Henry David Thoreau once remarked 'it is easy to create palaces but equally difficult to create noblemen and kings.' There have been places across the world which have created only the palaces but not kings, some have created kings but not palaces but some have created both and that too successfully!
It is certainly difficult to create something, but extremely difficult to maintain the same. The era of kings and noblemen have long gone by and have become parts of history. Their palaces are the historical legacy that they have left behind. However, history is fast being sacrificed in the name of development and palaces are now just becoming parts of google images or faint memories.
Inspite of all this brouhaha surrounding development, the city of Mysore in the state of Karnataka has not only created palaces, but equally worthy kings as well as maintained their legacy long after they are gone. It is the palaces that have become the identity of Mysore. An important landmark in the 'City of Palaces' is the Mysore Palace, also known as the Amba Vilas Palace.'
History of Mysore PalaceThe Mysore Palace, also known as the Amba Vilas Palace is the official residence of the Wodeyar family, who were the erstwhile rulers of the city of Mysore for over seven centuries, barring a small period during the late 18th century when Mysore was ruled by the great Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali.
The palace was first constructed by the Wodeyar kings in the 14th century. It was then demolished and reconstucted multiple times. The current palace structure commenced construction in the year 1897, when the regent of Mysore Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhna, asked British architect Henry Irwin to built a palace on the current structure. The construction was completed in the year 1912, while its beautification and the expantion process was completed around the year 1940.
The palace also houses two Durbar Halls, which were then used for public meetings which were built around the 1940s. The palace has played host to the grand Dusshera celebrations over 10 days every year in the month of September - October since the year 1799.
Structure of Mysore PalaceThe Mysore Palace has an architecture which is a combination of the Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic style. The palace is surrounded by a large garden. It is a three stone structure made up of fine gray granite and surrounded by domes made of deep pink marble. It is a five storied tower which is 145 feet high. The palace also has a huge central arch above which is the statue of the Goddess Gajalakshmi, the Goddess for wealth, prosperity and abundence, along with her elephants.
The palace also has 14 Hindu temples inside its complex. The oldest one was built in the 14th century while the most recent one was built in the year1953. Prominent among them are the Someshwara Temple, and the Shvetavarahaswamy Temple which is dedicated to the lord Varahaswamy who was one of the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Inside Mysore PalaceAudience Chamber: This was a special room where the king would confer with his ministers regarding matters of the state as well as meet with people deserving special attention.
Public Durbar: Even then meetings were arranged with prior appointments! It was this conference room where the king met with the common people referred to as the dewaan - e - aam, who came to the king to share their greviances. The king gave audience to only those with prior appointments and only at specific timings during the day.
The Royal Wedding Hall is another attraction within the palace where royal weddings were held. It is known as the Kalyana Mandapam. It is a large octagonal shaped pavillion. The entire structure was wrought in Scotland and it follows the peacock theme. The hall is an evidence of the grandeur of the royal family during those times.
Armoury: The armoury is another section that has been preserved for the people to catch a glimpse of the history of arms used during those times. The armoury includes 14th century weapons like lances and cutlasses along with the more recent ones like the pistol.
The most special attraction of the palace is the throne of the king which is made of pure gold and weighs close to 200 kg. The importance of the throne is evident from the fact that it has a room for its own.
Address and Timings of Mysore PalaceMysore Palace is very well located and can be approached quite easily.
Here's its address:
Sayyaji Rao Rd
Mysore, Karnataka 570001
Phone: 0821 242 1051
Mysore Palace is one of the most visited tourist attractions in India, second only to the Taj Mahal, attracting a huge stream of visitors every year. Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that over 2.7 million tourists visited the palace in the previous year. The palace has an entry fee which is its source of revenue. The charges are INR 40 for Indian Citizens and INR 200 for foreign tourists.You can pay a visit to the palace any day between 10 AM to 5.30 PM.
The palace presents itself with some wonderful illumination during the evenings which is an amazing spectacle. However, the illumination is only for a specific time. Between Monday and Saturday its between 7 to 7.30 PM and on sundays and public holidays, it is extended till 8 PM. It is mandatory to remove your footware outside the palace before you enter and photography within the palace is also strictly prohibited.
Hotels Near Mysore PalaceThere are good budget as well as luxury hotels near the Mysore Palace. Prominent among them are Hotel Aishwarya Residency (Rs. 3200), Hotel Roopa (Rs. 2000), and Hotel President (Rs. 9000).
So come and visit the palace and be a part of this glorious royal history!
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