KARNATAKA

Captivating spectacle awaits tourists during Dasara

IN ALL ITS GLORY: The illuminated Mysore Palace draws tourists from all over the world.

IN ALL ITS GLORY: The illuminated Mysore Palace draws tourists from all over the world.  

96,200 bulbs fixed in a synchronised pattern are switched on at one go

Sharath S. Srivatsa

MYSORE: It is an evening odyssey that offers a distinctive spectacle to tourists and a mesmerising destination for travellers.

For nearly a century, the illumination at the imposing Mysore Palace has treated innumerable visitors to enchanting evenings in the sprawling palace precincts.

This magnificent Indo-Sarcenic style edifice unfailingly captivates the visitors when 96,200 bulbs fixed in a synchronised pattern are switched on at one go.

Mascot

Only one of its kinds in the world, the Mysore Palace's illumination that has remained a mascot for the tourism industry here has an interesting history.

For, at least during the first few decades after construction, the palace boasted of having more number of electrical lamps than the entire city had.

The hydel power station at Shivanasumdra near here was conceived to provide electricity to the palace, besides Bangalore city and Kolar Gold Fields.

The Mysore Palace Board pays Rs. 89,000 an hour to the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation. It spends nearly Rs. 1 crore every year towards maintenance of the palace illumination alone of its Rs. 4-crore revenue. More than 25,000 bulbs are replaced every year just before the Dasara festivities.

It is only at the Mysore Palace the specially made Brass Screw Lamp suitable for Ferry Land Based (FLB) holder is used in the country. While Mysore Lamps Ltd. was supplying these bulbs in the past; a Bangalore-based ancillary unit of Mysore Lamps supplies them now. The Mysore Palace illumination has changed over the period of time.

If the original planners used 40-watt bulbs, the authorities now are using 15-watt bulbs to prevent circuit burnout.

In fact, the 1910 oilpaper based insulation was replaced with PVC insulation to prevent the heating up of circuits during 1989 when a major overhaul was taken up.

Recalling his experience, electrical supervisor N. Shankar says the Mysore Palace will be illuminated for only 12 days a year, including 10 days during the Dasara festivities and two days during the Chamundeshwari car festival and Theppotsava celebrations atop the Chamundi Hills.

Mr. Shankar is among the few who were absorbed by the Government from the royal service. In 1984, the Government decided to illuminate the palace on Sundays and 15 general holidays along with the 12 scheduled days.

Replacement of bulbs

According to K.L. Balakrishna, Assistant Executive Engineer (Electrical), Mysore Palace Board, the replacement of damaged bulbs is a big exercise before the commencement of Dasara festivities.

The erstwhile Maharajas had appointed two electrical engineers to maintain the electrical circuits connected with the Mysore Palace illumination, he added.

He said: "It takes nearly 45 days for 20 electricians to check 269 circuits. Till date, not a single mishap has taken place during the exercise even when workers climb the domes at a height of 145 ft. to replace the bulbs."

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