Being home to many fascinating palaces with each radiating unique aura and charm, Mysore is rightly called as city of palaces. Lalitha Mahal Palace is another such historical building in the city of Mysore. The second largest palace in the Mysore city, it is located on a small hillock, at the foothills of Chamundi Hills. Built by Mysore Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV for his royal guests, this palace is now a heritage hotel which is maintained by India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC). This palace was built in the year of 1921; and since then it has been mesmerising visitors with its architectural excellence and beauty.
History of Lalitha Mahal Palace
Lalitha Mahal Palace was built under the reign of Mysore King Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. It was initially built to serve as a guest house for the then Viceroy of India, who was Maharaja’s royal guests. Later this palace was used for hosting other royal guests and special visitors of the royal family.
With its architectural inspirations drawn from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, this palace was built with a cost of around 13 lakhs then. This two storied palace also presents a magnificent view of the hills around.
Later in 1974, it was converted into a luxury heritage hotel. It is maintained by the Ashok Group of the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) under the Indian Government. The palace still offers a living picture of the royal style and their opulent living.
Architecture of Lalitha Mahal Palace
Lalitha Mahal Palace is known for its architectural beauty. Presenting a perfect blend of Renaissance architectural style with styles of Italian palazzo and English manor, this palace is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful buildings of Mysore. Designed by E.W. Fritchley, it was built for the Viceroy of India by Mysore Maharaja.
This palace has been built in two stories. It has a projecting porch and double columns which support the entire building. It also has spherical domes and a predominant central dome which is above the entrance hall. The entry of the palace is also worth admiring, its decorative entry is called guard house. Along with this, the walls and ceilings of Lalitha Mahal create breath-taking interiors. The motifs and carvings, along with Belgian crystal chandeliers, Persian carpets, exquisite cut glass lamps, and marble floors add on to the overall beauty the palace.
Other worth noticing sections of the palace are its dancing hall, banquet hall, central hall with the portraits of Mysore royals, viceroy room and Italian marble staircase with imposing design. The lush green gardens amid which the palace was built is still an attraction here.
Lalitha Mahal Palace – A Heritage Hotel
Lalitha Mahal Palace has been converted into a heritage hotel in 1974 and is now among the best luxury hotels in the country which presents guests with the opportunity to live a few days of Royal life amid historical splendor and royal finery. It was taken over by Ashok Group of India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).
With the palace conversion into a luxury heritage hotel, various modern amenities and facilities have been added to the traditional comforts of the palace, creating an exceptional mix of both the worlds. Few changes have been adapted to the palace, without impacting its royal grandness.
Although sections such as dancing hall and the banquet hall have been converted into dining and conference halls, it has been done without changing their old elegance. These halls have wooden flooring and stain glassed domes in the ceilings; the dining room which was the dancing hall still has high ceiling with Belgian glass domes skylights. Along with this, even the original white color of the palace’s exterior has been kept the same. The terrace and other gardens have also been retained in the same manner.
Now the palace has 54 suites and rooms for the guests to stay such as Viceroy, Duplex Suites, etc. There is also a health club, Swimming Pool, jogging track, billiard Room, Tennis Court and Chess room for recreational purposes. The Lalitha Mahal Palace hotel also has ties with local Sheri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar Golf course for the guests who like Golf.
Reaching Lalitha Mahal Palace
Lalitha Mahal Palace is located 5 km away from Mysore city centre. It is about 8 km from Mysore railway station, overlooking the magnificent Chamundi Hills. To reach Lalitha Mahal, tourists can hire autorickshaws or hire a cabs. For a unique experience, one can even take a ride of horse cart called as Jataka Gaadi.