Mysore Palace is one of the most magnificent buildings. It is a sight not to be missed when it is illuminated on Sundays and festive occasions. The interior of the Palace is equally worth a visit, for its spacious halls, paintings and architectural beauty. The palace is an excellent combination of Indo-Saracenic architecture.
It is the official residence of the Wadiyars - the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, and also houses two durbar halls (ceremonial meeting hall of the royal court).
Mysore has a number of historic palaces, and is commonly described as the City of Palaces. However, the term "Mysore Palace" specifically refers to one within the old fort. The palace was commissioned in 1897, and its construction was completed in 1912. It is now one of the most famous tourist attractions in Mysore. Although tourists are allowed to visit the palace, they are not allowed to take photographs inside the palace.
The architectural style of the palace is commonly described as Indo-Saracenic, and blends together Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture. It is a three-storied stone structure, with marble domes and a 145 ft five-storied tower. The palace is surrounded by a large garden.
The three storied stone building of fine gray granite with deep pink marble domes was designed by Henry Irwin. The facade 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, prosperity, good luck, and abundance with her elephants.
Chivalry and romance are associated with the emergence of the Yadu or Wadiyar dynasty, who ruled from Mysore from 14th century onwards for nearly six centuries. As one enters the Eastern gate of the Mysore Palace, one can spot a small temple dedicated to Kodi Bhyraveswara. This temple is of historical significance as it saw the emergence of the Wadiyar dynasty. In this temple, a dramatic turn of events took place way back in the year 1399 A.D.
As the story goes, two young men, Vijaya and Krishna of the Yadu dynasty hailing from Dwaraka in Gujarat came to Mysore, after visiting Melkote on their pilgrimage. The two royal princes took shelter at the Kodi Bhyraveswara Temple, which was close to the Doddakere, from where people of then small city of Mysore fetched water for drinking and daily chore. At dawn, they heard some women, while washing closes discussing the distress situation of the young Princess Devajammanni. The death of her father, Chamaraja, the local ruler, had landed her and her mother, the queen, in trouble. Taking advantage of the situation, the neighbouring Chief of Karugahalli, Maranayaka, began demanding the kingdom and the princess in marriage. Taking the help of a Jangama Odeya, a Shaivite religious man, the two chivalrous brothers came to the rescue of the distressed Maharani and the Princess. Mobilising troops, they killed the Karugahalli Chief and his men and saved the Mysore royal family and their kingdom. A happy princess married the elder brother, Vijaya, and he became the first ruler of the Yadu dynasty. He assumed the name Yaduraya. Thus the traditional founding of the Wadiyar dynasty took place in 1399 with Yaduraya. Since then, 24 rulers have succeeded in the dynasty, the last being Jayachamaraja Wadiyar. It is during his period, India won freedom and later monarchy was abolished. With that ended the reign of the Mysore Maharajas. Yaduraya ruled from 1399 to 1423. Hiriya Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar (1423-1459), Thimmaraja Wadiyar (1459-1478) and Hiriya Chamaraja Wadiyar (1478-1513) succeeded him. Hiriya Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar II (1513-1553) became the fifth ruler. Thimmaraja Wadiyar (1553-1572) succeeded him and he defeated some neighbouring chieftains and expanded his boundary. The next ruler, Bola Chamaraja Wadiyar (1572-1576) was called 'Bola' or 'Bald' because while he was visiting the Chamundi Hills to worship the Goddess, a lightning struck and he lost all his hairs. After him, Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar III (1576-1578) ruled for a brief period of about two years.