Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Mysore Palace

Mysore is one of the major cities in the South Indian state of Karnataka. Till independence it was the capital city of Wodeyars, the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore. At a distance of 140 kms from Bangalore, Mysore has always enchanted tourists and visitors with its magnificent palaces, beautiful gardens and rich cultural heritage. The city is famous for its silk and is also a thriving sandalwood and incense center. Today, Mysore has become a major tourist destination because of its convenient size and good climate, moreover the city has chosen to retain and promote its heritage rather than replace it.

The Mysore Palace, once the residence of the Wodeyars, is one of the largest palaces of its kind in India, and one of the most splendid. Built in Indo-Saracenic style with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the Palace is often compared with the Buckingham Palace of Britain because of its grandeur. Henry Irwin, the British consultant architect of Madras state, designed it. The palace was built by the twenty-fourth Wodeyar Raja in 1912 on the site of the old wooden palace that was gutted in the year 1897.

The palace has now been converted into a museum, which treasures the souvenirs, paintings, jewellery, royal costumes and other items, which were once possessed by the Wodeyars. It is said that the palace displays the largest collection of gold items, quantity wise.

The Golden Royal Elephant Throne, the Durbar Hall, and the Kalyan Mandap (wedding hall) are the main attractions here. The entry to the palace is through a beautiful gallery featuring Indian and European sculpture and ceremonial objects. Halfway along is the Elephant Gate, which is the main entrance to the center of the palace. The gate is decorated with floriated designs, and bears the Mysore royal symbol of a double-headed eagle. To the north of the gate the Royal Elephant Throne is displayed which is embellished with 84 kilogram of 24-carat gold.

Walls leading to the Kalyan Mandap are lined with intricate oil paintings, illustrating the royal procession of the Mysore Dussehra Festival. A unique thing about these paintings is that seen from any direction, the procession seems to be coming in one's own direction. The hall itself is magnificent and is decorated with huge chandeliers, and multicoloured stain glass arranged in peacock designs. The historic Durbar Hall of the palace has an ornate ceiling and sculpted pillars which are said to have been painted with gold. It is also a treasure house of rare paintings by some celebrated artists. This hall, which is up the stairs, offers wonderful view of the Chamundi Hills that towers over the city and houses a temple dedicated to the Goddess Chamundeshwari, the royal family's patron deity.


Mysore Zoo:
The Chamarajendra Zoological Garden, known as the Mysore Zoo, is located about 2km from the Mysore Palace and about 3km from the Mysore City Bus Stand. It covers over 250sq. ft. Just imagine – this zoo was once a private zoo! It was set up by a Wodeyar King for his daughter the Princess. Now open to the public, the zoo not only houses a variety of animals but is also well-known for rearing rare animals in captivity.

Railway museum Mysore:
The Railway Museum of Mysore is not housed in a building, but is an outdoor exhibit of vintage locomotives. You can view a vintage Austin rail-motor car as also one of the first steam engines ever made. Most fascinating are the royal carriages used by the Mysore Royals in days gone by. These are in the Sri Ranga Pavilion. The history of the Railways is depicted through an exhibit of paintings and photographs in the Chamundi Gallery. Take your kids along and enjoy a merry ride in a battery-operated mini-train at the Railway Museum Mysore.

Folk Arts Museum Mysore:
The Folk Arts Museum Mysore houses an interesting and unique collection of more than 6000 artefacts, clothing and headgear related to folkart. There are not only toys and puppets, but also utensils and other items that are used in the home. A variety of traditional implements used by cobblers, potters, fishermen, goldsmiths, and other professionals are on display. Unusual masks and intricately detailed models of temples are a wonderful sight. leather shadow puppets form a separate section. Don’t miss the two well-preserved wooden chariots in the Folk Arts Museum in Mysore.

Vanaranga Open Air Theatre Mysore:
The Rangayana organisation promotes various traditional forms of the arts and culture. They regularly hold music, dance and theatre programs at the Vanaranga Open Air Theatre, Mysore. At the same premises is Bhoomigitha, a 200sq. ft. auditorium.

1 comment:

  1. Hi..your post is very useful and interesting. I liked it very much and felt beneficial for all..I am panning to visit br hills resort and also bandipur resorts this weekend with my family. because their facilites,sevices offered at low cost,Wildlife Safari really really awesome..


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