Steeped in History, Royalty and Splendour

Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore (India)
Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore (side view)

Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore (India)I was wowed by it the first time I saw it. That was over a decade ago. I was in college and in the middle of learning a few things about mass communication when a teacher of ours found us a great opportunity — to watch the filming of a television show so that we could have an understanding of ‘the making’ of a show. The show happened to be BBC’s Mastermind India and the place where it was going to be shot that time was a magnificent palace called Lalitha Mahal Palace in Mysore.

Before we left for the programme, we were given not only a briefing about the ‘show’ but also the venue. We were — at least I was — sure that this was a privilege: watching Siddhartha Basu at work, getting to see the making of Mastermind India and seeing the beautiful palace I had only seen from afar.

In the two days of the production of the four episodes of the South India preliminaries of the quiz show, I got a sneak peek at the Palace Hotel: it’s famous marble staircase, the blue ballroom and its grand rotundas.

In the years that followed, I’d passed by the gorgeous Lalitha Mahal Palace several times, but little did I think that one day I’d get to see it all: the ancient lift, the antique furniture, period knobs and bolts its crystal chandeliers and all.

Blue Ballroom, Lalitha Mahal Palace
The Blue Ballroom at breakfast time
Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore (India)
The Grand  Staircase.
Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore (India)
From the Grand (marble) staircase that overlooks the main entrance.
Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore (India)
The ancient lift (elevator) imported from England in 1921.
Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore (India)
A dressing table in one of the guest rooms.

A bit about Lalitha Mahal’s past and present:

The Lalith Mahal Palace was once the guest house of the Maharaja of Mysore. It might have been a place where he put up his very important guests; it was palatial, nevertheless and a pretty regal place at that. This guest house was built by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar Bahadur IV in 1921. It continued to be just that until 1974 when it turned into a ‘heritage hotel.’ That year a new wing was added and rooms modelled into ‘guest rooms,’ as the hospitality industry refers to it. Good for the palace, ITDC continues to keep up its heritage status.

The Palace is owned by the Government of Karnataka and is still one of the structures that Mysoreans take a lot of pride in. With a touch of Renaissance architecture, its famous double columns, its iconic domes and striking green corridor walls, how could one not be proud of it?

At the end of our stay at Lalitha Mahal Palace, last month, we got a private tour of the Viceroy Suite, which is the most expensive guest quarter of this heritage hotel. The gentleman who took us up there told us that everything in the suite except for the television, is original, meaning they belonged to the 1920s.

Now, let me take you on a quick tour through this luxurious suite:

Viceroy Suite, Lalitha Mahal Palace
Viceroy Suite. The upholstery is all silk. (And the silk is over a century old)
Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore (India)
Also inside the Viceroy Suite
Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore (India)
The Bath inside the Viceroy Suite

 

Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore (India)
— The bright blue silk upholstery in the Viceroy Suite is said to be over a 100 years old. 
 
— The carpet in the sitting area is a single piece one and has been there forever.  
 
— The heavy furniture in there also belongs to that period when this place was set up. 
 
— There are several pieces of artifacts, like wooden elephants with inlay work adorning the period furniture in the suite. 
 
— The air conditioning unit (see pic on the left), which is built into a  wooden casing is over 50 years old. It’s huge!

— The bathtub in the the Viceroy Suite is from England and the marble in the bathroom (and on the Grand Staircase) was imported from Italy. 

Also —


The lift which was imported from England in 1921 was a hand operated lift for a long time. If I’m not mistaken it was made into an electric one in the 90’s

***

Bonus views
The gorgeous Lalitha Mahal is quite a sight by itself. But there are other good views you can catch here.

  • City of Mysore — because this palace sits on a ridge, you get a fairly good view of the city from the top floor of the Heritage Wing.
  • Mysore Palace — if it is a Sunday or Dasara time, you get a great view of the fully- lit Mysore Palace.
  • Chamundi Hill — As the Lalitha Mahal palace is built at the foot of this famous hill, you will be able to see Chamundi standing tall at the left side of this heritage hotel. If you chose to stay there, you might want to wake up early and watch the mist lift off Chamundi Hill.

Note:

People who are not hotel guests can have a tour of the palace, only not all of it. Visitors will have to pay a fee at the gate and may not be allowed to use the grand marble staircase that leads to the guest rooms in the heritage wing of Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel.

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25 Comments

  1. This is truly Royal spelndour in it full glory and the pictures sure take one to the palace. Guess what I have been to Mysore so many times but never entered Lalitha Maha! I always just clicked a few pics from outside… 🙁

    • Prasad, it would be such a great feast for your DesiTraveler lenses. So much to see and so much to bring back. You should make it work.
      All along I thought only hotel guests could see the royal property. It was only when were there that we learnt otherwise. I think you'd like to stay there. 😉 And you have to see the place with all its lights on after dark. The light fixtures inside are awesome!

  2. Gorgeous palace! I have seen it only from outside when I had been to Mysore 10 years back. Have been to the city numerous times after that, but never visited Lalitha Mahal. Should visit next time. This is a lovely post with gorgeous captures, Divya. I hardly see any write up on this palace.

    • It is, Niranjan. You should go, now that you know you can. It's barely 3 hours away (if you don't count the time you need to get out of the City of Bangalore, that is ;))

      It's beautiful, Nomad.

  3. I've been to see it and it is truly breathtaking! Love your photos!

  4. well, in the old days they knew how to do things. A beautiful place.

  5. Gorgeous pictures – what wonderful architecture.

    • Thank you so much, Ladyfi.
      Yes, it is a very striking structure and the palace really stands out in its landscape. Apparently, the architecture was inspired by St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

  6. What an amazing set of pictures! With or without Z3 your pictures are amazing 😀

  7. Whoa! What splendor!
    I have to visit this.

  8. Spectacular. I haven't seen it.

  9. Stunning captures and write up:)

  10. Fabulous pics! A grand old place, for sure. I associate Mastermind India as much with its stellar quizzing as with the awe-inspiring locales in which it was shot. 🙂

  11. Beautiful pics… specially the blue silk upholstered furniture with the floral carpet ! and the info ..A Lucid Post 🙂

    • Thanks a ton, Kokila
      This place was such a treat to my eyes. It's a beautiful palace.

      That blue silk on the sofas is really old — dates back to a 100 years.

      Thanks again, Kokila. 🙂

  12. Pingback: Mysore and Beyond: Views from Chamundi Hills | Tipsy from the TRIP

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