From 1399 to 1974 Maharajas lived in Mysore Palace. Featuring unique architecture, sprawling lawns and eight different temples, the palace is often referred to as a fort. The current palace is actually the fourth to be built at this location, the previous structure was burned down in 1897. The other iterations of the Mysore palace were destroyed by lightning strike, political upheaval, demolition, and finally disrepair leading to a fire. Before entering the palace we had to remove our shoes and stow our cameras. No photos inside the historic palace! I was funneled through the entrance crowded by sarees, slacks and bare toes.
Our group followed the stream of people past glass cases filled with historic artifacts, replicas, and other objects of note. Then the main structure with ornate stained glass, towering pillars and open courtyards had me awestruck. Oil paintings told the history of the palace and its residents. Portions of the palace were open air, facing either an open courtyard in which the palace would host events like brass knuckle fist fights. On the second floor was a room with one wall missing, overlooking one of the many gardens and entrances. With infinite pillars and intricate woodcarving, it was hard to fathom living in such a structure. Wooden doors and ceilings looked like melting chocolate bars, heavy and carved and sweating from the humidity. Ivory inlaid carvings and silver thrones emphasized extravagance. Mysore, known as the City of Palaces, lived up to its name.
All around the palace fort where statues of past Maharaja and government buildings imitated the style of the palace. Around the main entrance of the palace was an open air market where children were entranced by flying toys and men barked about the quality of their hand carved wooden boxes. We toured the surrounding area by rickshaw. The young, soft-spoken guide would turn to me to point out significant structures and stop at different entrances for us to photograph.