Mysore Palace – You will have seen many pictures or videos of the Mysore palace or might have read many articles about it.
I am sure you will have appreciated them and envisioned the Mysore palace as it stands. But I bet your imagination would remain constricted till you experience its splendor in person.
This is my experience. There are no better cameras than your eyes and there is no better recording instrument than your mind to capture the beauty and feel of the place.
So, in whichever part of the world you are located, it is worth making a visit to Mysuru just to visit this palace! Of course, you can add more to your itinerary based on the availability of time.
To make the best of your time, it is better to have all the information before you visit. Here I am giving you complete details of how, when, why, of Mysore Palace.
MYSURU CITY- HISTORY & CULTURE
Known as the Garden City or city of Palaces, Mysuru is a unique mix of modern and old-world charm. It is supposed to be the laid-back sibling of Bengaluru which is a few hours away from Mysuru and a complete contrast to the peaceful life of the Garden city.
Mysuru is a city with a glorious past and the rich heritage and tradition are evident from the varied monuments, palaces, temples that are still standing tall and erect in varied parts of the city.
The old-world charm that largely makes for Mysuru city is apparent as one meanders through the shady boulevards, shopping markets and streets with low-slung, sloped roof houses.
The grand palaces, museums, imposing buildings, landscaped gardens and sacred temples of the city hold fascination for all travelers and draw hordes of visitors from within and outside the country.
WODEYAR- THE ROYAL FAMILY OF MYSURU
The Wodeyar dynasty ruled over the state of Mysuru for more than 5 centuries becoming the only family of royals in India to have ruled over a state for over 500 years.
The contribution of the Wodeyar towards the promotion of arts and culture in the state is immense and will never be forgotten.
The royal family still resides in one section of the Mysuru Palace and that is their official residence. However, the majority of the palace area houses a museum that has on display some of the best artworks, portraits, weaponry, musical instruments and royal adornments of the Wodeyars. The Department of Archaeology & Museums is in charge of its maintenance.
While you are dipped in all royal richness, grandeur, and history, a sad tale of a curse also comes to mind. The curse of Alamelamma towards the Royal family! Some say it is real while a few others say it is just a coincidence, yet it haunts you.
The coincidence, if you call it so, is happening for many years that only adopted children will have children. This lineage is not yet broken.
MYSURU FROM BENGALURU- PUBLIC TRANSPORTS
The city of Mysuru is located about 170 km away from the newly built Bengaluru International airport and is well connected by road, rail, and air from the capital city.
The road from Bengaluru to Mysuru is very good and the distance of 140 km can be covered in about 3 hours. Several express trains ply between the two cities with their journey time being an average of three hours or so.
The railway station is in the central part of Mysuru city and plenty of trains run between the two stations. Shatabdi train running between the two cities is very convenient and comfortable.
State Transport buses are also available every five minutes. If you want to drive down the route you need to follow the SH 17 all the way down to the city of Mysuru.
If you have less time at your disposal then you can travel by air which will help you reach Mysuru in about 40 minutes from Bengaluru. But BIAL is located at 10 km from the southern part of the city, whereas traveling from Mysuru Airport to other places is very convenient.
Decide the mode of transport that suits you the best as you begin your journey from Bangalore.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MYSURU
As such, Mysuru is endowed with a pleasant climate all throughout the year. Winters are pleasantly cool, and summers are warm.
However, the best of climates can be experienced during the period of October to March. During summers it will be hot between 10 am and 4 pm and better to avoid this time.
Mysuru offers a lot of options as far as accommodation is concerned with hotels ranging from the most luxurious to the midrange and budget hotels.
If you want to sight-see the city relaxing in luxurious comforts then you can choose between the Fortune JP Palace, Windflowers Resort Spa, Royal Orchid Metropole and more; the midrange and budget hotel seekers can opt for Gitanjali Homestay, Casa Meridian, The Green Hotel, LA VILLA Guest House and more.
Most of the hotels in Mysuru are heritage buildings that have been converted to suit the needs of today’s traveler. Lalitmahal Palace hotel has the most opted one as it showcases royal grandeur and hospitality.
TRAVEL WITHIN THE CITY
Mysuru is one of the very few cities left where tongas ride the roads alongside modern means of transport. If you want to soak in the laid-back atmosphere of the city you can opt for the tonga to sightsee the city.
Otherwise, there are a few other options like autorickshaws, private taxis or State Government-run buses which offer a good mode of transport to move around the city.
You can also take cars on rent and drive at your pace. Public transport is also comfortable here. Package tours around the city and inside the city are also available.
LOCAL FOOD OPTIONS
If you are traveling by road from Bengaluru to Mysuru then your first encounter with food comes after covering about 20 km into the highway. The food is in the form of what is known as the ‘thatte-idli’ which comprises of regular idlis set in large circular plates.
There are many more eateries known for their specialty vegetarian fare along the way and you can have your fill of the piping hot breakfast offered there. Indradhanush, Shivalli, Adigas serve good South Indian food. Do not forget to taste soft idlis and Neer dose.
WHERE TO EAT IN MYSURU?
Mysuru has lots to offer to your heart, soul, and eyes. Mysuru Palace is the best among them followed by Chamundi Hills, Chamarajendra Zoo, KRS, Dasara Exhibition (Commencing from Dasara), Jaganmohana Palace, Karanji Lake, Kukkrahalli Lake are a few. Here we are taking you on a virtual tour mainly to the Ambavilas Palace.
HISTORY OF THE MYSURU PALACE
This magnificent abode of the Wadiyars is also called the Amba Vilas Palace. It is, in fact, the pride of Mysuru attracting tourists in thousands of numbers each day.
The original structure was built in the 14th century but it underwent many changes to become what it is today. It was pulled down and rebuilt several times over between 1350and 1940. In the late 19th century a major fire destroyed the then existing wooden palace and, in its place, a new palace was designed by the British architect, Henry Irwin.
More sections were added by the last Maharaja of the princely state, Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar in the year 1940.
The Mysuru Palace is a beautiful example of Indo-Saracenic architecture combining elements from Hindu, Rajput, Gothic and Muslim architecture. The hand sculpting and the intricate carving that has gone into its creation have to be seen to be believed.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
The Mysuru Palace is situated in the heart of the city. The visiting hours for tourists are 10 am to 5.30 pm. The key entrance lies at the south gate; entry inside is obtained through the purchase of tickets.
The palace is enclosed by four arched gates that open into large acres of gardens. The sheer size and magnificence of the surroundings truly take the breath away of each visitor.
The main three-storied building is built using stone granite. Domes of pink marble and a five-story tower with a gilded dome stand out in the entire structure.
Stepping inside you are transported into another world of gold, marble, ivory and beautiful craft and artwork.
There are various rooms inside that vie for your attention with their spell-bounding ambiance. The Ambivalasa, the Durbar Hall, the Kalyana Mantapa, the royal howdah, and the varied grandiose items kept for public viewing; the list goes on.
THE GORGEOUS INTERIORS OF PALACE
The amazing architecture of the structure justly goes to add to the grandeur of the Mysuru Palace. The palace houses 12 temples dating to different time periods and among them, the Laksmiramna Temple and the Someshwara Temple are not to miss spots.
The Kalyana Mantapa is the first of the many halls that give you a glimpse of the opulent extravagance that is synonymous with the Mysuru Palace. The octagonal room known as the marriage hall leaves you spellbound with its tiled floors and glass ceilings.
As you view the gilded columns and the vaulted dome ceiling you realize the painstaking efforts and the attention to detail that has gone towards decorating the room. Hues of green and gold which are used abundantly in the room bear resemblance to the colors of a peacock and add to the ‘wow’ factor.
The Durbar Hall which is the next was the place used by the erstwhile rulers to address their people. It is up the stairs and gives an unrestricted view of the Chamundi Hills towering over the city. The hall is a blend of varied colors comprising yellow, pink and bold turquoise with laboriously painted columns spaced at equal distances all throughout. Priced paintings of the era adorn the walls of the room.
The Ambavilasa room is more grandiose than the Durbar Hall with the inclusion of heavy gold on the stained-glass ceiling and the gilded columns. The room is as regal as it can get with impressive chandeliers hanging from the center and the striking steel cages within the roof.
MYSURU PALACE DURING NIGHT-TIME
At night time the beauty of the palace is something out of ordinary as the entire palace gets illuminated with thousands of lights.
The palace is lit at night time from 7 pm onwards and remains so till around 8 pm on Sundays and all public holidays in the state. A forty-five-minute sound and light show in the evenings on weekdays is again a not to be missed event.
RECOMMENDED TO TAKE LOCAL GUIDE
You can obtain an audio guide if you are unable to get a guide of your own. However, a personal guide will resurrect the stories emanating from every pillar and stone of the palace and let you experience the romance and thrill of the bygone eras.
The guides are privy to the many secret tunnels and passageways that existed in the olden times and becoming aware of all this information adds to the thrill of your visit. Check out the palace’s official website for additional information.
MYSORE PALACE DURING DUSSHERA
The palace must be viewed during the Mysore Dusshera festival when it gets decorated with brightly hued flowers and lights. Dancers and singers exhibit their talents on the large makeshift stage that is erected for the festivities.
The elephant procession that takes place on the tenth day an imposing sight to behold. This is the time when the famed Golden throne of the Durbar Hall is opened for public viewing.
- Removal of shoes is a must before entering the Mysuru Palace. You can place them on the shoe racks provided for the purpose.
- You can avail of the battery-operated vehicles to move around the Palace grounds especially if you have kids and elderly people with you.
- You cannot carry cameras within the palace building and they must be deposited at the booth meant for their safekeeping.
- You can take photographs of the sprawling gardens and the palace building from the outside.
- Do not touch the walls and pillars as it may reduce their glamor and life.
- Avail audio-guides without which you will not understand anything.
There are several places that will cater to your hunger pangs after your awe-inspiring visit to the Mysuru Palace.
Some of the nearby restaurants serving varied food fare include the likes of Vinayaka, Mylari, Roost, Spring Restaurant, La Uppu, The Sixth Main and more.
SHOPPING IN MYSURU
While exiting, you will pass through a showroom of the Karnataka Government where you can buy the famous Sandalwood items, Channapatna Toys, Mysore Silk Sarees, and small artifacts.
PLACES AROUND MYSUSRU PALACE
There are several other palaces in the city that almost equal the exquisiteness of the Mysuru Palace. The Lalitha Mahal standing at the foothills of the Chamundi Hills, the Jagmohan Palace which now houses an art gallery, the scenic Karanji Lake with its huge walk-through aviary, the Mysore railway museum next best to the one at Delhi.
The Chamundeshwari Temple, the Sri Nandi Temple are just a few from the long list of interesting places to visit in this beautiful city. The Somnathpur Temple, the Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery, Planet Earth Aquarium, Royal Mysore Walks are some more that can be counted under the not-to-miss attractions.
If you are a bird lover, I recommend visiting Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary which is a paradise for migratory birds and is approx 15 Km before Mysuru.
SUMMARY & CONCLUSION
There is nothing in comparison to the grandiose of the Mysuru Palace housing the royal family of Wodeyar even to this date in one of its sections.
A visitor to the city of Mysuru just cannot afford to not visit the Palace; it is an experience that will remain etched in his memory forever!
DO’S & DONT’S
- Ask for Ambavilasa Palace, which is the one talked above, as there are other palaces also.
- Visit in the evening to see the illuminated palace.
- The palace is open to visitors from 10 am to 5.30 pm except on Sundays and Government Holidays.
- There will be an entrance fee to go inside the palace.
- The best time to see the palace in all its grandeur is during Dasara.
- The present Prince of the Yaduvamsha dynasty is Yaduveera Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodeyar.
- The next in the hierarchy is his son Adyaveera Narasimharaja Wodeyar.
- Do not forget to take a ride on Tonga
- If you have time, use ‘Trin-Trin’ cycle to go around the city.
- Taste Mysore pak made from pure ghee, which melts in the mouth.
- Buy Mysore Silk saree from the factory showroom on Mananthavadi road.
- Climb Chamundi hills by foot – A thousand steps climbing.
- Visit Kaveri backwaters
- City transport is comfortable and convenient to travel if you are on a budget.