Situated at the foothills of the lofty Chamundi hills, Mysore is amongst the best places to visit in Karnataka. The land of Wadiyars, has a rich history of Kings and Palaces and also of the Colonial rule. Mysore is also perfect as a day outing to witness the magnificent Mysore art and architecture. Mysore’s history and natural beauty is everything that an avid traveller or anyone looking for a rejuvenating break from daily life looks for.
At just 140 kms from Bangalore, Mysore is a perfect weekend getaway if you are from Karnataka or even from any part of India. In your stay of a day or two you can explore the place completely and also enjoy some leisure time and shopping here. Mysore offers the perfect blend of royalty and natural escapes. Be it palace or cafe or waterfall or a sports arena, you name it and Mysore has it all. Did you know, Mysore served as the capital city of Wadiyar dynasty for a really long time. The wadiyars were patrons of art and culture which is quite significant from the heritage structures and palaces. Speaking about festivals, Mysore is famous for the grand Dasara festivities that is carried out every year and hundreds and thousands of tourists from around the world visit the city. Whenever you visit Mysore do not miss out on these places.
This breathtakingly beautiful Mysore palace is an architectural marvel which was built by the Wadiyar dynasty and is amongst one of the biggest palaces in India. The construction of the Mysore palace was started by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV and was further expanded by his son, the last Maharaja of Mysore, Maharaja Jaychamaraja Wadiyar. Also known as Amba Vilas Palace, Mysore palace is still the residence of the royal family. The palace is a beautiful blend of Hindu, Muslim, and Rajput style of architecture and with the scenic Chamundi hill as a backdrop on the eastern side Mysore palace is a paradise to visit. It is the second most visited historical monument after Taj Mahal.
Vijaya Dashami is the main festival that is celebrated every year for 10 days and hundreds and thousands of tourists flock the city during this time to witness the parade march by the elephants. The members of the royal family along with other special guests attend the ceremony.
To enter the Palace you will have to remove your shoes which would cost you INR 2 per pair for locker facility. And the entry cost for the palace is INR 100 for adult and INR 30 for kids. Audio information kits are also available in 8 languages.
Shri Chamudeshwari Temple
Located at the top of the Chamundi hill, this twelfth century temple is one of the most visited places in Mysore. This sacred temple homes the deity of Goddess Durga and devotees from across the world come here to seek her blessings. Apart from being a religious site, this hilltop is also famous for the 360 degree view of the city. From here you will be able to spot the Mysore Palace below the hill. You will witness a great crowd on all days of the week and also a small flee market setup selling different souvenirs and sandal wood products. Although the entry to the temple is free of cost but you will be charged if you want to skip the long queue for Darshana. This place also quite famous among the cycle and bike riding enthusiast.
The Brindavan Gardens
This magnificent garden is located just below the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam. A major tourist destination is on the outskirts of Mysore and is popular among the locals as a weekend spot. Famous for its water fountains and wide open lawn gardens, many Bollywood movies and songs were shot at this garden. It is also regarded as one of the most beautiful gardens in the state. The most popular and exciting experience at this garden is the musical fountain that is scheduled in the evenings. To enter the garden a ticket costs INR 50 for adult. You will also find many street hawkers and stalls selling cut fruits and snacks.
St. Philomena’s Cathedral
Dedicated to Saint Philomena, St. Philomena’s church was built by the Mysore ruler for the European residents in the city. This majestic church captivates everyone with its architectural excellence. Built in 1840, this church boasts of being the second largest church in Asia and is constructed in the Neo-gothic or the Victorian style. You can visit the church till 6 in the evening as the timing of the church is from 5 AM to 6 PM. I would suggest you to visit the church in the evening as you will be able to witness the church being illuminated. Photography is not allowed inside the church but you can click really cool framed pictures in the church campus. This church is just 2 KMs away from the Mysore Palace and you can either hire a cab or you can also take auto-rickshaw till the church.
Mysore Zoo, or Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden, was established in 1892. Initially, it was only meant for royal families, but in 1920, was opened to public.The zoo home to about 1450 animals belonging to 170 varied species.It houses a small museum that displays stuffed animals and a library. Both photography and videography are allowed at the zoo.Make sure to turn the flash of your camera off before clicking the animals. The zoo is open on all days except on Tuesdays.
Jaganmohan Palace Art Gallery is a must-visit attraction for art lovers. Originally built as a residential palace in 1861, it was formed into a museum and art gallery in 1915.The entrance door of this art gallery features intricate carvings that are exemplary of fine craftsmanship. The gallery houses Raja Ravi Varma’s original oil paintings which are based on various mythological themes. Indian Artist S.G. Heldnker’s marvellous artwork named Lady With The Lamp is also kept here. Other exhibits featured in the art gallery are exquisite metal, ceramic and glass artefacts. In addition, a unique assortment of clocks and engravings from Japan and China add to its rich collection. If you are a history and artefact lover you must visit this place. Its open on all days from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. To enter museum you will be charged INR 20 for adults and INR 10 for Kids.
How to reach
By Air: The nearest airport to Mysore is the Bangalore International Airport. You will easily find a cab from Bangalore airport to Mysore at all times of the day.
By Rail: Mysore Railway station is well connected to the major cities of the Country. Its also well connected with Bangalore Railway station. It is around 120 KMs away from Bangalore by rail.
By Road: You can find bus services to Mysore from almost all the cities in Karnataka. You can also find cab services available from all the major cities in Karnataka.