Mysore Palace

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Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace south gate view.jpg
Mysore Palace
Built 1912
Architect Henry Irwin
Architectural style(s) Indo-Saracenic
Mysore Palace front view
Mysore Palace main approach
Architectural detail of Mysore Palace

The Palace of Mysore (also known as the Amba Vilas Palace) is a historical palace situated in the city of Mysore in Karnataka, southern India. It is the official residence of the Wodeyars, the former royal family of Mysore, which ruled the princely state of Mysore from 1399 to 1947. The palace also houses two durbar halls (ceremonial meeting hall of the royal court).

Mysore is commonly described as the City of Palaces, however the term "Mysore Palace" refers specifically to the one within the old fort. Mysore Palace is now one of the most famous tourist attractions in India, after the Taj Mahal, with more than 2.7 million visitors annually.[1]

History[edit]

The Wodeyar Kings first built a palace in Mysore in the 14th century, which was demolished and constructed multiple times. The regent of Mysore, Her Royal Majesty Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhna, and her son, the Maharaja of Mysore His Highness Rajarshi Sri Sir Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, commissioned the British architect Lord Henry Irwin to build a new palace to replace the old one which burned down.[2] Meanwhile, the royal family stayed in the nearby Jaganmohan Palace. Construction of the current palace was commissioned in 1897, completed in 1912,[3] and expanded around 1940 (including the addition of the present Public Durbar Hall wing) under His Highness Maharaja Sri Sir Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, the last Maharaja of Mysore Kingdom. The construction was completed in 1912, but the fort continued to be beautified and its inhabitants were slowly moved to the newer extension built outside the palace.

Architecture[edit]

The architectural style of the palace is commonly described as Indo-Saracenic, and blends Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture. It is a three-stone structure with marble domes and a 145 ft five-story tower. The palace is surrounded by a large garden.

The three-story stone building of fine gray granite with deep pink marble domes has a facade with several expansive arches and two smaller ones flanking the central arch, which is supported by tall pillars. Above the central arch is a sculpture of Gajalakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity, good luck and abundance with her elephants.

Entry[edit]

Although tourists are allowed to visit the palace, they are not allowed to take photographs inside, and must remove their footwear before entering the palace. Price of admission is 200 INR for foreign tourists and 40 INR for Indians.[4]

Special events[edit]

Mysore palace in the evening
A concert held inside the palace.

Every autumn, the Palace is the venue for the famous Mysore Dasara festival, during which leading artists perform on a stage set up in the palace grounds. On the tenth day of the festival Vijaya Dashami, a parade with caparisoned elephants and floats originate from the palace grounds.

Dasara is the most extravagant festival of Mysore. The Dasara festival is celebrated in September and October of each year. The festival celebrates and commemorates the victory of the great Goddess Durga, also called Chamundeshwari, after she slew the demon Mahishasura, thereby symbolizing the triumph of good over evil according to Hindu mythology.

This festival has been celebrated by the Wodeyars at Srirangapatna since 1610, and in Mysore with great pomp since 1799. The tradition is still carried on, although the scale of the celebrations has diminished. The Dasara festivities have become an integral part of the culture and life in Mysore. To celebrate this festival, the Palace of Mysore is illuminated with more than 96,000 lights during the two-month period.

Unique rooms[edit]

  • Ambavilasa

This spectacular room was used by the king as a hall for private audiences. Entry to this opulent hall is through an elegantly carved rosewood doorway inlaid with ivory that opens into a shrine dedicated to Ganesha. The central nave of the hall has ornately gilded columns, stained glass ceilings, decorative steel grills, and chandeliers with fine floral motifs, mirrored in the pietra dura mosaic floor embellished with semi-precious stones.

  • Gombe Thotti (Doll’s Pavilion)

Entry to the palace is through the Gombe Thotti, or Doll’s Pavilion, a gallery of traditional dolls from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The pavilion also houses a fine collection of Indian and European sculpture and ceremonial objects, including a wooden elephant howdah (frame to carry passengers) decorated with 84 kilograms of gold.

  • Kalyana Mantapa

The Kalyana Mantapa, or marriage hall, is a grand, octagonal-shaped pavilion with a multi-hued stained glass ceiling with peacock motifs arranged in geometrical patterns. The entire structure was wrought in Glasgow, Scotland. The floor also displays a peacock mosaic, designed with tiles from England. Oil paintings illustrating the royal procession and Dasara celebrations of bygone years are displayed on the walls.

Temples[edit]

Shveta Varaha Swami temple in the palace complex

The palace complex includes twelve Hindu temples. The oldest was built in the 14th century, while the most recent was built in 1953.

Some of the famous temples are:

Attractions[edit]

The Palace houses several rooms of importance. These include:

  • An audience chamber which was the hall for private audiences, where the king would confer with his ministers. It was also the chamber in which he gave audience to people deserving special attention
  • The Diwan-e-aam, a public durbar where the general population could meet the king at scheduled times to submit petitions
  • The royal wedding hall
  • An armory which contains arms used by the members of the royal family. It contains lances, cutlasses, and other 14th century weapons as well as those used in the early twentieth century, such as pistols.
Panoramic view of Mysore Palace.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Southern star, Mysore palace". indiatoday.in. July 30, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Maharaja's Palace". Mysore District. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  3. ^ "Mysore palace will complete 100 years next year". Deccan Herald. 
  4. ^ "Mysore Palace". Official Website of Mysore Palace Board, Karnataka, India. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 12°18′14″N 76°39′16″E / 12.30389°N 76.65444°E / 12.30389; 76.65444