Mysore (or Mysuru), a city in India's southwestern Karnataka state, was the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947. In its center is opulent Mysore Palace, seat of the former ruling Wodeyar dynasty. The palace blends Hindu, Islamic, Gothic and Rajput styles. Mysore is also home to the centuries-old Devaraja Market, filled with spices, silk and sandalwood.
The name Mysore brings the image of its royal foundation in one's mind. One of South India's famous tourist destinations, Mysore is known for its royal heritage and magnificient buildings and monuments.
Best Time to Visit Mysore
October to February: This is one of the best times of the year to visit Mysore because the weather is cool with temperature dipping to a minimum of 10°C.
March to May: Summers in Mysore are warm with the temperature varying between 22°C and 39°C.
Which food is special in Mysore?
Sambar, a fiery lentil soup, and coconut chutney are served alongside vada, just like with idli. The idli-vada combo (one idli and one vada) is highly well-liked for breakfast or as a teatime snack. Vada is one of the Mysore famous foods you should never miss.
Mysore is also famed for its exceptional quality of Mysore Silk and a unique tradition of painting known as Mysore Painting. This city offers quite a few mouthwatering delicacies like the Mysore Pak and Mysore Masala Dosa.
There are some notable heritage structures in Mysore like the famous Mysore Palace and the Jaganmohana Palace. Other significant tourist spots in Mysore include Somanthapura, Karanji Lake & Park, Chamundi Hill, Brindavan Garden and Rail Museum.
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.
Must Visit Places in Mysore
1. Mysore Palace
The former residence of the royal family of Mysore, the Mysore Palace is an extremely breath-taking example of the Indo-Sarcenic style of architecture. It was built in the year 1912 for the 24th Ruler of the Wodeyar Dynasty, and is till date one of the biggest palaces in the country. It's one of the most popular and well known tourist attractions in India.
2. Brindavan Gardens
Built across the Kaveri river, these beautiful gardens were constructed by Krishnaraja Wodeyar. These gardens spread over 60 acres of land and were modeled after the Shalimar gardens of Kashmir. The beauty of these gardens multiplies in the evenings when the fountains light up in various colors.
3. Mysore Zoo
Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, also known as the Mysore Zoo is one of the best zoological gardens in India. Along with being home to various species of birds, mammals and reptiles, this zoo also engages in captive breeding of exotic and endangered species. The world's first caesarian section delivery performed on an elephant in Mysore zoo gave it global fame and recognition.
4. Somanathapura Temple
The village is named after Somnath, the commander of the Hoysala army who founded this place. It has a perfect natural setting for a family picnic. Also, the Somnathpur temple is a classic example of the stone carvings in Hoysala architecture.
5. Chamundeshwari Temple
Built atop the Chamundi Hills, this temple dates back to the 12th century. The idol of the main deity is made of gold. Also featured in this temple is a intricately engraved seven storey Gopuram and a silver plated entrance.
6. Shuka Vana
Home to over 2000 birds, the Shuka Vana in Mysore currently holds the record for most bird species in an aviary in the Guinness Book of World Records. This unique park, commonly known as parrot park, is a part of the Avadhoota Datta Peetham in the Sri Ganapathi Sachidananda Ashram, and also serves as a rehabilitation centre for abused, injured and abandoned birds.
7. Jaganmohan Palace
The palace that housed the royals before the construction of The Mysore palace, this structure displays various paintings of the past kings of Mysore and is one of the oldest buildings in the city.
8. Bonsai Garden
The Bonsai Garden of Mysore is home to over a 100 different varieties of Bonsai trees spread across a vast estate of about 4 acres. It is a part of the Avadoota Datta Peetham of the Sri Ganapathi Sachidananda Ashrama.
9. Rail Museum
The Mysore Rail Museum is the second of its kind in India, right after the National Railways Museum of Delhi. The museum depicts the journey and development of the Indian railways through an opulent collection of photographs and various other exhibits, housing a plethora of information and insight into the intricacies of the railway engine.
10. Karanji lake
Karanji Lake, also known as the fountain lake, is a popular picnic spot. Visitors are allowed to bring packed food, and there is a coffee shop as well. It is a beautiful place to explore the different species of birds as the lake exhibits as many as 147 species including herons, Asian openbill storks, cormorant, grey pelican, etc.
11. St. Philomena's Church
Recognized as the second tallest church of Asia, St. Philomena's Church was constructed to pay tribute to the Catholic Saint and martyr of Roman Catholic Church, Saint Philomena. It is one of the most important historical sites in Mysore and is frequently visited by tourists from all over the country.
12. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
Located in the picturesque state of Karnataka, the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Srirangapatna is a haven for a wide array of bird species. It is the largest bird sanctuary in the state and comprises of six small islands on the banks of the river Kaveri. The beauty that finds a place here in Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a sight to sore eyes. The scenery of the local vegetation and landscape, coupled with the colourful variety of wildlife makes it a unique learning experience for everyone. This destination offers many activities to its tourists; the most popular ones include bird watching, boating, and some good old nature photography.
13. GRS fantasy park
GRS Fantasy Park is a theme based amusement park and one of the favorites among the locals of Mysore. It offers some really amusing rides and activities making it a perfect spot for friends and families to hangout.
14. Edmuri Falls
Located on the Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) Marg, 3 km from Mysore city, Edmuri Falls (also known as Yedmuri Falls) is a quaint waterfall that comes in pair with the adjoining Balmuri Falls. Originating from the River Cauvery, the waterfall is generated when it comes in contact with a 6 feet rocky steep slope on the path of the river. In the view of the lush green backdrop of the hills and the sparkling water in sight, the waterfall is a pure visual delight.
Nestled on the banks of River Cauvery, Talakadu is town known for its sand dunes. With a rich past and heritage, the town is also quite famous among the devotees who come here for a special worship.
16. City Shopping
While in Mysore, take home Mysore silk saris, Mysore sandalwood artifacts and handicrafts, incense sticks, and traditional Mysore paintings called Ganjifa paintings, that the town is known for.
17. Folklore Museum
A part of the Mysore University, the museum is home to one of the most elaborate collections of folk art, products and articles. Visit the museum to witness one of the most sprawling depictions of the state's folk art.
18. Trinesvaraswamy Temple
This ancient temple is located outside the Mysore Fort, the main deity being Trinesvara i.e. the three eyed Shiva. The gopura of this temple was destroyed in the 18th century, but the beauty of the Dravidian architecture is still on display here.
This temple town is known as the Southern Kashi. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built during the Ganga period but renovated by the Wodeyars. Shrines dedicated to various other Gods and Goddesses are there inside the temple.
20. Melukote Temples
The two temples in Melukote are Tirunarayana temple and Yoga Narasimha, both located at the foothills and top respectively of the Yadavgiri hills.
21. Srikanteswara Temple
This temple built in the Dravidian style is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is said to have healing powers. The 125 feet tall Gopura along with the 7 gold kalash are a must see on visiting this temple.
22. Lalitha Mahal Palace
Built in the year 1921, Lalitha Mahal is the second largest palace in Mysore. It was built at the orders of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV of Mysore for stay of the then Viceroy of India. The architecture of the grand palace was inspired by St. Paul? Cathedral in London, making it one of the most remarkable structure to grace the landscape of the city.
23. Ashtanga Yoga Institute
The Ashtanga Yoga Institute based in the peaceful and tranquil environment of Mysore is a disciplined institute that provides comprehensive courses in Ashtanga Yoga and Hatha Yoga. The institute has 200 hours, 300 hours & Yoga Vacation programmes which are residential in nature. Two hours of intensive asanas practice followed by two more hours of adjustments & teaching sessions are held every day.
24. Mysore Mandala Yoga Shala
Established in 2001, Mysore Mandala Yoga Shala is a Yoga and Cultural Centre, located in Lakshmipuram, Mysore City, in a Century Old Heritage House. The Yoga Shala mainly imparts Ashtanga Vinyas Yogasana, Mysore Style in a traditional way, as taught by Yogacharyas Krishnamachar and Pattabhi Jois of Mysore.
25. Kunti Betta
Nestled in the town of Pandavapura between two hills, Kunti Betta is a perfect place to get away from the helter skelter of the city. This place is surrounded by sugarcane fields, paddy fields and coconut trees that makes the place look beautiful and mesmerizing. Situated at an elevation of 2882 feet, the picturesque scenic views that this place comprises of will make you feel rejuvenated.
Masinagudi is a serene and tranquil hill station located near Mysore in the Nilgiri district. A haven for animal and bird lovers, this place is a mesmerizing and spectacular place to be close to nature. This is a great place to get away from the monotony of daily life and enjoy some peaceful time relaxing. The variegated hills and verdant trees that surround the place makes it look magical and beautiful.
27. Chunchanakatte Falls
Chunchanakatte Falls are situated on River Kaveri in Chunchanakatte village of Mysore. The river fall off at a height of 20 metres divided as two different waterfalls, then at the base it continues as one river again.
28. Balmuri Waterfalls
Balmuri Falls is situated in the village of Balmuri, 16 kms away from Mysore. The 6-feet-tall waterfall is a man made stretch of cascading water formed by the check-dam on River Cauvery. It is a popular picnic spot for the people of Mysore and Bangalore.
29. Krishnarajasagar Dam
Located in Mandya in Karnataka, KrishnaRajaSagara Dam, also known as KRS Dam, is a huge gravity dam situated near the confluence of the rivers - Cauvery, Hemavathi and Lakshaman Tirtha. Named after Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV of Mysore, the dam was initially built to provide water for Mandya and Mysore. But later, it eventually became a source of water supply for the city of Bangalore that was rapidly growing. Today it is a major tourist attraction and amongst the most scenic spots in the region.
30. Lingambudhi Lake
A hot spot of rich biodiversity and forever crowded by vibrant colored butterflies and exotic species of birdies, Lingambudhi Lake is a resplendent freshwater lake in Mysore. Considered to be a popular tourist spot in the city, the lake is exactly situated in Srirampura, around 8 km away from the city centre. Bustling with lush greenery and gorgeous surroundings, the spot is a popular picnic spot and offers the perfect atmosphere to relax and unwind from the hustle bustle of the city.
Mysore is a heritage city and pride of Karnataka. It is a beautiful city rich with history, legends, monuments, educational centers, kings, palaces, museums, lakes, parks, culture, literature, arts and abundant natural resources.