Placed in the heart of the city, Mysore palace is not only the most popular tourist attractions of Mysore, the ‘City of Palaces’ but is also one of the most-visited monuments in the country. Also called Amba Vilas Palace, it is the seat and the official residence of the Wodeyar Dynasty- the erstwhile rulers of Mysore. One of the largest palaces in India, Mysore palace is a true example of the grandeur of the ruling Maharajas.
Famous British Architect, Henry Irwin was commissioned by Queen Regent Kempananjammanni Vanivilasa Sanndihana to construct a palace, which would be a tribute to Mysore and its rulers. The erstwhile royal family of Mysore still lives in a portion of the palace. On selected days, Mysore Palace is illuminated with bulbs in the evenings during special days including the Dasara festival.
Palace History and Complex Architecture
The original palace was in wood that got burnt in the year 1897 at the time of wedding of one of Chamaraja Wodeyar’s daughter, Jayalakshammanni. The palace was later rebuilt in 1912. Additions in the structure of the palace were done from time to time. Today what we see is Indo-Saracenic style of architecture that is blended with Rajput, Hindu, Muslim and Gothic architectural styles. The three-storied palace in gray granite is a stone building that has a 145 feet tower (amounting to 5-storeys) and domes, made of marble. Standing amidst a well-maintained garden, the palace is known as a work of art and its wonderful carvings. Right on the top of the central arch stands a stunning figurine of Gajalakshmi, the goddess of wealth, good luck and prosperity. Beautiful paintings, huge halls make the interiors equally magnificent.
The open balcony of the palace with huge circular columns has a historically significant Royal portrait gallery. The square-shaped towers of the building are covered with domes on chief points. Exquisite carvings were done by craftsmen from Agra and Jaipur.
Placed in the southern part of the main building, the Kalyan Mantapa or the marriage pavilion is octagonal in shape and has gabled roof and is covered with stained glass. Imported glazed tiles, brought from England, form beautiful geometrical patterns on the floor and the Czechoslovakian chandeliers add a different character.
Chinnada Simhasana or Ratna Simahasana, the gold-plated royal seat with stunning artistry and studded semi-precious stones is put on display in the Durbar Hall during the annual Dasara festival. The hall also contains the original painting of Raja Ravi Verma, a well-known painter.
Mysore Palace Complex also has 12 Hindu temples, with a 14th century temple being the oldest one. This temple was reconstructed in the year 1953. Lakshmiramana Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Someshvara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva are 2 of the other famous temples here.
Mysore Palace Museum
Mysore palace has now been turned into a museum, which is a repository of paintings, souvenirs, royal costumes, jewellery, royal armory (over 725 weapons), a selection of dolls belong to the 19th century and other artifacts, which belonged to the Wodeyars. A mix of mirrors and stained glass, the museum boasts of an elegant décor and delicate carvings on doors. While on the museum’s ground museum, musical instruments, several portraits, costumes and toys of the children are on display, the upper floor showcases a collection of royal weapons. Doors made in silver, white-marbled floors, carved-mahogany ceilings are the highlights of the Durbar Hall.
Mysore Dasara Festival
One of the most popular events at the Mysore Palace is the Mysore Dasara Festival, organized during the Navrarti festival, held in September-October. This 10-day festival bustles with amazing activity with Vijaya Dashami day being the highpoint. At the time of the festival, leading artists from all over perform on the stage, set-up in the grounds of the palace. On the 10th day, Jumbo Savari or the traditional Dasara procession is carried out on the streets of the city. A beautifully decorated idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari, the reigning deity of Mysore, musical bands, colorful dance groups, decorated elephants, camels and horses are a part of this procession. This festival, one of the major attractions of Mysore, dates back to 1610. An exhibition is also organized during this time in the palace grounds.
Timings- 10.00 AM - 05.30 PM (open on all days)
Entry Fees- Adults- INR 40
Children between 10 - 18 Years- INR 20
Below 10 years- Entry Free
Foreign Tourist- INR 200 (including Audio Kit Facility)
Illumination Timings- 07.00 PM - 07.45 PM (Sundays, National Holidays and State Festivals)
Light and Sound Show at Mysore Palace- 07.40 PM - 07.45 PM (Monday to Saturday)
Sound and Light Show Entry Fee- Adults INR 40
Children between 7 - 12 years- INR 25
Foreign Tourist INR 200
(Note- Tickets can be bought from southern gate of the Palace)