sandal wood city is situated at an altitude of 77m about 14 kms from Bangalore,
near the Chamundi hills. This imperial city was the capital of the
Wodeyars. The Wodeyars were the rulers of Mysore since the 14th century,
until the independence from the British except for the 40 years of rule
of Hyder Ali & Tippu Sultan. It is a beautiful city of palaces,
gardens & temples. The ten days and nine nights of Dussera festival
around October/November is the best time to visit Mysore. The city
is full of colour, lights, music & festivities. On the final
day, on Vijayadasami, there is a procession of camels, horses, elephants
all finely decorated, palanquins, coaches, led by the former Maharaja in
a golden howdah on a decorated elephant.
Mysore was originally known as Mahisuru, for the demon king Mahishasuran was vanquished here by Goddess Chamundeswari. There is a shrine for Goddess Chamundeswari atop the Chamundi Hills.
Mysore is famous for sandalwood, silks, ivory, rose & teak wood carved furniture, sandalwood oil, agarbathis, etc.
The present grand structure was completed in 1912 at a cost of Rs.42 lakhs. The old palace had been destroyed by fire & the new palace was raised on the model and foundations of the old palace. It is in the Indo-Saracenic style with the use of local materials as far as possible, with beautiful domes, archways, turrets, colonnades. The main building is a grey granite structure with seven arches at the entrance.
There are 3 storeys topped by a five storey tower, which is about 145 ft from the ground to the golden flag at the summit. The palace is built around an open courtyard (thotti).
Only four sections are open to the public - Gombi Thotti, Kalyana Mandapam, Durbar Hall and Amba Vilas.
In the ground floor is the beautiful Kalyana Mandapam (marriage pavilion). The octagonal pavilion has a colourful stained-glass ceiling with peacock designs & is also known as the peacock pavilion. On the walls of this pavilion, there are beautiful murals depicting various scenes from the Dussera festival, a total of 26 panels on canvas executed by the Mysore artists commissioned by Krishnaraja Wodeyar.
The Durbar Hall in the first floor is an impressive pillared hall, with a wonderful display of paintings by Raja Ravi Varma & 8 forms of Devi executed by artist Shilpi Siddalingaswami on the rear wall. The paintings of four generations of the royal family can be seen on the central panel.
The Amba Vilas is also in the first floor, with wonderfully crafted designs on the doors, walls ceilings.
The royal throne, decorated with golden pillars, carvings consists of a main seat, steps leading tot he seat and a golden umbrella. It is on display during the Dussera festival.
On Sunday nights and on public holidays, the palace is richly illuminated.
Mysore Palace - Front View (embedded panaroma from www.360indiaguide.com)
There is a giant statue of Mahishasuran, the demon king who was vanquished by Goddess Chamundi. On the way up, there is a huge monolith Nandi (16 x 25 ft).
The well planned Garden was laid at the base of the Krishnarajasagar dam, across the river Cauvery. The dam and the garden were built in 1932 during the rule of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV.
The gardens were planned by the Raja's Diwan, Sir Mirza Ismail. This is a beautiful picnic spot with its beautiful colourful flower beds, fountains, pools, illuminated in the nights.
The dam was constructed by the great engineer and statesman, the thenChief Engineer of Mysore, Sri Visvesvaraya. This is one of the largest dam in South India (130sq kms). It is a stone structure that has built without cement. Fishing and boating facilities are available.
Housed in the Jagmohan Palace, it is also known as the Jagan Mohan Ar Galley. Various aretefacts such as paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, Nicholas Roerich, ceramic, sandalwood, ivory,metal and stone curios. Antique furniture and ancient musical instruments are also on display.
This is a century old zoo, where wild animals are bred in captivity, including the King Cobra. It houses about 2,000 animals.
Oil factory (where oil is extrated from the sandalwood & incence sticks
The Govt. Silk Weaving factory
Sri Chamarajendra Technical Institute
Cauvery Arts and Crafts Emporium
Maanasa Gangothri (Mysore University Campus)
are other places of interest.