Located on a hillock at the foothills of the Chamundi Hills, Lalitha Mahal Palace, is the second-largest palace in the city of palaces, as Mysuru is fondly called. A unique amalgamation of Renaissance and English manor and Italian palazzo styles, this palatial building is mesmerising. The two-storeyed structure has a projecting porch and it is supported by double columns. The centre of attraction is the dome above the entrance hall. As you enter the Guard House, as the decorative entryway is called, you are greeted with breathtakingly beautiful and and intricately carved walls and ceilings. Belgian crystal chandeliers, cut glass lamps, Persian carpets and exquisite marble floors add to the grandeur of the palace.

Built in 1931 on the design made by Bombay (now Mumbai)-based architect EW Fritchley, the construction of Lalitha mahal palace cost Rs 13 lakh. It was made as a guest house for European visitors who arrived in the city to meet Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the ruler of Mysore (1894-1940). Now, it is used to host special events, like vintage car rallies, and marriages and other ceremonies. Inside, the palace has large, well-appointed bedrooms, baroquely decorated halls with high ceilings and accent walls. A lawn at the back is equipped with a swimming pool and walkway. Now, Lalitha Mahal has been converted into a luxury hotel, and plays host to noted politicians, film stars etc.

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