14 Tourist Attractions in Mysore
A beautiful city in India located on the foothills of the beautiful Chamundi Hills in southwest Karnataka, Mysore is also famous as the “city of palaces”. Officially known as Mysuru, it served as the capital city of the Mysore Kingdom from 1399 to 1947.
The name Mysore meaning ‘Abode of Mahisha’ in Kannada is famous for its palaces, silk, spices, and sandalwood. Mysore is well connected by rail, road, and flights from all the major cities in India.
The royal residence of the Wodiyar Dynasty who ruled the kingdom of Mysore for more than 500 years, the Mysore Palace is also known as the Amba Vilas Palace.
The seat of the kingdom of Mysore is the central piece of attraction with an amalgamation of Muslim, Rajput, Gothic, and Hindu styles of architecture. The idea of building the palace was initiated by maharaja Krishnarajendra Wodeyar IV who chose the British architect Henry Irving for the purpose, it took around 15 years to complete this wonderful palace.
One of the most coveted tourist place, the Mysore Palace gets around six million visitors every year. Displaying an excellent combination of Indo-Saracenic architecture, the exotic palace captivates you with its outstanding display of exquisite carvings and works of art from all around the world.
The Golden throne at the palace is a perfect specimen of imperialism, Darbar-e-Khas, Gombe Tohti or the Doll’s Pavilion, Kalyan Mandapam, and armory are some of the exemplary features of the royal abode. The expansive palace complex also holds 12 major Hindu temples which are a must-visit.
The renowned Golden Throne or Chinnada Simhasana or Ratna Simhasana in Kannada, is the royal throne of the ruler of the Mysore Kingdom, attracting tourists visiting the city during the Dussera festival. The ceremonial throne studded with diamonds is assembled at the Durbar Hall of Mysore Palace amidst tight security and direct supervision of the Maharani Pramoda.
The richly ornamented throne is a proud possession of the Wodiyar Dynasty and is open for public viewing during Dussera festivities and later dissembled for safekeeping.
With its unique features, the Diwan-e-Khas is an ornate hall in the Mysore Palace is one of the most captivating room at the site. Larger-than-life, 155 feet by 42 feet sized hall, the ceremonial meeting hall of the royal family is adorned with majestic bottle-shaped columns and sculpted pillars.
The exquisitely designed hall which was often used for the king’s private audience comprises of awe-striking stained-glass ceilings, impressive chandeliers, decorated steel grills, and embellished mosaic flooring of semi-precious stones is a perfect example of royal opulence.
Located 13 km from Mysore, atop the Chamundi Hills is the Chamundeshwari Temple. Dedicated to the goddess Chamundeshwari, it is among the most powerful and prominent temples in Mysore. Dedicated to Shakti, the goddess Chamundeshwari is the tutelary deity of the Maharajas of Mysore and is said to be built by the Hoysala rulers in the 12th century.
The quadrangular edifice of the Hindu temple was constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture with a seven-story tall ‘gopuram’ (tower) decorated with labyrinthine carving. The divine temple can be reached by climbing 1000 steps, cycling, or by car.
Used by the Wodeyar kings of Mysore as an alternate retreat for the royal family, the Jagmohan Palace is a magnificent palace of architectural brilliance.
A feather in the princely state of Mysore, the Jagmohan Palace is a treasure trove of old paintings, antiques, and sculptures. More than 150 years old the place is among the oldest buildings in Mysore built during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in 1861.
Enhancing the glory of the Wodeyar dynasty, the palace is built in a traditional Hindu style, it is a three-storey wonder displaying the phenomenal work of Raja Ravi Varma. The royal façade has religious motifs and miniature temples crafted on it while the interior walls have beautiful murals.
The art gallery at the Jagmohan Palace is an enriching ensemble of paintings and artifacts prominent among which are the Lady with the Lamp, by artist Haldenkar. Other eminent artists whose works feature in the palace are Rabindranath Tagore, Nikolai Roerich, and Svetoslan Roerich to name a few. The palace also comprises of an auditorium which was used for traditional dance, music festivals, and other cultural activities.
A famous attraction in Mysore, the Brindavan Gardens is a landmark destination for travelers visiting the beautiful Mysore city. A notable abode of nature, the Brindavan Gardens is built across the Kaveri river, adjoining the Krishnarajasagara dam, it is just 21 km away from the city of Mysore.
From its inception in the year 1932 the garden has witnessed huge footfall and has made a prominent place in the bucket list of travelers. Besides the scenic beauty of the Brindavan Gardens, you can enjoy boating at the beautiful lake within the garden premises. The landmark Brindavan Gardens come alive post-sunset when the synchronized musical fountain displays a harmonious water dance and colorful illumination of lights which caress your senses and leave you in a trance.
Chamundi Hill is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims alike. It is home to the Chamundeshwari Temple, which is one of the most revered temples in the region. The hill also offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding landscape.
The Mysore Zoo is one of the oldest and most popular zoos in India. It is home to a wide variety of animals and birds, including tigers, lions, giraffes, and many more. A visit to the zoo is a great way to spend an afternoon in Mysore.
St. Philomena’s Church:
St. Philomena’s Church is a beautiful and imposing church that is known for its Gothic-style architecture and stunning stained glass windows. The church is a popular destination for tourists and is a must-visit attraction in Mysore.
Jaganmohan Palace and Art Gallery:
Jaganmohan Palace is a magnificent palace that was built in 1861 and now serves as an art gallery. It houses a vast collection of paintings, including works by renowned artists like Raja Ravi Varma and Svetoslav Roerich. It’s a must-visit for art enthusiasts.
Karanji Lake is a serene and picturesque lake located at the base of the Chamundi Hills. It’s a great spot for birdwatching and boating. The lake is also home to a butterfly park, a walk-through aviary, and a regional museum of natural history.
Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum:
The Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum is a unique museum that houses a collection of intricately crafted sand sculptures. The sculptures are created by renowned artist M.N. Gowri, who uses more than 115 truckloads of sand each year to create his masterpieces.
Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens:
The Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, also known as the Mysore Zoo, is a popular tourist attraction that is home to a wide variety of animals and birds. The zoo is known for its spacious enclosures and conservation efforts.
The Railway Museum in Mysore is a fascinating museum that showcases the history of Indian railways. It houses a collection of vintage locomotives, carriages, and other railway memorabilia. Visitors can also take a ride on a miniature train and learn about the inner workings of a steam engine.
These are just a few more of the many places to visit in Mysore. The city has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in history, art, nature, or wildlife.
How to reach Mysore
There are several ways to reach Mysore, depending on your starting point and mode of transportation. Here are some options:
- By Air: The nearest airport to Mysore is the Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore, which is approximately 170 km away. From the airport, you can take a taxi or bus to Mysore.
- By Train: Mysore has its own railway station, which is well-connected to major cities in India such as Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. You can check the Indian Railways website for train schedules and book your tickets online.
- By Road: Mysore is well-connected by road to major cities in Karnataka and neighboring states. You can take a bus or hire a taxi to reach Mysore. There are also several private operators that run buses from Bangalore and other major cities to Mysore.
- By Car: You can also drive to Mysore from Bangalore or other nearby cities. The journey takes about 3-4 hours, depending on the traffic and road conditions.
Overall, there are several options to reach Mysore, and you can choose the one that best suits your travel needs and budget.
Things to do
Mysore is a beautiful city in Karnataka, India, that is famous for its rich history, culture, and stunning architecture. Here are some things to do in Mysore:
- Visit Mysore Palace: This iconic palace is a must-visit attraction in Mysore. It is a beautiful blend of Hindu, Islamic, Gothic, and Rajput architectural styles.
- Explore the Mysore Zoo: The Mysore Zoo is one of the oldest and largest zoos in India, and is home to a wide range of animals and birds.
- Stroll through the Brindavan Gardens: The Brindavan Gardens is a beautiful park located next to the Krishnarajasagara Dam, and is known for its fountains and colorful light displays.
- Climb up to Chamundi Hill: Chamundi Hill is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims, and offers panoramic views of the city.
- Shop at Devaraja Market: This bustling market is a great place to buy local handicrafts, spices, and other souvenirs.
- Visit St. Philomena’s Church: This beautiful church is an architectural marvel, with its Gothic style architecture and stunning stained glass windows.
- Explore the Jaganmohan Palace and Art Gallery: This palace is home to an art gallery that showcases a wide range of art and artifacts, including traditional Mysore paintings.
- Experience the Mysore Dasara Festival: This annual festival is a 10-day celebration of the victory of good over evil, and is a great time to experience the local culture and traditions.
These are just a few of the many things to do in Mysore. There is much more to explore and discover in this charming city.
Where to Stay
Mysore has a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Here are some of the best places to stay in Mysore:
- Luxury Hotels: There are several luxury hotels in Mysore that offer world-class amenities and services. Some of the popular options include the Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, and Fortune JP Palace.
- Mid-Range Hotels: If you’re looking for comfortable and affordable accommodation, there are plenty of mid-range hotels in Mysore. Some of the popular options include the Royal Orchid Brindavan Garden, Regenta Central Herald, and Hotel Sandesh the Prince.
- Budget Hotels: There are also several budget hotels and guesthouses in Mysore that offer basic amenities at affordable prices. Some of the popular options include the Palace Inn, Hotel Roopa, and Hotel Adhi Manor.
- Homestays: For a more authentic and local experience, you can consider staying in a homestay in Mysore. There are several homestays that offer comfortable accommodations and home-cooked meals, such as The Mansion 1907, Green Lotus House, and Chittaranjan Palace Homestay.
Overall, there are plenty of accommodation options in Mysore to suit every budget and preference. It’s recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist season.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Mysore:
- What is the best time to visit Mysore?
The best time to visit Mysore is between October and February when the weather is cool and pleasant.
- What are the popular places to visit in Mysore?
Some of the popular places to visit in Mysore include Mysore Palace, Brindavan Gardens, Chamundi Hill, Mysore Zoo, St. Philomena’s Church, and Jaganmohan Palace and Art Gallery.
- How can I reach Mysore?
Mysore can be reached by air, train, and road. The nearest airport is in Bangalore, approximately 170 km away. Mysore has its own railway station and is well-connected by road to major cities in Karnataka and neighboring states.
- What are the popular dishes to try in Mysore?
Some of the popular dishes to try in Mysore include Mysore Pak (a sweet made with gram flour, sugar, and ghee), Masala Dosa (a crispy rice and lentil crepe filled with spiced potatoes), and Mysore Bonda (a deep-fried snack made with flour, yogurt, and spices).
- What is the Mysore Dasara Festival?
The Mysore Dasara Festival is a 10-day celebration of the victory of good over evil. It is one of the most important festivals in Mysore and is celebrated with great pomp and splendor, with a procession of elephants, music, and dance performances, and fireworks.
- Is it safe to travel to Mysore?
Mysore is generally a safe city to travel to, but it’s always important to take basic precautions such as avoiding isolated areas at night and keeping an eye on your belongings in crowded places.
Royal Mysore Walks, Mysore, Karnataka
Mysore, known as the world capital of Asthanga Yoga, is home to one of the longest-reigning royal families in India, famous for silk and sandal, and a pedestrian-friendly city. Recently voted India’s second cleanest city, Mysore is a treasure trove of historical sights, magnificent palaces, temples, and terrific shopping. It’s also where Royal Mysore Walks organizes themed guided walking tours for tourists with a curiosity beyond what the guide books share.
These are short walks in the city on themes such as Royalty, Handicrafts, Old City, and more. They are a great way to find out about the little known details of this city and take in a slice of local life. Each of these walks covers around a distance of 2kms and lasts for about 2hrs. Comfortable shoes or sandals are advised. Sunscreen, hats, and eyeglasses for those with sensitivity to the sun should plan accordingly.
If you are interested in exploring more, then these half or full trails will give you a great chance to get deeper. There are various themes from the bloody battles fought in this region to gaining insight into yoga and spirituality. Not big on walking? You can choose your mode of transportation, from a horse cart to a car!
Royal Mysore Walks will get you to places no guide will ever mention. Recognized by UNESCO, recommended by Singapore Walks, you can assure that one is in safe hands. Tours typically start in the morning hours but specific requests for a tour can also be customized to meet your requirements.
Small but growing rapidly in popularity, interested travelers can still talk personally to the owner Vinay through email or on the phone. Bring water, a camera, and prepare to see Mysore in a new light.