The Indian city of Mysore is a Palace city with the majestic Mysore Palace located in the heart of the city. What is more wonderful is that the king and the queen (Wodeyar dynasty) still live in a part of the palace and if lucky you might just get to see them!
Mysore Travel Guide
Mysore located at a distance of 140km from the state capital Bengaluru is a developing city which has somehow still managed to escape total urbanism and retains its charm. Streets are wide and clean, roads are well maintained, traffic is minimal (except in the city center) and the food is mouthwatering.
Things To Do In Mysore
Mysore which had been ranked the cleanest city in the country has a lot for you to choose from.
It is best known for its celebrations of Dussehra which happens during October generally. It is a local carnival type of event with numerous tabloids and elephants parading while the streets are lined with people watching the gala event.
Also known as ‘Jamboo Savari’, the processions involve parades of beautifully decorated elephants, one of which carries the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari. These elephants in the company of dance groups, music bands, folklores, armed forces and royal identities, start their torch-light parade from the Mysore Palace and end it at Bannimantap.
The torch-light parade is traditionally known as Panjina Kavayithu and it takes place on the last day of Mysore Dasara.
Mysore Palace lit during Dussehra celebrations
Experiences to have
The crown of glory in Mysore is Mysore Palace. Glamour and Grandeur moulded into one, the palace boasts opulent rooms, large rosewood doors, and intricate ivory carvings.
The Chamundi Hills are also home to many myths. It is widely known that the goddess Chamundi brought an end to the demon Mahishasura on this very hill. You can hike the hill and see the great statue dedicated to the goddess’ victory.
On your way back, stay at the Lalit Mahal Palace, now a luxurious five-star hotel. Pamper yourself with British high tea. Datta Peetham is a tea-lovers peaceful escape. This ashram is home to a broad range of herbs, including tea, that you can purchase.
The Lalit Mahal Palace
Go with your kids to the famous Mysore Zoo. For more than 120 years, it has bred and conserved wild animals.
St. Philomena’s Church is a colonial period building. It is one of the first churches in the country to have stained glass windows.
Tap into your artistic side by taking a tour of Jagmohan Palace and Art Gallery. Brindavan Gardens have graceful fountains which flow to a musical rhythm. Take in the many sight beautiful sights around you in Mysore.
The Jaganmohan Palace
This palace is the heart of the city and worth a visit. Right from its Indo-Saracenic architecture to its colourful imperial interiors, everything is a shining example of why Mysore is popular as the City of Palaces.
This palace is best visited during the celebrations of Dushherah where it is decked up and lighted up at nights with numerous events taking place in the evening. You might get lucky and get your hands on passes which let you in the palace to witness the royal Durbar, a traditional event where the king dresses up in all his grandeur and hold court like they used to before the government was formed.
The king during Dussehra celebrations at the palace
This temple located on top of Chamundi Hills is another gem in Mysore’s crown. If you’re in the city, make sure you visit this place even if you’re not so religious at heart. The way the temple is built and how it impeccably shows the fierce form of Goddess Durga made of gold is awe-inspiring. The entrance is also silver plated making the temple grand.
Adding to the magnificence of the city, this palace is a brilliant example of old-age architecture and interiors where you can witness everything from the furniture used by the royal family to the work of art on their walls. Mimicking the beautiful art that is housed within, the architecture of Jaganmohan Palace is intricate and detailed beautifully.
The Auditorium at Jaganmohan Palace
This museum is a part of the Mysore University and is one-of-its-kind in the city when it comes to folk arts. Must visit for culture-vultures and anyone who wishes to witness the old-world charm. You can witness the utensils used in the past, the handmade items like multi-utility wicker baskets, sculptures, and more.
This vast garden is built near the Kaveri river. These beautiful gardens were constructed by Krishnaraja Wodeyar and spread over 60 acres of land. The beauty of these gardens multiplies in the evenings when the fountains light up in various colors and you can enjoy a musical fountain show. But do beware of pickpockets as it can very crowded in the evenings.
The KRS dam is also located here and is worth walking to.
The musical fountains at Brindavan
Located near the Mysore Palace covering an area of 160 acres, the Zoo’s meticulous planning is responsible for making it a special zoological garden. It tends to create a natural habitat for the animals in it.
From Big to small cats, Aquatic to terrestrial birds, and Primates to reptiles, one Hundred and Sixty-Eight species find their place in this zoo. The world’s first caesarian section delivery performed on an elephant in Mysore zoo gave it global fame and recognition.
Note: The Zoo remains open on all days except for Tuesdays from 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM. If you wish to make your visit to this zoo a success by having a look at the maximum number of creatures it has then either go before 11:00 AM or after 3:00 PM.
A white peacock dancing in the zoo
Also called as the fountain lake, this lake is located within the city. A stroll around the lake in the beautiful natural setting is sure to rejuvenate your mind and soul. Visitors can also enjoy the pristine lake by boating here.
It is a great picnic spot for families. Along with the aviary (largest in the country), Butterfly Park, waterfall and the museum, visitors can have their leisure time spent here at peace.
Karanji Kere is also where you should go with your partner. The dark green waters and lush green landscape provide a scenic backdrop that kindles romance.
This garden houses more than a 100 varieties of Bonsai trees in its 4 acres spread located in the Sri Ganapathi Sachidananda Ashram. The garden and the exhibits have been divided into various zones within, representing different Indian traditions and beliefs as followed by the Swamiji who started it all.
This garden is also the venue for bonsai conventions held during December. These 3-day seminars see experts from different parts of the world conducting workshops on bonsai plants.
Note: The Ashram also houses an aviary called Shuka Vana which is home to numerous well-trained birds. Definitely worth visiting when in the Ashram.
1. Government Silk Weaving Factory, KSIC
Though it might be a little tough to wear and searching for the right occasion is also hard in today’s world, everyone’s wardrobe should have one Mysore Silk Saree. Known for their marvellous colors and patterns, you should indulge in one.
While there are a lot of stores you can visit, the Government Silk Weaving Factory is the best place to buy every type of silk saree, that too at very reasonable prices.
2. Government Sandalwood Factory
It feels heavenly when the aroma of sandalwood reaches your nostrils. Mysore offers a wide range of sandalwood products that would fill your heart and home with their musky smell.
The aim of this establishment was to utilize resources and produce the purest form of Sandalwood oil. Located 2 kilometres away from the royal palace, the factory welcomes visitors for guided tours where they can see the different stages of the production of sandalwood oil. It is the best place that sells authentic sandalwood soaps, incense sticks, powder, and oil.
3. Mysore Handicraft Shop
The craftsmen and artisans of Channapatna, a small town near Mysore, have mastered the art of producing attractive wooden toys. During Tipu Sultan’s rule, Persian artists imparted lessons on the art of crafting wooden toys. These colourful, affordable and unique wooden pieces of art make up for perfect souvenirs.
4. Cauvery Arts and Crafts Emporium
The city is influenced by different art and crafts and Mysore paintings which have developed are famous all over the country. The traditional art of Mysore paintings dates back to the Ajanta era in the seventh century B.C.
While you are on a shopping spree in Mysore, do pick some paintings depicting mythological characters and events with intense detailing to adorn your wall back home.
Idols made of Sandalwood
Temples and Churches
This temple built in the 12th century is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. Tourists from near and far come to visit the temple to get a view of the beautiful place. The Chennakesava temple is one of the 1500 Temples built by the Hoysala Empire kings in different parts of their kingdom, and is said to be the climax development in Hoysala temple style and yet is unique in many other ways.
This ancient temple is located outside the Mysore Fort, the main deity is Trinesvara i.e. the three-eyed Shiva. The gopura of this temple was destroyed in the 18th century, but the beauty of the Dravidian architecture is still on display here.
3.Saint Philomena’s Cathedral
Built in 1956, this is not only one of the major attractions in Mysore, but also one of the largest churches in the country. The Gothic architecture looks all the more beautiful in the evening, making it the ultimate haven for tourists wishing to escape the hustle bustle for a while.
A must try are the dosa’s at Mylari. Famous for their Mysore Mylari Dosa, this place has been running since the past 80 years.
Another must have are the sweets called Mysore Pak. It is made with generous amounts of ghee, sugar, gram flour and at times cardamom. Hop into one of the sweet shops on the road to buy a few kilograms of this mouthwatering dessert.
Bonda, a ball-shaped breakfast or lunch item, is made of rice flour and chickpea flour, seasoned with spices, dipped in chickpea batter and deep-fried is also delicious. Like other breakfast options, it is served with sambar and coconut chutney.
Best idea is to enter a local restaurant and order a Thali which is a combination of all the local food served in unlimited quantity.
Best Time to Visit Mysore
Mysore can be visited throughout the year as it never experiences extreme weather conditions. Summers can be hot with the temperature going up to 30 degrees Celcius but the evenings are pleasant.
But winter is the most pleasant season to visit Mysore. Temperatures range between 15 to 30 degrees Celsius and tourist activities are at their peak.
Where to stay
The city has numerous places to stay. It has places to suit all budgets, from 5-star hotels to budget hotels. Airbnb also is a good option in the city.
The Mysore and Bangalore Airports are the two places you will want to arrive. Tourist cabs and bus services are available to major tourist landmarks from both airports.
Rickshaw drivers may try to cheat you, so it is better to take tourist cabs. OLA and UBER are now available in the city so booking and payment can be done online. Buses can be relied on to take you to major tourist locations too. Buses will always be the cheaper option.
The local government buses in Mysore
Most of the roads in the city are well maintained. You might have to endure little traffic near the palace during peak season, if not the vehicles move swiftly and it is an easy city to navigate.
The city is connected to Bengaluru by a National Highway which though is in good condition is not wide enough to support the current traffic scenario so you are likely to get stuck in traffic near Bengaluru when you ply on this highway
How Safe is Mysore
Mysore is one of the safest city in India. The cab and auto rickshaw drivers are also generally kind and help people when they are lost or in need of guidance. But you need to be aware of your surroundings and pickpockets in the crowded places.
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December 27, 2017 8:23 am