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Tuesday 21 April 2015

Social Highpoint

Gym at the Bowring Institute


From a thinkers' forum to a cultural crucible for Anglo Indians, and now, a social platform for business associates to shoot the breeze, the Bowring Institute is a cheerful, approachable landmark.


Founded in 1868 by B. L. Rice, CIE, Director of Public Instruction, Mysore, with a group of philanthropists, it was later named after L. B. Bowring, the then Chief Commissioner of Mysore and Coorg, and a president of the club. Its founding principle was to be a forum for the intellectual and moral improvement of Bangaloreans.

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Bowring Institute Bangalore

 Bowring Institute Logo Meet, eat, play - the club is the space for all social life.

Unabashed and Unpretentious

The club today is refreshingly unabashed and unpretentious: a colourful melange of old-world Bangaloreans in quest of a quiet drink and a read, and a cost effective networking space for professionals and business people.


Out on the tennis courts, young girls and boys go through their paces alongside sprightly and dapper veteran members whose form belies their age. On the lawns, the first of many sundowners are sipped thirstily; inside, there is a growing buzz - bingo (housie) players are calling out numbers; in the hallway, card players are settled in an intense session of rummy, whist and bridge. From the billiards table, there is a sharp satisfying crack of ball against cue.


The club cherishes traditions from the past: the annual May Queen Ball is part of its Anglo Indian heritage, conjuring wistful images of young girls in pastel dresses holding their dance cards. The presence of these pretty girls was a cause of much anxiety to the establishment of the Bangalore Club down the street! While Bollywood music and dance find more favour than waltzes, the girls are still as pretty as ever.


The club keenly promotes the sporting prowess of its members. It has the first ISO 9001-2000 recognition and boasts of 4355 members. From vegetable and grocery shopping to working out and getting groomed to hosting out of town visitors, the club has worked its way into the daily routine of its members.

Stories of the Patrons

Pankaj Advani, World Billiards and Snooker Champion at the Bowring Club

Pankaj Advani, World Billiards Champion, 2005, and World Snooker Champion, 2003


"My mother has been a member of the Institution for a long time and I used to sit in this billiards room and watch my older brother play. I could play billiards from the age of 10 but the club would only allow people above 14 years to play. One day though, I just picked the cue and started playing along with my brother. But the person in charge of the room found out and refused to let me play. Today, when I look back at that incident, I cannot help but smile. The club has given me an honorary membership now for my achievements in the game, though I could have got the dependent's membership from my mother.


I spend most of my time here in the billiards room or the swimming pool. I love to socialise and Bowring Institute has many activities where one can meet different people. Every time my cousins come down to Bangalore, there is bound to be a family dinner here."