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The Mysore Palace, one of India’s most historical and famous palaces is the pride of Karnataka and the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty and the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom. It is situated in the centre of the city, facing the Chamundi Hills to the east. Mysore is known as the City of Palaces and this palace is within the Old Fort. Nestled at Sayyaji Rao Road in Agrahara, Chamrajpura, the Mysore Palace stands on land which was originally called a citadel or puragiri and is now called the Old Fort.
(Gate of the Mysore Palace. Source: Shutterstock)
Yaduraya built the very first palace within the Old Fort back in the 14th century, which was demolished and rebuilt several times. The present building was made between 1897 and 1912, after the burning and destruction of the old palace. Mysore Palace is also one of the most famous tourist landmarks in the country after the Taj Mahal, with millions of visitors coming down here annually to get a glimpse of this majestic architectural marvel, spanning a mammoth 72 acres, complete with four arched gateways.
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Mysore Palace valuation
An attempt to find out the value of such an edifice is very challenging. With an acre equating to 43,560 sq ft, the entire property occupies a gargantuan 31,36,320 sq ft. If you go by the prevailing market rate of approximately Rs 10,000 on Sayyaji Rao Road (although the actual value of Mysore Palace would be much higher, owing to its royal status, history and cultural/tourism significance), the value works out to a mind-boggling Rs 3,136.32 crores.
(Side view of the Mysore Palace and lawns. Source: Shutterstock)
Mysore Palace: Construction and architecture
The old palace was burnt by devastating flames during the festivities of Dussehra back in the year 1896. The British architect Henry Irwin was commissioned by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and Maharani Kempananjammanni Devi, his mother, to build this new palace, while the royal family resided for a while at the Jaganmohan Palace, nearby. Cost of construction back then was pegged at roughly Rs 41,47,913 and the structure was finished in 1912. The palace was expanded once again in 1930 with the current Public Durbar Hall being added, during the rule of Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar.
(Interiors of the Mysore Palace. Source: Shutterstock)
The domes of the palace sport the Indo-Saracenic style with fusion of Rajput, Hindu, Mughal and Gothic design styles. The three-storeyed structure has imposing marble domes with a 145-ft, five-storeyed tower and a surrounding garden. The arch and entrance gate have the coat of arms and the emblem of the Kingdom of Mysore. The motto is written in Sanskrit here. The central complex has a length of 245 ft with 156 ft of width, as well. There are fire extinguishers in all parts of the palace while there are three entrances as well, namely the east gate, south entrance and west entrance.
(A view of the domes of the Mysore Palace. Source: Shutterstock)
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The stone building is nicely inlaid with fine grey granite and pink marble domes and the façade has several arches with smaller ones surrounding the central arch, which is backed by tall and majestic pillars. There is a sculpture above the central arch of the Goddess of wealth, fortune, prosperity and abundance, Gajalakshmi along with her elephants. There are three temple buildings in the Old Fort complex with 18 within the building at the heart of the palace.
(A temple inside the Mysore Palace compound. Source: Shutterstock)
The palace has been built beside the ancient headquarters of the Parakala Mutt where the leaders have always been the rajagurus or royal guides/teachers of the kings of Mysore. The kings were devotees of the Goddess Chamundi and this is why the palace faces the Chamundi Hills. There are two durbar halls within the palace, along with several buildings, gardens and courtyards galore.
Mysore Palace: Interesting facts
Several interesting facts about the Mysore Palace include:
- It has now been turned into a museum, showcasing the paintings, souvenirs, royal costumes and jewellery of the Wodeyar ruling dynasty.
- The palace reportedly has the biggest gold item collection (quantity-wise).
- The key attractions are the Golden Royal Elephant Throne, Kalyan Mandap (wedding hall) and Durbar Hall.
- Entry is through the lovely gallery which has several European and Indian sculptures, along with other ceremonial items.
- The Elephant Gate is the main entry to the palace center with its Mysore royal symbol (double-headed eagle). The Royal Elephant Throne lies to its north, which is inlaid with 84 kilograms of gold (24 carat).
- There are beautiful oil paintings decorating the walls going till the Kalyan Mandap. The novel aspect of these paintings is that whenever they are viewed from any direction, the procession seems to be going in a single direction.
- The hall has huge chandeliers, multi-coloured stained glass and peacock designs. The Durbar Hall reportedly has gold-painted pillars and ceilings with rare paintings by iconic artists.
(Interior of the Mysore Palace. Source: Shutterstock)
Know more about the Agra Fort, valued at possibly over Rs 4,100 crores
- The hall has a temple dedicated to Goddess Chamundeshwari and offers a fabulous view of the Chamundi Hills.
- Tipu Sultan’s sword is one of the key attractions in the museum, along with Raja Ravi Verma paintings.
- The jewel-encrusted throne is reported to have once belonged to the Pandavas themselves.
- The Mysore Palace comes alive every year during the 10-day Dussehra festivities, which is a tradition continuing from the 15th century. The palace lights up with one lakh bulbs during the celebrations.
- There is a 45-minute light and sound show held every evening, with the exception of public holidays and Sundays.
- Multiple secret tunnels go beneath the palace including the cellar, leading till the summer palace of Tipu Sultan, Srirangapatna and other palaces.
(The Mysore Palace lit up in the evening. Source: Shutterstock)
Where is the Mysore Palace located?
The Mysore Palace is located along Sayyaji Rao Road at Agrahara, Chamrajpura.
Who is the architect of the Mysore Palace?
Henry Irwin, a British architect, was commissioned to build the new palace after the older one was burnt in a fire.
Who commissioned the new Mysore Palace?
Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV commissioned the construction of the new Mysore Palace.