Fascinating Mysore Palace

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Not to be missed when you are in City of Palaces that is Mysore is the elegant Mysore Palace. Mysore has seven palaces but Mysore Palace is the most popular one. In fact, it is one of the many popular tourist attractions in India and takes its place after the famous Taj Mahal. It is said to have around three million visitors every year.

So after a brief sojourn in Namdroling Monastery Bylakuppe we headed to Mysore some 3-4 hours away. We arrived past 5PM in Mysore. According to our host, Mysore palace is usually full on Sundays because of the scheduled light and sound show. We still had enough free time to try the indoor guided tour of the Mysore Palace, before we could witness the lighting of the palace between 7:00 - 7:45 PM. I was very excited as I have seen Mysore Palace in photos. It would be a great time experiencing it myself.

 Fascinating Mysore Palace

I had second thoughts of getting inside the palace because, with the limited time, I preferred to explore the sprawling palace gardens and just to photograph people and architecture. However, the guided tour of the interiors of the palace was just inviting and not to be missed despite the fact that photography (and even carrying photography gears) is not allowed inside the palace. This is the reason why what you can see in my photos are just exteriors.

Be that as it may, we deposited our gears for safekeeping and got the services of a diminutive Indian tourist guide who is already in his 60s to walk us through inside the palace. Notably, even with his age, he has still a lucid knowledge of the history of the palace--its every nook and cranny, the details and stories behind every artifact, the information about the rooms, architectural materials and design and artworks inside the Palace.

Fascinating Mysore Palace

Our guide was equally delighted upon knowing that we are from the Philippines. He rarely has guests from the Philippines which, according to him, is a very beautiful country based on what he has read and because of the famous People Power and Cory Aquino. Regrettably, I was not able to have my picture taken with him.

The palace interiors is a symbol of the opulence of the Wodeyars who have ruled Mysore for 611 years from 1339 to 1950. The exquisite marble and granite floors, the golden chariot, imported ceramic tiles from Europe, the wrought iron that adorned the windows and gates, stained glass dome that was shipped directly from Glasgow, Scotland, golden artifacts and the 3-D murals of the festivals in Mysore, were just awesome to behold.

Fascinating Mysore Palace

The current palace structure is a replacement of the old one which was ravaged by fire. The construction began in 1897 and was completed in 1912 but continued to be beautified by the next generations until 1940. According to our guide, it is the only palace in India that blends Hindu, Muslim, and Gothic architecture.

After the tour of the palace interior, we immediately proceeded to retrieve our cameras in the safekeeping section near the gate. It was already around 6:00 pm and the next destination was St. Philomena Church, which just a few blocks away and is an equally beautiful architecture. However, I begged off and chose to stay behind so I could have more time exploring the palace grounds.

Fascinating Mysore Palace

One hour was not enough to capture the spacious palace grounds. With the limited time and the setting sun, I had to run from one viewpoint to another to take advantage of the available light and wait it out for the drama of the setting sun. When I thought I have photographed almost every possible angle, I patiently waited for the lighting ceremony.

Slowly, the palace was lit. First, its interiors, then the walls and gates and temples, then the fountains, and finally the finale--the lighting of the thousands of bulbs lining up the walls, domes, and spires, windows arches and posts. The entire palace grounds was sparkling in the humid twilight.

The people were simply in awe that everyone wanted to get the best spot where they can take their own selfies or "ussies".  A marching band plays on the background in the entire 45-minute display of beauty and perfection.

Fascinating Mysore Palace

I could say that witnessing this spectacular show was definitely one for the books. For a while, I was transported to the times when royalties still ruled the land and wondered how to live like one. It was a treat to the senses. It lifted every spectator's spirits.

More than a week of traveling around Karnataka was physically exhausting, but watching the palace in its full glory replaced that feeling of fatigue and exhaustion. For a moment, I felt the adrenaline and good feeling rushing inside.

Definitely, this brief sojourn was meant to be remembered.

Fascinating Mysore Palace

Visit my Flickr Album for more photos of Mysore Palace.
or read more about INDIA.

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Aside from my day job, I love photography and storytelling. Going places--be it a cliche destination or the far side of the road--stoke and free my soul. I dig deeper into the people’s psyche, culture and ethnicity, and heritage. I love to observe how they thrive and build social institutions, preserve their culture and traditions.

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