Mysore Palace is the central piece of Mysore's attractions. The sprawling Mysore Palace is located in the heart of Mysore city. Rather the roads out of Mysore city appears radiating from the palace.
The interior of Mysore Palace is richly carved, intricate, colorful and architecturally thrilling.
It is from this palace the erstwhile rulers , the Wodeyars, ruled the Mysore Kingdom (see Maharajas of Mysore ).
Though Mysore is often referred to as the "City of Palaces", the term Mysore Palace refers to the largest and the most opulent of all its surviving palaces located in the city center, called the Amba Vilas Palace.
Mysore Palace history spans for more than 500 years. But what you see now in Mysore is the modern palace built in 1912. As mentioned earlier the first palace was built during 14th century by the then Wodeyar kings.
After the fall of Vijayanagar , and the subsequent power shifts in the region, Raja Wodeyar moved the capital to Srirangapatna from Mysore in 1610. The palace in Mysore however continued to serve as a royal residence.
During the regime of Raja Wodeyar II in 1638 the original palace got damaged by a lightning strike. It was repaired and extended later.
Again in 1803 during the regime of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III a new palace was built, after demolishing the old palace. In 1897 during the wedding of Princess Jayalakshmanni this palace got fully destroyed in a fire. Majority of its structure was made with wood that caused it complete destruction. You can see the model of this palace as one of the items on display inside the palace museum during very first lap of the tour.
Vani Vilas Sannidhana , the then ruler ( queen of Chamaraja Wodeyar X ) commissioned Henry Irwin, a renowned architect of British India to design the modern Mysore palace (see Architecture of Mysore Palace ). This is what you see now as the Mysore Palace. It took about 5 years to build and combines a range of architectural styles. This concept is popularly known as Indo-Saracenic style. One can see a pleasant blend of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architectural elements.
The palace is basically a three storied structure with a 44 meter ( 145 feet ) central tower. Pinkish marble domes adorn the number of towers configured in perfect symmetry.
The first attraction is the Doll Pavilion as you enter the museum. Antiques made of gold, silver, marble , ivory from around the world are on display. Some of them as old as 900 years.
The central portion of the palace is a huge court open to the sky. Beyond is the royal Marriage Hall (Kalyana Mantapa ) , the most awe-inspiring portion of the palace. The five storied tower of the palace makes a majestic dome over this hall.
The walls along the corridors are decorated with oil paintings of royal themes. A host of ceremonies and festivals of the bygone era is depicted in these painting in all its vividness and details.
See also Touring Mysore Palace, Temples in Mysore Palace , Mysore Palace illumination & How to reach Mysore Palace