Are you a history enthusiast and love visiting monuments? If yes, then Mysore is the right place for you. And trip to Mysore is incomplete without a visit to the Mysore Palace, also known as the Ambavilas Palace. Built in the 14th Century by King Yaduraya, this palace saw a couple of fires that destroyed it. Lord Henry Irwin, a British architect, was commissioned by Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV to rebuild the palace, which was completed in 1912. The palace has Indo-Saracenic styled domes. The present palace that stands royally with its fortified structures is an iconic landmark in Mysore.
The best time to visit this palace is during the Dassara Festival in September-October, where the entire building is illuminated with lakhs of incandescent lights and the sight is indeed a spectacle to behold. The gala festival parade is a great tourist attraction, as people from all over the world come to get a glimpse of the royal procession with all its grandeur. The Mysore Wodeyar Kings were patrons of Goddess Chamundeshwari and the festivity of yesteryears is still a tradition that has been upheld.
For those of you interested in touring the palace, you will have to pay a nominal fee of Rs.40. There are tour guides for groups and Braille guides for the visually challenged visitors as well. The tour will take you through the history of the palace, starting with the Doll’s Pavilion, a wooden elephant howdah covered with gold. Next, is a long corridor showcasing the Dasara procession through an oil-painting.
Step into an octagonal-shaped central hall and relive events of the royal family as the guide takes you on a royal tour. The next room displays paintings of the royal family in chronological order. Like wrestling? There’s a wrestling courtyard where wrestling games take place during Dasara. Ever wondered about the weapons used by the royal family? There is an armoury room too, which displays weapons such as pistols, cutlass, lances, etc. Your next stop will be the Royal Durbar hall where the king used to listen to public grievances. This is located at the entrance of the palace.
For the nature lovers, there is a huge garden with exotic rose plants and beautiful flowers from various places. There are twelve temples within the premises of the palace where you can offer prayers. Eight bronze tiger statues dot the vicinity of the courtyard. Six of these statues are installed at the three courtyard entrance and two inside the palace.
Many prefer viewing the palace in the night when it is magnificently lit. One can see the radiant lights piercing the surrounding areas even from a distance. The best time to see the illumination is between 7 pm and 7.45 PM on Sundays and public holidays.
The Mysore Palace is by and large the most visited structure in India. If you have not visited this palace, your travel itinerary is not complete without a highlight of this glorious wonder.