 by Carlo Marochetti an Italian-born French sculptor. The statue is much older than Queen Victoria’s !
The capital of the Mysore state was Srirangapatna, famous as Tipu Sultan’s capital and Bangalore was a commercial hub. Later the the British garrison shifted to Bangalore and thus paved way for the Cantonment and the city’s rise in prominence (that’s another interesting story!)
The statue was in black and it was very surprising that in spite of the flock of pigeons nearby, the statue was devoid of any bird droppings and was actually glistening ! Pigeons are a common sight in the city, but the green parrots were new and very pretty 🦜
The Cubbon park originally stretched out around 200 acres and was carved out in the year 1870 as means of separating Bangalore into two halves – one half for the British, called the Cantonment area and the other half, the old city for the Indians.
There are many famous British names associated with the genesis of the Cubbon park – “The idea of the park came from Lewin Bentham Bowring, the Chief Commissioner of Mysore State from 1862 to 1870. The park was laid out by Lt Col RH Sankey and was first christened Meade Park, after Sir Richard Meade, who was the Chief Commissioner after Bowring. Later it was renamed in honour of Sir Mark Cubbon, (Bowring’s predecessor) the longest serving and most popular British Chief Commissioner of Mysore.” details Meera Iyer in her book Discovering Bangalore 👉 Tourist in my city 👒 And there was another subsequent re-christening of the park 😊
Next you walk up to see the red coloured building – the Karnataka High Court – designed by Lt Col Sir RH Sankey and completed in 1868 reads the board. The earlier name for it was Attara Kacheri meaning eighteen offices, adopted locally from the Mughal administration by the Mysore ruler Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar. The gate was locked.
From the Attara Kacheri, we take a walk around it and head outside the Cubbon park. Here was see the latest name of the park – Sri Chamarajendra Park – renamed in 1948.
We exit the Cubbon park via Gate no. 1 next to a gate of the Karnataka High Court 👇 The red building is imposing !!
The main road is a few steps ahead and you see the grand Vidhana Soudha, the Seat of legislature, Govt. of Karnataka, touted as the second Indian Parliament building. The foundation stone was laid by Jawaharlal Nehru.
We returned back via an autorickshaw; we could have retraced our steps back; but the one and a half hour walk was enough exercise for the day ! 🛺💨
There are a few other interesting buildings in the Cubbon Park worth exploring like the Government Museum, the Seshadri Iyer Memorial Hall (State Central Library), we covered the latter in our first walk from Gate no. 6.
Till next post, take care !!