Mysore in Karnataka is "the city of palaces". The term "Palace of Mysore" specifically refers to one of these palaces, Amba Vilas. Amba Vilas was the official residence of the former royal family of Mysore, and also housed the durbar. The palace was commissioned in 1897, and its construction was completed in 1912.
The architectural style of the palace is commonly described as Indo-Saracenic, and blends together Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture. It is a three-storied stone structure, with marble domes and a 145 ft five-storied tower. The palace is surrounded by a large garden. The three storied stone building of fine gray granite with deep pink marble domes was designed by Henry Irwin. The facade 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, prosperity, good luck, and abundance with her elephants.
Dasara is the most extravagant festival of Mysore. The Dasara festival is celebrated in the months of September and October of each year. To celebrate this festival the Palace of Mysore is illuminated with more than 10,000 lights during that two month period.
Ambavilasa or Diwan e Khas
This was used by the king for private audience and is one of the most spectacular rooms. Entry to this opulent hall is through an elegantly carved rosewood doorway inlaid with ivory that opens into a shrine to Ganesha. The central nave of the hall has ornately gilded columns, stained glass ceilings, decorative steel grills, and chandeliers with fine floral motifs, mirrored in the pietra dura mosaic floor embellished with semi-precious stones.
Gombe Thotti (Dollís Pavilion)
Entry to the palace is through the Gombe Thotti or the Dollís Pavilion, a gallery of traditional dolls from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The pavilion also houses a fine collection of Indian and European sculpture and ceremonial objects like a wooden elephant howdah (frame to carry passengers) decorated with 84 kilograms of gold.
The Kalyana Mantapa or marriage hall is a grand octagonal-shaped pavilion with a multi-hued stained glass ceiling with peacock motifs arranged in geometrical patterns. The entire structure was wrought in Glasgow, Scotland. The floor of the Mantapa continues the peacock theme with a peacock mosaic, designed with tiles from England. Oil paintings, illustrating the royal procession and Dasara celebrations of bygone years, make the walls more splendid.