Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Mysore Palace

For my third "time off" day I took a guided tour of the beautiful Mysore Palace and learned of it's history and about Mysore as a city. 

It was a fascinating 2 hour tour and our guide was super knowledgeable. I think the experience of being asked for selfies with families was a tad confusing though. I mean, I'm not famous or anything right?
My guide explained the Selfie culture in India and how "interesting" my white skin and fair hair is. Put them together and selfie with a white skinned foreigner and hey presto; selfie magic!

 Anyway, back to Mysore Palace;

The current palace is the third palace on the site, the first 2 having both burned down in fires. They were mainly wood built so it is not surprising that the third palace, funded by the Queen after the death of the King, has rather a lot of iron its structure. The iron framework was built in Scotland.

Why is Mysore called Mysore?

Well, as a feminist I rather like the story about how Mysore got it's name...

Once upon a time Mysore was ruled by the demon-king Mahishasura, who was a buffalo-headed monster. he killed many kings of Mysore and thought he was invincible and could not be killed by man. However, what he did not take in to account is woman. The demon was killed by the Goddess Chamundeshwari, whose temple is situated atop the Chamundi Hills in a bloody 10 day long battle. 

Go woman power!

The anglicised form of the name is MysoreTa dahhhh

What I didn't like and deliberately did not take photos of are two enormous stuffed elephant heads; the heads of the King's favourite elephants. The thought of elephant riding upsets me and I am guilty of ignorantly riding an elephant 19 years ago when I first visited India. I now know the cruel way elephants are tamed and how many are injured by carrying tourists for pleasure.

Don't do it folks

There was a huge taxidermy industry in Mysore until pretty recently and many Europeans came to the area to hunt wild animals in the local royal parks. 

Another part of human history I'm not keen on.

 The palace itself is incredibly beautiful and the teak doors are carved. There are teak doors everywhere; corridors and corridors of them. I did wonder just how many reception rooms a royal family can possibly need.
In the grounds of the Palace are 15 temples and the Hindu influence is everywhere. I do believe that it is the most visited tourist attraction in India. Even more visitors than the Taj Mahal.

The day I went it was pretty quiet yet for me it felt busy. There were families and school parties and a very happy vibe.

On Sunday nights the palace is lit up with 98,000 LED light bulbs for one hour. In the past and before LED, the electric bulbs were all handmade and stamped with the palace name. Huge nets hang between certain areas of the building to catch any bulbs that fall and each day a team check and replace bulbs.

Check this short video to see the glowing golden palace at night;
Mysore Palace Illuminations

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