Once the capital of the Wodeyar kingdom, the jewel of Karnataka; Mysore is a mammoth, magnificent tourist paradise. A city of much splendor, it has gorgeous palaces, beautiful parks, wonderful museums and art galleries, dams, reservoirs and temples.
Wide stretches of tree lined avenues enveloped with the aroma of jasmine; jacaranda and frangipani permeate the air. This easy-going city is famous for its silk and is also a thriving sandalwood and incense centre.
With the traditional founding of the Mysore dynasty, in 1399 A.D. by Yaduraya, Mysore has seen 25 rulers. However with the emergence of Raja Wodeyar in 1578 A.D. Mysore inherited and perpetuated the traditions of the Vijayanagara Kingdom. With Srirangapatna as capital, Mysore grew into a large and powerful kingdom. But in 1761 it slipped into the hands of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan.
A virtually short rule, Srirangapatna was captured by the British in 1799 and the British again restored the Wodeyars to the throne. A long reign devoid of power, it was only during Chamaraja Wodeyars rule that the administration of the state was handed back to the Sovereign, aided by the British Resident in Mysore.
As the capital of the Mysore State and the seat of the Wodeyars who were generous patrons of art, Mysore was heaven for men of literature, art music and dance. However, the abolition of Privy Purse put both patron and artist out of tune and Mysores status as a cultural centre waned. Yet, many cultural festivity performances by leading exponents in the field of music and dance are held in the Palace.
Typical Karnataka cuisine is spicy with liberal doses of coconut in some ways very similar to authentic Maharashtrian food. The staple is ragi and is shaped into cakes and steamed, then served with a huli a close cousin of the fiery sambar! Delectable offerings to pamper the sweet tooth are the creamy payasam and the rich Mysore pak. A 'must-try' is the legendary Mysore Masala Dosai stuffed with braised potatoes and onions, served with assorted condiments.
Sandalwood, silks and handicrafts? If that's your shopping focus, then of course, Mysore is the place to be. But these obvious and traditional buys apart, there is also rosewood, ivory carvings, silk fabrics and sandalwood oil, soaps and incense sticks. CauveryArts And Crafts Emporium.
Perched at a height of 1,050 m, Chamundi Hill is the abode of Goddess Chamundeswari - the patron goddess of the Wodeyar family. This temple gets its name from Goddess Kali or Chamundi, the consort of Shiva. The temple is a charming quadrangular structure with a towering 40 m high gopuram that is a landmark from several miles. A huge stucco figure of Mahisasura 3 1/2 m tall welcomes you at the entrance. Built in the 12th century, the temple is a fine representation of the Dravidian school of architecture. Its 1000 steps to the top, but take heart, there is a path to the top too. The temple is open 6.00 am to 2.00 pm, 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm and 7.30 pm to 9.00 pm. Pleasant for a half-day excursion. Entry Rs 10.
Close by is the Godly Museum. Aptly titled, it houses a collection of exhibits that depict a good many moral lessons. You are told that you were probably here 5,000 years ago since everything in the universe repeats itself.
En route is a stunning Nandi temple, which boasts of a 5 m high monolithic statue of Lord Shiva's revered bull. Carved out of a single stone in 1659, it is believed to be the largest in India, commissioned by Dodda Deva Raja, a devout Wodeyar king.
Built in 1921 by Maharaja Krishna Raja Wodeyar Bahaddur IV, this palace initially housed royal guests. Designed by E W Fritchley, an English architect, the palace is today a five-star hotel. Now a popular venue for local film shoots and other social gatherings, a visit to the palace may help you understand the mystique of royal Mysore.
Located in the Mysore University Campus, this museum has a spectacular collection of more than 6,500 unique folklore exhibits. Wooden figures from Karnataka villages, wooden and leather puppets and other interesting items from various villages around Karnataka are on display. Don't miss the carved wooden chariot.
The first of its kind in India, the Rail Museum was set up in 1979. Situated at Krishnaraja Sagar Road, the museum sets a good pattern for regional display and has a good collection. The highlight here is the Chamundi Gallery that showcases a unique and interesting collection of photographs and paintings depicting the development of the railways. Don't miss the Sri Ranga Pavilion, which has two royal coaches. They belonged to the Maharaja of Mysore and have a certain old-world charm about them, harking back to a time when royalty travelled in splendour. Most of the exhibits in the museum once graced the Mysore palace.
Of particular interest is the Maharani's saloon carriage that boasts of a kitchen, dining car unit and a royal toilet dating back to 1899. One of the first steam engines built, it is indeed remarkably well kept. There is also a battery-operated mini-train, which takes you for a fancy ride along the grounds.
Located at the tip of Karnataka, 140 km southwest of Bangalore.
Mysore does not have an airport; the nearest one is at Bangalore (140 km). However, Mysore has an IA counter next to Hotel Mayura Hoysala . IA and Jet have flights connecting Bangalore to all major cities in India like Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Goa and more. International flights to and from the Middle East operate from Bangalore as well.
Yet again the best route to connect to Mysore by rail is via Bangalore. Bangalore has four express trains daily to and from Mysore. The Shatabdi Express connects Mysore with Chennai. Railway Station: Located on J L B Road, northwest of the city centre, 1 km from the main shopping area on Sayaji Rao Road.
Connected by state highways, which in turn connect to national highways leading to and from all major cities in the country. Karnataka Road Transport Corporation and private bus corporations operate deluxe and regular buses to and from Srirangapattana (15 km), Somnathpur (35 km), Bandipur (80 km), Nagarhole (96 km) and Bangalore (140 km). Central Bus Stand: Located on the Mysore-Bangalore road, northeast of the city centre.
A moderate climate ensuring pleasant weather throughout the year. The summer maximum and minimum temperatures are 33?C and 21?C, while the winter high and low are 28?C and 18?C.
Once the residence of the Wodeyars, it is one of the largest and most brilliant palaces in India. The palace is a kaleidoscope of stained glass, mirrors, gilt and colors. There are beautiful carved wooden doors, mosaic floors, as well as exquisite paintings. Built in 1912, this Indo-saracenic building is adorned with beautiful Hoysala style carvings. Moreover, some other attractions here are the golden Royal Elephant Throne and the Darbar Hall.
One of the largest churches in the country, this is built in the Gothic style, and has beautiful stained glass windows and is full of bird song, from the resident pigeons and sparrows.
The place is well known for its beautiful twin waterfalls, Gaganachukki and Bharachukki, which plunge about 60m down. It is better to visit the place during the rainy season to enjoy the beauty of the fall.
These tranquil ornamented gardens are laid out below the immense Krishnaraja Sagar dam. The Gardens are a popular picnic spot and are illuminated in the evenings. Also, the musical fountains and colorful lights, turn this place into an enchanting fairyland in the evenings.
4 kms from Srirangapatnam and 18 kms from Mysore, Ranganathittyu is an exotic bird sanctuary that allows a close view of exotic and familiar birds, such as the white ibis, open billed stork and cormorants. One can also come across crocodiles that resemble mud banks. Migratory birds from as far as make Ranganathittyu as their home, between June and October.
The place is an island town, surrounded by the River Cauvery. The town makes its name from Sri Ranganathaswamy, the presiding deity who is enshrined in one of the oldest Dravidian temples in the state.
This is an important spot of Mysore, in which the Chamundeswari temple, which is located, on the top of the Chamundi Hills takes its name from the Goddess Chamundi, an aspect of the consort of Shiva, who defeated the demon Mahishasura and settled here.
At Bhimeshwari, the Cauvery Fishing Camp is a paradise for anglers, where mahaseer is found in abundance. Fishing is only for fun and the fish has to be returned to the river by the angler. This camp is also accessible from Bangalore.
BILIGIRIRANGA BETTA - A pleasant hill station, Biligiriranga Betta is also a wildlife camp, run by the Forest Department. Right on top of the hill, stands the Biligirangaswamy Temple, from which the hill takes its name. A ratha festival is held every January and April.
CHAMARAJENDRA STATUE - In front of the northern gate of the palace, at the junction of Ashoka Road and Albert Road, is the white marble statue of Chamarajendra Wodeyar, erected in the 1920s the place is worth a perilous dash across the busy roads that surround it to admire its beauty.
JAYACHAMARAJENDRA ART GALLERY - Housed in the Jaganmohan Palace, this gallery has a beautiful collection of Mughal and Rajput art, paintings by Raja Ravi Verma and Svetoslav Roerich, sculptures, brassware and the traditional Mysore gold leaf style of paintings.
KRISHNARAJA SAGARA - Located to the northwest of Mysore, a Dam is constructed across the Cauvery river for irrigation purposes, to cover the attack of mainly Mandya District and some parts of Mysore district. The Dam was completed in 1932 and named after Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV.
KRISHNARAJA STATUE - This is the heart of the City. The Statue stands at the intersection of the Sayaji Rao, Albert and Devraj Urs Roads, the vortex of a busy, crowded commercial area.
MAHADESHWARA HILL - The place, which is counted as one of the best attraction of Mysore houses a temple, dedicated to Lord Mahadeshwara, in the form of a linga.
MELKOTE - A pilgrim centre, Melkote is known for its Vairamudi festival in March-April. Melkote is also known for its handlooms. MYSORE ZOO - One of the better-kept zoos in India, the Mysore zoo, is set in picturesque gardens and a variety of flora and fauna can be found here.