Mysuru is the cultural capital of Karnataka. It is commonly known as city of palaces, and the palace of Mysuru is one of the most famous tourist attractions in India. There are about seven palaces in Mysuru but the Mysuru Palace is the most known and was built by Krishnarajendra Wadiyar IV.
The palace is the venue for the most talked about Mysuru Dasera. This government sponsored event runs 10 days long every September or October and is the grandest celebration of the festival – whatever the bengalis may claim, Karnataka spends the most when it comes to dasera. On the tenth day, the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari placed in the Golden Howdah on top of the elephant is taken in procession, and is followed by many performing artists. The Palace of Mysore is illuminated with more than 96,000 lights during the festival. I always wanted to go to Mysuru during dasera and I will one of these days. It is one of the things I want to do before I turn 30 after all.
I had gone to the Mysuru Palace during summer – both the times – once with my parents when I was only 10-11 and another time with Supraja when I was past 25. During the non-dasera times, the golden howdah in kept in one of the several rooms in the palace, exhibited alongside several other things like swords, royal furniture, photographs of the royal family, paintings etc. The things inside the palace only made me realise that the kings and the queens who lived in the palace were people too; they just lived in a bigger house.
We went around the palace leisurely, learning about it as much as we could, imagining the life in the palace in the sparse time we had at our hand. We were exhausted, yes. It was summer and we had already gone to Chamundeshwari hill in the morning. However, Supraja, who was travelling with me, was equally enthusiastic about the palace so we somehow dragged our unwilling and tired bodies and finished the tour.
Note: Photography isn’t allowed in the palace. There are policemen inside at every crook and turn so we don’t have any pictures to share.
There are about twelve temples in the palace – within and outside. Some very old – built in the 14th century before the old palace was destroyed in the fire. Some quite new – built around the time the new palace was built. Though the present palace has got Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture along with the Hindu architecture, the temples and the photographs of the royal family remind us that the palace once belonged to a Hindu king.
It is a place that reminds everyone of the rich culture India once possessed – not as grandeur as Hampi but grand enough.
Note: If you want to see the palace properly, go during the non-dasera season.