Oriental Dreams

British architects working as consultants for the Raj developed an architectural style now known as Indo-Saracenic. The style combines Mughal, Victorian and neo-Gothic elements with elements indigenous to a building's regional location.

The Maharaja's Palace in Mysore is an Indo-Saracenic gem. After securing dominance in this part of India, the British gave titular power to the local Maharaja. In the late 1800s his wooden palace burned to the ground. Working with a British architect, the Maharaja designed and built the present palace in the space of 15 years sparing no expense.

Completed in 1912, the new palace embodiies the European fantasy of Oriental opulence and spleandor. Sunlight shining through intricately worked, richly colored stained glass dapples a vast ceremonial hall. Pillars, each made from a single stone, soar upward to support multi-vaulted and intricately painted ceilings. Chandeliers suspended with heavy crystal hang from long chains. Delicate floral designs of precious and semi-precious stones are inlaid into marble floors. Inlaid ivory designs adorn heavy ceremonial doors of teak and rosewood.

From the beginning the palace has been electrified. On ceremonial occasions, and now every Sunday night, thousands of lightbulbs trace the palace's outline.

Until Indian independence in 1947, the Maharaja lived, received his subjects, and presided over both his family's and Mysore's ceremonial occasions from this dream palace. After independence the Maharaja was named Mysore state's first governor.

The palace is now a popular destination for both Indian and foreign tourists. The current Maharaja still uses an ancient temple that survived the fire and is incorporated into the new palace.

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