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Istana Nurul Iman Palace, Brunei Peterhof Palace, St Petersburg, Russia
Mysore Palace, Mysore, Karnataka, India - Priceless Palaces
647    Dibyendu Banerjee    24/02/2021

The gorgeous Mysore Palace, also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, located in the heart of the city of Mysore within the Old Fort facing the Chamunda Hills eastward, is the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty, ruling the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1950, with an interruption. The graceful building comprising of a 145 feet five storey tower, two durbar halls or royal courts, several colossal courtyards, and surrounded by strikingly beautiful gardens, was commissioned by his majesty Krishnarajendra Wadiyar IV, and was constructed in Indo-Saracenic style of architecture between 1897 and 1912.

mysore palace mysore karnataka india
The front view

Yaduraya Wodeyar, who founded the Wodeyar dynasty in 1399, was originally from the Yadava communityof Gujrat. He ruled Mysore under the Vijayanagara Empire until 1423 and built a palace within Mysore’s Old Fort in the 14th century, which was subsequently dismantled and built several times.

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Subsequently, Raja Wadiyar expanded the borders of the Mysore kingdom, and changed the capital city from Mysore to Srirangapatna in 1610. However, from 1760 to 1799, the role of the dynasty as the ruler was nominal since the real power was vested in the hands of Hyder Ali and then his son Tipu Sultan. After Tipu Sultan was killed by the British in 1799, the Wadiyars were restored to a reduced kingdom, and the British shifted the capital back to the city of Mysore from Srirangapatna. During that time, the spelling of the royal name was changed from Wodeyar to Wadiyar.

mysore palace mysore karnataka india

The present Mysore Palace was erected on the site of the last Wooden Palace, burnt to ashes in 1897 during a royal wedding. In the same year, the British architect Lord Henry Irwin was commissioned by the young monarch, His Highness Rajarshi Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, and his mother, Her Majesty Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhna, regent of Mysore, to construct a new palace on the site.

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During the construction, the royal family stayed in the Jaganmohan Palace, constructed in 1861, and now used as an art gallery and a function hall. Nevertheless, the construction of the new palace was completed in 1912, which was further expanded, including the addition of the present Public Durbar Hall, in around 1930.

mysore palace mysore karnataka india
A corridor

The Mysore Palace facing the Chamundi Hills evidences the devotion of the Maharajas of Mysore toward Goddess Chamundi. The three-storey palace measuring 245 feet long and 156 feet wide, and made of fine grey granite crowned with deep pink marble domes, reflects Mughal, Rajput, and Gothic revival styles. Apart from the East Gate that serves the purpose of the front gate and opened for the dignitaries and otherwise only during Dasara, the South Gate is meant for the general public, while the West Gate usually opens during the Dasara.The emblem, along with the coat of arms of the Mysore Kingdom, adorns the entrance gate and arch.

mysore palace mysore karnataka india
A portion of a decorated ceiling

Several ornamented expansive arches adorn the façade of the palace, with the central arch flanked by two smaller arches, supported by long pillars. The top of the central arch is dominated by a sculpture of Gajalakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, prosperity, fortune, with her elephants.

mysore palace mysore karnataka india
The Durbar Hall

The intricately designed and exquisitely chiseled doors of the palace lead to the elegantly ornate rooms, aptly suited for royal use. The beautifully columned Durbar Hall, the solid silver doors, the finely incised mahogany ceilings, and many other embellishments of the palace are the witnesses of the glorious history of the Wadiyar dynasty.

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The palace complex includes twelve Hindu temples built in different times from the beginning until 1953, which include, among others, the temples of Someshwara and Lakshmiramana.

mysore palace mysore karnataka india
The Private Durbar Hall

The interior of the Mysore Palace, complete with its colourfully decorated columns, painted and wooden ceilings, and chandeliers, is a grand feast for the eyes. While the octagonal Kalyan Mandapa or the traditional marriage pavilion has a colourful stained glass ceiling, its floor paved with peacock-designed tiles were imported from England. It leads to a room where valuable paintings, as well as the century-old photographs of the royal family, are displayed. There is also a huge room converted into an old-furniture room with its ceiling carved out of Burma-teak and containing the silver chairs used during special occasions. One can get a panoramic view of the open lawns and the temples in the complex from the colonnaded pompous Durbar Hall, ablaze with colourful decoration and the painted ceiling. The private Durbar Hall, once used to hold private audience meetings by the Maharajas, now displays the golden throne during the Dasara festival.

mysore palace mysore karnataka india
The Golden Thorne

Every year the Dasara festival is celebrated in the palace during autumn when the palace remains illuminated for ten days of the festival with 100,000 light bulbs from the evening till 10 at night. During the festival, the Ratna Simhasana or the bejeweled throne is displayed. After worshipping the deity on the auspicious day of Mahanavami, the royal sword is taken in a procession with camels and elephants. Finally, on the final day, the conventional Dasara procession initiates from the palace on Vijayadashami with the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari seated on a golden pavilion, called mandapa, made of around 750 kg of gold.

mysore palace mysore karnataka india
The illuminated palace

The Mysore Palace is regarded as one of the largest palaces in India and one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country. Interesting displays in the palace include the royal dresses, weapons used by the Wadiyars, musical instruments, and various souvenirs. It also has an array of superb paintings which includes a masterpiece of the famed artist Raja Ravi Verma.

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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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