Rev. Garrett, the first principal of the Central High School, built this palace with a floor area of 45,000 sq ft (4200 m²). The Palace and the grounds surrounding it are spread across 454 acres (183 ha). British officials who were in charge of the education of the young prince HH Chamaraja Wodeyar bought the palace in 1873 A.D. from him at a cost of Rs. 40,000 and later renovated it. The palace was built in Tudor style architecture with fortified towers, battlements and turrets. The interiors were decorated with elegant wood carvings, floral motifs, cornices and relief paintings on the ceiling. The furniture, which was neo-classical, Victorian and Edwardian in style, was bought from John Roberts and Lazarus. The upkeep of the gardens was the responsibility of the horticulturist Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel. A total of 35 rooms were built in the palace with most of them being bedrooms. The renovation included addition of stained glass and mirrors, specially imported from England, besides a manual lift and wooden fans from General Electric. In 1970, HH Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar is said to have transferred the possession of the property to two companies promoted by a civil contractor by name Chamaraju, close to the corridors of power.
These companies were known as Chamundi Hotels (P) Ltd (110 acre) and Sree Venkateswara Real Estate Enterprises (p) Ltd (344 acre). But on the given date the companies were yet to be incorporated and there was no sale deed either. It was a fraudulent transaction. Maharaja’s only son Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar instituted a civil suit against this deal. But the Maharaja HH Jayachamarjendra Wodeyar died in 1974. The legal battle continued and in the mean time Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar gave 28 acres (110,000 m2) each to his five sisters namely Late Gayatri Devi, Meenakshi Devi, Kamakashi Devi, Indrakshi Devi and Vishalakshi Devi in 1983 along the Ramana Mahasrhi Road. They are in possession of their respective portion and many events like Rock shows, exhibitions, marriages, tennis, cricket, golf and horse academies are conducted in those portions.
Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar ultimately compromised with the Chamaraju Group in the years 1990 and 1994, and got back his portion of the property including the Main Palace except 45 acres (180,000 m2), which the Chamaraju group still retains along the Jayamahal Road. All along, the Government of Karnataka was making various attempts to confiscate the property under Land Acquisition Act 1894 and Urban Land (ceiling and regulation) Act 1976. Having not succeeded in their designs, the government ultimately enacted the Bangalore Palace (Acquisition & transfer) Act 1996 under Mr. H.D. Deve Gowda to expropriate the entire premises spreading over 450 acres of prime real estate in the world for a farthing of 11 crores Rupees.
This dispute is pending before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India till date as it needs constitutional issues like whether material resources of the community under Article 39(b) of the Indian Constitution covers what is privately owned. The same awaits decision by a 9 Judge Constitution Bench of Indian Supreme Court. This will be a landmark decision as otherwise it will open flood gates of vexatious legislation to confiscate similar properties all over the Country without paying even a fraction of market value. This is in quite contrast to new Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2013 recently passed by the Indian Parliament.