Mysore Palace – Legacy of the Mysore Royals

Mysore Palace

Mysore Palace

When India gained Independence, the princely state of Mysore (under the Wadiyars) was among the earliest to sign the Instrument of Accession and join the Dominion of India. Despite having agreed to relinquish control and ownership of most of their lands and assets, the royal family of Mysore continues to reside in its palace – one of the grandest and most regal of palaces in India.

The Mysore Palace is a great tourist attraction these days, since most of the palace is administered and maintained by government authorities. Apart from the section that now forms the royal residence, the rest of the palace is open to public. The Mysore Palace now stands testimony to the riches, the grandeur, and the grace of India as it was before it stepped into the modern times.


Next to the state capital, Bengaluru, Mysore is the largest city in Karnataka state. Mysore has been a historic centre of power and politics in South India. It is a peaceful and progressive city that attracts business enterprises and tourists alike.

The history of Mysore goes back many centuries. It is believed that the city’s name is a deviation of Mahishasura-Ooru, or the city of Mahishasura, the demon king, who was slain by Goddess Durga as Chamundeshwari. This is the Hindu legend about the origin of Dussera (Navaratri) which is also celebrated with much pomp at the Mysore palace. The royal family played a central role in the evolution of Mysore over the past few centuries and their home, the palace still holds a very important place in Mangalorean society. Despite a great effort on their part to maintain a low profile lifestyle, the members of the royal family is greatly revered in Mangalore.

How to get There?

Located at a distance of about 140 kilometres from Bengaluru, the easiest way to reach Mysore is by car or bus from the state capital. The highway is excellent and bus services regular. The journey should take about 3 hours. Kempegowda International Airport at Bengaluru is also the closest international (and domestic airport). Mysore is also a main railway junction and is well connected by trains from most of the important towns of South India.

History of the Mysore Palace

The current Mysore Palace is a grand structure, but not the first palace to exist in this location. The earliest palace was built on this spot in the 14th century by King Yaduraya. This was demolished and rebuilt many times. With the death of Tipu Sultan, the capital of the Mysore Kingdom moved back to Mysore from Srirangapatnam. The Wadiyars, took up the royal seat and a new palace was commissioned. The royal family occupied it in 1801. By 1897, however, the palace which was built largely by wood caught fire and burnt down during a royal ceremony. Queen Regent Kempananjammanni Vanivilasa Sannidhana  immediately commissioned the renowned British architect Henry Irwin to build a stunning palace – one that would remain as a legacy of the Wadiars and their glorious reign. The construction of this palace was completed in 1912, but it has undergone many renovations and additions over the years.

The three-storied palace built by Irwin is also known as the Amba Vilasa and is an exemplary blend of Dravidian, Roman, and Saracenic styles of architecture. The pink marble domes are reminiscent of ancient Mughal buildings while the grey granite facade looks like a Medieval cathedral. The five storied tower at the center has a gold-gilded tower and dome. The Mysore Palace looks mighty and magnificent when it is lit up each evening and on festival days.

 Main Attractions of the Palace

  • Gombe Thotti or the Doll’s Pavilion – The pavilion with a display of dolls from Mysore and other parts of South India.
  • Elephant Gate – Main entrance to the palace.
  • Kalyana Mantapa – Stained glass roof pavilion, one of the most beautiful parts of the palace.
  • Diwan-e-Khas – Ornately done up hall used by the kings for private audience, known for its beautiful chandeliers.
  • Diwan-e-Aam – Public audience hall adorned with rich paintings and beautiful murals.
  • Portrait Gallery – Gallery of portraits of royals and paintings of court scenes.
  • Armory – Museum of royal arms used across the centuries.
  • Royal Gardens

Temples in the Palace

There are about 12 temples in the Mysore Palace, all built between the 14th and the 20th centuries. Some of the main temples here include:

  • Sri Gayatri Temple
  • Sri Bhuvaneshwari Temple
  • Shri Varahaswamy Temple
  • Shri Kille Venkatramanaswamy Temple
  • Sri Prasanna Krishna Swami Temple
  • Shri Kodi Someshwaraswami Temple
  • Sri Trinayaneshwara Temple
  • Shri Lakshmiramana Temple
  • Shri Ganapathy Temple
  • Shri Ambujavalli Temple
  • Shri Bhairava Temple
  • Shri Anjaneya Temple

Dussara Celebrations at the Mysore Palace

Mysore Dussara also called Nadahabba is the state festival of Karnataka. The nine days of the Navaratri and the Vijayadashami are celebrated with utmost gaiety in the city and the palace features right at the centre of these gala festivities. The reigning regent or the prince of the royal family initiates the poojas and presides over a courtly durbar as part of the Dussara celebrations each year. The palace comes alive with fairs and processions being held on the grounds. The grand gold throne that is believed to have been owned by the Pandavas is on display all 10 days of the festival. Ritual offerings for the Goddess Durga, the presiding deity of the temple in the Chamunda Hills is sent by the royal family. A number of sporting events and flower shows are also held on the palace grounds at this time.

Visitor Information

Entry Timings

Everyday – 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Palace Illumination Timings

Sundays, Festival days, and Public Holidays – 7 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.

Sound & Light Show Timings

Everyday except Sundays and Public Holidays – 7 p.m. to 7.45 p.m.

Entry charges and Ticket-

Children below 10 years – No entry charges

Children between 10 and 18 years – INR 20


Indian nationals – INR 40

Foreigners – INR 200

Special educational tours for school students are permitted. The entrance charges for the students (in such tours) are subsidized. Each student is charged INR 10. These tours subsidies are only allowed on producing a letter from the school management.

Photography is not permitted inside the palace.

Audio Guide Kits are available at the palace in the following languages:

  • Kanada
  • English
  • Hindi
  • German
  • Italian
  • French
  • Japanese