Some of the features of the Kumara Krupa Guesthouse were even borrowed in the styling of the Vidhana Soudha
Built at a time when most buildings in Bangalore were designed on the lines of classical European structures, the Kumara Krupa State guesthouse stands apart as an example of Indian design and architecture.
Located on Kumara Krupa Road (then Old Butt’s Road), High Grounds, this heritage structure is in the midst of a sprawling 14 acres of greenery.
With its old-world charm and historical significance — having housed guests such as Mahatma Gandhi, M. Visvesvaraya and Indira Gandhi — the guesthouse, which stands between the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath and Hotel Lalit Ashok, is stately in every sense.
A shady avenue leads to the building, which occupies over two acres, and a two-storied stone structure with an imposing emblem of the Karnataka government greets visitors in the hallway.
The perforated stone with geometrical patterns, windows flanked by jute and bamboo blinds, crenellated parapet, raised walkways and well-preserved tiles that date back two centuries contribute to its appeal. Inside, the rosewood furniture and carefully preserved cutlery, brass plates, spoons and jars in the dining hall are a sight to behold.
Aromas waft out of the century-old kitchen, with people bustling about to prepare lunch for some of the guests.
The ground floor also has the coveted master suite, popularly called ‘Room Number 1’ by the hospitality staff there, which can accommodate up to six people and is reserved for State guests of the highest rank. This spotless, luxurious room is air-conditioned, with plush cushions, decorative pieces on the table and walls adorned with paintings that have a rustic charm.
Carpeted stairs lead to more rooms above and corridors that provide a great view of the surrounding lawns. If you were to peep between the merlons on the terrace, you would see around you the concrete jungle that Bangalore has become.
Seshadri Iyer’s residence
Named after Kumaraswamy, the family deity of Sir K. Seshadri Iyer — the longest-serving Dewan of Mysore and ‘maker of modern Bangalore’— the building was originally his residence. Constructed by Erode Subba Rao, the then controller of the royal properties, it was purchased by the Mysore government during the time of Krishnaraja Wadiyar from the descendants of Seshadri Iyer around 1915.
“Among the most graceful and perfectly composed creations in Bangalore’s architectural heritage, Kumara Krupa evokes an era in which ornamentation was considered an essential part of architecture” wrote T.P. Issar, former Chief Secretary of Karnataka, in his 1988 book The City Beautiful.
“The building is remarkable for many fine details of ‘Indian’ design — piers, jalis, parapets, window decorations, vases and merlons, besides cast iron railings on the first floor,” wrote Issar, who pointed out that some of the building’s features were borrowed in the styling of the Vidhana Soudha. N.R. Nagaraj, special officer at the guesthouse, said, “After the end of British rule, this building was taken over by the government and then it was decided to turn it into a VIP guest house. It had to be expanded as the building originally had two rooms, a big dining hall, a puja hall, an underground cellar. Now we have 12 air-conditioned rooms that include a master suite and a wonderful dining hall, and we host dinners for visiting dignitaries, foreign or otherwise, who are designated State guests by protocol.”