Mysore is one of the most well known princely states of India and there are so many interesting stories associated with the royal family. The royal palace of Mysore is one of the best in India. I spent 3 days in Mysore during my weeklong trip to Karnataka. It is very well connected with Bangalore, there are many trains and buses between two cities. It takes about 2.30-3.00 Hrs by train and 3.00-3.30 Hrs by road to Mysore from Bangalore.
Mysore is a must visit the city of Karnataka and is a good weekend destination from Bangalore.
What is so unique about Mysore??
It is full of royal history, beautiful architect and a bit of cosmopolitan in nature but at the same time there is a laid-back feeling, all these things make it unique place to visit. There is a good amalgamation of old and new. Mysore from Bangalore is well connected by train and bus service.
Mysore has a long tradition of celebrating the Dussehra festival with grandeur and lots of festivities. This 10 days event starts on first Navaratri and ends on the day of Vijaydashmi. The main event starts from Mysore Palace and then a grand procession with elephants & dancers walk on the road of Mysore city. It is the best time to visit Mysore to experience the culture and royal traditions.
Also check India’s 20 must experience festivals.
There are some interesting places in and around Mysore. The food of Mysore is another reason.
I traveled from Delhi to Bangalore by air and from Bangalore to Mysore by train with my young cousin brother. And guess who we met at platform….. He is 95 years old founder and owner of India’s biggest masala brand “MDH”. We were waiting for people to get down so that we can board the train and this gentleman got down from the train.
We smiled at him respectfully and he liked the gesture so much that he took one garland from the people who came to receive him and put it on my cousin’s neck. His people clicked a photo with my cousin and I also didn’t miss the chance to click a picture.
Here is my list of some of the best places to visit in Mysore.
Historical places of Mysore
It is also known as Amba Vilas Palace. It was the royal residence of Wadiyar dynasty of Mysore and the seat of the Mysore state. Now the palace is converted n to the museum and under the supervision of Department of Archaeology and Museums of the Karnataka Government.
Mysore palace was designed by a British architect Henry Irwin and built in 1912.
This three storied stone building of gray granite with dark pink marble dome look imposing with the five-storied tower with a gilded dome on sides.
The meticulously laid gardens around the palace enhance the beauty of the palace. It is a good example of Byzantine, Indian Rajputana and Muslim architecture.
The arcs, domes, and windows with intricate work on balconies enhance the beauty of the palace.
The stained glass roof of the ‘Kalyana Mandapa’, ivory inlaid rosewood doors, grand pavilions, delicate chandeliers, fresco wall paintings depicting the scene from Indian epics, and golden throne gives the glimpse into Mysore Wadiyar kings life. Though some of the paintings and artworks are worn or had slight discoloration with the age.
On the ground floor, royal costumes, children’s toys, musical instruments, photographs and numerous portraits are placed for public display. A small collection of weapons from Wadiyar king’s era is displayed on the upper floor.
Tips for Mysore Palace
* Mysore Palace remains open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and my advice are to go as soon as palace opens because it gets crowded during the day.
* There are many gates to the palace but entry is through the south side.
* Approximately 100,000 bulbs illuminate the Mysore palace on Sundays and National Holidays between 7PM-8PM. plan your trip accordingly because it looks so magnificent and you don’t want to miss this sight.
Also check India’s 20 most picture perfect places
Saint Philomena’s Church
It is one among the grandest and tallest churches in India. It is also known as St. Joseph’s Cathedral. This neo-Gothic style was built in 1933 to 1941. The twin spires of the church are 165 feet in height and are visible from far away.
The stain glass windows of the main hall are another attraction of the church. The windows depict the scenes from the birth of Christ, his Last Supper, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension of Christ. The light coming through stain glass windows gives a lovely look to the interiors.
A statue of 3rd-century saint Philomena is placed in an underground chamber inside the church.
Chamundi Hill and Chamundeshwari Temple
Chamundeshwari Temple is about 13 km from Mysore and located on the top of Chamundi Hills. This 40-meter high temple has seven stories and is a fine example of Dravidian temple architecture. This twelfth-century temple is dedicated to goddess Chamundi for celebrating her victory over the demon Mahishasura. The solid gold statue of goddess Chamundi is inside the main sanctum.
Tips for Chamundi Hill and Chamundeshwari Temple
* From the top of the hill, you can see the panoramic view of Mysore.
* Temple is open for non-Hindus also.
* To skip the queues buy VIP ticket for fast entry into the main sanctum.
There is a giant colorful Statue of Mahishasura at Chamundi Hill before the temple complex, the Mysore city got its name from him.
Halfway up the hill is a 5-meter high monolithic black granite statue of the Nandi Bull. This grand decoratively carved statue is a major attraction on the Chamundi hill.
Mysore Railway Museum
It is the first of its kind Rail Museum in India. The highlight of the museum is the Chamundi Gallery that showcases the photographs and paintings depicting the development of Indian railways.
There are two royal coaches in the Sri Ranga Pavilion. These belonged to the Wadiyar kings of Mysore and showcases how royalty traveled in splendor.
The Maharani’s saloon carriage is another interesting thing in this museum. It has a kitchen and dining car.
It felt silly at that time but it was fun riding in the battery-operated mini-train in the museum grounds.
Gardens and Lakes of Mysore
There are some nice natural places around Mysore and we decided to visit these while in Mysore.
Brindavan Gardens and Musical Fountain at Krishna Raja Sagar Dam
It is approximately 20 km from Mysore city. This beautiful well-planned garden with pools and fountains are located on the downstream of Krishna Raja Sagar Dam. This is one of the best-planned gardens in South of India.
At 7.00 pm the musical fountain light and sound show begins and garden transformed into a kind of fairy and add another dimension to the garden.
Tips for Brindavan Gardens
* We traveled by Taxi, which is the most convenient way to travel.
* There are KSRTC and private buses plying from Mysore City Bus stand to gardens.
* Go around late afternoon so that you can watch light and sound show at 7.00 PM.
* After light and sound show exit cautiously from that area because due to semi-darkness and crowd coming out, incidents of eve teasing or pickpockets reported.
It is on the way to Chamundi Hill at the foot of the hills. This man-made lake was built by Wadiyar king for recreational purposes. It is a good place for bird-watching as there are around 90 different species of birds in this region. The small park next to the lake is a good place for the picnic.
Fun Activity for Kids at GRS Fantasy Park
This water park with slides, rides, multiple playgrounds and & a carousel is a good place for kids.
Markets and Shopping in Mysore
It’s more than 100 years old and a visit to Mysore is incomplete without visiting Devraja market. The market runs along oriented along the Sayyaji Rao Road and there are many small entrances to the market but two main entrances are on north and south side.
We entered from the northern side of the market came across big stalls filled with different varieties of Bananas, there were other fruits also.
On the way we came across shops selling different flowers stall, household materials, utensils, souvenirs, incense sticks & solution, Beatle leaves and many other items. Near the end of the market at southern end are all vegetable stalls.
Flower section was my favorite section of the market. They mostly sell local flowers here, which are jasmine and marigold.
The 3 aisles along the length of the Devraja market have shops on both sides and are packed with shoppers or tourists.
There are approximately 800 stalls in the market and it is a busy place throughout the day. It’s an organized, vibrant, noisy and to some extent chaotic market but it is a place to experience the local flavor of Mysore.
Tips for Devaraja Market
* It is recommended to enter from north entrance across Dufferin Clock Tower or south entrance on the Dhanvantri Road because then you can walk through the market from one end to another.
* Market opens around sunrise and remains open till 8.00 – 9.00 PM. Early morning or late afternoon is the best time to visit when fresh flower arrives in the market.
* You can explore the market at your own pace or go with an organized tour (There are few tours available)
For shopping Mysore silk or chiffon sarees or traditional material or handicrafts, I recommend buying those from Karnataka Government Handicrafts Emporium. They work with local artisans and sell their products.
Places to visit around Mysore
Srirangapatna is approximately 15 kilometers from Mysore city.
It is believed that initially the Hoysala king Udayaditya built the town of Srirangapatna. It was the capital of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, who was also known as ‘The Tiger of Mysore’. Srirangapatanam has several monuments that commemorate their royal’s combat against the British.
There are temples, tombs, cenotaphs and palaces made by different kings.
There are two dungeons built for prisoners named Cobailey’s Dungeon here British officers were imprisoned, while the other one uses to imprison Maratha Chief Dhandia Wagh.
Dariya Daulat Bagh was the Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan and this is one of the most beautiful places in Srirangapatanam. The ruler used the garden area around the palace as a retreat.
Places to stay in Mysore
Rajendra Vilas Palace
It was one of the residences of erstwhile Mysore Royal family and now it is converted into a heritage hotel. The hotel is adorned with elegant furniture and exquisite paintings. All modern and deluxe amenities are made available here.
Its gothic style architect is an interesting place for photography lovers. This hotel offers royal living and experience in a palace.
It’s a mid-range hotel near the palace and other places in Mysore. I stayed here and pleasant experience. The restaurant was also fine and we ate here when we were really tired.
Hostels – Hammock Hostel at Maharana Pratap Road or The Mansion 1907 at Nazarbad
Places to eat in Mysore
* Vinayaka Mylari at Nazarbad Main Road for Dosa and south India
* Hotel RRR for Andhra style food and Biryani
* Green hotel for continental food
* Parkland Hotel for Indian and continental food
* Sepoy’s Phirangi at MG road for Indian, South Indian, and continental