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Rises on a hillock on the west side of Kukkarahalli Kere(lake), the mansion is bounded with beautiful lush green landscape of Manasagangothri, the campus of University of Mysore around 5 kilometers to the west of the city.
It reflects the rich architectural splendor of the ancient times. Previously known as 'First Rajkumari Mansion', it was built in 1905 by the Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV for the, eldest daughter of Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar, Princess Jayalakshmi Ammani.
The total building cost was 7 lakh rupees and in 2002 it was renovated at a cost of Rs. 1.17 crores. The mansion was again inaugurated in 2006 by the Karnataka Governor.
The palace is great example of architectural marvels of those days. This structure is divided into three sections erected on strong columns but it is connected as to give the appearance of a single massive structure. The north and south portion of this structure is connected with a small over bridge and the interior have extensively rich carvings and mouldings of ancient Indian design. Other architectural features like the twin Corinthian and ionic columns, regal pediments, pilastered window-sets and oval ventilators adds to the grace and glory of this huge monument.
A dancing hall with a wooden floor and a 12 pillar, square Kalyana Mantapam are the major attractions of the palace which represent the zenith of artistic caliber of the local craftsman of the bygone golden era. The 40 x 25 feet dancing hall has a viewers gallery and a first floor, and the 40 feet high roof at the central portion is decorated with painted glass. The Kalyana Mantap, the most beautiful portion of the mansion, has an eight-petal shaped dome with glass windows and a gold -plated 'Kalasha" or tower on top.
Besides the main entrance, the mansion has entrances on each side, different from each other. The entrance on the northern side has an extrusion on the stairs probably to be used as an alighting platform from cars and chariots. At the centre of the main building, there is a small courtyard with a fountain. The north side pediment of the mansion has a sculpture of the Goddess Lakshmi and the south side has a sculpture of Goddess Bhuvaneswari under a domed canopy.
Renovated in 2002, Jayalakshmi Vilas is now a part of the Mysore University and has been converted to a museum (Folklore museum) and a research center of the University. The exhibits in the museum include priceless collection of artifacts, folklore, archaeology and geology, collected from various parts of India etc. The research center offers the students to carry their projects on several important topics with much ease and convenience.