Mysore is the second largest city in Karnataka state and is known as the “City of Palaces.” The largest attraction is the Maharaja’s Palace, which was home to the Wodeyar maharajas. The majority of the original wooden palace was destroyed by fire in 1897 and was replaced in 1912 by English architect Henry Irwin. The palace is open for visitors during the day where one can peruse the intricately tiled rooms, examine military weaponry, and view the metal howdas, which sat on the backs of elephants and carried the royal family during processions. The best time to visit is Saturday and Sunday evenings when the exterior of the palace is lit with nearly 100,000 bulbs, and visitors can wander the gardens, eating chat, a traditional South Indian snack.
My host family was eager to introduce me to this site, of course, but this did not prove to be easy. While my visit to the see the interior went smoothly, I had to make three journeys to view the lights. The first attempt entailed standing at the gate with other visitors wondering why the lights were not turned on at the scheduled time, and my second visit, the following night, had us dodging scooters, horse-drawn carriages, and massive crowds of people in order to reach the gates before 8:00pm, when the bulbs are turned off. Just as we approached the gate to purchase our tickets, the lights turned off without warning. It was 7:34pm.