It is the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty, the royal family of Mysore, and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in India.
The palace is also for its stunning architecture, which blends elements of Indo-Saracenic, Hindu, Muslim, and Gothic styles.
It was designed by British architect Henry Irwin and was completed in 1912, replacing the old wooden palace that was destroyed by fire.
Key features of Mysore Palace include
The architecture of Mysore Palace
The palace is a three-story stone structure with a series of beautiful arches, domes, and pillars.
The palace also facade is adorned with intricate details, decorative artworks, and colorful frescoes depicting mythological scenes.
The overall design reflects a harmonious fusion of various architectural influences.
Durbar Hall of Mysore Palace
The Durbar Hall, also the Public Hall, is one of the main attractions within the palace.
It is a grand hall with a high ceiling, massive chandeliers, and a marble throne for the royal family.
The use of the hall is for ceremonial gatherings and important events during the reign of the Maharajas.
Kalyana Mantapa of Mysore Palace
This is the wedding hall within the palace, with its elegant stained glass ceiling that allows natural light to illuminate the space.
The Kalyana Mantapa is for royal weddings and special functions.
Artwork and Interiors of Mysore Palace
The interiors of the Palace are with exquisite artwork, including intricately carved doors, painted ceilings, ornate mirrors, and colorful murals depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.
The palace houses a vast collection of royal artifacts, including weapons, costumes, jewelry, and photographs.
Illumination of Mysore Palace
So, the Palace is a visual spectacle during special occasions, festivals, and Sundays when it is illuminated with thousands of light bulbs.
The palace is in a mesmerizing array of lights, enhancing its architectural beauty and creating a magical ambiance.
Visitors to the Palace can also explore the various sections of the palace, including the royal residential quarters, museum, and the private chambers of the royal family.
The palace is open to the public, except during specific royal ceremonies.
It’s worth noting that photography is not allowed inside the palace, but visitors can capture the grandeur of the palace exterior and its illuminated facade.
Mysore Palace continues to be a symbol of Mysore’s rich cultural heritage and serves as a testament to the city’s royal past.
History of Mysore Palace
The history of Mysore dates back several centuries. Here’s an overview of its historical significance and key milestones:
The original Mysore Palace was built in the 14th century by the Wadiyar dynasty, who ruled the Kingdom of Mysore.
It was a wooden structure known as the Mahishuru Palace, named after the demon Mahishasura, who was defeated by the goddess Chamundeshwari atop Chamundi Hills.
Expansion and Reconstruction
Over the years, the palace underwent several expansions and renovations. In the 16th century, a significant renovation took place during the rule of Raja Wadiyar I, converting the palace into a stone structure. However, the palace was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt due to wars, conflicts, and natural disasters.
Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan
In the late 18th century, the Kingdom of Mysore came under the rule of Hyder Ali, followed by his son Tipu Sultan. During their reign, the palace was further expanded and renovated. They contributed to the development of the palace by adding Indo-Islamic architectural elements and intricate artwork.
After the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799, the British East India Company restored the Wadiyar dynasty to power. During this time, the palace faced neglect and deterioration. In 1831, a fire caused extensive damage to the palace, resulting in its demolition and subsequent construction of a new palace.
Construction of the Current Palace
The construction of the present-day Mysore Palace, also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, began in 1897 under the patronage of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV. The palace was designed by British architect Henry Irwin in the Indo-Saracenic style, incorporating elements of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic architecture.
Completion and Inauguration of Mysore Palace
The construction of the palace took 15 years and was completed in 1912. The palace was officially inaugurated by the British Viceroy of India, Lord Hardinge. Since then, it has served as the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty.
Moder3n Era of Mysore Palace
After India gained independence from British rule in 1947, the royal family’s role transitioned to a constitutional and ceremonial one. The palace is now managed by the Government of Karnataka and serves as a popular tourist attraction, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Mysore.
Throughout its history, Mysore Palace has witnessed various cultural and political events. It has been a symbol of the grandeur and opulence of the Mysore Kingdom, attracting visitors from all over the world. The palace’s architecture, artistry, and historical significance make it an integral part of Mysore’s identity and heritage.
The architecture of Mysore Palace
The architecture of Mysore Palace is a captivating blend of multiple styles, reflecting the artistic influences of different periods and cultures. Here are the key architectural features and styles found in Mysore Palace:
The predominant architectural style of Mysore Palace is Indo-Saracenic, which emerged during the British colonial period in India. This style combines elements of Indian, Islamic, and European architectural traditions. The palace’s facade showcases intricate arches, domes, and minarets that are reminiscent of Mughal and Islamic architecture.
Hindu and Rajput Influences
Mysore Palace incorporates elements of traditional Hindu and Rajput architectural styles. The palace’s multi-tiered towers, known as “vimanas,” resemble the architectural features of South Indian temples. These towers are adorned with intricate carvings of deities, mythological figures, and motifs.
Gothic Revival Details
The palace also features Gothic Revival elements, which were popular during the Victorian era. The arched windows, lancet arches, pointed gables, and intricate latticework reflect the Gothic architectural style. These details can be seen in the palace’s archways, balconies, and spires.
The palace exhibits influences from various Oriental styles, including elements of Islamic, Persian, and Chinese architecture. The ornate arches, geometric patterns, and decorative artwork display these influences. The Chinese influence can be observed in the palace’s porcelain tiles and the vibrant dragon motif depicted in the Kalyana Mantapa (wedding hall).
Mysore Palace also incorporates elements of the local architectural style prevalent in the region. This includes the use of carved wooden pillars, ornamental brackets, and colorful murals depicting scenes from Indian mythology. The palace’s interiors feature intricately painted ceilings, stained glass windows, and embellished doorways.
Marble and Granite
Mysore Palace is primarily constructed using fine grayish-green chloritic schist, commonly known as “Mysore stone,” which is locally sourced. Marble and granite are also used for various decorative elements, including the grand staircase, floors, and pillars.
The architecture of Mysore Palace is a testament to the artistic vision and craftsmanship of the architects, artisans, and craftsmen involved in its construction. The fusion of different architectural styles creates a unique and visually striking palace that stands as a magnificent symbol of Mysore’s rich cultural heritage.
Mysore Palace Light and Sound Show
Mysore Palace hosts a grand Light and Sound Show that adds to the enchantment and allure of the palace. The show is a captivating display of lights, music, narration, and visual effects that bring the palace’s history and heritage to life. Here are some details about the Mysore Palace Light and Sound Show:
Timing and Duration
The Light and Sound Show at Mysore Palace takes place in the evenings after sunset. The timings may vary, so it is advisable to check the current schedule. The show typically lasts for around 30 minutes.
The show begins with the illumination of the entire palace facade using thousands of colorful lights. The palace is bathed in a stunning array of lights, enhancing its architectural beauty and creating a magical ambiance.
A prerecorded narration in the local language or English accompanies the light show. The narration recounts the history, legends, and stories associated with Mysore Palace and the Wadiyar dynasty. It provides insights into the cultural significance and architectural features of the palace.
Music and Sound Effects
The Light and Sound Show incorporates a specially curated musical soundtrack that complements the narration and visuals. The music varies, ranging from traditional classical tunes to contemporary compositions. Sound effects are also synchronized with the visuals to enhance the overall experience.
The show incorporates various visual effects to create a captivating and immersive experience. These effects may include projections, laser lights, animations, and synchronized lighting patterns that highlight different parts of the palace and accentuate its architectural details.
Storytelling and Historical Significance
The Light and Sound Show aims to transport the audience back in time, allowing them to relive the grandeur and historical events associated with Mysore Palace. The narration and visuals narrate tales of the royal heritage, showcasing the lives of the erstwhile kings and queens of Mysore.
Attending the Light and Sound Show at Mysore Palace offers a unique opportunity to witness the palace’s splendor and learn about its rich history in a visually captivating manner. It is a popular attraction among tourists visiting Mysore and adds an extra layer of enchantment to the already magnificent palace.
Mysore Palace Dussehra Celebrations
Mysore Palace is renowned for its grand Dussehra celebrations, which are among the most significant and vibrant cultural events in Karnataka. Dussehra, also known as Dasara, is a Hindu festival that commemorates the victory of good over evil. Here’s an overview of the Dussehra celebrations at Mysore Palace:
Procession and Torchlight Parade
The highlight of the Dussehra festivities in Mysore is the grand procession known as the Jumboo Savari. It takes place on the final day of the festival, usually in October. The procession begins at the Mysore Palace and concludes at the Bannimantap Grounds, covering a distance of about 5 kilometers. The royal idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari, housed in a golden howdah (elephant-mounted carriage), is the centerpiece of the procession.
The Dussehra celebrations at Mysore Palace feature a multitude of cultural performances and events.
Folk artists, dancers, musicians, and various troupes from different parts of Karnataka participate in these festivities.
Traditional dances, music, and performances showcasing the state’s rich cultural heritage are during the festival.
A mesmerizing torchlight parade is at the Mysore Palace during the Dussehra celebrations.
This spectacle involves the participation of various military, police, and cultural organizations.
Men and women carrying lit torches form a procession, creating a stunning visual display.
Illumination of Mysore Palace
Throughout the Dussehra festival, Mysore Palace is illuminated with thousands of lights, making it a breathtaking sight.
The palace is adorned with intricate lighting patterns and designs, creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere.
The illumination of the palace is also a key attraction during the celebrations and attracts a large number of visitors.
Exhibition and Fair
A special exhibition and fair the Dasara Exhibition, is near the Mysore Palace premises during the Dussehra celebrations.
It features stalls showcasing handicrafts, artifacts, food, and various forms of entertainment.
The exhibition is a popular spot for locals and tourists to explore and enjoy during the festival.
The Dussehra celebrations at Mysore Palace are in tradition and reflect the region’s rich cultural heritage.
It is a time of joy, color, and festivity, attracting thousands of visitors from across the country and beyond.
The grandeur and significance of these celebrations make Mysore Palace an iconic destination for experiencing the essence of Dussehra in South India.
Best Time To Visit Mysore Palace
The best time to visit Mysore Palace is during the months of October to February, which corresponds to the winter season in the region.
Here are a few reasons why this period is ideal for visiting:
The winter months in Mysore offer comfortable and mild weather conditions, with temperatures ranging from around 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F).
The weather is relatively cooler than the hot summers and humid monsoon season, making it more enjoyable to explore the palace and its surroundings.
As mentioned earlier, Mysore Palace hosts the grand Dussehra celebrations, which usually take place in October.
Visiting during this time allows you to witness the vibrant festivities, the Jumboo Savari procession, and the beautifully illuminated palace.
It’s a unique and memorable experience to be part of the Dussehra celebrations at Mysore Palace.
The palace is illuminated every Sunday evening and during special occasions throughout the year.
However, the illumination during the winter months is particularly enchanting due to the pleasant weather and longer evenings.
The beautifully lit palace creates a magical ambiance, making it an excellent time to visit and capture stunning photographs.
The winter season generally sees fewer tourists compared to the peak summer and holiday seasons.
Visiting the Palace during this time allows you to explore the palace with relatively fewer crowds, making it a more peaceful and immersive experience.
To avoid large crowds, it’s advisable to visit the palace during weekdays and arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Overall, the period between October and February offers favorable weather conditions, the opportunity to witness cultural festivities, and a chance to enjoy the palace with fewer tourists.
However, if you specifically want to experience the Dussehra celebrations, plan your visit around the festival dates in October.
How To Reach Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace is in the city of Mysore, Karnataka, India.
Here are the various modes of transportation you can use to reach Mysore Palace:
The nearest airport to Mysore is the Mysore Airport or Mandakalli Airport.
However, this airport has limited connectivity and primarily operates domestic flights.
The nearest major international airport is the Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore, which is about 170 kilometers (105 miles) away from Mysore.
From either airport, you can hire a taxi or take a pre-booked private car to reach Mysore Palace.
Mysore has a well-connected railway station called Mysore Junction.
Several trains from major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, and Delhi have regular services to Mysore.
Once you arrive at Mysore Junction, you can hire an auto-rickshaw, or taxi, or use public transportation to reach Mysore Palace.
The palace is around 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from the railway station.
Mysore’s connection by a network of national and state highways, making it easily accessible by road.
You can drive Palace from nearby cities like Bangalore (about 150 kilometers or 93 miles) or Mangalore (about 250 kilometers or 155 miles).
Several state-run and private buses operate between Mysore and various cities in Karnataka and neighboring states.
Mysore has a well-developed bus station with regular bus services to and from major cities.
Once you reach Mysore, you can use local transportation options to reach Palace.
Auto-rickshaws, taxis, and app-based cab services are readily available for hire.
Additionally, local buses by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and private operators also connect different parts of Mysore, including the palace area.
Mysore Palace is centrally in Mysore city, making it easily accessible from various parts of the city by different modes of transportation.
It’s advisable to check the local traffic conditions and plan your visit accordingly, especially during peak tourist seasons and festivals.