Raj Bhavan (Karnataka)
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Raj Bhavan is the official residence of the Governor of Karnataka. It is located in the capital city of Bangalore, Karnataka. The present governor of Karnataka is Hansraj Bhardwaj. The building was home to the Resident and was the Residency during British rule.
Situated at the highest point in Bangalore, High Grounds (3031 feet above sea level), it was built by Sir Mark Cubbon between 1840 and 1842 when he was the Commissioner of Mysore territories of the British. After Cubbon left in 1861, the bungalow was put up for sale and purchased by the succeeding commissioner, Lewin Bentham Bowring, using government funds, and became the official residence of the Commissioner.
In 1881, when power over the territory was transferred back to the Mysore Royal family, the office of the Commissioner was abolished. The building became the official residence of the Resident and came to be called the Residency till the Independence of India (August 15, 1947) when the Residency was abolished. The Constitution of Independent India created the office of the "Raj Pramukh" (Governor). The Maharaja of Mysore was made the first Raj Pramukh of Mysore. Although the Residency was converted to the official residence of the Raj Pramukh, the Maharaja of Mysore chose not to stay there, preferring his own palaces at Bangalore and Mysore. Hence, the Residency was converted to a state guesthouse by the Government of India. State guests such as the President of India, the Vice President of India, central government ministers and chief ministers of other states stayed at the Residency. The Chief Minister of Karnataka hosted parties at the Residency. On Independence Day and Republic Day, parties were hosted by the Raj Pramukh, a tradition that has continued till now.
The Residency was also used by the Congress party for its legislature party meetings.
In 1964, the then Maharaja of Mysore, Jayachamaraja Wodeyar, became the Governor of Madras, and relinquished his gubernatorial post in Mysore. General S M Srinagesh succeeded him, and moved into the Raj Bhavan. It has been the residence of the Governor of the state since.
A ballroom was constructed in 1874 when the Prince of Wales visited India. It was named 'Serapis Room' after the ship which brought the Prince to Bombay. Many changes were made to the building during its existence in the British Raj.
Originally a single storeyed building, the Raj Bhavan was expanded by the addition of a first floor in 1967, built carefully to adhere to the architectural style of the original structure. The art collection comprises paintings of a variety of Indian schools of art, as well as some from the West.
The residence is surrounded by beautiful gardens stretching over 16 acres (65,000 m2). The garden is fringed with century old pine and fir trees, and has an artificial waterfall.
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