If you thought Mysore has only one palace - the Mysore Palace - you are in for a surprise. Mysore have quite a few imposing royal residences scattered all round the city ( see the 7 Palaces of Mysore ).
Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion located inside the University of Mysore has many specialities. The overall appearance is of the building is in the typical imposing Greco-Roman fashion. But the interior is done in the native style using generous woodwork. The mansion houses the Folklore Museum, one of its kind by any universities in India. Though the museum was founded in 1968, it is one of the best kept secrets in Mysore's tourism !
Compared to the other more popular attractions of Mysore, the Folklore Museum is much less crowded by visitors.
Though there are no time restrictions for visiting and viewing the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion exterior, the Folklore Museum that is functioning inside opens from 10 am to 5.30 pm. Closed on Second Saturdays, Sundays and other Government Holidays. On special days the building is illuminated in the evenings with floodlight.
At one end of the mansion, close to the porch is a plaque commemorating the inauguration by the then President of India Dr.S. Radhakrishnan. Incidentally Radhakrishnan was selected as Professor of Philosophy early in 1918 by the same university.
One of the major highlights of the interior is the central hall which was used for the performing arts. This looks similar to the Marriage Hall in the Mysore Palace, but not ornate to that extend. Nevertheless this is an impressive feature with tall columns and the dome.
A little bit of history leading to the construction of Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion. This sprawling mansion was constructed as the residence for Jayalakshmi Ammani, the eldest daughter of Chamaraja Wadiyar IX, the 23rd Maharaja of Mysore. It was during the wedding of this princess in 1897 a major fire broke out and destroyed the old palace. The Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion was built in 1905, some 10 years after the Mysore Palace was rebuilt.
Chamaraja Wadiyar IX had four of springs - two sons and three daughters. Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion was built during the regime of Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, the eldest son on Chamaraja Wadiyar.
The cost of construction for this mansion with well over 100 rooms and a built area more than 1.2 lakh sq.ft was estimated as about 7,00,000 rupees of those days. Being the elder princess, her residence was often called as the 'First Rajkumari Mansion'. The site for the mansion is on the gentle slops of a reddish hill, on the edge of the Kukkarahalli Lake. So it was This was also locally known as the 'Kebbe katte Bunglow'.
The 'Second Rajkumari Mansion' also known as the Karanji Mansion near Karanji Lake was constructed for as the residence of Krishnaraja Ammani, the second daughter. This now houses the Postal Training Institute.
'Cheluvamba Mansion', now functions as the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) was built as the residence of Chaluvaja Ammani, the youngest daughter.
How to reach Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion?
First head to Mysore University campus known as Manasagangothri. This is about 3-4 km from the Mysore city center towards the Kukkarahalli Lake. Take the Bogadi Road or the Hunsur Road from the JLB Road. Immediately after the lake turn into the university campus. Further ask for the directions once inside the university campus.
Hire an auto-rickshaw from city. They would charge about Rs50 depending up on the location in the city.
Or catch a city bus that goes via university ( Manasagangothri ). You may still need to walk a bit to the mansion , depending on which bus route you've taken and also where you got dropped.
For returning, walk up to the main road. There is a bus stop or look for an auto-rickshaw.
Wildlife Resorts in Kabini
Most of the safari lodges and wildlife resorts resorts are around the edges of the Kabini backwater and closer to the Nagarhole National Park.