The Palace is a surprisingly recent buildingMaharaja’s Palace
The Palace is an ochre- colored extravaganza of domes,
arches, turrets, colonnades and stunningly intricate sculpture of the Hoysala
School. Built deliberately enormous and lavish, it reflects the tastes of a
ruling family who loved fantastic entertainment and the good life. In spite of
its ancient appearance, the Palace is a surprisingly recent building, being
constructed in 1911 to replace the one in the Fort that was partially burnt
down in 1897.
The present Palaces is a superb example of the
indo-Saracenic School –an architectural style that is an elaborate hybrid of
Hindu, Islamic and Moorish styles, Western imagination and India materials. It
was designed by Henry Irwin. The exterior is decorated with elegant carvings of
birds, animals, scrolls and foliage and the principal face is broken up most
interestingly by cupolas, minarets, balconies and porches to produce a
marvelous light and shade effect.
In the interior are vast pillared corridors and stately
halls, elaborate carved ceilings, polished marble floors and intricate mosaics.
Carvings in ivory, stone wood and stone and inlay and stucco work adorn every
room. Several varieties of stone –marble, granite trap stone (greenish blue)
pot stone (light grey) have been cleverly used to obtain pleasing visual
Other paints of interest in the palace are the Durbar Hall
and the Kalyana mandapam with its life –like representations of the Dassara
procession in gaudy color. These paintings present a view of life as it was in
Mysore centuries ago. Beautiful and extremely valuable also, are Raja Ravi
Varma’s life size portraits of Hindu Gods and Goddesses in luminescent tones,
each full of mythic drama. Antique Royal weapons are seen everywhere. In the
Armory are Tipu’s and Haider’s swords and Shivaji’s claw weapon. In short, the
Palace is a must on any visitor’s itinerary.