The Mysore Palace is one of the magnificent palaces in India, situated in the southern state of Mysore in Karnataka. Also known as the Amba Vilas, it once served as the residence of the Wadiyar kings, who reigned the kingdom of Mysore during the 14th century. It is still the official residence of the royal family of Mysore. Located at the heart of the city, the Mysore Palace offers you a breathtaking view with its stunning architecture of Indo-Saracenic style. It is one of the most visited historical monuments in the country after the Taj Mahal, attracting six million tourists every year.
The Mysore Palace has a rich legacy. Ever since it was originally constructed in the 14th century, it has been rebuilt and renovated during different periods of time.The first palace of Mysore was built of wood and it was struck by lightning in 1638. It was rebuilt by Kandirava Narasiraja Wadiyar, which too didn’t last long until Tipu Sultan, the eldest son of Haider Ali, seized the palace in the 18th century. And when Tipu Sultan died in the Fourth Mysore War in 1799, the Wadiyars gained control of the palace again. During the same year, Krishnaraja Wadiyar III, who was five years old, was coronated as the king of Mysore.
Soon after he was coronated as the king, it was decided that the palace would undergo renovation along the lines of the Hindu style of architecture. However, the palace caught fire and got destroyed in 1897 during the wedding of Princess Jayammanni, the eldest daughter of Chamaraja Wadiyar.
The existing palace of Mysore was built during the reign of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV in 1912 and expanded by his son Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar. It was an eminent British architect, Henry Irwin, who designed the structure of the palace. Since then, the palace has always remained the pride of the Wadiyar kingdom.
The Mysore Palace is known for its Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, which is a rare mixture of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic styles of architecture. It is surrounded by a beautiful garden and has three entrances, one in the east, another in the west and the third one in the south. With three storeys, covered by splendid domes, the palace stands majestically, facing the Chamundi hills, which the Wadiyars regarded as sacred.
Inside the premises of the magnificent palace, you will find twelve temples, built during different periods of time. The oldest of these temples was constructed during the 14th century, and among these temples, Someshwara Temple and Laksmiramana Temple are the most famous ones.
The spacious rooms in the palace, the marble floors, the intricately carved doors and ceilings, supported by huge pillars, and the beautiful chandeliers that hang from the ceilings are a feast to one’s eyes. There is a private hall, where the king used to organize private meetings with his ministers, and a public hall, known as ‘the Durbar Hall’, where court proceedings were usually held.
The golden throne in the Durbar Hall, which is encrusted with precious stones, is exhibited to the public during the famous Dussehra festival in the city. In the south of the palace, there is also a huge wedding hall with glass ceilings and tiled floor.
Though the descendants of the Wadiyar dynasty continue to reside in one portion of the palace, most of the palace has now been converted into a museum with a splendid display of beautiful portraits and artworks, musical instruments, weapons and the royal clothes and ornaments of the Wadiyars.
Mysore Dussehra celebration in the palace
Every year, the Mysore Palace hosts the Dussehra festival in a grand manner, during which the entire palace is decked up with colourful flowers and other decorations. Singers and dancers across the country are invited to perform on a huge makeshift stage on the palace grounds. The festival goes on for ten days, and on the tenth day, elephants are led on a procession from the palace grounds, which provide a spectacular view to those who gather near the palace to witness the event.