Mysore Palace – Breath-taking Architecture in Indo-Saracenic Style

Mysore Palace in Mysore is an incredible man-made edifice that is counted among India’s most visited attractions. Also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, the regal and majestic construction speaks for its architectural excellence. Records say that the palace is the second most visited tourist spot of India after the Taj Mahal in Agra. It is a lavish structure narrating the captivating history of India

Mysore Palace – A Quick Glance

Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace
Famous for: Architecture, heritage monument, history buffs

Built in: 14th century

Built by: Yaduraya Wodeyar (original one) and Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (present one)

Built as: Royal Palace

Architectural Style: Indo-Saracenic

Timing: 10:00am-5:30pm

Visiting hours: 2-3 hours

Entry fee: INR 70

Major attractions: Light and Sound Show, Dussehra celebrations

Best time to visit: During Dussehra (September-October)

Footfall per year: 2.7 million

Mysore Palace – An Overview

One of the most prized possessions of the Mysore city is the imperial Mysore Palace in Mysore. The magnificent monument is a lavish structure narrating the captivating history of India along with several other tales of bravery and courage. The palace used to serve as the residence of the royal family of the Wodeyar rulers who reigned on the city for more than seven centuries.

The Mysore Palace was built between the periods of 1897-1912 under the supervision of Henry Irwin, the famous English architect. He is the one who designed the three-storey monument in the majestic Indo-Saracenic style combining the beautiful structures of Hindu, Rajput, Muslim and Gothic signature styles. The monument is built with an extensive use of fine grey granite and features beautiful and domes built in vibrant pink marbles.

The Palace used to be the official residence of the Wodeyars, the royal family of Mysore who ruled the city from 1350 to 1950. Earlier, the Mysore Palace was a wooden construction built in 1897, and was later reconstructed in 1912 as the one that we find it today. The reason for the reconstruction was because the original palace was under fire during one of the family weddings. Currently, the monument is controlled, managed and maintained by Karnataka State Government.

The Mysore Palace proudly stands as one of the largest and the most magnificent palaces and forts of India.

Architecture of Mysore Palace

A quick glance at the Mysore Palace reveals the fact that the typical Indo-Saracenic Revival style of architecture has been followed as the signature style of the monument. One can find a fine fusion of Hindu, Muslim, Gothic and Rajput touch of architecture styles beautifully blended to come up as a unique form of engineering and designing.

Night View of Mysore Palace
Night View of Mysore Palace

The entrance is adorned with a giant arch ornamented with emblem and coat of arms of the city. Sanskrit verses can also be spotted as a part of designing on the main entrance arch. There are three more entrances at the west, east and south. While the west entrance opens usually during Dussehra, the east gate is exclusively for the VIPs and the South one is for public entry.

The edifice has three storeys and the entire construction is built of granite in fine grey balancing the looks of the dome constructed in pink marbles. There are ornate pillars to go beautifully with the arches in the façade where the central arch demonstrates the idol of Gajalakshmi (Hindu Goddess of wealth) flaunted on her elephant. The face of the goddess is towards the Chamundi Hills to denote that omnipresence of the devi.

There is a private hall named “Ambavilasa” which is a luxurious hall with some exquisite rosewood crafted doorways and other constructions. The hall was the place where the king used to attend private meetings with his ministers. There is the Darbal Hall (Diwan-I-Aam) – a 155 feet high public hall which was used for public hearings and meetings.

Major Attractions at Mysore Palace

The major attractions of the Mysore Palace include an outstanding light and sound show that takes place every evening (Sundays and public holidays excluded). The show is conducted in two languages – Kannada and English. While the Kannada show takes place from Monday to Wednesday from 7pm to 8pm and on Saturdays from 8:15pm to 9:15pm, the more crowded English show is conducted from Thursday to Saturday from 7pm to 8pm. The ticket fare ranges from INR 70 (Kannada) to INR 90 (English).

Another major attraction is the royal throne made of gold cover with spectacular artwork on it body. The throne is kept inside the Diwan-I-Aam and is displayed for public view only during Dussehra celebrations. It is an artwork worth treating your eyes with and one of the biggest crowd pullers during Dussehra.

There is another must-visit place inside the Mysore Palace – the wedding halls or the Kalyan Mandapa is a unique octagonal shaped hall that’s located at the south end of the monument. The glass ceilings with elaborate kaleidoscopic craftsmanship and the shiny glazy flooring make it all the more interesting a place.

Celebrations at Mysore Palace

When it comes to celebrations at Mysore Palace, nothing beats the grandeur and festivity of Dussehra. Vijaya Dashami is the main festival that is celebrated in the month of September or October during autumn. Celebrated for around 10 days, the major crowd-pullers are the Dussehra fair and the parade march by herds of elephants. The Dussehra fair is considered as the biggest one in South Asia held during the festival.

The Palace is decked up with lights that enhance the imperialism of the monument several folds. There are more than 96000 lights that are used to illuminate the palace and the preparations are taken much in advance for more than two months.

The procession is all about elephants, camels and horses along with hundreds of dance groups and musicians coming down from all over the country. The idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari is carried on the back of a beautifully ornamented elephant and put of public display in a grand procession. The idol is worshipped by the royal couple and other respected invitees before carrying it in the parade. The entire cultural program is arranged by the State Government of Karnataka.

Mysore Palace is undoubtedly one of the most visited places in India – thanks to its outstanding royal appearance and imperial history that it narrates. Don’t miss to visit the Palace during the Dussehra festival to see it come alive and illuminated. Wait till late in the night when all of a sudden all the lights are put off together!

See More in Mysore:

Brindavan Gardens

Chamundeshwari Temple – At the Top of the Chamundi Hills

Krishna Raja Sagara Dam