Karnataka: Mysore


Even though the capital of Karnataka, Bangalore, is the most important city of Karnataka but it’s not a bad idea to start the trip of Karnataka right from the historical Mysore, the city which was formerly known as Mahisashura. The historical city was very rich when the emperor of Mysore was ruling Mysore and its nearby territories. However, the city is not ruled anymore by any of the royal leaders but the affluence of the city is still notable. 5 Royal Palaces and near about 12 mansions are the prime attractions of the city of Mysore.

Mysore is truly a kingly city but its grandeur is not only limited in few historical monuments and in the memories of the ancient kings, rather the cultures and traditions of Mysore are extended towards the creative fields as well. The praiseworthy cultural significance of the city is based on the creative literatures, innovative industrial products and dexterous arts. Plenty of dotted orchards decorate the entire city which is the homeland of 7 lacs inhabitants.
The city of Mysore is not very far away from the capital of Karnataka.
Bangalore, the capital, located at a distance of 139 km from Mysore, is well connected to Mysore both by roads and by railway networks. Tourists who start their journey from Ooty and travel into the state of Karnataka would hit Mysore on their way.

You can make the city of Mysore as a base and visit Belur, Halebid, Shravanabelagola, Somnathpur and Coorg in a proper sequence. Even though the best time to visit Mysore is during October- March but you can visit the city at any time of the year. The temperature of the city hovers around 28 degrees Celsius in summers where as the season of winters witness a temperature around 22 degrees Celsius. The average rainfall of the city is 98 cm.

Most of the scattered palaces of the city are now hotels. If you want to watch the excellent architectures and recall the primeval memories then take a look at different striking palaces after buying tickets.

The city houses plenty of important spots and edifices like the State Bank of Mysore, first Hydro Electric Plant of Asia, Soap factory, Sandalwood factory, Rosewood Carving, University, Bhadravati Iron & Still Works, Krishrajasagar Dam, plenty of palaces, and many cottage industries. Many city dwellers earn their money by manufacturing incense sticks (agarbatti). 

Also known as Mecca for the tourists, Mysore, is situated at an elevation of 770 meters. The well adorned city is also known as the “Garden City” and the “city of sandalwoods”. The sweet aroma of sandalwoods is spread all over the city. You would surely enjoy the atmosphere around. The profession of making various profitable items from sandalwoods is a household business. Different products are made up of sandalwoods like sandalwood incense, sandalwood soaps, sandalwood oil, furniture and many more innovative products. The aroma of the Sandalwood oil is very famous not just in the vicinity but in other countries as well. Exporting of different types of sandalwood products to various parts of the world is big business here.

The charm and prominence of the city are not only limited within its industries but its significant cultures and traditions are also noticeable. It’s invariably known as a city which showcases an impressive culture through the celebrations of Dussehra.

The amazing city is embellished with royal palaces, well thought-out homes, slender and wonderful streets. The city has been built with lot of care and affection by many old kings. When the name of Mysore is considered by the holiday makers as a tourists’ destination, the first thing still comes in mind is its stunning Brindavan Garden. Nevertheless, the city is pulling large number of tourists from all over the world today for its significant and momentous Dussehra festival. A large number of pilgrims and holiday makers gather on the holy premise of Mysore to witness one of the wonderful festivities of India during the month of September/October. The well bedecked and colorful procession that is organized during the festival is enjoyed by many and is probably the most attractive attraction of the entire festive season. The bright deity, bejeweled in colorful royal attire, participates in the festival and travels along with the devotees in the striking procession. The procession heads towards the foothill of the Chamundi hill, about 5 km away from the central part of Mysore. The city of Mysore celebrates 10 days and 9 nights in festive spirit. The fiesta and fair take place on the huge field, adjacent to the imperial palace. All the celebrants enjoy the cultural celebration that is held every year. Melodious music fills the air around. Vibrant dance forms are also performed along with the tuneful music. Another impressive attraction of the festival is its torch light parade. The entire city looks different as the city dwellers celebrate the spirit of the festival. Firecrackers are burnt all over the city.

If you are planning to visit Mysore then it is always prudent and wise to book a room in a hotel well in advance. Rates of the hotels are very high in Mysore. However, to avoid huge crowds you can watch the grandeur of the festival with the Government help by buying a ticket.

Ruins of the ancient capital city of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, Located at a distance of 15 km towards the north- east side of Mysore, on the Kaveri River banks, is still a prime allurement of Mysore. Temple lovers would be able to entertain themselves by the various primeval temples of Somnathpur as well.

Cities like Belur, Halebid and Shravanabelagola are not very far away from Mysore. So, it is wise to visit these cities at one go. A number of tourists who flock to Mysore should visit the nearby sanctuaries, situated in Bandipur, Nagarhole and Madhumalai.

Mysore royal palace: Everyone who visits Mysore can watch the excellence of this stately and noble palace. The entire palace premise is full of colorful gardens. Plenty of temples like Bhubaneshwari, Gayetri, Gopal- Krishnaswamy, Nabagraha, Trinayaneshwar and Barahaswamy decorate the palace compound. The main entrance of the palace depicts architectural excellence and flair. Get into the palace by the grand doorway and you would hit the holy temple at the left hand side of the entrance. The crest of the temple is wrapped up with 18 carat gold. The architectural panache and flair of the palace would dazzle the tourists. The ornamentations and architectures of the palace reflect a magical blending of Indian and western architectural grandeur. The palace also showcases an impressive collection of singular and antique items. Nevertheless, due to the traditional use of the Victorian architecture, the palace looks a bit clumsy. A monument inside the palace premise which used to showcase daru architectural stylishness was destroyed by fire in 1897.

48 meters tall captivating palace, built during 1897-1912, was built for the emperor of Wodeyar. The great architect Henry Irwin had designed the saffron colored palace. The palace of 80 * 50 meters depicts admirable and commendable Indo- Serasenic architectures. The astonishing Gombe thotti or the doll’s museum, placed right at the entrance of the ground floor, used to show the Dussehra festival with dolls. A marble idol of the British king has now been constructed here.

Hawda of the king, built with 84 kg gold (24 carat), the model of an old palace and battery signal with precious stones are other attractions of the palace. 26 panel pictures which embellish the marriage hall were the results of putting 15 years of hard toil. The 19th picture which was drawn by the renowned artist namely Ravi Varma had portrayed the majestic Dussehra festival of 1930. The brass pillar, Jhara lantern, well bedecked glass peacock, tiled floors, Sliver chair of the old king and Lord Mount Batten are the fortes of the palace.

Climb up to the 1st floor by crossing staircase (47 * 13 meters) to visit the Durbar hall which houses an expensive throne, wrapped up in 280 kg of expensive gold. A golden throne, decorated with numerous idols of ancient Hindu deities, was brought all the way from Vijayanagar with the emperor as a commemorative of the Vijayanagar war. Another group of historians opine that the king Ourangzeb had gifted the throne to the Vijayanagar king. Glasses, elephant teeth, precious stones, silver door, majestic floor, fine arts of mahogany wood on the ceiling, engraved Vishnu idol on the ceiling, carving of hoysala architecture and impressive looking pillars are increasing the opulence and elegance of the Durbar hall. Apart from the kingly flairs, the panoramic view of Lalitha mahal and chamundi hill would also enthrall the hordes to tourists.

Even though the size of the private Durbar hall or Amba hall is small but if the architectural stylishness is concerned then this is one of the best places of the striking palace. Three doorways of the hall are treats to the eyes as well. Ten different forms of the deity Vishnu and eight prominent personalities were imprinted on the silver door, placed in between two other doors. The mini Krishna idol is another enticement. Well bejeweled Belgium glass, iron pillars of Glasgow, daru ceiling, Jhara Lantern, well decorated glass windows and mosaic floor of Durbar hall make this portion of palace a must visit spot.

Oil paintings which are hanged on the walls of the Art Gallery fascinate the tourists. Besides all these allurements of the royal palace, replica of the British crown, swords of Tipu and Hyder, The tiger claw of Shibaji, sandalwood furniture and the well decorated hall with elephant teeth are pulling large crowds every year to the palace. A private museum is also there at the backend of the palace.

The entire palace looks astounding when every corners of the palace look brighter with the lights on Sundays and every holiday.

Jaganmohan palace or Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery: The palace, built in 1861, was very rich in antique items. All these singular and antique items were collected previously in 1915 and are now showcased in the museum or the art gallery of the palace. Even though the assortment of pictures of this Art Gallery would catch anybody’s eyes but the picture called “Lady Youth the Lamp”, drawn by S L Haldekar, placed on the 1st floor of the Art Gallery, is the most interesting one of all these pictures. If all the lights of the room are switched off and you approach to one of the greatest creations, “Lady Youth the Lamp”, then you would get a feeling that the lady herself is coming to you walking all the way from its present place with a lamp in her hand. Besides the impressive portray of S L Haldekar, the pictures drawn by other skillful and adroit artists namely Ravi Verma and Nicolas Roerich are the special attractions of the Art Gallery. The anthology of musical instruments of various sizes and shapes adorn the magical Art Gallery as well. Don’t forget to enjoy the sight of the Musical clock, right at the entrance of the Art Gallery.
If you have kids along with you, then you must enjoy the show, conducted with band and parade once every hour on the premise. Watch the idol of Ganesha on a turtle and innumerable antiquities, kept in the Art Gallery for a lifetime experience. However, clumsiness is prominent.

Chamarajendra Zoological Garden/ Zoo: One of the oldest zoos of India, built in 1832, is located in Mysore. Covering 37 acres of lands, located at a distance of 3 km from the palace, the open air Zoo is delimited by a water body all around. Set amidst the compelling greeneries, denizens of the Zoo like elephants, tigers, lions and gorillas stroll around and enjoy their time in the middle of the plethora of viewers. Approximately, 1500 animals amble around the premise of the zoo. Birds of myriad of colors fly from one branch to another and sing in concert. The collection of different species of reptiles would also entertain and amuse animal lovers.

Lalitha Mahal: Lalitha Mahal or the primeval Guest House, built long back in 1913 by Krishnaraja with the collection of white marbles, is located on the undulated acclivity of the hill, on the way to Chamundi and has now become a 5 star Hotel of ITDC. Grant a special permission from the Superintendent to watch the mesmerizing vistas of the palace. The staircase, built using Italian marbles, is famous as a prime attraction of Lalitha Mahal.
Built in 1905, about 5 km from the palace, the University, houses the renowned and stunning Jayalakshmi Vilas Palace. It is one of the rich museums of Karnataka. 6500 types of majestic items are kept and maintained in the Folk Art Museum. The museum is closed on the 2nd Saturday and Sunday.

Chamundi hill: The crown of the city of Mysore, Chamundi Hill, is located at an altitude of 1095 meters. The undulating land is considered as a sanctified destination by plenty of devotees as the deity, Chamundeshwari (Devi Durga), is residing on the throne of the temple, built on the hilltop. 2000 years old ancient and hallowed Chamundeshwari temple was built by Krishnaraja Wodeyar 3rd.  The architectures of the temple have a modish touch. 40 meters tall Gopuram of the temple is the second best crowd puller of the temple after the divine deity. The crest of the temple is well protected with an idol of Mahishasura. Another idol of Mahishasura is there on the temple premise to welcome the devotees.

Many of us search for the offerings of the nature in every destination. The Chamundi hill would offer you a bird’s eye view of the adjoining places and awe-inspiring cosmos. Climb up the upper portion of the temple to watch the spectacle of the shimmering city of Mysore at night. The tract to the hilltop would welcome you in the vicinity with its attention-grabbing and exciting surrounds.

Located at the south- east tip of the city, the Chamundi, is a vertical hill. Holiday makers who want to take the delight in nature should climb up the hill through 4 ½ km long staircase which starts from the city of Mysore and ends right in front of the temple at the hilltop. You have to take the pain to cross 1000 stairways though. Tourists who are unwilling to take a walk to the temple can hire a vehicle which reaches the temple through a long route of 10 km. Watch the fine arts on the divine monolithic Nandi (26 * 25 feet), built by black granite stone in 1965 in the middle of the road. The structure was curved out of the granite stones. The chain, garland and bell of the structure were built by cutting the granite stones as well.

Avail a bus to Chamundi hill from the city bus stand. Buses start from Mysore to Chamundi hill once every 40 minutes. For a comfortable journey, tourists can hire an auto or taxi. Plenty of shops and restaurants are also there around the temple of Chamundi hill.

Interested tourists and devotes who want to stay at the hilltop for some time can stay at Hotel Rajendra Vilas Palace. However, the options are very limited for the tourists who want to stay overnight at Chamundi hill.

Lokranjan Mahal, Chelubhamba Mansion, Municipal Office, Krishna- Rajendra Hospital, Medical College Museum, Exhibition House, Ramkrishna Ashram and Rail Station are other coveted attractions of Mysore. The St Philomena Cathedral, about 3 km towards the north of Mysore, at the roadside of Ashoka Road, depicts modishness and grace of the Neo- Gothic architectures. A hefty amount of 27 lacs were spent to build this excellent epitome of Neo- Gothic architecture. We all are aware of the “Pink City” which is another name of Jaipur. Mysore is also known as “Saffron city”. The well planned city of Mysore houses plenty of residences which all look lovely together as most of them are painted with Saffron color.

The Sandalwood oil factory, lies 8 km off Mysore, can also be seen. If you are interested then don’t hesitate to purchase Sandalwood oil from the factory.

Another fascinating spot, located at a distance of 1 km from the sandalwood oil factory towards the city of Mysore, is the Silk factory. The factory authority would give you an opportunity to watch the process of manufacturing Silk garments and to purchase Silk attires as well. The whole factory is controlled by the Government.
Art and archeology museum and Chamarajendra Technical Institute are the other factories which deserve a visit. Chamarajendra Technical Institute manufactures some splendid items with teeth of elephants, sandalwoods and metals. If you wish then you can purchase these items as well.

The Railway museum, located at the rear end of the railway station, is a nice museum with striking collection of items. The saloon car of the queen with a lavish toilet is the prime and foremost attraction of the museum. Various old models of trains are kept in the premise.

Temple lovers, who move to various corners of India just to witness the sights of the holy temples, should visit Sri Mahalingeshwar temple, about 13 km from the city of Mysore. This temple would help the temple lovers to evoke the divinity of another 800 years old temple, called Hoysala temple. The temple looks different from any other South Indian temples due to its low ceiling. A new idol was built in the temple after the primeval consecrated idol of the deity was lost. Besides Shiva lingam, idol of Ganesha is also placed in the temple.

One more romantic allurement in the hinterland of Mysore is Kheda Operation. Located at a distance of 55 km towards the south of Mysore, Kheda Operation is positioned inside the dark and opaque Koraput forest. It’s a fascinating manor where from wild elephants are taped and is a laudable initiative of the Government.

Jaganmohan Art Gallery and palace can be accessed from the bus stand of Mysore by taking a walk. You can avail a conducted tour of Mysore for a worriless trip but you won’t be able to know each and everything about Mysore due to the scarcity of time.

How to reach: Mysore can be accessed both by bus and by railway networks. Mysore is well connected to Chennai, Mangalore, Yashwantpur, Jaipur, Thiruchirapally, Mumbai, and Vijayawada by railways. Avail a bus to reach Mysore from Goa, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, Mangalore, Bangalore, Hyderabad and many more places. It is beat reached from Bangalore, and generally people cover Bangaluru, Mysore and Ooty in one trip.

Where to stay: Hotel Gayathri, Hotel New Bishnu Bhavan, Hotel Chalukya, Hotel Santinivas, Hotel Sangeetha, Hotel Karthik, Hotel Roopa, Hotel Arathi, Woodlands Hotel, The President Hotel and Hotel Brindavan.
Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.

Mysore palace at night                Varaha Temple

Mysore Palace at night                             Varaha Temple

Back to Karnataka