Quick Bytes :
Location : 140 kilometers from Bangalore, Karnataka
Languages : Kannada, Tamil, English, Hindi
Area : 6269 square kilometers
Major Attractions : Mysore Palace, Brindavan Gardens
Best Visiting Time : Months between October and March
The rich cultural heritage, exquisite palaces, magnificent gardens and towering buildings- this is all that defines the beautiful city of Mysore. Its everlasting glory is exemplified in its larger than life history. Derived from the word "Mahishuru" or the city of Mahishasutr, Mysore's history has seen royal grandeur of several dynasties including Hoysalas, Chalukyas, Yadus etc. This charming but town of antiquity was ruled by Wodeyar family for a long time and reached its zenith. Tour to this fantastic town of Karnataka will allow you to peep into its historic culture and royal resplendence.
If legends are to be believed, Mahishasur was a deadly demon that was killed by goddess Durga in the city of Mysore. In one of the wars against the gods, the demon came out victorious. In order to slay him, Durga incarnated as Chamundi and beheaded Mahishasur. Since then, Chamundi became a royal deity.
The evidence of the earliest history of the place is exemplified by the traces found at its several sites. Archeologists have found numerous inscriptions that indicate the presence of a number of dynasties at Mysore. The Megalithic and Neolithic periods saw the inhabitation by pre historic men. Ganga dynasty ruled the city for about seven centuries. With the beginning of the 10th century, the kingdom fell to Chola kings; Hoysala ruled here until the 15th century. From 1399 AD till India's independence in 1947, Wodeyar family held the power of the city but was annexed for a period of about 40 years by mighty Haider Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. In 1973, the city was renamed as Karnataka.
Chamundi Temple :
This shrine of the 12th century is a dedication to goddess Kali. Built in quadrangular shape, the gateway of the temple is a recherché and can be seen from a distance. It is situated atop Chamundi hills. The entrance is adorned with silver doors. As you step inside, you will see a sculpture of the Nandi bull. In the heart of sanctum sanctorum, the image of Kali is installed. The sculpture of Krishnaraja Wodeyar shown in folded hands has also been placed here; this ruler renovated the temple premises in 1827. To make most out of your travel, visit the shrine during Dusshera Festival when a glittering Car Festival is organized. Be a part of it and take with you some of the most treasured experiences of your life.
Shweta Varahaswamy Temple :
Built in the style of Hoysala architecture, this temple carries the intricately carved doors and pillars. You will see beautiful murals on the walls, illustrating the scenes from Ramayana. Another feature worth noticing is the presence of inscriptions; one such inscription showing a decorative procession was gifted to the temple by Devraja Wodeyar.
Chandramouleswara Temple :
This Shiva temple of Mysore is a center of religious discourses. The interiors have images of Shiva and his consort Parvati. It was Dewan Mirza Ismail who granted the land for temple construction.
Lakshmi Venkataramanaswamy :
Located near Brindavan Gardens, this ancient temple is frequented by many pilgrims. As you see, the most striking features of this temple are flagstaff and chariot. Brahmotsava, a festival of 12 days, attracts a large number devotees from nearby areas.
Billirangaswamy Temple :
Shaded by thick forests of sandalwood and teak, the temple of Billiranga is a Vishnu Temple. Usually called as Eswara, the temple has a tower of about 62 feet which was rendered holy in 1997.
If till now, you have made a notion that Mysore's visiting places mainly consist of temples, then you are highly mistaken. There are so many other splendid places that you can explore here. Let's have a look into some of them:
Mysore Palace :
This majestic palace is stuffed with brilliant art works that have been carried from different parts of the world. Be it arcades, turrets, or colonnades, every thing carries a splendiferous elegance with it. The architecture of the palace exhibits Indo-Saracenic style. Don't be surprised to know that this lovely place is visited by 2.5 million visitors every year. If you reach here during Dusshera festival, you can have a glimpse of the jewel constellated throne belonging to Wodeyar royal family.
Brindavan Gardens :
Built across Krishnarujanasagar Dam, Brindavan Gardens is sprawled over 150 acres. The special attractions here are the dancing fountains that are illuminated by umpteen lights. As these lighted fountains exhibit swirling motion, the scene becomes quiet enchanting. The spectacular site is worth visiting by the tourists.
Chamundi Hills :
Standing at a height of 335 meters, trek to Chamundi hills will let you see a monolith of bull Nandi and a temple dedicated to the goddess. An image of the Mahishasur is also placed near the temple. There are two ways to reach here; one is via a road of about 13 kilometers and the other more strenuous one is though a series of 1000 steps. From the top of the summit, you can watch Mysore's panoramic view.
Sheltering several exotic fauna and flora species, Mysore Zoo is located amidst lush greenery. At Chamarajendra, a center that does rescue operation of animals and rehabilitating them is to be opened. The center will serve the animals whose life is in danger or are badly injured.
Rail Museum :
As the name suggests, this museum is the storehouse of the old locomotives and coaches. As you visit this place, you will get to see numerous paintings and pictures showing stages of rail development.
St. Philomena Church :
This Gothic church is constructed on the lines of medieval architecture. It is a massive structure with gigantic towers. The windows carry stained glass. A sculpture of Philomena, present in the premises, is worth noticing.
Karanji Lake :
A building by the king of Mysore, Karanji Lake is spread over an area of 90 hectares. Don't forget to visit the nature park present nearby where you will be able to see a wide variety of bird species like egrets, pelicans, storks, cormorants etc.
Kishkindha Moolika Garden :
A large collection of Bonsai plants can be seen here. The plants have been categorized and arranged neatly. Many of the varieties have been sourced from countries like China, Australia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The entire garden rests in an ashram. Another interesting place worth paying a visit is Nakshatra Vana where you can have a glimpse of rare spices of cactus and other xerophytes.
Once at Mysore, you can take out time visiting the places near and around it:
A distance of 85 kilometers, Shivasamudram is famous for its waterfalls; it is best to see the place during monsoons, when water seems to be overflowing. This picturesque place with remarkable beauty will make your visit a worthwhile one.
Bandipur National Park :
A hub of wild life, this national park supports various animals and bird habitat. Your search for Asian Elephant ends here. The park area is drained by River Moyar; it is an advantage for the visitors as the water body attracts several animals.
A location in mandya district, Srirangapatna is a ruined city of Karnataka that was under the rule of Haidar Ali. It abounds in monuments that make your visit a memorable experience. The oldest temple is at least 1000 years old and is meant for worshipping Lord Ranganatha.
Mahadeshwar Hill :
Sitting atop this hill is a temple devoted to Lord Mahadeshwara. He is revered for his lingam that has been installed here.
It is a pilgrimage center whose main attraction is Srikanteshwara Temple. This Dravidian styled temple is situated 23 kilometers from Mysore.
It is the most important festival of the town and is characterized by extravagance. Pomp and show of the festival attracts tourist in huge numbers. The streets are decorated generously. The venue shimmers with thousands of lights and make it a center of attraction. It is a 10 day long event that worships goddess Parvati in nine different incarnations. Marked by music and dance programs, the festival involves offering prayers to the deities. On the last day, Vijaydashmi is celebrated by taking out a colorful procession and burning of the effigies.
Ayudha Pooja :
It forms a part of Dussehera Festival. A procession of dressed up elephants, horses and soldiers is the main event; as the procession progresses, the folk dancers dance to the beats of musical instruments. One of the elephants carries the image of Chamunda Devi.
Shopping can be a delight to the tourist. As Mysore is abundant in the forests of sandalwood, rosewood etc. Most of the antique pieces that you can take away as souvenirs are made up of these woods. Most of them are quiet precious and carry a huge price worth them; but they are worth buying for. Among the items that can choose from license sticks, ivory decorative pieces, sandal powder, sandal oil. The city is famous for its silk sarees known for their quality and variety.
Depending upon your budget, different types of accommodation can be booked. Lalitha Mahal Hotel and Best Western are two top end staying options. Among the middle budget options, paradise Hotel, Hotel Metropole, Hotel Dasaprakash etc. are popular.
Other Titbits :
In order to know more about the tourism to Mysore, you can contact Transport Wing of KSTDC. Information counters are present at railway stations and bus terminal. In case of an emergency, you can seek the services of Basappa Hospital, Rudrappa Hospital.
Mysore is a destination worth dying for; this pleasant place is going to make your trips a cherishable one.