Filed Trip

  • Visit to Sandalwood Plantation area at Mysore

 

 

  • Visit to Mysore Palace

 

History of Mysore Palace

 

  • A testament to the irrepressible spirit of the people of Mysore and their kings, the Mysore Palace has survived political upheavals, disaster and destruction, only to rise out of the ashes more magnificent than ever.

  • The current Mysore Palace – the fourth to occupy this site – was designed by the British architect Henry Irwin after its predecessor was destroyed in a fire in 1897. The imposing building that stands today was completed in 1912, but it is believed that a Mysore Palace was established as part of a wooden fortress, by the royal family of Mysore, the Wodeyars, as early as the fourteenth century.

  • In 1638 the palace was struck by lightning and rebuilt by Kantirava Narasa Raja Wodeyar (1638 - 1659 AD), who extended the existing structures, adding new pavilions.

  • The glory of the new building was to prove short-lived. The death of Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar (1673 - 1704 AD) in the eighteenth century plunged the kingdom into a period of political instability.

  • During these turbulent times the Mysore Palace slipped into a state of neglect culminating in its demolition in 1793 by Tipu Sultan, the son of Hyder Ali, a maverick general in the king’s army who rose to become the ruler of Mysore.

  • In 1799, when upon the death of Tipu Sultan the five-year old Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1794-1868) AD assumed the throne, the coronation ceremony took place under a marquee. One of king’s first tasks, on his accession, was to commission a new palace built in the Hindu architectural style and completed in 1803.

  • The hastily constructed palace soon fell into disrepair and in 1897 was razed to the ground by a fire at the wedding ceremony of princess Jayalakshmmanni.

  • The destiny of the Mysore Palace now passed to Queen Regent Kempananjammanni Vanivilasa Sanndihana, who commissioned well-known British architect Henry Irwin to build a new palace that would be a tribute to the legacy of Mysore and the Wodeyars.

  • Completed in 1912 and at a cost of Rs. 41,47,913 the result was the Mysore Palace you see standing today. A masterpiece in Indo-Saracenic architecture, on par with great Mughal residences of the North and the stately colonial public buildings of the South.

 

The Royals

  • Patrons of art and culture, fierce warriors and astute administrators, the Wodeyars grew from provincial chieftains, to a mighty dynasty that would rule Mysore for nearly six centuries.

  • The founding of the dynasty is veiled in the chivalrous legend of two princely brothers from Dwaraka, in the Northern State of Gujarat.

  • While on pilgrimage in Mysore the two princes heard women lament the fate of the local Princess Devajammanni. The King of Mysore had died and the Chieftain of Karagahalli, a neighboring province, was trying to marry the princess and acquire Mysore by force.

  • Rising to the occasion the two brothers mobilized troops, killed the Karagahalli Chieftain and rescued the princess. The grateful princess married the elder of the two brothers, named Yaduraya, who became the first ruler of the Wodeyar dynasty.

  • It was Raja Wodeyar (1578-1617), the eight king of the Wodeyar dynasty, however, who transformed Mysore from a feudal principality into a kingdom. Defeating the king of the declining Vijayanagar Empire, he shifted his capital from Mysore to Srirangapatna. It was also during his reign that the famous Dasara festival was revived.

  • Ranadhira Kantirava Narasaraja Wodeyar (1638-1659) consolidated the kingdom won by his predecessor, thwarting two invasions by the powerful Bijapur Adilshahis. He also fortified Srirangapatna and Mysore and began minting coins with his seals.

  • Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar (1673-1704), the next great Wodeyar, further expanded the kingdom. He also introduced land reforms and streamlined the administration. Following his death, a series of inept rulers plunged the kingdom into political instability.

  • By the mid eighteenth century, Mysore was virtually ruled by Hyder Ali, a general in the army of Krishnaraja Wodeyar II (1734 - 1766), and then his son Tipu Sultan. Finally, following the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799 in a battle with the British, the five-year-old Prince Krishnaraja Wodeyar III [1799-1868] was installed on the throne of Mysore.

  • It was under the reigns of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III [1799-1868] and his son Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV [1895- 1940], that the modern township of Mysore was created. It was also during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV that the Mysore Palace was built, under the commission of his mother Maharani Kempananjammanni of Vanivilasa Sanndihana who served as Regent during his minority from 1895-1902.

  • After his death in 1940, Jayachamaraja Wodeyar became the 25th and last ruler of the Mysore royal family. It is during this period that India won freedom and monarchy was abolished, closing a chapter in history and ending the era of the Mysore Maharajas.

Architecture

  • A dramatic three storied stone building of fine gray granite with deep pink marble domes dominated by a five-storied 145 ft tower with a gilded dome mounted by a single golden flag.

  • Designed by Henry Irwin, the Mysore Palace is one of the finest achievements of Indo-Saracenic architecture, summing up many diverse themes that have played through Indian architecture over the centuries. Muslim designs and Rajput style combine with Gothic elements and indigenous materials in an exuberant display of grandeur.

  • The palace is set among meticulously laid gardens and has an intricately detailed elevation with a profusion of delicately curved arches, bow-like canopies, magnificent bay windows and columns in varied styles ranging from Byzantine to Hindu.

  • The striking façade has seven expansive arches and two smaller ones flanking the central arch, which is supported by tall pillars. Above the central arch is an impressive sculpture of Gajalakshmi - the Goddess of wealth with elephants.

  • The sumptuous interiors of the palace, in keeping with the grand exteriors, are replete with exquisitely carved doors, expansive pavilions, delicate chandeliers, exquisite stained glass ceilings and decorative frescoes depicting scenes from the Indian epics. An enduring reminder of the splendour of the Mysore maharajas and a testament to the dexterity of the local artisans and craftsmen.

Unique Rooms

Ambavilasa or Diwan e khas

  • The Ambavilasa, a hall used by the king for private audience, is one of the most spectacular rooms of the palace.

  • Entry to this opulent hall is through an elegantly carved rosewood doorway inlaid with ivory that opens into a shrine to Ganesha.

  • The central knave of the hall has ornately gilded columns, stained glass ceilings, decorative steel grills, and chandeliers with fine floral motifs, mirrored in the pietra dura mosaic floor embellished with semi-precious stones.