Once the residence of the Wodeyars, Mysore Palace 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. Built in the characteristic Indo-Saracenic style featuring domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the Mysore palace is a treasure trove of exquisite carvings and works of art. The palace was designed by Henry Irwin, the British consultant architect of Madras state. Twelve ancient temples surround the palace.
The Gombe Thotti or the Doll's Pavilion, an Indo-European sculpture and ceremonial objects gallery, forms the entrance to the palace. Elephant gate, the main entrance to the center of the palace, is decorated with floral designs, and the Mysore royal symbol of a double headed eagle. Nineteenth and twentieth century dolls stand at the north of the gate. Ornate carved doors open into luxuriously decorated rooms. The walls of the palace are painted with pictures of the Dusserah processions and these paintings create such an illusion that from any angle you feel that the procession is coming towards you.
Kalyan Mandapa or the royal wedding hall features chandeliers, and multicolored stained glass arranged in peacock designs. On top is the Public Darbar Hall or the hall for public audience with ornate ceiling and many sculptured pillars. Paintings of famous artists adorn the walls. Panoramic sights of the parade grounds and the
Chamundi Hills are available from the hall. The Private Durbar hall or the hall for private audience, features excellent works of beautiful stained glass and gold leaf paintings. Illuminated by thousands of light bulbs, the palace provides a magnificent view on Sunday evenings, and during festivals.
The palace has been converted into a museum, which treasures the souvenirs, paintings, jewelry, royal costumes and displays the largest collection of gold items.
The Mysore Palace is open to visitors from 6 00 to 9 00 hrs and from 15 30 to 18 30 hrs daily. Ideal time to visit Mysore is during Dussehra, a festival which comes in the month of September or October.