What was once Mysore's famous summer Palace and now houses an art gallery of international repute, the Jaganmohan Palace, a popular tourist attraction situated in heart of the city is now 150 year-old.
The Palace was constructed in 1861 by Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the 22nd ruler of Yadav Dynasty, who came to power after the fall of Tipu Sultan and shifted the Capital from Srirangapatna to Mysore in 1799. Interestingly the Palace were constructed only in 70 days by Engineer Raghavalu Naidu.
The royal family stayed at Jaganmohan Palace from 1898 to 1910 (till the time when the present new palace was constructed as the earlier wooden palace was burnt down due to an accidental fire).
The auditorium was constructed in 1900 on the occasion of the marriage of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. Later, in 1915 Krishnaraja Wodeyar – IV concerted the temporary Palace into museum by gifting many of the royal collections. The Palace accumulated more items every year thereafter until about 1938.
The architecture of the Palace is Hindu style with mural paintings adorning the walls inside. The gallery houses rare Ravi Varma paintings, artifacts, murals, and various other things used by the royal family.
The auditorium was exclusively meant for the members of the Royal Family to view art performances. It also had a 35mm cine projector to watch movies. There was even an inter-connecting bridge connecting the balconies on either sides of the auditorium, where queens used to sit and watch the cultural programmes. It was renovated in 1980 and was thrown open to public by providing permanent seating arrangements and removing the bridge.
Several renowned national and international artistes have staged Dance and Dramas in the auditorium along with holding Government events too. The place is famous even today for staging plays. The palace is maintained under Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery Trust, who's Chairman is present Maharaja Sri Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar.
As the building was constructed using traditional method of Madras roofing (lime mortar added with sand, egg shells, Billwapathre and Antwala Kayi), at several places the roof has collapsed and fungus is growing due to seepage of rain water and cracks can be witnessed. Apart this waste materials is being dumped in the auditorium balconies.
Jaganmohan Palace Superintendent MG Narasimha said that 'keeping the heritage aspects intact, measures have been taken to change the roof style and control water seepage using modern methods.