A picture of perfect symmetry, the Mysore Palace is an instance of the heights attained by Indian architecture. Also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, it is one of the most popular places to visit in the city of Mysore. This monument has gone through many changes since its initial construction. It was built several times during the rule of the royal family, the Maharajas of Mysore (the Wodeyars), but was destroyed several times over the centuries. The present palace was completed in 1912 and was built by the British architect, Henry Irwin. It is the official residence of the Wodeyar or Wadiyar dynasty and attracts upwards of 6 million visitors annually.
The architectural style of the palace is Indo-Saracenic and blends elements of Hindu, Mughal, Rajput, and Gothic architectural styles. The three-story stone structure features marble domes, boasts a 145-foot five-story tower, and is surrounded by large gardens.
General Information For Travellers
Timings: 10 AM to 5.30 PM. It is open on all days including Sundays and public holidays.
Best Time To Visit: Around October when the Palace is all lit up for the Dussehra celebrations is a great time to visit. The age-old tradition of Dasara festival is celebrated at Mysore Palace even to this day. Mysore Dasara is one of the most famous festivals in Karnataka which even attracts a global audience.
But if you want to avoid large crowds, visit on any weekday or during off-season weekends.
How To Reach Palace: To reach the palace, follow this route: From the Chamaraja Double Road, at Dr Shivarathri Rajendra Circle, take the first exit. Turn right after about 100 m and take the next left. The palace will be on the right.
Highlights Of The Palace
1. The Lights
Mysore Palace is a sight worth a million memories when bedecked with lights during Hindu festivals.
When the palace is lit, the whole place appears as a vision of endless light that dominates the dark landscape after sunset. The vibe emanating from the lighted monument has been termed unworldly by certain observers. As one steps closer to the lighted monument, a fascinating wealth of detail emerges. Each point of light emerges as a sovereign entity, whereas, to the distant observer, the points of light merge to create a singular continuum of gorgeous illumination.
2. The Main Durbar Hall And The Interiors
The main durbar hall of the palace is beautiful and boasts a central glass dome embellished with intricate designs. The hall also features marble from Italy and chandeliers imported from Venice. Mural paintings featuring martial scenes distinguish the visual landscape of the main hall.
For the average visitor, Mysore Palace holds many elements of charm and surprise! Inside the palace, one can view dolls fashioned from marble and wood, a throne made of gold, chairs carved from crystal and silver, grand pillars, and marble floors.
3. The Courtyards
Courtyards inside the palace feature cannons and the walls feature exquisite paintings of the Dussehra festival. Luxury also appears in the form of wooden doors inlaid with the ivory from elephant tusks. These sights can be giddy for the first-time visitor; however, seasoned travellers can revisit these charms that are an integral part of Mysore Palace.
4. Audio Guides
The palace is also inclusive of managers who offer audio guides and earphones to visitors. These devices share tons of useful information on the Mysore Palace; this is useful for first-time visitors as they gain acquaintance with the monument and its history. The audio input ranks higher to human guides, in terms of the quality and precision of the information. Electric cars are available for consideration; these can ferry tourists around the expansive grounds of the palace.
5. The Sound And Light Show
A sound and light show adds to the experience for tourists and visitors. This show plays between 7.00 PM and 7:45 PM every day except on Sundays and certain holidays. The lighting aspect of this spectacle is wonderful!
6. The Surrounding Buildings
Mysore Palace and its surroundings contain twelve Hindu temples dedicated to various gods in the Hindu pantheon. The temples are variously dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna, the Goddess Gayatri, and the Goddess Bhuvaneshwari. The king of the Wodeyar dynasty used to meet his subjects in the Diwan-e-aam, which was used as a public darbar. Visitors can also visit the armoury which features a variety of interesting weapons from past centuries.
7. Must Experience: Dussehra At The Mysore Palace
The Dussehra festival held during September and October each year celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Mysore Palace celebrates the festival with pomp and grandeur. An endless stream of tourists from various Indian states and foreign destinations visit the palace to witness the grand celebrations.
The Dussehra celebrations deserve a special mention. The Wodeyar family traditionally places an idol of the victorious Goddess Chamundeshwari on top of a beautifully decorated elephant. The royal family and commoners alike worship the Goddess, after which the elephants proceed on a ceremonial parade starting from the palace. The government of Karnataka participates in the Dussehra celebrations by bringing artists from various states of India for various cultural celebrations in front of this grand palace.
In sum, Mysore Palace represents one of the high points of tourist attraction in modern India. The culture, traditions, and customs practised in the palace spotlight the royal grandeur that distinguished the bygone eras.
The history of Mysore Palace and its construction and renovations over five centuries is one of the interesting ones that tells many tales of India’s complex and intriguing past.
The old fort or puragiri (citadel), faces eastwards towards Chamundi Temple. The first palace in the old fort was constructed by the founder of the Wadiyar dynasty, Yaduraya, in the 14th century. Since then the palace has been demolished and reconstructed several times. The construction of the old fort was completed in CE 1574 by Chamaraja Wadiyar IV, the seventh king of Mysore but according to Shrimanmaharaja’s Vamshaavali (the history of the Mysore Royal family), the palace was struck by lightning and destroyed. The twelfth king of the Mysore dynasty, Ranadheera Kanthirava Narasaraja Wadiyar rebuilt the palace in 1638.
However, during the Islamic rule over Mysore, Tipu Sultan abandoned all pretence of owing allegiance to the Wadiyar Kings and destroyed several areas inside the palace walls in 1797. His idea was to make way for his new capital, Nazarbad. However, this didn’t last long as the fourth war of Mysore in 1799 led to the end of Tipu Sultan and his reign. According to B. Lewis Rice, the author of the ‘Mysore Gazetteer’, when the victorious British and Wadiyars came back, there was not a single suitable house in Mysore. Therefore, the coronation of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar III was conducted in one of the construction sheds in Nazarbad. The newly elected king resurrected the destroyed palace.
Be that as may, once again the palace faced destruction due to another freak accident during the wedding of Princess Jayalakshammani in 1897. The old palace, also known as the Wooden Palace caught fire and burned down to ashes. Today, the structure that we know as Mysore Palace was constructed between 1897 and 1912, after the Wooden palace burnt down. Kempananjammanni Vani Vilasa Sannidhana, the Queen Regent and Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV commissioned the British architect, Henry Irwin to build the new palace. An executive engineer in the Mysore Palace division- P Raghavulu Naidu, oversaw the construction. The architect visited Delhi, Madras (presently, Chennai) and Calcutta (presently, Kolkata) and conducted elaborate architectural studies to design the new palace. The construction of this palace was completed in 1912 and cost approximately 42 lakhs (approx $30 million adjusted to inflation).
While the palace was completed, the fort continued to be renovated and beautified. In 1940, during the reign of Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar the palace was further expanded. It was during this renovation that the present Darbar Hall wing was added.
9. Architectural Style
The entire palace is built using stone and marble in the Indo-Saracenic style. Due to its numerous renovations, the style boasts a blend of Hindu, Mughal, Rajput and Gothic styles. The palace’s three-story stone structure has dark pink domes, turrets, expansive arches and colonnades and a large geometrically laid-out garden. It also has a five-story tower that is 145 feet high with a gold-plated dome. Two durbar halls (royal courts), courtyards, embellished mahogany gates and the royal family’s living quarters also form a part of the palace. Mysore Palace also has 12 temples constructed during various periods by the Wadiyar kings.
Quick Facts About Mysore Palace
- It is second-most visited monument in India after the Taj Mahal.
- The architecture style is an amalgamation of various styles. The Indo-Saracenic architecture has a blend of Hindu, Mughal, Rajput and Gothic Styles.
- The Palace has 12 temples inside.
- Mysore palace is illuminated with nearly one lakh bulbs
- The elaborate golden throne called the Golden Howdah is made up of over 80 kgs of gold.
- The Palace was designed by architect Henry Irving
- It took 15 years to construct this marvel.
FAQs About Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace was built by the twenty-fourth Wodeyar Raja in 1912.
The present ruler of Mysore is Yaduveera Chamaraja Wadiyar.
The best time to visit Mysore city is from the Monsoons and Winter months from July to February. The weather is cool and pleasant. If you visit around October, you are likely to see the city all lit up for the Dussehra celebrations.
Visit Mysore Palace, climb the stairs of Chamundi Hill, explore Devraja Market, visit the rail museum and see why the Gokulam’s Yoga schools are known all over the world.