Mysore Palace | History | Architecture | 11 Amazing Places To Visit Inside The Mysore Palace (2023)
India is known for its rich culture, ancient forts, and heritage buildings. Mysore palace was the home of the Wodeyar Dynasty. They have been the rulers of Mysore from 1399 to 1950. The magnificent palace is located in the heart of the vibrant and historically important city of Mysore in the state of Karnataka. Mysore is also considered one the cleanest cities in India. Mysore is also called the city of palaces as there are seven palaces including the Mysore palace.
It is one of the prime attractions after Taj Mahal for visitors coming to India. Trip to India is incomplete without coming to Mysore and trip to Mysore is incomplete without visiting Mysore palace.
Mysore palace also known as Amba Vilas Palace is one of the prime cultural heritage spots famous in India and attracts millions of tourists everywhere from around the world. It is one of the largest and finest palaces built during its time in India. Mysore palace is considered as an architectural marvel and it still stands glorious which never ceases to amaze the visitors with its beauty.
History Of Mysore Palace
The foundation of Mysore palace was laid in 14th century by the royals of Mysore famously known as Wodeyars (Wadiyars). It is one of the most magnificent seven palaces in the city of Mysore. The place where the palace is currently built was originally known as puragiri which means citadel and is now known as the Old Fort. Legends say Yaduraya built the first palace inside the Old Fort during his reign which was later demolished and constructed multiple times over six centuries. The current palace was constructed between 1897 and 1912, after the Old Palace went up in smoke. It was reconstructed under the reign of Kantirava Narasa Raja Wodeyar.
When Tipu Sultan took over the Wodeyar dynasty in 1793 AD, he demolished the then palace and reconstruction was done. Soon after Tipu sultan died in 1799, the palace was redesigned under the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in traditional Hindu architectural style.
As if the agonies were not enough, the palace was burnt and went up in smoke in 1897 during the wedding ceremony of Princess Jayalakshmmanni and the royal family moved to Jaganmohan palace. The then Maharani Kempananjammanni Devi and her son Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV were determined to rebuild the palace and the task to redesign and rebuild the Mysore palace was commissioned to a British architect named Henry Irwin. The construction of the palace was completed in 1912 at a cost of 41 lakh Indian Rupees.
The palace has been reconstructed under different reigns since then. It was later modified and expanded by Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar during the 1930s when a durbar hall was added to the palace. The fort continued to be expanded by the royal families since then and the families moved to the newly built extensions while the old palace has been preserved.
Architecture of Mysore Palace
The architectural style of the palace is a mix of Hindu, Mughal, Rajput, and Gothic styles based on the inhabitants it had over centuries. The architectural style is commonly referred to as Indo-Saracenic or Indo Gothic which was adapted by British architectures in India in the 19th century.
Mysore palace is a three storied building with domes made of deep pink marble. It has a 145 feet tower which was built using grey granite. The palace is surrounded by a very large garden. The façade of the Mysore palace structure is beautified with two public durbar halls which were used for community meetings, several arches supported by tall and magnificent pillars. The entrance gate and arch hold the emblem of the kingdom of Mysore, which is adorned with the kingdom’s motto in Sanskrit: “न बिभॆति कदाचन” which means never terrified in English.
The main palace complex is 245 Ft in length and 156 Ft in width. There are 3 entrances to the palace: the East Gate which is the front gate and is opened only during the famous Dasara festival and for dignitaries, the South Entrance gate is for general public, and the West gate which is also opened during the Dasara festival.
There is a breathtaking sculpture of Gajalakshmi also referred as Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and abundance in Hinduism with her elephants. There are 3 temples within the old fort and 18 inside the palace.
There are three major exclusive temple buildings within the Old Fort, and about 18 inside the palace heart building built between 14th to 20th centuries. The royal families of Mysore have been devotees of Goddess Chamundi, hence the palace is facing the Chamundi Hills. There is a Chamundi Devi temple on the top of Chamundi hills.
Mysore Palace Of The Current Times
Currently, the palace is being run and managed by Government of Karnataka. The grandeur of the palace has been preserved and the possessions of the royal family including souvenirs, jewelry, royal costumes, and paintings have been put on display for the general public. Their possessions give an insight to the kind of life they lived. The royal family of Mysore continues to live in a part of the palace while the palace is open to general public.
The age-old and very famous Mysore Dasara Festival is celebrated here and tourist from all over the country and world come to enjoy the festivities. Over 6 million come to visit the palace every year to see the grandeur and beauty of the place from all over the world.
11 Amazing Places To Visit Inside The Mysore Palace
Since the palace is one of the largest palaces in the country, there are many fascinating places not to be missed when one is at the Grand Mysore Palace.
1. The Gombe Thotti
The Gombe Thotti also referred to as Doll’s Pavilion is the main entrance gate to the palace. It is a gallery featuring traditional dolls from the 19th and 20th century. Gombe thotti also has magnificent sculptures on display. One can see the traditional
2. Golden Howdah
Golden Howdah is an elaborately decorated throne also called the Maharaja’s elephant seat made of 84 kg of gold and precious stones.
3. Kalyana Mantap
Kalyan mantap or the Marriage Pavilion is an octagonal shaped grand octagonal-shaped pavilion with multicolored stained-glass ceiling and floor with peacock motifs. These motifs have been arranged in patterns. It is designed by the British architecture and the structure was designed in Glasgow, Scotland. The walls are decorated with many detailed oil paintings which depict the royal procession and show the grandeur of the Dashra celebration from the yesteryears.
4. Public Durbar Hall at Mysore Palace
Public darbar hall is a large hall where the kings used to address the general public. The size of the hall is 155 feet in length and 42 feet in width. It is adorned with majestic bottle-shaped columns in different hues. The hall has paintings from famous Indian artists like Raja Ravivarma. To add to the beauty, the hall opens into an expansive balcony which has a fine view of the Chamundi Hills and is the perfect place for one to enjoy the view of the hills and imagine how the kings would have enjoyed it.
5. Ambavilasa Hall at Mysore Palace
Ambavilasa hall is a beautifully designed hall which was used by the kings to listen and talk to their private audience. The hall like the other places has beautiful paintings on the walls and the ceiling painted beautifully. The is an unmissable lace during the visit to Mysore palace.
6. Elephant Gate
Elephant gate also called Ane Bagilu is the brass gate which serves as the main entrance to the palace. The gate faces east, and all ceremonial processions begin outside this gate. The gate has beautifully carved foliage and the elephants and the royal family’s coat of arms is skillfully interwoven. Do not miss admiring the beauty of this gate while visiting Mysore palace.
7. Paintings of Dasara Procession
These painting were drawn between 1934 and 1945 when the Wodeyars gave the task of drawing the painting to 5 of the finest artists in Karnataka to draw paintings of the Dasara Procession. The paintings show white oxen pulling the wagons, cloak adorned with ganda bherunda which is the two-headed eagle and insignia of the kingdom of Mysore.
One painting shows crowds line the street and some people watching from the rooftops. It also shows the schoolgirls peek out from behind the Church wall. The paintings also show the cars from the 19th century parked on the street and horsemen carrying a steel sword. People who are fascinated with the royal lives of the kings should not miss looking at the paintings when visiting the Mysore palace.
8. Portrait Gallery in Mysore Palace
Portrait gallery is a collection of valuable and breathtaking paintings and photographs of the Royal Family. They depict the procession of the royal family over centuries and also have paintings depicting the way the royal family lived their life and scenes from the yesteryears.
9. Casket Room – The Unmatchable Royal Collections
Casket room has a collection of silver and sandalwood caskets and mementos that were presented to the kings and royal families including late Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar and Jayachamaraja Wodeyar are on display.
When the Mysore royalties visited various parts of the state, they were welcomed with utmost respect and were presented with gifts and submitted their requests which were presented in these priceless caskets. Their subjects received them with the greatest respect.
10. Wrestling Courtyard
The wrestling courtyard as the name suggests was a place where wresting events were organised to be enjoyed by the royal family. The most famous wrestling event was the one organized during the Dussehra festival which has been celebrated in Mysore with great pomp and show. The wrestling courtyard is adorned with the lovely staircase and the stained-glass windows.
11. Historical Temples Inside the Mysore Palace
There are 18 temples inside the place built for 6 centuries and offer unmissable sites. Trinesvaraswamy temple is one temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and one of the most visited temples in Mysore palace so you can combine visit to this temple along with the palace visit.