Tuesday September 25, 2018

Amba Vilas: The Majestic Palace of Mysore

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By Nithin Sridhar

India is well known for its heritage sites, be it temples, palaces or forts. Among the numerous palaces and forts that are present, one palace that stands tall in its majesty and unique in its beauty is the Amba Vilas Palace, which is often referred as the ‘Mysore Palace’.

DSC05406-001Mysore is a ‘city of palaces’ and apart from Amba Vilas Palace, it also has numerous other palaces like Jaganmohana Palace, LalitMahal Palace, CheluvAmba Mansion etc.

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The Mysore Palace is built in Indo-saracenic style of architecture and is famous for its beautiful domes and interior halls. The Palace structure harmoniously fuses elements from Hindu, Mughal, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architectures. The Palace is also famous for holding Mysore Dasara processions every year.

DSC05428The Palace includes a three-storied stone structure with deep pink marble domes and a centrally placed five storied 145 feet tall tower with a golden dome. Above the central arch one can see a beautiful sculpture of Gajalakshmi – the Goddess of wealth along with elephants.

DSC05432The Palace faces the east towards the Chamundi Hill, on which there is a temple of Goddess Chamundeshwari, who is the family deity of the Maharajas of Mysore. The palace is surrounded by a large garden and has numerous entrance gates. The main gate is the eastern gate and it directly faces the palace. Visitors are allowed through the Southern Gate.

DSC05436-001The interiors of the Palace are equally intricate and mesmerizing. It has beautifully stained glass ceilings, carved doors, walls decorated with paintings depicting scenes from Hindu scriptures, beautiful chandeliers and colorful pillars. The Palace includes various rooms like Ambavilasa, GombeThotti (Doll’s pavilion), KalyanaMantapa (marriage hall), Durbar Hall, portrait gallery, and Ayudha-Shala (armory).

DSC05444-002The architecture and the interiors of the Palace is a reminder of the glory and majesty of the Royal past of Mysore and the highly developed artistic skills of artists and artisans supported by the Royal family.

IMG_20151002_143212The Mysore Royal Family traces its roots to the Yadavas of Dwarka in Gujarat. The Wadiyars have ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947 except for a few gaps like when they were reduced to nominal heads by Tipu Sultan. The Wadiyars are well known for their patronage of Indian culture, traditions, arts and music.

IMG_20151002_142252The original Mysore palace was built in the 14th century by King Yaduraya, the founder of Wadiyar dynasty. But, it has been demolished and reconstructed multiple times. In 1638, when the palace was stuck by the lightening, it was built by the then KingKantiravaNarasa Raja Wodeyar. The palace was again demolished by Tipu Sultan in 1793 but it was later rebuilt in 1803 by Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, who assumed the throne of Mysore after the death of Tipu Sultan.

IMG_20151002_190101This Palace was reduced to ashes in 1897 when it caught fire during a royal wedding ceremony. The current Palace, the fourth in number, was commissioned then in 1897 and completed in 1912. The palace was designed and built by the British architect Lord Henry Irwin.

© Nithin Sridhar @NewsGram
© Nithin Sridhar @NewsGram

There are 12 beautiful Hindu temples in the Palace complex. Prominent among them are: Sri Gayatri Temple and Sri Trineshwara temple near the Main (East) Entrance, Shwetha Varahaswamy Temple near the South Entrance, Sri Bhuvaneshwari Temple at the North Entrance, and Lakshmiramana Temple behind the Palace, towards the West.

IMG_20151002_190543One of the main attractions of the Mysore Palace is the light illumination of the entire palace after sunset during specific days. The view of the illuminated palace is fascinating and attracts large number of visitors. Another attraction in the palace is the Sound and Light shows that are organized during specific days.

 

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    India and architecture go so well. We’ve been having amazing architectural sites with historical importance

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The Other Side of “Hindu Pakistan”

Although, the mainstream parties stay away from nominating Hindus, this time there are many independent Hindu candidates contesting from general seats — mostly from the Sindh province

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Hinduism
The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures.

Sagarneel Sinha

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s remark that India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the BJP is elected again in 2019, sparked off a major debate among the political circles of the country. BJP didn’t let the opportunity go by launching a scathing attack on Tharoor and his party for insulting Hindus and Indian democracy, forcing the Congress party to distance itself from its own MP’s comment. Only one year is left for the next general elections and in a politically polarised environment such comments serve as masala for political battles where perception is an important factor among the electorates.

Actually, Tharoor, through his statement, is trying to convey that “India may become a
fundamentalist state just like its neighbour — Pakistan”. Tharoor is a shrewd politician and his remarks are mainly for political gains. The comments refer to our neighbour going to polls on 25 th of this month which has a long history of ignoring minorities where the state institutions serve as a tool for glorifying the religious majority bloc and ridiculing the minorities. This compelled me to ponder about the participation of the Hindus — the largest minority bloc of the country, in the upcoming polls.

There are total 37 reserved seats for minorities in Pakistan — 10 in the National Assembly
(Lower House), 4 in the Senate (Upper House) and 23 in various state legislatures — 9 in the Sindh assembly, 8 in Punjab and 3 each in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistani Hindus, like other minorities have the dual voting rights in principle. But the reality is they have no rights to vote for their own representatives as the seats are reserved — means the distribution of these seats are at the discretion of parties’ leadership. Practically speaking, these reserved seats are meant for political parties not for minorities. In case of general seats, it is almost impossible for a Hindu candidate to win until and unless supported by the mainstream parties of the country. The bitter truth is — the mainstream parties have always ignored the Hindus by hesitating to field them from general seats. In 2013, only one Hindu candidate — Mahesh Kumar from the Tharparkar district won from a general seat, also became the only minority candidate to make it to the National Assembly from a general seat. This time too, he is nominated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) — a major centre-left party of Pakistan. However, there are no other Hindu candidates for a general seat from the two other significant centre-right parties — former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s Tehreek-E-Insaf (PTI). Although, there is a Hindu candidate named Sanjay Berwani from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) — a Karachi (capital of Sindh province) based secular centrist party of Pakistan.

Shashi_tharoor
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s remark that India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the BJP is
elected again in 2019, sparked off a major debate among the political circles of the country.

The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures. It means that despite the state’s hostile policies, Hindus have been able to remain stable in a highly Islamist polarised society. 90% of the Hindu population of the country lives in the Sindh province. Hindu population in Umerkot,Tharparkar and Mirpur Khas districts of the Sindh province stands at 49%, 46% and 33% respectively — making them the only three substantial Hindu districts of the country. The three districts have 5 National Assembly and 13 Provincial seats. However, Hindus have never well represented from these seats.

Although, the mainstream parties stay away from nominating Hindus, this time there are many independent Hindu candidates contesting from general seats — mostly from the Sindh province. Many of them belong to the Schedule caste — the Dalit community. A recent report based on Pakistan Election Commission’s data says that out of 2.5 lakh women of Tharparkar district, around 2 lakh of them are not included in the electoral list — means that they are not entitled to vote for the upcoming general elections. All over the country, there are about 1.21 crore women voters who will not be able to vote in the elections. The reason is the lack of an identity card. Most of them are poor who are unable to pay the expenses required for an identity card. This has made difficult for independent Hindu Dalit candidates like Sunita Parmar and Tulsi Balani as most of their supporters will not be voting in the upcoming polls. In Tharparkar district, around 33% percent are the Hindu Dalits — brushed aside by the mainstream parties. The reserved seat candidates are based on party nominations, where mainly the upper caste Hindus are preferred. Radha Bheel, a first time contestant and the chairperson of Dalit Suhaag Tehreek (DST), a Dalit organisation, says that the fight is for the rights of the lower socio-economic class and scheduled castes. Sunita, Tulsi, Radha and the other independent Hindu candidates know
that the possibility of winning from the general seats is bleak but for them the contest is for their own identity — an identity never recognised by the political parties and the establishment of Pakistan.