The Palace of Mysore (also known as the Amba Vilas Palace) is a palace situated in the city of Mysore in southern India. It is the official residence of the Wodeyars – the erstwhile royal family of Mysore that ruled the princely state of Mysore for over seven centuries, and also houses two durbar halls (ceremonial meeting hall of the royal court).
Mysore is commonly described as the City of Palaces, however, the term “Mysore Palace” specifically refers to one within the old fort. The Wodeyar kings first built a palace in Mysore in the 14th century, it was demolished and constructed multiple times. The current palace construction was commissioned in 1897, and it was completed in 1912 and expanded later around 1940.
Mysore palace is now one of the most famous tourist attractions in India after Taj Mahal with more than 2.7 million visitors. Although tourists are allowed to visit the palace, they are not allowed to take photographs inside the palace. Price of admission for foreign tourists is 200 INR., and for Indians 40 INR. All visitors must remove their footwear to enter the palace.
The regent of Mysore, Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhna, commissioned a British architect, Henry Irwin, to build yet another palace in its place. The construction was completed in year 1912. But slowly the beautification of the fort was also taken up and the inhabitants of the fort were slowly shifted out to newer Extension built outside. The present Public Durbar Hall wing was also added much later around 1940.
On the tenth day of the festival Vijaya Dashami, a parade with caparisoned elephants and other floats originate from the palace grounds.
Every autumn, the Palace is the venue for the famous Mysore Dasara festival, during which leading artists perform on a stage set up in the palace grounds. On the tenth day of the festival Vijaya Dashami, a parade with caparisoned elephants and other floats originate from the palace grounds.
Dasara is the most extravagant festival of Mysore. The Dasara festival is celebrated in the months of September and October of each year.
The festival celebrates and commemorates the victory of the great Goddess Durga, after she slew the demon, Mahishasura, and thereby, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil according to Hindu mythology. Some call her Chamundeshwari.
This festival has been celebrated by the Wodeyars at Srirangapatna from 1610 and in Mysore with great pomp from 1799 and the tradition still is carried on although the scale of the celebrations has diminished. The Dasara festivities have become an integral part of the culture and life in Mysore.
To celebrate this festival the Palace of Mysore is illuminated with more than 96,000 lights during that two-month period.