Mysore Palace guide

The Mysore Palace; Photoblog + Informative Guide

The first picture that comes to our mind when thinking about Mysore is the royal Mysore Palace. A unique heritage jewel that even today remains significant as a place of residence, commerce, and ceremonies to the last vestiges of Indian monarchs. This century-old architectural masterpiece is the final reminder of the once-powerful Wodeyar dynasty that ruled for over 551 years among countless generations.

The palace is home to countless pieces of art. The ceiling, floors, walls, and every crevice of this historic place house a story that piques your curiosity to new heights as you traverse the monumental place. The artistically intricate locks and every chisel made to sculpt this place into reality speak volumes of craftsmanship that is long lost but deeply admired even today. The craftsmanship not only provides a glimpse of the beauty that existed at that time but they are a testament to the ingenuity that existed then and remains relevant today as they continue to shape and inspire much of the new world structures. 

Dive in for some interesting information about the palace and gawk in admiration of the pictures that will make you comprehend why this monument is standalone.

“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder,” said Plato. But, even he will agree that the beauty of the Mysore Palace is a universal fact.

The Mysore Palace

Some Interesting Information On The Palace Complex

  • The Palace complex is built on 72 acres of land. With 6 entrance gates.
  • The palace building is about 4 acres (196,000 sq. feet). 
  • 12 Hindu temples are present within the palace compound.
  • The best view of the palace can be found near the Sri Varaha Temple.
  • Much of the construction of the palace that you will witness was started in the year 1897 and completed in 1912.
  • The palace was built by King Nalwadi Krishna Raja Wodeyar. 
  • Henry Irwin was the chief architect and the interiors were handled by Raghaveru Naidu.
  • The construction that lasted for fifteen years cost Rs. 42 lakhs, which is worth 6 billion US Dollars today and counting. Seldom has there been such a hedonistic expense that seems to be worth every penny.
  • The flag boasting the standard atop the dome is 2.7 Kg of gold (Yes, that’s only the flag, and not the pole).

Given all of the grandeur and heritage aspects of the Mysore Palace, also known as Amba Vilas is one of the most visited palaces in India by tourists.

Why & How The Palace Was Built?

During the nuptial celebrations of Princess Jayalakshmi Ammani, the eldest sister of Maharaja Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the then wooden palace, whose interiors were made primarily of wood, caught fire and was seriously damaged. 

This incident happened in 1897. 40% of the palace was burnt and the rightful decision was taken to demolish the rest of the structure completely and build a new palace. The new palace had to be more than just a residence. They wanted to restore the pride of the land and create a monument that will trumpet the greatness of their people for centuries to come.

As a result of their ambition a bigger, stronger palace was built with never before witnessed grandeur. These palaces not only display royalty, strength, and power but also showcases the economic status of the monarchs. Designed by the chief architect Mr. Henry Irwin with expert workmanship by local artists, it is a fusion of Hindu and Mughal styles of architecture (Indosarcenic) with traces of European influence amongst its granite-centered construction.

The hidden beauty is that a few fragments of the old wooden palace are integrated into the new palace, promoting a form of foresighted sustainable architecture method that seems to be absent today.

After entering the palace, the very first model showcased for display is the old wooden palace model. Next to it, you can see the goddess Chamundeshwari Utsava Moorthy, the same idol that is carried on an elephant during the Dussehra celebrations.

The 3 Entry Gates

Mysore palace entry gates

Although there are 6 entry gates to the palace, only 3 serve as an entry to the general public. The main palace entry gate known as “Jayamartaanda marga”, is open only to the royal family.

The South Entrance Gate/Varaha and Amba Vilas Gate is the gate that is near the parking lot for entry inside the palace during the daytime and during the events, they host the famous sound and light show. The other gate, North Entry Gate/Jayarama Balarama Gate near the clock tower is for visitors that prefer a free entrance. On Sundays, and during the Dussehra nights, the palace lights are lit. This is the same gate where the Dussehra possession, more commonly known as the Jumbo Savaari, takes place.

An important thing to be aware of is that the public is denied entry for sightseeing inside the palace during the festival of Dussehra.

Palace Details (To Visit Inside)

Please note that only cash is accepted for the palace entry, sound, and light show.

  • Guide Charges:
    • Rs. 300 for 1 – 5 persons
    • Rs. 400 for 5 – 10 persons
    • Rs. 300 for 1 – 15 students
  • Entry fee:
    • Rs. 100 for Adults (both Indians and Foreigners)
    • Rs. 50 for children (aged between 10 and 18 years)
    • Rs. 30 for students (study tour)
    • Free for kids below 10 years. 

Note: The students on the study tour should bring a permission letter from their Head of the Department and children will only be permitted inspection of their age-proof IDs.

  • Timings: 10 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Parking: Available but at additional cost
  • Restroom: Cleaned and well-maintained restrooms are available
  • Free drinking water: Available

Footwear is not allowed inside the palace: Rs. 2 is charged for storing each pair before entry.

The Sound And Light Program Details

The tickets for the sound and light programs are issued only after 6:30 PM. However, keep in mind that the purchased tickets will not be refunded if the show is stopped due to rain or any other reason.

LanguageDay and TimeAmount in INR (inclusive of GST)
KannadaMonday to Wednesday from 7 PM to 8 PM
Saturday from 8:15 PM to 9:15 PM
Adults – Rs. 90
Child – Rs.40
EnglishThursday to Saturday from 7 PM to 8 PMAdults – Rs. 120
Child – 50

Free Entry To Palace Premises (Only Outside)

On Sundays between 7 PM and 8 PM, free entry to the palace garden is permitted through the gate which is near the Clock Tower. The north entry gate is also opened during the time of Dussehra between 7 PM and 11 PM, and for an additional 7 days after Dussehra. 

There is no parking available near the north entrance gate. The turning on of all the palace lights is a sure sign that it is permissible to go through this gate.

The Doll Pavilion

The Hindu tradition dictates that during the 9 days of the Navrathri festival, dolls depicting the stories of ancient myths be displayed.  While this tradition is now stopped at the palace, visitors can view the personal collections of dolls treasured by the Royal families. The dolls that are displayed are made up of Maharana marble, the same composition of stones used for building the Taj Mahal.

The Veena Ganesha (an idol depicting the instruments of knowledge) can only be found here and in the Jodhpur palace. You can also view the beautifully decorated glass pieces on the structure and find dolls made up of Italian and Rajasthani marble.

Elephant Entrance Gate

Elephant entrance gate with logo

The first gate which you’ll cross is this brass-made elephant entrance gate, imported from England with the standard of the Monarchs. The Sanskrit words embossed are “Satya Mevam Doramyaham” which means “I uphold only truth”.

On either side of the elephant entrance gate, there is a real elephant head (carefully taxidermied). The eye and tusk of these taxidermy models are artificial, but, the skin is from a real elephant. Every year chemical treatment is done to protect them.

These heads are mounted to commemorate an incident that had taken place In 1955. The villagers of Bandipur had complained to the Maharaja about the string of elephant attacks. To put a stop to this he had hunted the two elephants responsible for residents’ troubles. As a remembrance of this act, the elephant heads are kept on display.

Marriage Hall Or Kalyana Mantapa

Palace marriage hall or Kalyana mantapa

Here, the royal family hosted and celebrated events like royal weddings. A central chandelier is present that perfectly compliments this grand octagonal-shaped marriage hall. This chandelier had been imported from Czechoslovakia. It’s electric which means this is one of the first buildings in India to use electricity.

There are 24 cast iron pillars from Scotland that hold the central dome; placed in a precise manner to get a good view from the balconies around the hall. This was designed in a manner to ensure that the royal guests housed could get a good view of the ceremonies hosted from their balconies.

It is also known as Mayura (peacock) Kalyana Mandapa as the designs of the marriage halls are inspired by a peacock. The flooring at the center of this hall also consists of a peacock-designed mosaic, designed in England. The canvas 3D oil paintings done with vegetable colors are placed throughout the walls of the marriage hall.

On 27th June 2016, the marriage of the current titular King Shri Yaduveer Wadiyar happened in this very place.

 

Many valuable paintings and portraits of the Wodeyar dynasty kings and their families are exhibited in the gallery. These photographs are special as these pictures which are centuries old though photographed in India were developed in England, as the concept of photographs was new at that time in India.

The 3D images kept here will provide you the illusion of the first perspective in every direction you view it from. This feeling is much more pronounced in photographs of the King or Queen that provide the illusion that they are looking at you as you move.

The Casket Room

Casket room

The invitations, invitation boxes (not jewelry boxes), and mementos gifted to the Kings during their visits are preserved and showcased here. The caskets are made up of sandalwood, ivory, and silver. A casket used for what might seem like a trivial purpose has been molded by individual artists of the Gudiyar community. Each of them takes about 3 to 6 months to craft.

The legs of the stool are crafted to resemble small bison legs (legs not visible in the picture). What better way to craft perfect bison legs than use actual bison legs to do so.

Every one of these efforts undertaken to perfectly craft these unique pieces are pronounced even today and they are the very reason for their significance today, despite their trivial functionality.

Wrestling Courtyard

Wrestling courtyard

The kings of Mysore were patrons of the sport of wrestling. A class of wrestlers called the “Jettys” compete in a type of wrestling called “Vajramushti”, a weapon resembling today’s brass knuckles. 

Even today, the event known as “Vajra Musti Kalaga” is held in the palace during Dussehra on the day of Vijayadasami (the last day of Dussehra).

The Jaguars carved near the steps are hollow brass jaguars from Scotland. They appear to be solid and heavy but they are actually hollow inside. There are a total of 6 such Jaguars, all of which were imported from Scotland. From here you can see the Panchkalasa and the metallic flag atop the palace tomb.

artistic doors inside palace, Mysore

The doors are made up of burma teak and they are polished once every year. Above all these doors, the goddess Lakshmi (representing wealth) can be found. The honor of carving these immaculate doors goes to the Hosabale Chennaiyas family from Shimoga.

The Furniture Room

Furniture Room

This furniture room served as a dressing room in ancient days. The two imposing silver chairs beside the center painting resemble thrones with armrests carved in the form of lions, and the legs are carved to resemble the lion’s paws. This symbolizes a statement of power that the person sitting on the throne is sitting on a lion. 

Another peculiar thing to note is the large center painting and its unique frame. The frame is made from the tusks of an elephant named Gajendra. This elephant had served the royal family for a very long time. In memory of this elephant, the painted portrait of Gajendra (the elephant in the painting) is framed by his tusks.

The ceiling is made out of Burma teak wood. Going beyond grandeur this particular teak was chosen for its properties of temperature control and the fact that it prevents echoes in private rooms (sound-proofing tech of a different time).

Golden Howdah

The golden howda

Known as “Ambaari” in the local language of Kannada, the core of this howdah is a wooden structure. The total weight of this howdah is 750 kg, of which 80 kg is made of fine gold sheets that cover the wood.

During Dussehra, the Mysore king used to sit on this howdah placed on the back of the elephant. In the first row, the king sits while in the back seat, his heir-apparent sits. Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar is the last member of the royal family to ride the Golden Howdah. In the present day, the idol of the goddess Chamundeshwari is carried on this howdah during Dussehra.

Public Durbar Hall

Public Durbar hall

As mentioned earlier, Raghavallu Naidu is the chief architect for designing the interiors of the palace.

Durbar translates to English as the court of the ruler. This is a place where subjects could see the king and also bring forth their requests. The king would sit at the center near the balcony and hold court.

The Public Durbar has a total of 42 pillars. The walls of this hall are adorned with pictures of the goddess Devi in 8 forms. One of them is the oil painting that displays Sita’s Swayambara, painted by the celebrated royal artist from Kerala, Raja Ravi Varma. It is his last painting before his death. The floor below houses all the paintings that are inlaid with semi-precious stones like jasper, and amber creating a beautiful floral pattern.

Front side of the public durbar hall

The entire durbar with the balconies is 155 feet long and 44 feet wide. The main front side of the palace has 9 arches supported by ornamental pillars hoisting a beautiful balcony without any intermediate pillars. The wide structure is held together by placing 129 keystones at every arch. The chandeliers that you see here are imported from Italy.

The ceiling is dramatic and is made from asbestos sheets. The central panel of the ceiling has illustrations of the 10 avatars of lord Vishnu. At night, the ceiling glows. The 27 zodiac signs are also placed on the side paintings. The Interesting part is that it was built later during 1938, 25 years after the palace was initially constructed.

  • If you stand in the center and look through either gate, you should clearly be able to see them. This beautiful geometric pattern created made us amazed.
  • On either side of the green-painted walls are two levels of balconies. VIP dignitaries and the king’s guests would be seated here.
  • The palace is built facing the Chamundi hills. From the balcony, you can view the hills and the temple.
  • Before you exit the public durbar hall, if you stand exactly below the center lamp, you can hear an echo while speaking. If you move slightly aside, you will notice no echo. 
  • Do not miss the colourful stones and marbles, same as in Taj Mahal, below the paintings before you exit the public durbar hall.

These small details can only be captured if you hire a guide.

Ganesha Temple

Ganesha temple inside palace

Behind this door is the Ganesha temple. The deity is known as “Aathmavilasa Ganapati”. Every morning and evening, poojas are done. Only the royal family members are allowed inside this temple. The temple is older than the reconstructed palace. The reason is that this portion of the olden palace had been miraculously unperturbed during the fire that broke out in 1895.

The white portions on the rosewood doorway which are styled in the Gothic fashion, are ivory. You can also see a couple of ivory doors while entering the private durbar hall.

Private Durbar Hall

Private durbar hall

This is the place where kings and their closest advisors and ministers would meet to discuss the affairs of the state. This gorgeously decorated hall looks stunning due to the harmonious composition of colors. The gold stands out among all. The glass ceiling is stained glass from Scotland.

Although these are centuries old, no repainting or touch-up has been done since then, and they remain as grandeur as the day they were installed.

The public durbar hall has pillars made of granite with stucco exteriors. Here it is hollow cast iron pillars. This is to ensure that they absorb sound to keep the discussions private. On the floor between each cast iron pillar, the marble is inlaid with semi-precious gems in scrolled floral works.

The king would sit on the golden throne during the Jumbo parade. The throne is showcased to visitors inside the palace only during the Dussehra festival. An extra Rs. 50 is charged to view the throne.

Hallway Of Doors

The three doors make the entry to the private durbar hall, of which the silver (106 kg) one at the center is where the king enters.

While exiting, you can see 5 fixed doors belonging to the old wooden palace integrated into the glamorous private durbar hall. One of the doors leads you to the Ganesha temple that you had previously viewed.

Different Views Of Mysore Palace

Mysore palace centre view
Side view of the Mysore palace
Mysore palace lit with lights
Night view of Mysore palace

We have covered most of the significant information about the palace, and we’re sorry if we missed out anything. We highly recommend you hire a guide to ensure you get the most information and knowledge about the palace.

A monument of such historic significance will have stories weaved throughout time, and we encourage you to share stories you might have heard about the palace in the comment section below. 

Have you visited this palace before? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you. For more such interesting guides, do subscribe to the newsletter and follow us on social media – Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.

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