The Lalitha Mahal is the second largest palace in Mysore. It is located near the Chamundi Hills, east of the city of Mysore in the Indian state of Karnataka. The palace was built in 1921 at the orders of His Highness Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore for the exclusive stay of the then Viceroy of India. Built on a raised ground, the palace was fashioned on the lines of the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and is one of the imposing structures of the Mysore city.
|Lalitha Mahal, Mysore|
Lalitha Mahal, Mysore
|Architectural style||Renaissance Architecture|
|Town or city||Mysore|
|Client||Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, Mysore Kingdom|
|Structural system||Stone masonry and marble|
|Design and construction|
The elegant palace is painted pure white. It was converted into a heritage hotel in 1974. It was run as a part of the Ashok Group of the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) under the Government of India until 2018 when it was transferred to a unit of the Government of Karnataka. However, a veneer of the original royal ambience of the palace is maintained.
The palace dates from the early 20th century, built in the princely state of Mysore under the British rule. The principality was the labelled by the British Administrators as a "Model State”. The Maharajas of Mysore were wealthy, second only to the Nizams of Hyderabad. The palace, a very impressive architectural edifice, was constructed with a reasonable amount of money, out of their annual income of two million pounds. The then Maharaja of Mysore of the princely state (since absorbed with the Indian state of Karnataka after India got independence from British rule) was HH Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (June 4, 1884 – August 3, 1940) who ruled under the title “Wodeyar” with his capital in Mysore city. He was the 24th ruler of the Wodeyar dynasty. Mysore rulers were considered as great patrons of arts and architecture and were reasonably ostentatious in their living style, as is evidenced by the number of highly beautiful monuments consisting of palaces, temples, churches and gardens that they built to enhance the architectural heritage of their Kingdom. The Lalitha Mahal palace was built in 1921 for the exclusive stay of the then Viceroy of India and subsequently as guest house for the European guests of the Maharajas.
Set amidst sprawling landscaped gardens below the Chamundi hills, the palace was planned by E.W. Fritchley, the architect from Bombay (now renamed Mumbai) and constructed by B Munivenkatappa. The palace built in Renaissance architectural style is considered an adaptation of the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, particularly the central dome. The architecture of the palace reflects English manor houses and Italian Palazzos. It is a two storied structure. The supporting structure of the palace is of Ionic double column. At the ground level, there is a projecting porch. Spherical domes with the dominating central dome sets the front elevation of the palace. Decorative stained glass has been extensively used to enhance the elegance of the palace both in the exterior facades and in interiors doors, windows and ceilings. A lovely view of the Chamundi Hill to the left and the Mysore city in front of the palace is seen from the balcony upstairs.
The palace has exquisitely designed viceroy room, a banquet hall, a dancing floor and an Italian marble staircase (has an arresting curve) and also embellished with small ornamentations, which are said to be replicas from various palaces in Britain. The full length portraits of the Wodeyar Kings, Italian marble floors and Belgian crystal chandeliers, cut glass lamps, heavy ornate furniture, mosaic tiles and a couple of exquisite Persian carpets gives the palace its regal ambience. With conversion of the palace into a heritage hotel, interiors have been modified to provide for modern conveniences but most of the earlier sections of the palace such as the dancing and banquet halls have been retained in their original elegance but adopted as dining halls and conference halls for holding meetings and conventions; these have polished wooden flooring and three stain glassed domes in the ceiling. The ball room in particular, which has been converted into the Dining Hall of the hotel, is a baroque hall with immensely high ceiling with domed skylights made of Belgian glass. A swimming pool is now an additional provision. The elevator, carpeting and the Ottoman, upholstered with tapestry are treasured items in the palace.
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