The royal city of Mysore, home of the erstwhile Maharajahs, is just 2.5 hours drive from Bangalore.
Mysore is yet to, and perhaps will never, get over its past. A past thats made of kings, queens, conquests, rich patrons, extravagant durbars and pearled hallways must be hard to get over. The streets in Mysore are old and a good part of history can be traced by following their winding paths. The city that gets its name from Mahishasura, the troublemaker demon who was slain by the Goddess Chamundeshwari: whose temple atop the Chamundi Hill watches all over the city, has played host to the reign of a long line of Wadiyars, Tipu Sultan and the British Raj.
All roads in Mysore lead to the Mysore Palace, and rightfully so. An ode to magnificence, the Mysore Palace is a marvel of ornate ceilings, jewelled corridors, open mandaps, stained glass windows, vivid paintings and Wadiyar memorabilia – including the jewelled throne. As the main host of the famous Mysore Dasara, the Palace still has the airs of the headquarters of a sovereign. Mysore’s other palaces include the Jaganmohana Palace, Rajendra Vilas, Lalitha Mahal (which is now the Lalith Mahal Palace Hotel) and the Jayalakshmi Vilas.
They make it all big and grand at Mysore or so it appears. St. Philomena’s Church is awe-inspiring with its Neo-gothic style, built along the lines of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The 12th century Chamundeshwari Temple built in the style of the Hoysalas is no less impressive – it also boasts one of the biggest monolithic Nandi statues. If the pretty-as-a-picture Brindavan Gardens are a tad too manicured for your tastes, you can always head for the wilderness of the nearby BR Hills or the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. The latter is comprised of six islets, teeming with water birds including painted storks and pelicans, and is located on the banks of the Cauvery thats teeming with crocodiles. A boating experience here is surreal as much as it is common – its not everyday you’re within an arms length from a monster crocodile with no protective fencing in between. Mixed as the flavours are, Mysore offers an experience that has been tried, tested and approved by royalty for centuries.
The Mysore Palace (Amba Vilasa)(1912)
The Palace was built in 1912, at a cost of Rs.41.50 lakhs in the Indo-Saracenic style, a combination of Hindu and Saracenic features. The construction of new palace was started in 1897, after the old wooden palace was caught in an accidental fire .Henry Irwin was the architect, and E.W. Fritchley worked as consulting Engineer. The elevation is composed of intricately detailed and variegated elements-a ;profusion of rounded and slightly carved arches, canopies, slender columned colonnades, some with Hindu features in Rajput style, the intricately executed multiple mouldings, marble architraves, stained glass pavilion, durbar halls, panels, fine carvings of birds, foliage, animals in Hoysala style.
Jagan Mohan palace (1861)
The huge pavilion at the front has been used for holding meetings of the Representative Assembly and the convocation of the University of Mysore. The installation of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV took place in this pavilion in 1902, attended by Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy and Governor-General of India. The Royal family lived in this palace till the construction of the new Amba Vilas Mysore Palace in 1912. Built in 1861 by Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the building is in predominantly Hindu style.
Lalith Mahal Palace (1931)
Designed by E.W. Fritchley, a much patronized Bombay-based architect of those days, the building was built in 1931 at a cost of Rs. 13 lakhs as a guest house for European visitors of the Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. The building is a majestic two-storey composition of twin Ionic columns, a projecting porch on the ground floor, spherical domes, the circular entrance hall, domination central dome, stained glass embellishment present a regal touch.
Devaraja Market (1900)
The market architecture is characterized by a pleasing variance of facade styling and ornamentation with open space designed for easy purchase of fruits, vegetables, flowers and the like. Situated of Sayyaji Rao Road, which was laid over the filled nala (canal), which at one time ran across it, the Devaraja market has shops with meticulously styled frontages and gables. Devaraja Market formed in 1900 now has 722 shops.
Crawford Hall (1947)
Built in 1947 to house the Mysore University Offices, the buildings exhibits a grand look with Corinthian open arched verandahs, columns, a heavy multiple moulded entablature, and a plaster-relief picture of Goddess Saraswathi of the central block. Franking wings at two levels have details of balustrade and piered parapets, Roman arches and Tuscan double columns.
Circle of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (1952)
The Circle is named in memory of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV who ruled Mysore from 1902-40. The marble statue of the Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV was prepared by Sculptor R.P. Kamath. The circle was inaugurated by Sir M. Visveswaraiah on 16th October 1952.The canopy, and the arched columns present Indo saracenic style.
Deputy Commissioner’s office (1895)
Built in 1895, it is situated inside the Gordon Park, and dedicated to Sir James Gordon (the Resident of Mysore), whose statue is erected opposite to it. The two storey building with a huge hall served as the venue of Representative Assembly till 1923 and now houses the Deputy Commissioner’s office. With its octagonal dome, with an unusually double-bulb finial resting on a elaborately composed square drum, arches of different shapes, with Corinthian pilasters, and open verandahs leading into high ceiling, inner rooms and halls, represents a typical European-classical style of public buildings.
Government House (1805)
This is a typical European- classical structure built in 1805, as the Residency building. The design of the original part of the building described as ‘Tuscan Doric’ was done by Colonel wilks, the then acting Resident. In plan, the structure consists of a landscaped central atrium with a Tuscan-columned arcade. A three-bayed large banquets hall, a semi-circular ball room of high arched openings, projecting portico, variety of furniture and decorations present a majestic look.
Situated in front of palace north gate, the plan of statue-base is square in composition with Dilwara – styled carved brackets of elaborate design supporting sloping sun-shades. The ribbed dome crowning the canopy is dazzling guilded and distinctly Indo-Saracenic. The marble statue of the Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar IV prepared by Robert W. Colton of the Royal Academy was created in 1920.The statue was erected in centre of the Curzon Park which was earlier comprised of houses and moat. It is said that the moat portion of the fort were filled in and laid out as a park for the installation of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV.
Silver Jubilee Clock Tower (1927)
The 75ft.Square tower in Indo-Saracenic style, with a curvilinear chajja provide a Rajasthani touch to the domed canopy. The 5ft diameter of the clock, the two well-proportioned double lower storeys and double arched slit-windows resemble the early English Church architecture. The Clock Tower was erected during the Silver Jubilee if the reign of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV on 8th August 1927.
Krishnarajendra Hospital (1918)
Rebuilt in 1918 at a cost of Rs. 5.00 lakhs, the building is in Greaco-Roman style. The central dome in Vatican model dominates the elevation. Tuscan, ionic and Corinthian columns and Greek details present a grand look. The end block each with a set of elaborately carved moulded Niches are treated with pyramidal steps ending in a finial set in a vast ground. The building exhibits a grand look.
Law courts (1885)
The double storyed building completed in 1885, has arcaded verandahs with Tuscan and Corinthian pilasters and moulded motifs. The central block is topped with a cut-off pyramid, repeated in the two wings, an usual feature of European classical style. Pediments with Corinthian Pilaster end the wings. The structure stands in an elevated position and has an appropriate frontage of about 300ft.It is said that the architect of the building followed the model of Chicago Exhibition buildings.
Maharaja’s High School (1833)
The school started with the benevolence of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1799-1868), in 1833 as “the Raja’s free school “became a high school in 1875. The two –storey structure has an arcaded verandah on the ground floor and a verandah of lonic columns on the first floor. Multiple-columned square chattris, crowned with octagonal pyramids with finials, rise on the flanks. The features are repeated at the extended wings at the rear.
Banumahiah College (1914)
This building was constructed in 1914 and is now maintained by a private trust (started by sahukar D. Banumaiah, a Philonthropist) which runs educational institution. The building formerly housed the Palace Mothikhana department, which looked after the food and provision supplies of the Palace. Arcaded verandahs with Tuscan and lonic pilasters, exhibit a blend of Roman arches and Indo-Saracenic chhatris.
Administrative Training institute (1910)
The building was built as the guest house for royal visitors in 1910. The structure is a composition of gables and dormers over the tilted roof and monkey topped lean to verandahs, with typical bungalow features. Situated on Lalith Mahal road in Mysore, at present it has housed the State Administrative Training Institute.
Oriental Research Institute (1891)
The foundation stone of this heritage building was laid on 20th June 1887-the Jubilee year of Queen Victoria’s reign by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar X. Built in 1891, this is a predominantly European-classical structure with mixed Hindu features. The Corinthian double columns at the entrance verandah, the flanking
Parakal Mutt (1850)
Built in 1850 during the time of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1799-1868). The central shikhara of Hoysala details, pillared chajja, carved arches, verandahs and accompanying chhatis- present an elaborate ornamental look. The recessed wings have rectangular openings. Each opening is topped with a small sized shikara and accompanied with chhatris which balance the elevation.
Karnaji Mansion (1902)
The building was built in 1914 for the second princess Krishnarajammanni (second sister of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV), at a cost of Rs. 4.29 lakhs. A rich blend of Saracenic and Hindu elements, the elevation is remarkable for highly ornate features, cusped arches, intricately carved stoned columns on brackets. The building commands a view of Karnaji tank. At present the building has housed the postal Trailing Institute, Government of India.
Wellington House (1799)
Built in 1799 to house important personages, this is a plain double- storey earliest terraced structure in Mysore, huge in size with rectangular openings, almost totally devoid of any embellishment. The ground floor entrance on the south is through an arcaded porch of simple lines. Colonel Arthur Wellesley (afterwards Duke of Wellington) lived in this building for 2 years form 1799-1801.The architecture is derived from the ‘factory’ builders of East India Company.
Dufferin Clock towers (Chikkagadiyara) (1886)
The Clock tower commemorates the visit of Lord Dufferin, the then Viceroy and Governor General of India to Mysore. The four Columns and the clock tower built in French artistic design present an attractive look. Located to the south of busy Devaraja Market in the central commercial area, the clock tower has been a mute witness of the happenings around. It has also served as a venue for cultural activities during the Dasara.
Rangacharlu Memorial Town Hall (1884)
This building was constructed in 1884 in memory of Late C. Rangacharlu, who served as the first Dewan of Mysore State between 1881-1883. The foundation stone of this Greaco-Roman edifice was laid by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar in Apil, 1884. The Rangacharlu Memorial hall housed the City Improvement trust Board (the present MUDA) and the City Municipal Offices in the beginning. The elevation is dominated by a projecting frontage of imposing Corinthian grand.-columns and a pediment containing an intricately cared motif. Roman arched windows with pilasters, louvered window shutters and cast iron parapets adorn the facade of a high roofed structure and have balconies on either side.
Vasantha Mahal (1902)
Built in 1902, as the pleasure palace to house “special schools” for the education of princes, the building is set in a 36 acre land. The most interesting feature is the wrought-iron porch of three graceful arches leading to a curving verandah and a large oval inner hall. Tuscan columns, and aperture parapets elements of the facade. The building at present belongs to education department and has housed the district educational training institute. This is maintained by the Public Works and Inland Water Transport department (PWD).
Mounted Police Head Quarters (1920)
Built as the State Police Head Quarters in 1918-1920 to house the office and stables of Maharaja’s Body Guard, the building carry the typical bungalow features of a ridge roof of Mangalore tiles, and composed of open verandahs, multiple gables, and tilted chajjas. At present it has housed the office if the
Old Professors Quarters (19th Century)
The Old Professors Quarters bungalow is a heritage structure which served as the quarters of Professors of University of Mysore. It is a single storyed old colonial structure with typical futures of arched portico and arcaded veranda supported by wooden pillars. This heritage building is being restored by Mysore City Corporation and through the intervention of Mysore City Corporation, the Indian Heritage Cities network is head quartered here.
The museum was establishes in October 2010. The museum fascinates visitors through its display of various musical instruments in interesting settings, replete with life size wax statues of musicians playing the musical instruments. Since the museum is based on music and musical instruments it reflects the diverse kinds of musical instruments that have been in use across various parts of the country and the world since ancient times. The wax museum takes its visitors on a 19 gallery tour comprising of 110 life size wax statues and more than 300 Indian and western musical instruments.
Sand Sculpture Museum
Sand Sculpture Museum As Mysore Sand Sculpture museum Is India’s First Sand Sculpture Museum, Done With 115 truck loads of sand and with more than 150 huge Sculptures.Which displays more than 16 themes describing the Heritage of Mysore. Situated on Chamundi hill main road Mysore
Courtesy: Indian Heritage Cities Network
– See more at: http://www.karnatakatourism.org/Mysore/en/#sthash.zg2cZNM8.dpuf