for the Maharaja of Mysore by a British architect, Mysore Palace was built
in 1897. The decorations inside are outrageously extravagant, proving how
rich the Maharaja was at this time. The palace is spectacularly illuminated
on Sunday nights, and during the festive season of Dussehra. The Mysore
Palace, once the residence of the Wodeyars, is one of the largest palaces of
its kind in India, and one of the most splendid.
Architecture of Mysore Palace
Designed in the Indo-Saracenic style by Henry Irwin, the British consultant
architect of Madras state, it was built in 1912 for the twenty fourth
Wodeyar Raja on the site of the old wooden palace that had been destroyed by
fire in the year 1897. Twelve temples surround the palace, some of which are
from earlier periods.
The entry to the palace is through the 'Gombe Thotti' or the Doll's
Pavilion, a gallery of Indian and European sculpture and ceremonial objects.
Halfway along is the elephant gate, which is the main entrance to the center
of the palace. The gate is decorated with floral designs, and bears the
Mysore royal symbol of a double headed eagle. Inside there is an enclosed
courtyard. To the north of the gate are dolls, dating from the earlier
nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a ceremonial wooden elephant howdah
(carriage kept on top of the elephants to carry royalty) decorated with 84
kilogram of 24 carat gold and other souvenirs.
The palace has now been converted into a museum, which treasures the
souvenirs, paintings, jewelery, royal costumes and other items, which were
once possessed by the Wodeyars. It is said that the palace displays the
largest collection of gold items, quantity wise. The Durbar hall of the
palace has an ornate ceiling and many sculpture pillars which are said to
have been painted with gold.
The interior of the Palace
Walls which lead to the Kalyan Mandapa or the royal wedding hall, are lined
with elaborately detailed oil paintings, illustrating the great Mysore
Dussehra Festival of 1930. The hall itself is magnificent, featuring
chandeliers, and multicoloured stain glass arranged in peacock designs. On
climbing up the stairs, is the Public Darbar Hall, or the hall for public
audience, which has paintings of some celebrated artists, and offers
wonderful views of the parade grounds and the Chamundi Hills. Chamundi Hills
has a temple dedicated to Goddess Chamundi or Durga. The smaller Private
Durbar hall or the hall for private audience, features some splendid work of
beautiful stained glass and gold leaf paintings.
There are twelve temples surrounding the palace within the compound. Some
of them are built in typical Dravidian style including the Varashaswamy
Temple with a gopuram that set the pattern for the later Sri Chamundeswari
Temple on Chamundi Hill. On special occasions, religious ceremonies are
still conducted in these temples.