As i mentioned in the previous post, the famous Mysore palace was the first in our wishlist of the places to visit in Mysore, but we were left disappointed in our first attempt, as the visit timing for the palace was over.
Day -2 in Mysore
After having Darshan, we left the place for our hotel and completed our official work well before 05:00 PM, so as to reach the palace before it's closing time. As the palace was very near to our hotel, by 04:00 PM, we had entered the palace premises after taking entry tickets. Entry ticket for adults is Rs. 40/- per head and for children having age between 7 and 2 years, Rs. 25/- per ticket is charged. The first look at the magnificent palace left us mesmerized and we were completely in awe of the place.
The kings and monarchs of ancient India have been long known for their opulence and grandeur and the palaces and forts built during their time are the best examples of their infatuation towards flamboyant lifestyle. However, the palaces built by Wodeyar rulers have one additional specialty apart from opulence and pomp and that is their unique architecture style. The architectural style of the Mysore Palace is Indo-Saracenic, which is a blend of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic styles of architecture. The architectural marvel also tells it's visitors the story of emergence of chivalrous wodeyars from regional chieftains to mighty kings of Mysore, who ruled Mysore for nearly six centuries (13th to 19th century), except interregnum period of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan's rule.
The new palace was renovated by British architect Lord Henri Irwin during the period of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. Though, there are many historic palaces in Mysore and Bangalore, built by Hoysala and Wodeyar rulers, but only this Amba Vilas Palace is famous as Mysore Palace. The palace is centrally located in Mysore, facing towards Chamundi hills. The palace is surrounded by a large garden.
We were spell-bound by beholding the palace from outside and now we were going inside for a riveting experience. The photography inside the palace is prohibited, hence we could not take any photo, but i will try to narrate, what i witnessed. Apart from the huge walls decorated with mural paintings, there were several priceless artifacts and goods, once used by kings and queens, kept on display. There was the golden howdah (throne) of the king, weighing around 750 Kg. The king used to sit in the golden howdah carried by an elephant during annual Dasara procession. Now a days, the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed in the howdah during the procession. We saw many statues and paintings, kept in showcase, which were received by the King as a gift from other rulers and dignitaries. In another hall, there was a portrait gallery having portraits of all the members of royal family. The gallery boasts of some paintings of royal family made by famous artist Raja Ravi Varma. We were intrigued to see some three dimensional wall paintings depicting various momentous occasions of Maharaja Krishnaraj Wodeyar's rule, such as war scenes, Dasara procession and paintings of royal army including horses and elephants. The paintings have been made in such a way that it seems, every one's eyes in paintings are following you, once you walk observing those paintings.
There is one casket room in the palace, where mementos and many caskets made of silver and sandalwood received from general public are kept. When the king used to visit various parts of state, his subjects used to submit their requests or complaints in a casket made of silver and sandalwood and used to present mementos in respect of king. There is one public Darbaar Hall, where king used to host ceremonial functions. There were many huge doors made of silver and sandal wood having intricate carvings on them, which were locked and out of public view. We heard from some local fellows that the royal property is under litigation and many rooms concealing enormous wealth have been sealed by administration on court's order.
|Inside the palace image courtesy mysorepalace.gov.in|
|Public Darbaar Hall image courtesy: mysorepalace.gov.in|
At some distance from the palace, there is old palace, which has been converted into museum. The museum has wide collection of weaponry used by kings including swords, knives, spikes, axes, daggers and many models of guns. The dresses of kings and musical instruments used by them were also on display. There were some portraits and personal photographs of wodeyar kings and their family members.
At the old building, where security arrangements are bit lax, the graffiti on the wall made by poor fellows declaring their love to the world, were common sight like any other heritage site in India.
Now, the security guards had started to vacate the palace premises and we came out after witnessing the royalty from the close quarters. Only, had the king been alive, our visit to royal family would have become complete.
|Gate way to the Palace|
As we came out, a couple of chariots driven by horses were there and the drivers were insisting us to take a ride of the outskirts of the palace. They were asking for Rs. 20/- per person, but we bargained and settled for Rs. 10/- per person. We were to take a round of the palace, however, we came to know that the famous Mysore Dasara Mela is in full swing at Dasara Ground and we decided to enjoy the mela too. Dasara Ground is the place, where the annual Dasara procession originated from the palace heads towards. The mela starts with the Dasara Festival and ends after 90 days. The glittering entry gate of the Mela Ground was inviting us to spend some time among artisans and craftsmen across the country. Mysore Dasara Mela attracts rural artisans from each part of India to set up stalls displaying their products, thus creating additional sales channel for them. We did some shopping from there and returned to our hotel.
|Mysore Dasara Ground|
In the next post, i will write about my visit to Vrindavan Garden and Srirangpatna, the den of Tipu Sultan. Till then adios!