The historical Palace of Mysore in the city of Mysore in Karnataka, southern India, is one of India’s grandest royal buildings. It was the former seat of the Wodeyars — the Maharajas of Mysore, who ruled the princely state from 1350 to 1950. The three-story stone building of fine gray granite and deep pink marble domes has a facade with several expansive arches supported by tall pillars. The palace houses two huge and opulent ceremonial meeting halls called durbars and as many as eighteen temples inside the building. Its lavishly decorated interior of stained glass, mirrors, carved wooden doors, mosaic floors and the expansive garden surrounding the palace draws more than 6 million visitors annually. The Palace looks particularly breathtaking during weekends when it’s illuminated by nearly 100,000 lights that highlights its majestic profile against the night.
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The original Mysore Palace was built in the 14th century, but it was demolished and reconstructed several times. When the last one was gutted by a fire in 1897, the royal family commissioned the British architect Lord Henry Irwin to build a new palace, which is the current building. It was completed in 1912.
The Palace is open for visitors, and tours are conducted daily. Visitors can see a fine collection of sculptures, paintings and artefacts including the Maharaja’s 700-plus-strong weapon consisting of lances, cutlasses, pistols and other 14th century weapons. Another famous display is a wooden elephant howdah decorated with 84 kilograms of gold.
During the famous Mysore Dasara festival in September and October, the Palace ground becomes a hub of activities. A stage is set up in the palace ground where various cultural activities, songs and dances are performed. The Palace stays illuminated for two entire months, as opposed to only weekends and public holidays. The festival has been celebrated by the Wodeyars in Mysore with great pomp since 1799. The tradition is still carried on.
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