The Jayalakshmi Vilas palace in Mysore is classified as a heritage structure by the Karnataka government. It is located in Manasagangothri, part of the University of Mysore. It is built on a hillock on the west side of the Kukkarahalli Lake.
History of Jayalakshmi Vilas Mysore
Jayalakshmi Vilas palace was originally named as the “First Rajkumari Mansion”. The palace was built in 1905, and is one of the five constructed by the Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar. This particular palace was meant for his eldest daughter, princess Jayalakshammanni. She was wedded to Sirdar M. Kantharaj Urs in 1897 and he was appointed as the Dewan of Mysore later.
The palace was built, in keeping with the status of the princess and the Dewan, since the latter’s house was considered inadequate. The building cost around seven lakh rupees and exhibits the same rich architectural splendour reflected in the other palaces built by the Wodeyars.
Special Features of Jayalakshmi Vilas Mysore
The palace is a three-wing structure that features a sequence of twin Corinthian and Ionic columns. Built with brick, mortar, timber and iron, the palace has 125 rooms, 300 windows, 287 exquisitely carved doors and is spread across 6 acres. The interior is furbished in Indian styles.
The main feature of the palace is the dancing hall with wooden floors and the Kalyana Mantap. The Kalyana Mantap consists of an eight-petal shaped dome and 12-pillar square. The roof which is 40 feet high is decked with painted glasses. The palace also comprises of the Kalasha or a gold-plated tower.
The first floor of the building consists of regal pediments on the roof top. The south side of the pediment of the palace has a sculpture of Goddess Bhuvaneswari under a domed canopy and the north side pediment of the palace has a sculpture of the Goddess Lakshmi. Arched colonnades connect the different wings of the building. The interiors of the palace have extensive mouldings and carvings, and are excellent specimens of traditional Indian design.
Jayalakshmi Vilas Palace Today
In 2006, with donation from the Infosys Foundation, an Archaeological and Folklore Museum was built in the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion. The Folklore Museum displays folk art and crafts from Karnataka and other parts of India. The well-known artefacts exhibited in the museum include a wooden puppet of the 10-headed demon Ravana, rural costumes, leather shadow puppets and a 300-year-old temple cart.
The palace has been converted into a museum since 2006, and is also a research centre for the University of Mysore. It is open to tourists from 10 am to 1 pm, and 3 pm to 5 pm on all days, except Mondays.