History of the Palace

old-mysore-palace

A testament to the irrepressible spirit of the people of Mysuru and their kings, the Mysuru Palace has survived political upheavals, disaster and destruction, only to rise out of the ashes more magnificent than ever.

The current Mysuru Palace – the fourth to occupy this site – was designed by the British architect Henry Irwin after its predecessor was destroyed in a fire in 1897. The imposing building that stands today was completed in 1912, but it is believed that a Mysuru Palace was established as part of a wooden fortress, by the royal family of Mysuru, the Wodeyars, as early as the fourteenth century.

In 1638 the palace was struck by lightning and rebuilt by Kantirava Narasa Raja Wodeyar (1638 – 1659 AD), who extended the existing structures, adding new pavilions.

The glory of the new building was to prove short-lived. The death of Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar (1673 – 1704 AD) in the eighteenth century plunged the kingdom into a period of political instability.

During these turbulent times the Mysuru Palace slipped into a state of neglect culminating in its demolition in 1793 by Tipu Sultan, the son of Hyder Ali, a maverick general in the king’s army who rose to become the ruler of Mysuru.

In 1799, when upon the death of Tipu Sultan the five-year old Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1794-1868) AD assumed the throne, the coronation ceremony took place under a marquee. One of king’s first tasks, on his accession, was to commission a new palace built in the Hindu architectural style and completed in 1803.

The hastily constructed palace soon fell into disrepair and in 1897 was razed to the ground by a fire at the wedding ceremony of princess Jayalakshmmanni.

The destiny of the Mysuru Palace now passed to Queen Regent Kempananjammanni Vanivilasa Sanndihana, who commissioned well-known British architect Henry Irwin to build a new palace that would be a tribute to the legacy of Mysuru and the Wodeyars.

Completed in 1912 and at a cost of Rs. 41,47,913 the result was the Mysuru Palace you see standing today. A masterpiece in Indo-Saracenic architecture, on par with great Mughal residences of the North and the stately colonial public buildings of the South.

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