When was it built: Originally in the 14th century, later reconstructed/renovated several times
Who built it: Yaduraya Wodeyar (original one) and Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (present one)
Where is it located: Mysore/Musuru, Karnataka, India
Why was it built: Royal Palace
Architectural Style: Indo-Saracenic
Visit Timing: Daily, 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
How to Reach: One can reach Mysore by KSRTC bus, train or cab from Bangalore (140 Km approx), which is well connected by train and air with major cities of India and by air with some international ones.
Mysore Palace also known as Amba Vilas Palace located at the heart of Mysore city is the most prominent tourist destination of Mysore that attracts millions of visitors round the year. This historical palace housed within the Old Fort facing the Chamunda Hills stands as the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty who ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1950. Displaying Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, this sprawling building is a replacement of the old wooden building destroyed by fire in late 19th century. Commissioned by the Krishnarajendra Wadiyar IV, this palatial building comprises of two durbar halls, a number of colossal courtyards, buildings and strikingly beautiful gardens that speak volumes of the splendour of the Wadiyars.
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The Wodeyars whose roots trace back to Dv?rak?, Gujarat’s Yadava community came to Karnataka and settled in Mysore getting enthralled by its natural beauty. Starting with Yaduraya Wodeyar who founded the Wodeyar dynasty in 1399, the Yadavas ruled the area for around six centuries. He was first to build a palace within Mysore’s Old Fort in the 14th century, but that was dismantled and built several times later. Immediately after the death of Tipu Sultan in May 1799, Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar III made Mysore his capital and eventually came under the control of the British. The spelling of the royal name of the dynasty was changed to Wadiyar from Wodeyar by his successors.
In 1897 the wooden palace was destroyed by fire while the wedding ceremony of His Highness Rajarshi Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV’s eldest sister, Princess Jayalakshmi Ammani was taking place. That year itself the young monarch and his mother, Her Majesty Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhna, regent of Mysore, delegated Lord Henry Irwin, a British architect, to construct a new palace. In 1912 the construction of the palace was completed at a cost of Rs. 4147913. It was expanded in 1940 under the rule of last Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore, Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar.
The palace is a three-storey stone structure made with fine granite, grey in colour, having deep pink marble stones atop and a five-story tower measuring 145 ft. The size of the palace measures 245 ft. by 156 ft. Designs of the domes illustrate Indo-Saracenic architecture which was applied by the British architects in British India during the late 19th century. It incorporates elements from Indian, Indo-Islamic, Neo-Classical and Gothic revival styles. Three gates of the compound lead to the palace - the front gate (more specifically the East Gate) opens for the VVIPs and otherwise during the Dasara; the South Gate is designated for general public; and the West Gate normally remains open in Dasara. Apart from these the cellar of the palace has many secret tunnels that lead to several confidential areas and other places like the town of Srirangapatna. Several fancy arches adorn the façade of the building with two smaller arches on either side of the central one that is supported with long pillars. A sculpture of the goddess of good luck, prosperity and wealth, Gajalakshmi, with her elephants is seated atop the central arch. The palace facing Chamundi Hills is a manifestation of the devotion of the Maharajas of Mysore towards Goddess Chamundi. The emblem and coat of arms of the Mysore Kingdom adorns the entrance gate and arch. A large, beautiful and well-maintained garden surrounding the palace makes the site even more spectacular.
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Attractions & Events
The Mysore Palace, the seat of the famous Wodeyar Maharaja's of the Mysore Kingdom today stands as one of the precious possessions of the nation which is presently converted into a museum. The strikingly embellished and finely chiselled doors lead one to richly and elegantly ornate rooms. The exquisitely columned Durbar Hall, the solid silver doors, the finely incised mahogany ceilings and many other embellishments of the palace make one spellbound while giving an idea of the exuberant lifestyle of the royals. Displays in the palace include royal dresses, souvenirs, musical instruments and weapons used by the Wodeyars. An array of superb paintings including the ones illustrating 8 manifestations of Goddess Shakthi as also a masterpiece by famed artist Raja Ravi Verma finds place in the palace.
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The renowned Mysore Dasara festival is celebrated in the palace every year during autumn. The palace remains illuminated during 10 days of the festival with around 100,000 light bulbs from 7 pm to 10 pm. During the festival the Chinnada Simhasana or Ratna Simahasana that is the royal throne decorated with fascinating designs on its gold plates is displayed. Different religious and cultural programs are performed in the palace during this time. On the auspicious day of Mahanavami that is the 9th day, after worshipping the ‘Pattada Katti’ or the royal sword it is taken on a procession with camels and elephants. The conventional Dasara procession initiates from the palace on the 10th day or Vijayadashami with great pomp and zeal, the central attraction of which is the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari seated on a golden mantapa made of around 750 kg of gold.
There are 12 Hindu temples in the palace built in various times from 14th century till 1953. These include Someshvara Temple and Lakshmiramana among others.
Sound & Light Show
Sound and light show is conducted on all days excepting Sundays and public holidays from 7:00 pm to 7:40 pm. Entry charge for the show is Rs. 40 for adults, Rs. 25 for children between 7 to 12 years of age and Rs. 200 for foreign nationals. The palace remains illuminated from 7.00 pm to 7.45 pm on Sundays, state festivals and national holidays and on other days from 7.40 pm to 7.45 pm following the sound and light show.
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A Visit to the Palace
One can visit the magnificent Mysore Palace on any day from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm. Entry charge to the palace is Rs. 40 for adults, Rs. 20 for students between 10 to 18 years of age and Rs. 200 for foreign nationals. Battery-operated vehicles have been introduced by the management to facilitate tourists to have a tour of the palace that is marked as one of the largest Indian palaces and counted among the most famous tourist destinations of India after Taj Mahal.