Some months back on my tour to Rajasthan, Happen to went to Junagadh fort of Bikaner. In their own words it was the second most well maintained palace and fort of India coming second after Mysore Palace or Amba Vilas Palace.
From their onward Mysore Palace was in my bucket list and was dying to uncheck it. Planned my trip of Mysore, Madikeri, ooty and Coonoor in the month of December and Mysore palace was on top of the places to be visited on this tour.
Things were going fine till the time I was in train for Bangalore, but something else was written on the charts. The Day I left for Bangalore from Delhi, King of Mysore died and it was state mourning for next some days and to my bad luck all the tourist attractions were kept open except my main target Mysore Palace. Had to bring in slight changes in the tour itinerary or can say my bucket list, now Mysore Palace reached to the bottom and I was suppose to try my luck again on the returning day from Ooty to Bangalore where I would take a halt for an hour or so to visit Mysore Palace.
At last on 17th of December I was in front of Mysore Palace , excited and dull at same point. I was there but I would be missing my Camera inside the main premises as camera’s are not allowed inside, limited up-to a specific point only from where one can click its outer view only.
Deposited my Camera to locker loom, though it was free of cost and safe as they locked my camera bag in a locker and gave me the key, but of what use now.
Guide’s were missing on the spot as it still was mourning time and there was less footfall, but would confess at least there were thousands of people present and they were calling it less footfall, and why not they would, “Mysore Palace comes second in the number of footfalls every year and winning the battle is Taj Mahal of Agra with more than 2.7 million visitors every year”.
One more thing was left to be deposited, and that were supposed to be my shoes. Same like Taj Mahal here also we have to go without Shoes on.
Well leaving my things back, I went inside to see the thing for which I was here. Junagadh fort had impressed me a lot and more over the way they had confessed that its ranked second after Mysore Palace had made me more excited to look into it.
This palace belongs to the Wodeyar Kings who has ruled the mysore from last seven centuries. Though this palace is not the same which they had built in the beginning, it was demolished and reconstructed many a times in last some centuries since the incoming of Britishers. The one standing in front of me saw it final makeover in 1940, took 43 years for the labour to bring this master piece come alive.
Still many a rooms were closed because of death of King of Mysore, so we could only visit the Diwan – e – Khas and Diwan – e – Aam ( Hall for Executives of the Ruler and the Public respectively ).
No doubt for instance i was in some other world, looking at 750 Kg Pure 24 Carat Gold Throne of King, All silver doors and even some doors having deep and intricate work of ivory. It was all something very different, belonging to someother world, like labour had taken out their best of designs. Pillars, walls and ceiling painted in Golden, sun rays entering from the Glass shields fixed on ceiling adding more glitter to the golden paint.
I was ready to bribe anybody just to have a single click of this place, it was just an idea which came into my mind only never came out of my mouth in front of any.
Only two Darbar Halls were there to be seen and i was out in some 30 minutes, and now was the time to visit the backyard area where king used to live which has been turned into Museum now like any other palace or fort of India. Once again I had to buy a ticket for entering into the Museum, seems a bit unfair but what to do, management has managed it like this only.
I went on with the same Excitement towards the Backyard area “Living Area” of the Wodeyar Kings. But it is rightly said “Happiness doesnt last long and if it then its faked”. It proved right here, started the portion with Rented shops asking every one to buy Mysore Sandal soaps , perfumes et al which was quite annoying for me. Not for the reason that I had already bought them from Cauvery Emporium, but it was something which was diminishing the charm of entrance of a Palace, which once used to be the Living area of Wodeyar Kings.
Adding to the insult, something which I never expected and in fact in some last 6 months I visited almost every fort of Rajasthan and found them very well kept, but at same time this part of Mysore Palace was kept like a room which has been locked from ages. Dust every where, on every painting and even in the rooms which were held the name plate as Rani’s Bedroom or Rani’s Dressing room, having all silver sofa’s, Apricot or teak wood furniture. But one thing which was common was the lot of Dust present on them.
Couldn’t keep my curiosity inside and at last I asked a gate keeper standing there, ” Why there is so much of Dust, don’t you Clean them”, din’t knew whether he could understand my question or not, though I asked both in English and Hindi but he didn’t came with any answer.
I was not going without getting the answer, I asked again to a guy who was collecting the ticket on the exit point, and the answer was something which not only me, nobody could digest.
” Sir, rooms and the antiques kept are cleaned every year only once, at the time of Dusshera Festival and later on rooms are sealed and nobody can enter there “
At last my Mysore trip, in fact whole trip was over and I was coming back to Bangalore to board my train for Delhi, but it was something which surprised me a lot. A palace which is considered the most well maintained palace of India, but on what criteria it is chosen as one.
Except the Two halls, over all experience was near to average, whereas the Junagadh Fort for me was better maintained, and specially when its located in the Desert region of Rajasthan.