Monday, October 11, 2010

If one has tDSC05419o give an example of “grand” or “luxurious” or “princely” there is none other better or qualified than the Ambavilas Palace or the Mysore Palace as it is called generally. It is one building of India which reflects richness at each step within. Tourists will just awe at its beauty without question. As any other people, we were totally looking forward for this experience. We reached the palace at  around 3 in the afternoon. Mysore, as it being a cooler place attracts visitors all through the year and that day was no exception. There were hundreds already inside and some others waiting to go in.  The entrance to the palace is itself grand with high a high arch.

Photography is not allowed inside the palace, so we had to deposit them at the entrance and move inside. Even footwear is not allowed inside for obvious reasons. The outer side oDSC05440f the palace left wing is dedicated to the security and administrative offices. There is nice small flower garden in front of the palace which is a pleasure to watch in the evening. The palace that we see today is the not the original one. There was a wooden palace earlier which was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1897 A.D. The new palace was designed by Mr. Henry Irwin who also was the architect of Buildings like The Viceregal Lodge of Simla, The Chennai Central and Madras High Court. This new building cost Rs. 42 lakhs then.

The architectural style of the palace is commonly described as Indo-Saracenic, and blends together Hindu, DSC05449Muslim, 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. There are five entrances to the fort area. The 60 ft East Gate is called Jaya Marthanda. The other entrances are Balarama and Jayarama gatesDSC05446 on the North. These entrances are used for the Dushera Procession. On the west, is the smaller Bhamhapuri Gate. On the South is the Varaha Gate, which was only used for important Guests.

Entry to the palace is through the Gombe Thotti or the Doll’s Pavilion, a gallery of traditional dolls from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The pavilion also houses a fine collection of Indian and European sculpture and ceremonial objects like a wooden elephant howdah (frame to carry passengers) decorated with 84 kilograms of gold. To the east of the Thotti is the Elephant Gate. To the South is the Kalyanamantapa or the marriage hall. The ceiling of this hall is totally made of glass of different colours and shapes. The glass in the ceiling iMysore_palaces arranged in various eye pleasing designs.

On the first floor, facing east is the great Durbar Hall. The ceiling of the hall is  divided into smaller domes and each dome is exquisitely painted from inside. There are more than 150 pillars in this hall at a distance of 3 feet each and even these pillars are painted Light Blue and Orange colours.  One of the main attractions of the palace is the ceremonial throne. It consists of the main seat, a staircase and a golden umbrella. According to a legend, this throne belonged to the Pandavas when they were in Hastinapura.

Sundays and holidays are a feast to the eyes. The entire palace will be lit wDSC05476ith 50,000 lights and it is a must watch. The other time when most visitors throng Mysore is the Dushera. The royal descendent of the Wodeyar Dynasty, seated on an elephant will make a public appearance on that day. Also the presiding deity, Chamundeswari Devi is placed in the golden howdah and taken in a procession on an elephant.

No matter how much i describe the palace, it is not equal to a visit to the place. No words can praise the grandeur and elegance of the structure. We started our return journey and visited the Brindavan Gardens for a very short time. These  gardens are at a distance of 20 kilometres from the palace and are very beautiful. It was time for us to get going and we came back to Bangalore with memories that will last a lifetime.


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