Mysore Palace is the central piece of Mysore’s attractions. The sprawling Mysore Palace is located in the heart of Mysore city. Rather the road out of Mysore city appears radiating from the palace. The interior of Mysore Palace is richly carved, intricate, colorful and architecturally thrilling.
It is from this palace the erstwhile rulers, the Wodeyars, ruled the Mysore Kingdom (see Maharajas of Mysore).
Though Mysore is often referred to as the “City of Palaces”, the term Mysore Palace refers to the largest and the most opulent of all its surviving palaces located in the city center, called the Amba Vilas Palace.
Mysore Palace history spans for more than 500 years. But what you see now in Mysore is the modern palace built in 1912. As mentioned earlier the first palace was built during 14th century by the then Wodeyar kings.
After the fall of Vijayanagar, and the subsequent power shifts in the region, Raja Wodeyar moved the capital to Srirangapatna from Mysore in 1610. The palace in Mysore however continued to serve as a royal residence.
During the regime of Raja Wodeyar II in 1638 a lightning strike damaged the original palace. It was repaired and extended later.
Again in 1803 during the regime of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III a new palace was built, after demolishing the old palace. In 1897 during the wedding of Princess Jayalakshmanni this palace got fully destroyed in a fire. Majority of its structure was made with wood that caused it complete destruction. You can see the model of this palace as one of the items on display inside the palace museum during very first lap of the tour.
Vani Vilas Sannidhana, the then ruler ( queen of Chama raja Wodeyar X ) commissioned Henry Irwin, a renowned architect of British India to design the modern Mysore palace (see Architecture of Mysore Palace ). This is what you see now as the Mysore Palace. It took about 5 years to build and combines a range of architectural styles. This concept is popularly known as Indo-Saracenic style. One can see a pleasant blend of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architectural elements.