Palace is one of the most magnificent buildings. It is a sight not to
be missed when it is illuminated on Sundays and festive occasions. The
interior of the Palace is equally worth a visit, for its spacious halls,
called Mantaps, paintings and architectural beauty. The palace is an
excellent combination of Indo-Saracenic architecture. The domes and
the outside construction are of Muslim architecture. But the interior
of the Palace is a fine example of Hindu architecture. Together, it
is an aesthetic blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Though the present
Palace is little over a century old, there is clear evidence to show
that there existed a royal structure even when the two Yadu dynasty
princes, Yaduraya and Krishnaraya, came to Mysore in 1399 A.D.
The Mysore chieftain had his residential building here. Mysore remained
the capital of the Yadu or Wodeyar dynasty till 1610 when Raja Wodeyar
shifted his headquarters from Mysore to Srirangapatna, after defeating
the Vijayanagar representative. Till this period, as the Mysore rulers
continued to rule their province from Mysore, there must have existed
a building appropriate to their stature and needs. We find a clear description
of the Mysore Palace as it existed during the period of Kanteerava Narasaraja
Wodeyar (1638) and Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar (1673-1704), the earliest
description of the Mysore available on record. This clearly indicates
that a royal structure existed in Mysore even prior to them.
Kanteerava Narasaraja Wodeyar is credited to have rebuilt the old structure
and the fort around it and strengthened it by placing around it eleven
powerful guns, each bearing a name. The Palace, probably, did not receive
due care after Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar, because of political instability
in their kingdom. Historical evidence goes to show that the Palace and
the buildings located around it within the fortwalls suffered further
when Tipu Sultan embarked upon a project to shift the town to Nazarbad,
a distance of about 1.5 kms from the present Palace. There was no building
worth the name in Mysore for the coronation of the five-year-old Krishnaraja
Wodeyar III, after Tipu died in the battle against the British in 1799.
The capital was shifted back to Mysore from Srirangapatna and the ancestral
Palace was rebuilt on the same site in the same form as it existed earlier.
The model and paintings of this Palace, built chiefly out of wood and
mud in Hindu style, can be seen even today. The Maharaja and his family
moved to the Palace in 1801. As fate would have it even this hastily
built wood and mud structure met with a catastrophe. During the wedding
of Jayalakshammanni, the eldest daughter of Chamaraja Wodeyar, in February
1897, a sudden fire destroyed the entire front wing of the wooden Palace.
Again the construction of a new palace, a bigger one than that existed,
but on the same model and on the same site, was taken up in that year
alone and was completed in 1912. During this period, the royal family
temporarily lived in the Jaganmohan Palace, which now houses an art
gallery. The new palace cost about Rs. 42 lakhs. However, the old portion
of the palace was retained and can be seen even now behind the front
portion of the new structure.
out of local material, it is a three-storied structure with a five-storey
tower, the tallest tower with the gilded dome raising to a level of
145 feet from the ground. Between the seven arches in the front, there
is the "Ane Bagilu" or the elephant gate. Above it in the first floor,
facing east, is the grand Durbar Hall, where the rulers were holding
court during Dasara and on special occasions. Inside the palace, there
are beautiful pavilions or halls - Kalyana Mantap (the wedding hall),
Amba Vilasa (the private durbar hall), Gombe Thotti (hall of dolls)
and rooms with armory and trophies - all built around an open courtyard.
Gombe Thotti and Kalyana Mantap contain life-like paintings and murals
of the Dasara procession of the period of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. It
is a reproduction of actual procession of the then ruler. Durbar Hall
and Amba Vilas are used for private functions of the erstwhile royal
family. Stained glasses, huge cast iron pillars, decorated dooms, murals
depicting the famous Dasara celebrations, paintings of Raja Ravi Varma,
beautiful doors and carved figures in panels, friezes and niches have
added to the grandeur of the palace. Behind the main palace, in the
old portion, scion of Mysoer royal family, Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja
Wadiyar has exhibited the royal family artifacts in a private residential
The colourful Dasara procession starts from the precincts of the Palace.
Location: Heart of the city, about one km from Bus Stand, about
3 kms from City Railway Station.
Visiting Hours: Daily 10 a.m. to 5-30 p.m. (Photography is prohibited
inside the Palace, Shoes have to be left outside at the entrance).
Entry Fee: Rs 15 per head.
Illumination: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays
and also during all the 10 days of Dasara celebrations. Entry free through
the gates to the open yard.
See The Private Residential Museum