Mysore Palace or the Maharajah's palace located in the heart of the city at Mirza Road, is the most attractive monument in Mysore. One of the largest palaces in the country, also known as Amba Vilas, was the residence of Wodeyar Mahararaja's of the Mysore state. The original palace was built of wood, burned in 1897 and was rebuilt for the twenty fourth Wodeyar Raja in 1912. Designed in Indo-Saracenic style by the famous British architect, Henry Irwin, the palace is a treasure trove of exquisite carvings and works of art from around the world.
The three-storey building, 245 and 156 feet long, has a series of square towers with arches covered with domes. There is a large open space in front and the open courtyard in the center is covered by a gold-plated dome about 145 feet off the ground.
The entrance to the palace is in the "Gombe Thott " or wrist Pavilion, a gallery of Indian and European sculpture and ceremonial objects. Halfway is the elephant gate, which is the main entrance to the center of the palace. The door is adorned with drawings floriated, and bears the Mysore royal symbol of a double-headed eagle. Inside there is an enclosed courtyard. To the north of the gate are dolls, dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries before, an elephant howdah ceremony timber (transport remained above the elephants to carry royalty) decorated with 84 kilograms of 24 carat gold and other souvenirs.
In the south, a 'magnificent Kalyana Mantap "or the wedding pavilion at the center of an octagonal gabled roof, which are multi-colored stained glass with peacock themes laid out in geometric shapes and beautiful chandeliers Chechoslavakia. Long, narrow cast-iron columns wrought in Glasgow, Scotland has been organized into groups of three central angles of the octagon. The floor is covered with a glittering glazed tiles imported from England, artistic geometric patterns and the walls, leading to Mandapa is lined with oil paintings depicting Dusshera celebrations of the bygone royal era.
On the second floor, the Diwan-i-am 'Durbar Hall 155 m long and 42 meters broad, has a decorated ceiling, polished floors and many sculpture pillars which are said to have been painted with gold. The frescoes depicting eight manifestations of Goddess Shakti (strength), scenes from the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and an original painting by famous painter Raja Ravi Verma are displayed here. There is a open balcony supported by massive circular columns and a beautiful view of the Chamundi hills from here.
On the same floor, to the south is the smallest "Amba Vilas" or "Diwan-e-Khas " (private audience hall), which has beautifully carved doors at the entrance with inlay work.The nave of this room has beautiful columns of stained glass ceiling, supported by the arch-shaped metal beams and rods. The roof and walls have designs painted in red gold and blue.
There are twelve temples surrounding the palace within the enclosure. Some of them are built in typical Dravidian style including the Temple Varashaswamy with a gopuram that set the pattern for the later Sri Chamundeswari Temple on Chamundi Hill. On special occasions, religious ceremonies are still conducted in these temples.
The palace now under the supervision of the Department of Archaeology and Museums of the Government of Karnataka, has been transformed into a museum. The paintings and portraits, jewelry, royal costumes and other items owned by Wodeyars shown on the ground floor and a small collection of weapons on the top floor. It is said that the palace displays the largest collection of gold objects quantity wise. The 200 kg gold throne of Wodeyars with beautiful works of art displayed during the Dussera festival. The palace is spectacularly illuminated at night on Sundays and during the holiday season of Dussera.
There is a small private museum at the back, set up by Srikanta Datta Wodeyar Narasimharaja, an ancestor of the Wodeyar rulers and member of parliament who continues to reside here.