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Looking beyond the heritage tag

R. Krishna Kumar

The Rajendra Vilas Palace will be promoted as a Heritage Classic or a Heritage Grand hotel



REGAL SPLENDOUR: A photo of the Rajendra Vilas Palace from the royal archives

MYSORE: The royal city is all set to unveil a new heritage hotel. The regal splendour of the Rajendra Vilas Palace atop Chamundi Hills is being restored to its original glory with a touch of Rajasthani flavour and will be thrown open to tourists soon.

Once completed, the décor and ambience is expected to match those of the best heritage hotels in Udaipur and Jodhpur. The Rajendra Vilas Palace will be promoted as a Heritage Classic or a Heritage Grand that will put Mysore on the list of the most preferred destinations among chartered or high-budget tourists exploring the royal orient. The tag is considered to be a notch above the "Heritage" status accorded to most other hotels.

Restoration work

Scion of the royal family and former MP Srikantadutta Narasimharaha Wadiyar told The Hindu that work on the palatial mansion is going on at a brisk pace.

Once completed, the hotel will be promoted as a Heritage Grand destination and will give the Lalith Mahal Palace a run for its money. "I am supervising the restoration work personally and the hotel should be ready in a few months," said Mr. Wadiyar.

Artisans and craftsmen from Jaipur have been engaged to spruce up the interiors. The restored palace will showcase splendid and intricate mirror work similar to that at the Sheesh Mahal, glazed sit-outs, peacock motifs, and marble pavilions made-to-order from Rajasthan.

There will be at least five such marble pavilions, a few of which are modelled after the structure that welcomes visitors at the entrance of Brindavan Gardens, Mr. Wadiyar said.

Portraits

Portraits of the royal family, marble staircases laced with mirror work and ceilings decorated with images of the Mysore Khedda, the Royal Bengal Tiger and life-sized paintings of Mysore Dasara will embellish the interiors of the heritage property.

The Rajendra Vilas Palace was the summer palace of the Wadiyars of Mysore. It was conceived in the 1920s and completed in 1938-39.

However, due to World War II and the recession, it could not be built on a lavish scale as was planned. The restrictions on import of materials curbed the scale on which the palace was done up.

According to Mr. Wadiyar, tourists can savour the old-world charm and opulence of the Orient along with modern facilities. The palace will have theme parks, a concept unique to heritage hotels in the country. Once ready, the hotel will befit the heritage status of Mysore and increase tourist inflow to the city of palaces.

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