Tourist Attractions in Mysore

Attractions

Overview

Mysore, officially Mysuru is a city in the southern part of the state of Karnataka, India. Mysuru is situated at the foothills of Chamundi Hills about 145.2 km (90 mi) towards the southwest of Bangalore and spread across an area of 155 km2 (60 sq mi). Mysuru City Corporation is responsible for the civic administration of the city, which is also the headquarters of the Mysuru district and the Mysuru division.

It served as the capital city of the Kingdom of Mysore for nearly six centuries from 1399 until 1956. The Kingdom was ruled by the Wadiyar dynasty, with a brief period of interregnum in the late 18th century when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were in power. The Wadiyars were patrons of art and culture. Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali also contributed significantly to the cultural and economic growth of the city and the state by planting mulberry trees introducing silk in the region and fighting four wars against the British. The cultural ambience and achievements of Mysuru earned it the sobriquet of Cultural Capital of Karnataka.

Mysore is noted for its heritage structures and palaces, including the Mysuru Palace, and for the festivities that take place during the Dasara festival when the city receives hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world. It lends its name to various art forms and culture, such as Mysuru Dasara, Mysuru painting; the sweet dish Mysuru Pak, Mysuru Masala Dosa; brands such as Mysore Sandal Soap, Mysuru Ink; and styles and cosmetics such as Mysuru Peta (a traditional silk turban) and the Mysuru silk saris. Mysore is also known for its special variety of jasmine flower fondly referred as “Mysuru Mallige” and betel leaves.

The city has recorded history dating back a thousands of years and a mythical history which explains the origin of the name – apparently, this was the place where the demon Mahishasura was slain by the Goddess Chamundi. One will find a statue of the demon on Chamundi Hill which commemorates this event.

Place to Visit

Places to Visit:

  • Mysore Palace. Intricately carved rosewood doors and ceilings some with inlaid ivory work, marble figurines, collections of caskets, paintings of the members of the royal family and other objects of personal use exhibit such opulence,though age as worn them out a bit with slight discolouration. On Sundays and national holidays between 7:00 PM-7:45 PM the palace is illuminated by close to 100,000 bulbs. Entry is from the south side. Cameras must be left at the cloak room, now there are no charges to deposit the cameras.Shoes must be left before the entrance for free.
  • Brindavan Gardens. And Musical Fountain at the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam. Nice garden full of fountains, in the neighbourhood of Mysore. At 7 PM the “musical fountain” light and music show begins. It is an extremely scenic and well-maintained garden. It also has a great aquarium that has rare varieties of fishes.
  • Chamundi Hillshas a temple of Goddess Chamundeshwari (or Chamundi). The huge Nandi sta top are available. Atop the hill, Goddess Chamundi’s idol is placed in a beautiful temple with marvelous architecture. It is a plastic free zone. Air Conditioned Volvo buses are available to Chamundi Hill and back from the city bus stand every twenty minutes. The charges are very nominal.
  • Jagmohan Palace and Art Gallery. A former palace that has been converted into an art gallery featuring famous works by various Indian artists. Has an extensive collection of Ravi Varma paintings. Unfortunately, it is pretty poorly maintained. 30 rupees for Indians, 120 rupees for foreigners.
  • Lalit Mahal Palace. Also a former palace but now a five star hotel, visitors should go around afternoon tea time as they serve a great British high tea. It is located near Chamundi Hill.
  • Philomenas Church. A beautiful Cathedral, reminiscent of medieval architectural style, is one of the largest churches in the country. Built in the gothic style,the Church is an imposing structure with stained glass windows and lofty towers.
  • Parks and Gardens. Mysore has about 180 parks and playgrounds. Most of the residential areas have their own small parks: e.g. Ambedkar Park in Jayanagar has a 500 metre perimeter footpath. The newly built Andolan Circle Park has a walking track that takes five minutes for one round. This park is near Kuvempu Nagar. But many Mysoreans prefer to walk around the many lakes which pepper the landscape such as the central Kukarahalli Kere by the University where the journey around is about 4.5 kilometres. Another is the Lingabudhi Kere which has a beautiful footpath with bamboo forests and again takes more than 20 minutes for one round. This park is a desirable neighbourhood to the southwest called Rama Krishna Nagar, 5km away from the city centre.
  • Datta Peetham. Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Avadhoota Datta Peetham is an ashram in Mysore. It has beautiful gardens with bonsais among other plants. You can buy some herbal tea for an infusion, grown in the gardens.
  • Mysore Zoo.  is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Closed on Tuesday. It was established under royal patronage in 1892, making it one of the oldest zoos in the world, and since then millions of people have enjoyed its wonderful animals and spectacular grounds. The zoo has a very successful breeding program and houses animals from more than 40 different countries and there are many native Indian animals as well, including Royal Bengal tigers, white tigers, elephants, giraffe, fallow deer, Himalayan black bear, Gaur (Indian bison), white peafowl and African rhino. The zoo is also home to many other exotic creatures from around the world like Branary sheep, giraffe, hippos and gorillas. The zoo also encompasses Karanji Lake, which attracts several species of migratory birds during the breeding season including painted storks, pelicans and darters. Other attractions include the botanical Garden with 35 species of exotic ornamental plants and 85 species of trees from India and abroad. Visitors can treat themselves to snacks and tender coconut that are available inside the zoo. Excellent mementos are available in a souvenir shop. Vehicle parking is available in an open area opposite the zoo.
  • Karanji Kere. is a small lake inside the city.This is a favorite spot of romantic couples. You can go for a small trip of boating.The lake is surrounded by green trees and you can also see various variety of birds like pelicans and painted storks on the island in Karanji kere. In local language Kere means Lake and thus a Lake by the name of Karanji is called as Karanji kere. The Area is now named as Nature park. The park has an aviary which hosts Peacocks and other species of colorful birds. Little inside, there is a tall watch tower, from where one can see entire lake and birds on tree tops. At the end of the walk way there is a butterfly park.
  • Jayalakshmivilas mansion, Manasagangotri. “”Fri-Mon. It was built by H.H. Vani Vilasa Sannidhana ( Maharani Regent of Mysore: 1895-1902) for her daughter Jayalakshammanni. ( Eldest daughter of HH Chamaraja Wadiyar – Maharaja of Mysore:1881-1894). It has around 200 rooms, an exotic dancing hall and a kalyanmantap with intricately carved wood pillars.It is converted into a museum and it stores artifacts pertaining to local folk performing arts, tools and object of various artisans and other archaeological findings. Princess Jayalakshmmanni was married to her maternal uncle. Dewan Sir M. Kantha Raja Urs. After independence their son-in-law Sirdar K. Basavaraj Urs sold the property to the University of Mysore for starting its post graduate center and the then Vice Chancellor Dr. K.V.Puttapa christened the place as Manasa Gangothri.
  • Happy Man Park. The Happy Man Park near Kamakshi Hospital, some three kilometers from the Railway Station, is a very popular hangout of children and parents. The park is quite compact in size but contains a mini zoo and many hens and ducks roam around the lawns freely. The park is landscaped with a little stream and ‘wooden’ bridges. Some kind of radio or music is played through little loudspeakers scattered around the park. The Park is open from 4.30PM to 9.00PM and the crowd is quite big around six p.m. It is also open for a while in the morning for the benefit of joggers. The main attraction of the park is a statue of a ‘Happy Man’ with a pot belly. The statue resembles Maitreya or Laughing Buddha, quite popular in Southeast Asian countries.
  • Sand Museum. Claiming to be India’s first Sand Museum, there is a wide range of sand sculptures here in various themes, from local Mysore culture, to world civilizations and different types of wildlife. All of this located in a very small area. Worth seeing, but doesn’t take much time to browse through. Also quite shabbily maintained by the family of the sculptor. Can be combined with the Chamundi Hill visit since it is very close to the hill base.

When to Reach

When to Reach

Mysore has a tropical climate, but the best time to visit Mysore is from the Monsoons and Winter months from July to February. The months have pleasant weather as a respite from the intense heat of summer. With these months captivating the city’s beauty; summers are less ideal for travelling and sightseeing.

Referred to as the cultural capital of Karnataka, Mysore is well known for the festivities that take place during the period of Dasara; the state festival of Karnataka. The Dasara festivities, which are celebrated over a ten-day period, were first introduced by King Raja Wodeyar I in 1610 and is also said to be a good time to visit to experience the culture.

Why Should Go?

Why should I go?

Famously known as The City of Palaces, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Mysore, currently Mysuru, is one of the most important places in the country regarding ancient reigns. It is replete with the history of its dazzling royal heritage, intricate architecture, its famed silk sarees, yoga, and sandalwood, to name just a few. Located in the foothills of the Chamundi Hills, Mysore is the third most populated city in Karnataka, and its rich heritage draws millions of tourists all year round. The highlight is the majestic Mysore Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is a must-visit.

Mysore was one of the three largest Princely States in the erstwhile British Empire of India. To this day, the Mysore Palace stands tall as one of the most spectacular palaces in India. A very famous tourist spot that sees thousands of visitors milling in and around it every day, the Mysore Palace is a mesmerizing example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, every inch of the palace drips with opulence and intricate details, and every room that you visit stands out in terms of its elaborate architecture, beautiful paintings, rich colours and stained-glass windows. On every Sunday, and during the Dussehra celebrations, the palace is spectacularly lit up once dusk falls.

Another popular element in Mysore is the Ashtanga School of Yoga. This draws visitors and practitioners from around the world to participate in this style of yoga that originated in Mysore.

The kings of the Wodeyar dynasty set the bar high for the southern cultural capital of Mysore. Ornate palaces and the Gothic St. Philomena’s Church with its 175-foot spires pack a visual punch; local institutions keep Carnatic classical music and dance in the public eye. A prominent 11th-century temple sits atop 1,000 steps on the city’s outskirts. Dress to the nines and party like a rock star in celebration of Mysore heritage during the lively Dussehra festival, held for 10 days in October/November.

Mysore is famous for silk sarees (Mysore Silk), sandalwood carvings and the many varieties of perfumed incense sticks. Mysore’s market places can be a good place to start, like Ashoka Road, Sayyaji Rao Road and for a mix of Western and Indian traditional shopping head to Devaraj Urs Road. To experience one of India’s best markets head to Devaraja

Market where tourists and locals alike shop for daily fruit and vegetables as well as the rows and rows of flowers and various spices. Devaraja market is on Dhanwanthri Road. On the east row of the Devaraja Market there is an oil shop with two brothers, Azam and Adil, who always pull in tourists for a nice conversation and maybe some chai. They have some good recommendations for food and things around the city so give them a visit.

Mysore is famous for its most famous traditional sweet, the Mysore Pak. Mysore Pak is a sweet dish generally cut into rectangular pieces and is made out of Gram Flour, Sugar (or Jaggery) and lots of Ghee (clarified butter). You can find it all over the city.

South Indian breakfast favourites like idlis, sambars, masala dosas are widely available and quite good. It is not clear if the Mysore Masala Dosa actually originated in Mysore.

Getting Around

Getting Around:

Getting around in Mysore is cheaper than most Indian cities. Frequent bus service is available to all major tourist and residential areas of the city. Volvo air-conditioned buses are available to Chamundi Hills, KRS-Brindavan Garden, Zoo, Infosys, and to some major residential areas. Tourist Cabs are the best choice if you want to visit nearby places outside Mysore city like Srirangapatna. Mysore offers an option to rent self-drive vehicles on hourly or daily basis. There are services for both two-wheeler and four-wheeler options. Bikes and scooters provide an economical way of commuting within the city while cars allow you to travel in comfort for longer journeys.

Weather

Weather:

Mysore has a tropical savanna climate (Aw) bordering on a hot semi-arid climate (BSh) under the Köppen climate classification. The main seasons are Summer from March to May, the monsoon season from June to October and winter from November to February. The highest temperature recorded in Mysore was 39.4 °C (103 °F) on 4 April 1917, and the lowest was 7.7 °C (46 °F) on 16 January 2012. The city’s average annual rainfall is 798.6 mm (31.4 in).