of Indian Houses
is one of the major cities in the South Indian state
of Karnataka. Till independence it was the capital
city of Wodeyars, the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore.
At a distance of 140 kms from Bangalore, Mysore
has always enchanted tourists and visitors with
its magnificent palaces, beautiful gardens and rich
cultural heritage. The city is famous for its silk
and is also a thriving sandalwood and incense center.
Today, Mysore has become a major tourist destination
because of its convenient size and good climate,
moreover the city has chosen to retain and promote
its heritage rather than replace it.
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. Built in Indo-Saracenic style
with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the
Palace is often compared with the Buckingham Palace
of Britain because of its grandeur. Henry Irwin,
the British consultant architect of Madras state,
designed it. The palace was built by the twenty-fourth
Wodeyar Raja in 1912 on the site of the old wooden
palace that was gutted in the year 1897.
The palace has now
been converted into a museum, which treasures the
souvenirs, paintings, jewellery, 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 Golden Royal Elephant
Throne, the Durbar Hall, and the Kalyan Mandap (wedding
hall) are the main attractions here. The entry to
the palace is through a beautiful gallery featuring
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 floriated designs, and bears the
Mysore royal symbol of a double-headed eagle. To
the north of the gate the Royal Elephant Throne
is displayed which is embellished with 84 kilogram
of 24-carat gold.
leading to the Kalyan Mandap are lined with intricate
oil paintings, illustrating the royal procession
of the Mysore Dussehra Festival. A unique thing
about these paintings is that seen from any direction,
the procession seems to be coming in one’s
own direction. The hall itself is magnificent and
is decorated with huge chandeliers, and multicoloured
stain glass arranged in peacock designs. The historic
Durbar Hall of the palace has an ornate ceiling
and sculpted pillars which are said to have been
painted with gold. It is also a treasure house of
rare paintings by some celebrated artists. This
hall, which is up the stairs, offers wonderful view
of the Chamundi Hills that towers over the city
and houses a temple dedicated to the Goddess Chamundeshwari,
the royal family's patron deity.The palace looks
even more grand and beautiful on Sunday evenings
and on festivals when it is illuminated with thousands
of light bulbs.