The Lalitha Mahal is now one of India’s most opulent hotels, a palace hotel that offers an experience of princely living in a real Maharaja’s palace.This dream-like palace was built in the year 1931 for special guests of the Maharajas.
The palace was built in 1921 at the orders of His Highness Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore for the exclusive stay of the then Viceroy of India.Built on a raising ground, the palace was fashioned on the lines of the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and is one of the imposing structures of the Mysore city.
The elegant palace is painted pure white. It was converted into a heritage hotel in 1974.It is now run as an elite hotel of the Ashok Group of the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) under the Government of India. However, a veneer of the original royal ambience of the palace is maintained.
Located below the Chamundi hills, the architecture of the palace reflects English manor houses and Italian Palazzos. It is a two storied structure. Decorative stained glass has been extensively used to enhance the elegance of the palace both in the exterior facades and in interiors doors, windows and ceilings. A lovely view of the Chamundi Hill to the left and the Mysore city in front of the palace is seen from the balcony upstairs.
The palace has exquisitely designed viceroy room, a banquet hall, a dancing floor and an Italian marble staircase (has an arresting curve) and also embellished with small ornamentations, which are said to be replicas from various palaces in Britain. The full length portraits of the Wodeyar Kings, Italian marble floors and Belgian crystal chandeliers, cut glass lamps, heavy ornate furniture, mosaic tiles and a couple of exquisite Persian carpets gives the palace its regal ambience. With conversion of the palace into a heritage hotel, interiors have been modified to provide for modern conveniences but most of the earlier sections of the palace such as the dancing and banquet halls have been retained in their original elegance but adopted as dining halls and conference halls for holding meetings and conventions; these have polished wooden flooring and three stain glassed domes in the ceiling. The ball room in particular, which has been converted into the Dining Hall of the hotel, is a baroque hall with immensely high ceiling with domed skylights made of Belgian glass. A swimming pool is now an additional provision. The elevator, carpeting and the Ottoman, upholstered with tapestry are treasured items in the palace.