Mysore is the city of royalty, a city that has retained its charm from the old days, where life continues at a slower pace than it does in nearby Bengaluru. The many heritage buildings, palaces, temples and forts make this a historian’s delight although tourists of all sorts come here to see these places. Mysore has a refined cultural ambience, something that has earned it the name ‘Cultural Capital of Karnataka’.
Ruled by the iconic Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan for a brief period, Mysore was mainly under the control of the Wadiyar Dynasty, right until 1950. When India received its independence from the British, the Mysore Kingdom was incorporated into the Dominion of India right after that. Mysore tourism is an important factor of the city, especially as much of its economy depends on the visitors who come to explore the various palaces and historical buildings here. Mysore also has other traditional industries like bronze work, weaving and sandalwood carving.
|Also Known as||Garden City|
|Currency||Indian Rupee (INR)|
|Time Zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|Area||155.7 square kilometer|
|Best known for||Sweets, Sandalwood and Silk|
Mysore is located at the base of the Chamundi Hills in South Karnataka. Being the southern-most city of the state, it shares borders with Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the south. Kannada is the language spoken here predominantly. Though the city has a sizable population, it is not overflowing like its neighbour, Bengaluru. There are also several beautiful lakes here and the city is nestled between two rivers, the Kaveri River and the Kabini River.
Mysore’s climate is tropical, which means that summers can get intensely hot. Temperatures have been known to reach up to 39 degrees centigrade during this time. The monsoon lasts from July to November and the city receives adequate rainfall. The winter months from December to February are most pleasant and Mysore tourism sees a sharp spike upwards during this time.
Mysore is often referred to as the cultural capital of Karnataka and with good reason too. While the annual Dasara procession lends credence to this, there are several other reasons as well. Numerous palaces, art galleries and mansions add to the element of refined culture here. Mysore also has its own style of painting and the Mysore silk saree is quite famous. Apart from that, Mysore has also been the home of famed Kannada writers such as Kuvempu and U.R Ananthamurthy while famous brother R.K Narayan and R.K Laxman spent much of their lives here.
Undoubtedly, the highlights of Mysore tourism would have to include the splendid Mysore Palace, also known as Amba Vilas Palace that stands tall and proud. The official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty, the palace is right in the middle of the city. It blends several different architectural styles which creates a unique façade and there is a large garden surrounding the palace. There are two durbar halls in the palace and the décor gives off a sense of opulence, of a time long past. It is illuminated every evening for five minutes but on Sundays and National Festivals and holidays, it is illuminated for forty minutes. The sound and light show is a glorious spectacle and the illuminated palace is a breath-taking sight that you must simply see.
Mysore also several other palaces such as the Jaganmohana Palace which is also an Arts and Crafts Museum now. There is the Chittaranjan Palace which has been converted into a hotel, and several other palaces as well. But Mysore tourism is not just about palaces. Other places such as the Brindavan Gardens is a wonderful tourist spot. Spread over 60 acres of land and modelled after Kashmir’s Shalimar Gardens, this is a delight to the senses. The fountains and light show that takes place in the evening is mesmerising. Do remember though that this is a favoured tourist location and it can get quite crowded. In fact, finding parking can be a real issue.
Mysore Zoo is yet another wonderful and lively place to visit. Also known as Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, this is a wonderfully planned zoo where all sorts of animals, mammals and reptiles are housed. The zoo is located near the palace and is 157 acres big. Being one of the oldest and most famous zoos in India, it’s no wonder that it’s on the list of every visitor to Mysore. The Karanji Lake here is also excellent for boating activities.
The Chamundeshwari Temple is also very famous. It is dedicated to Goddess Durga and it also has statues of Nandi and Mahishasura. People often climb the steps to reach the temple but there’s another option too, which includes driving through the valley. Since the temple sits at the top of a hill, it is not too crowded.
Another important site in Mysore is St. Philomena’s Church, which is famed for being the second-tallest church in Asia. Tourists from all over the country visit this gorgeous monument that has been constructed in the Neo-Gothic style. It is indeed one of the most beautiful landmarks of the city.
There are various other attractions too, such as the Mysore Rail museum, various temples such as Trinesvaraswamy Temple, Melukote Temples, Nanjangud temple town and Srikanteswara Temple. On the outskirts of the city, around 16 kms away, there’s the Balmuri Falls, which is a popular picnic spot for people of Mysore and Bangalore. Yet another famous waterfall here is the Chunchanakatte Falls which is situated on the River Kaveri.