There are hoardes of shops inside the city palace that claim to be authentic sandalwood products. We bought some incense sticks, soaps etc. All of them turned out to be frauds!! Not a single item even had the scent of sandalwood! Such a hoax really.
Fun Alternatives: Go to authentic Mysore Sandal stores for the soaps.
This monument is beautiful and a must-see sight - but only from the outside. See it illuminated at night (weekends 7-8 in the evening), walk around it, however, you will not get enough for the relatively hefty entrance fee if you decide to go into the complex and you will have to endure many nuisances.
As the place have been thoroughly written about by many of the other fellow travelers in the "Things to do topic" I will only write about the bad experiences.
1) The area around the entrance (southern gate) is badly-infested with touts and pushy souvenir sellers.
2) Photography is prohibited! Even after you've paid up the hefty entrance fee! You have to deposit your camera (again, for a new fee) 10 meters from the entrance. At least, it is safe.
3) You have to remove and deposit your shoes (again, for a new fee) around the main complex. It would be O.K. if it was a temple or mausoleum but it is not, and the whole complex is covered by CONCRETE (not marble as in the case of Taj Mahal which is also hot but bearable) which is HOT HOT HOT during the middle of April outside the buildings, it's too hot even for the locals as I could see. The coconut carpets that could give your burning feet some comfort are rotten away and non-existent at many places.
4) Crowds can be disturbing when you have to wait 20 or more minutes just to get back your shoes you had to deposit earlier.
5) Many of the rooms in the palace are filled with decaying gadgets that the maharaja simply put here instead of throwing them away as garbage. Sometimes the displayed articles reminded me of a bad flea market. Of course, there are some precious and beautiful things displayed but many throw-outs as well.
Fun Alternatives: See it from outside, walk around it. It is free and will not disappoint you. If you HAVE TO SEE the inside of a maharaja's palace, look at Jai Vilas Palace in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. That's not cheap either but we enjoyed it much more.
There are many local folks that sell flute, "violin" made by bamboo, postcards, wooden box with nice crafting..... if you don't intend to buy, just ignore them. If you have a peek on the product, most likely they will follow you all the way...... :)
Bargain is required, thumb of rules, the best price is right before you leave the place. Postcard typically cost you rs10, wooden box ~rs50-80.