One of the most beautiful palaces in the state of Karnataka is the Mysore Palace. It is also known as the Amba Vilas Palace and is the official residence of the Wodeyar family. The palace finds its place at the center of Mysore city and faces the Chamundi Hills in the eastern direction.
Mysore is very popularly known as the city of palaces, as there are about seven palaces inclusive of the Amba Vilas Palace. The palace was built by His Highness Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and attracts a large number of visitors from across the globe.
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The palace is the end point of the much-famed Mysore Dasara and the Jumbu Savari, where the Goddess Chamundi comes on her yearly visit to the palace.
Best Time To Visit The Palace
The palace can be visited throughout the year; however, it remains out of bounds to the public during certain days of the Dasara festivities and on special occasions in the royal family, as the palace is still the official residence of the Wodeyar Dynasty.
More About The Palace
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The palace is built within the premises of the Old fort and follows the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. The first palace was built in the 14th century, which was demolished and reconstructed multiple times. In the year 1897, the then wooden palace was gutted by fire during the wedding ceremony of one of the royal members.
After this incident, the regent of Mysore, Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhna, who was the mother of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, commissioned a British architect Lord Henry Irwin to build a new palace in replacement of the old one, which we get to see today.
The structure was commissioned in 1897 and was completed in the year 1912 and underwent an expansion in the year 1940 by His Highness Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, who also happened to be the last ruling King of the Wodeyar Dynasty.
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The Architecture Of The Palace
The architectural style of the palace is highly inspired by the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, but also has elements of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic Styles. The palace is a three-storeyed structure built of stone with domes carved out of marble, and is accompanied by a 145-feet tall tower.
The palace has a large garden and has 12 temples built within the compound. The oldest temple in the group was built in the 14th century and the youngest amongst the group was built in the year 1953. The temples here are dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Bhuvaneshwari, and Gayatri Devi.
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The palace has three entrances; the first one is the East Gate which is opened only during the Dasara time and for VVIPs, the South entrance which is open to the general public and the West entrance which is again opened during the Dasara festivities. Along with these entrances, there are several secret tunnels in the cellar of the palace, which lead all the way up to Srirangapatna, other palaces in the vicinity and a few undisclosed locations.
The structure is built of fine gray granite and pink marble domes and has several arches which are also supported by numerous pillars. Above the central arch is a sculpture of Gajalakshmi, who blesses the palace with all its richness and prosperity.
The Unique Rooms
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The palace has many rooms which hold a very significant place and some of them remain out of bounds to the public and some are open. One amongst them is the Amba Vilasa, this room was used by the Kings as a hall for private audiences. To enter the room, one would have to cross a doorway carved out of rosewood that is inlaid with ivory. The room has some fine-stained glass ceilings, chandeliers, and mosaic floorings of semi-precious stones.
The Gombe Thotti or the Doll's pavilion is a gallery of traditional dolls that belong to the 19th and early 20th centuries. The pavilion has some fine collection of sculptures from India and Europe and also many ceremonial objects that include the much-famed Golden howdah.
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The Kalyana Mantapa, or the wedding hall, is a grand octagonal-shaped room with multi-coloured stained glasses arranged in geometrical patterns. The entire structure was made in Glasgow and was later installed here. The flooring of the room has tiles designed from England and also has oil paintings which illustrate the royal procession and the Dasara celebrations from the bygone years.
Things You Need To Know
Photography is strictly prohibited inside the palace. The palace is open to visitors from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM every day and is lit up on Sundays and public holidays from 7:00 PM to 7:40 PM.
One needs to remove footwear before entering the palace buildings and beware of corrupt officials and palace guards who would befriend you by offering you to take into one of the secret rooms. We suggest you report such instances immediately to the higher authorities.