Easily one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, the heritage city of Mysore (recently renamed Mysuru) is synonomous with resplendent royalty, its larger than life Dasara festival, gorgeous silk saris and exquisite Mysore paintings. Known as the city of palaces, this famous South Indian city lies in the state of Karnataka about 150 km from Bangalore. An important center of art and culture, the Kingdom of Mysore was ruled by the Wadiyar dynasty from 1399 to 1761 and from 1799 to 1947.
Given the fact that the city was an erstwhile royal capital, it is dotted with numerous heritage buildings that were built by the Maharajas. With distinctive architectural, historic and cultural values, these buildings lend the city its unique character. Truly fascinated by these traditional structures, I stumbled upon quite a few of them during my recent visit to the city.
The soul of the city is of course the opulent palace that lies in the center of the town. It is one of the most popular and visited monuments of the country ranking second only to the Taj Mahal and clocks more than 6 million visitors each year!
An excellent example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, it is a magnificent three-storeyed stone structure. With influences of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture, the palace has three entrances. The interior of the palace with its unique rooms epitomizes grandeur and splendor. Illuminated on Sundays and on special festive occasions, it is a spectacular monument that is not to be missed.
Over a hundred years old, this market is a bustling center of activity with scores of stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers among a host of many other things. The entrance to the market is yet another heritage structure and is designed like a typical city square.
This beautiful structure is the administrative wing of the Mysore University. Set amidst sprawling green lawns, the pillared entrance has the university’s motto, “Na Hi Gyanena Sadrusham” (Nothing compares with knowledge) and its emblem inscribed prominently in front.
Mysore City Corporation:
Yet another vintage building in the city center built in the Indo-Saracenic style.
Other government offices:
These buildings have truly stood the test of time and are symbolic of the city’s rich past. They offer glimpses of the ‘historic’ and ‘traditional’ Mysore even as the city like most others has adapted over time to accommodate the modern and contemporary. I was lucky the capture the essence of the latter in the picture below.