Karnataka Tour : Mysore Palace
Rajendra Ramsamy and Virat Garg
The Mysore Palace is the official residence of the Wodeyar dynasty and the seat of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom.
Situated in the centre of Mysore, the palace faces the Chamundi hills. Founded in 1423 AD, the Wodeyars had a long reign, with 25 kings ascending to the throne by the time of Indian independence in 1947. Today, the descendants of the royal family live in 40% of the palace, with the remaining 60% converted into a museum, open to visitors.
The architecture of the palace is a mix of European, Dravidian, Indo-Muslim and Oriental style. Designed by an English architect, Henry Irwin, and built from 1897 to 1912, the palace is an eulogie to art with its stone-encrusted doors, painted walls, stone columns imported from Scotland or the colourful stained glass.
Reaching the garden surrounding the palace, we realise the immensity of the place ; even the garden is impressive with its variegated flowers and tiger sculptures in particular. After leaving our shoes with the concierge, we enter the museum inside the publiw ing of the palace. We reach a room filled with European statues and Hindu religious instruments. Continuing right next to a Hindu statue, we see a miniature of the first version of the palace. Then, getting closer to the inner courtyard, we come face to face with an elephant. A stuffed elephant, of course, this has no impact on the effect produced because it is in real elephant skin and even has real tusks. The hallway has two stuffed elephants.
The inner courtyard of the palace has played a very important role in the history of the kingdom. Indeed, it is precisely in this court that wrestling matches took place. Two tiger sculptures have been placed there to remind visitors that this place is a place of aggression. The first fight here was organised even before the palace was built and the tradition has been kept alive by the descendants of the family ever since.
The courtyard takes us to another part of the palace with striking details. It suffices to just raise your head to see the beautiful ceilings that have not only been painted, but carved, too. On each wall, we can also see frescoes depicting events related to the royal family. Reaching a room dedicated to marriage, the guide explains that green blue columns, inlaid with gold, were brought in from Scotland by boat. Continuing the visit, we enter a long corridor that displays the portraits of the 25 kings of Mysore. The last room that we visited was undoubtedly the most beautiful, with a rich display of the royal thrones and chairs, covered in red velvet.
By the time we exit from the palace, the sun is already setting, reminding us how time flew by while we were admiring the riches of the palace. We need to rush to the main entrance of the palace to be able to catch a light show as the entire palace facade is lit up with 97000 bulbs for about 10 minutes, much to the delight of tourists as well as passers-by.