Some events in your life have such an impact that no matter how many years pass by, it will still be etched in your memory. One such event in our lives was the day we visited the Royal Palace of Mysore, when we were little kids. This trip was one of our first travel experience and probably the encouraging factor to travel and visit places. Clearly remember the day we visited the Palace, the magnificence of the palace just left us spellbound and the opportunity to have a look into the life of the royals was equivalent to a room full of free candies for us.
Over the years we often contemplated visiting Mysore, but we never got through with the plan. However recently when we made a short trip to the city to attend a friend’s wedding, it was too good of an opportunity to miss and we made sure we visited the beautiful abode of the Wodeyars (Maharajas of Mysore).
The Mysore Palace has been in the forefront of the cultural and historic scene of Karnataka for many decades and interestingly has been the second most visited place in India after Taj Mahal. One visit to this place will give you a fair idea of its beauty and significance. The Mysore Palace was built inside the premises of the old fort after the old palace of the royals was destroyed in fire. Commissioned by Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhna to British Architect Lord Henry Irwin in the year 1857, the palace was completed in 1912. Maharani ensured that no stones are left unturned in designing and construction of the palace Thus resulting in a grand three-storied structure, which completely mesmerizes you at the very first glimpse of it. Built in Indo-Saracenic style, the palace architecture is a final product of inspirations from Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic elements
To avoid crowd, we visited the palace in the early hours of morning and decided to take up audio-guided tour so that we could walk around the palace in a much more relaxed pace making time to study every little artistic detail. The tour starts with Doll Pavilion where you can see traditional dolls, intricately carved antiques made of silver, ivory and marble. As we walked through the massive palace doors, we were then greeted with the extensive display of colorful wall paintings that unfolds the age-old stories and significance of various royal events during the reign of the Wodeyars. Do not miss the beautifully designed Marriage Pavillion (Kalyana Mantapa) located at the centre of the gallery, an octagonal space that has stunning peacock themed stained glass work on the dome and equally stunning art on the pillars and floor.
The tours moves on to a number of rooms that houses priceless paintings, furniture and souvenirs collected from all around the world. Walking past these rooms one cannot help but notice the eye-catching carvings on the doors that midst all these valuable items from various places, showcases the unique mastery of the local artisans. One of the spectacular rooms of the palace is the private Durbar Hall, where you will find the Maharaja’s gold plated throne during the occasion of Dussehra festival (Although we missed it this time, we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it on our first visit). The room is an enchanting blend of ornate pillars and stained glass windows that displays a myriad play of colours when light passes through them. Another room that is just as captivating is the Public Durbar Hall, which is large gallery like room with the view of the gorgeous garden on one side and mythological paintings on the walls of the opposite side.
Once we were done with our tour, we walked around to the other side of the palace that still consists of parts the old Royal Living quarters. This house again showcases some more precious articles like carriages, costumes, swords and jewelleries belonging to the Royal family. This house will provide you a different outlook on the living space of the royals before it was affected by fire.
Pic courtesy:Mysore Palace Board
Photography inside both these palaces are prohibited, hence we could only capture pictures from the outside. Although the best time to visit the palace is during the day, if you happen to be in Mysore on a Sunday do make time to visit in the evening between 7 pm to 7.30 pm to watch the palace illuminated to its fullest glory.