Mysuru’s heritage attracts travellers from all over the world. Being the seat of power of Tipu Sultan and the Wodeyar dynasty, this city has a lot to offer.
Growing up in Delhi, I remember passing by the Red Fort, looking at the windows on those high walls and wondering to myself of the life that lay beyond them. So you can imagine how excited I was when I came to know that visitors could tour the insides of the Mysore Palace. I looked forward to an authentic Palace experience.
I made my plans, packed my bags, and 10 days later, there I was – at the gates of the beautiful Mysore Palace. It was a warm, cloudy day that belied my expectation of a hot Mysore day, and the place wasn’t too crowded. Lucky me, I guess.
The Palace has audio guides available for rent. However, I let that pass as I had researched the place and had the FlippAR Go app on my phone. The app serves as a guide with its audio and video tour of the palace.
What struck me first were the large lawns. The Palace itself, while large, occupies a small part of the total area. Beige walls, ornate balconies and windows, luxuriously spaced columns, and the graceful red domes – this Indo-Saracenic beauty is as royal as they come.
The Amba Vilas Palace is an elegant blend of Indian, Persian, and Gothic styles of architecture. An idol of Gajalaxmi stands above the central arch like a well-placed crown. At this point, let me also talk about the dramatic history of Amba Vilas.
The palace we see now is its fourth avatar. The first palace was struck by lightning, the second was torn down by Tipu Sultan, and the third was burnt in an accidental fire during a royal wedding. It then took 15 years to construct the wonder it is today.
The interiors of Amba Vilas are a striking contrast. I was spellbound by the intricate carvings, the majestic doors inlaid with ivory, the elegant design of the pillars, and the colourful hall. Oh, the hall! Where do I even begin? It was surreal.
My first reaction was an involuntary “Wow!” The glassy floors (whatever I could see of them through the sea of feet), the ornate pillars and ceiling, and the throne! A real-life throne! I stood transfixed, my mind recreating the splendid durbar that once took place there.
The “royal life” still seems like a fairytale to me. The crowd was pooling in, so I couldn’t set camp there. It was torturous that no photography was allowed inside the premises. So, so torturous. Oh, and how can I forget!! This palace has 3D paintings, twenty-six of them. The paintings depict the Dussehra celebration in the old town of Mysore.
A friend had recommended that I stick around for the light show that starts at 7pm. Though I struggled to understood the language, the show was enchanting. From what I gathered, it retold the history of the palace through light projections.
The best part, however, was the way the entire palace was lit up in all its glory, shimmering with over 97,000 bulbs. What a glorious sight! The outlines of the palace looked golden, and its radiance spoke fittingly of the striking wonder that it stands out against the Mysuru night sky.