Designed by Henry Irwin, the Mysuru Palace is one of the finest achievements of Indo-Saracenic architecture, summing up many diverse themes that have played through Indian architecture over the centuries. Muslim designs and Rajput style combine with Gothic elements and indigenous materials in an exuberant display of grandeur.
The palace is set among meticulously laid gardens and has an intricately detailed elevation with a profusion of delicately curved arches, bow-like canopies, magnificent bay windows and columns in varied styles ranging from Byzantine to Hindu.
The striking façade has seven expansive arches and two smaller ones flanking the central arch, which is supported by tall pillars. Above the central arch is an impressive sculpture of Gajalakshmi - the Goddess of wealth with elephants.
The sumptuous interiors of the palace, in keeping with the grand exteriors, are replete with exquisitely carved doors, expansive pavilions, delicate chandeliers, exquisite stained glass ceilings and decorative frescoes depicting scenes from the Indian epics. An enduring reminder of the splendour of the Mysuru maharajas and a testament to the dexterity of the local artisans and craftsmen.
In the tradition of city-building all over the world, ever since people started congregating for worship, the city-centre is often the site of the principal shrine, with its plaza, towering columns and grand-steps.in Mysuru City, the Palace, which constitutes the central axis of the planned city, is in fact built in the spirit and style of a temple-with its approach halls of myriad pillars, its mantapa-like corridors, its pavilions reserved for special occasions, the throne room situated and sumptuously adorned like the sanctum sanctorum, and a cluster of satellite temples, lower in architectural rank but each seating a deity deeply revered and regularly visited by royalty.
As noted earlier, the Mysuru Durbar studiously built up, and punctiliously sustained, a culture and administrative tradition of easy accessibility to the public. The Palace was the focal point of the Dasara, the people’s festival, when crowds thronged to its grounds and corridors. There was never an attempt at isolation or keeping people away. This spirit was visible even when the new palace was being built. l here is a contemporary account (1905) of the palace under construction, evocatively penned by7 one Prewost Battersby: “ The place resounded to the mallet, the chisel was everywhere eating its way into uncompleted carvings; chips of granite flew from the low-vaulted roofs; the floors were littered with men at work upon blocks of marble, slabs of porphyry, junks of teak, and panels of sandalwood, intricate lattices and delicate inlay, on ivory doors and jambs of silver; ;yet there was no attempt made to exclude the public, whether it came in a loin cloth or a black silk coat. Men, women, and children, the whole populace streamed in, watching with wondering eyes the brown teak, turn to birds and flowers, and the shapes of gods and beasts grow out of the green serpentine; shook the granite chips from their hair, brushed the dust and the mire of masonry from their saris, humbly removed themselves when found in the way, and wandered on from room to room (Quoted in The Palaces of India by Fatehsinghrao Goekwar, Maharaja of Baroda).