Misore Palace or Mysore Maharaja Palace is one of the largest and most spectacular monuments in the country. Also known as Amba Vilas, it is located in the heart of the city of Mysore. The palace was initially built by the Wodeyar kings in the 14th century. Unfortunately, as it was made of out wood it got burnt down in 1897 during a royal wedding. The current palace construction was commissioned in 1897 and was completed by 1912. Designed by the famous British architect, Henry Irwin, it was built for the twenty-fourth Wodeyar Raja. It was the residence of the Wodeyar Maharaja’s of the Mysore State.
The current palace is built in Indo-Saracenic style and blends together Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic styles of architecture. The palace itself is a three-storey stone structure which has a series of square towers with arches covered with domes. There is also a large open space in front with an open courtyard in the center which is covered by a gold plated dome about 145 feet off the ground. A striking sculpture of Gajalakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity, good luck is located above the central arch with her elephants. The palace is surrounded by a large garden. The palace houses a collection of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world.
The palace also has several unique rooms. These include the public durbar, where the king would host major ceremonial gatherings. There’s also the Kalyana Mantapa, a spectacular octagonal shaped hall where all royal weddings, birthdays and ceremonial functions were celebrated. The Private Durbar, the Gombe Thotti and the portrait gallery are also worth a visit.
The palace is now converted into a museum that is home to souvenirs, paintings, jewellery, royal costumes and other items which were once possessed by the Wodeyars. However, the erstwhile Royal family continues to live in a portion of the Palace. It’s a rainbow of stained glass and mirrors. The lavishly decorated rooms are hidden behind elegantly decorated and intricately carved doors. Musical instruments, costumes, children’s toys and portraits are displayed on the ground floor while the upper floor has a small collection of weapons. It is said that the palace displays the largest collection of gold objects quantity wise.
The Mysore palace complex has a selection of 12 Hindu temples. They have been built over a vast expanse of time with the oldest being built in the 14th century. The latest one was built in 1953. Someshvara Temple, dedicated to God Lord Shiva and Lakshmiramana Temple, dedicated to God Lord Vishnu are some of the more famous temples.
The palace is illuminated with ninety seven thousand bulbs at night on Sundays and during the holiday season of Dasara. It is truly a sight to behold.