Mysore, the city of palaces, is a popular travel destination in South India. Also called Mysooroo, the city was earlier the capital of the Wodeyar rulers. The Wodeyar rulers were great patrons of art and culture, which you can see in the rich heritage of the city. Besides its numerous palaces and royal buildings, Mysore city is also known for proximity to several other places of interest such as Srirangapatna, Krishna Raj Sagra dam and Sivasamudram falls.
In addition to its numerous attractions, the Mysore city is also known for sandalwood products and the Dasara festival (Navaratri) held every year. The Mysore Dasara is famous far and wide and attracts people from all parts. The name Mysore is said to have been derived from Mahishuru, which in turn has come from Mahisha. According to legends, the area around the Mysore city was once under the demon king Mahishasura, who was defeated and killed by goddess Chamundeshwari.
Built in Indo-Saracenic style, with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. Known as Amba Vilas Palace, it was designed by Henry Irwin, the British consultant architect of Madras State, and completed in 1912 on the site of the old wooden palace that was destroyed by fire in 1897. The majestic Durbar Hall with its ornate ceiling and sculpted pillars, and the Marriage Pavilion with its chandeliers, cast-iron pillars, and Belgian stained glass arranged in peacock designs on the domed ceilings, are the main attractions. Make sure you see the magnificent jewel-studded golden throne, the pride of the Wadiyars and the symbol of their sovereignty, displayed here during the Dasara festival in October. A row of souvenir shops leads to the Residential Museum, which houses musical instruments, Tanjore and Mysore paintings, and an array of personal effects belonging to the Maharaja's family. The palace, illuminated on Sundays and public holidays, presents a spectacle of breathtaking beauty.
The Maharaja's Palace or Ambavilasa Palace or Mysore Palace was the official residence of the Emperor and his family. Today the splendid building is a national treasure and a major tourist attraction in Mysore. It is said that the site where the Palace stands has seen four different types of Palace. The original Palace of Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar was made of wood and mud was partially burnt down during the wedding of his eldest daughter. The Palace that exists today is the one that was rebuilt after the fire. The Lalitha Mahal Palace was built by the Wodeyar to accommodate the Viceroy of India on his visit to Mysore.