|Mysore Palace||The heart of the city|
|Brindavan Gardens (Krishna Raja Sagar)||Located about 15 km from the city|
|Chamundi Hills||Placed in the magnanimous temple|
|St. Philomena's Church||Situated just 2 km from the Palace|
|Mysore Zoo (Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens)||Located very close to the Palace of Mysore|
|Mysore Railway Museum||Situated on the Krishnaraja Sagar Road|
|Jaganmohana Palace||Located right behind the Mysore palace complex|
|Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion||Situated near Kukkarahalli Lake|
|Lalitha Mahal Palace||Situated 11 km from the city of Mysore|
|Happy Man Park||Just 3 km away from the Mysore Railway station|
|Srirangapattana||Situated 19 km from the city of Mysore|
|Nanjangud||Just 23 km from Mysore in Mysore district|
|Somanathapura||Situated 35 km from Mysore city|
|Shivasamudram||About 60 km away from Mysore|
|Bandipur National Park||Located 80 km from Mysore|
|Nagarahole National Park||Situated about 94 km from Mysore|
|Talakad||Situated on the banks of the river Kaveri, just 45 km from Mysore|
The administrative headquarter and the official abode of the royal family of Mysore: ‘The Amba Vilasa Palace’ is today popular as Mysore Palace. Situated in the heart of the city, this palace is one of the major tourist attractions of Mysore. Built by the Wodeyars, this palace was constructed and demolished and reconstructed many times. The construction of the present palace began in 1897 and was finally completed in 1912 and it cost more than 41 lakhs.
Rich in its architecture, this palace depicts the exquisite combination of Indo-Saracenic, Dravidian and Oriental Roman styles. Designed by Henry Irwin – a British architect, the three storied structure of this palace is built in fine granite and marble. The combination of gray and pink gives the palace a radiant look. A 145 foot five storied tower embellishes the palace with its gold gilded domes.
The main central arch is decorated with a marvelous sculpture of ‘Gaja Lakshmi’: the Goddess of prosperity and wealth. The two ‘Darbar Halls’ of the palace – ‘Deewan-e-Aam’ and ‘Deewan-e-Khas’, the Kalyana Mantap, the Golden Palanquin’ and the Palace Gallery are the main attractions of the palace. The palace gallery is a kaleidoscopic structure built of stained glass & mirrors and treasures paintings, portraits of the kings, souvenirs, jewelery, royal costumes, musical instruments, weapons and many other things that were once used by the royal family.
On weekends and on public holidays, ‘Mysore Palace’ is illuminated with more than 90 thousand lights and creates a magnificent sight. The palace can be visited from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm everyday. The entry fee for Indian visitors is Rs. 20 and for foreign visitors it is Rs 200.
Brindavan Gardens (Krishna Raja Sagar)
The name of the city Mysore is eternally linked with the very famous and extremely beautiful ‘Brindavan Gardens’. Located about 15 km from the city, this garden belongs to "Mandya District". A massive dam has been constructed over The River Kaveri that flows from there. ‘Krishnaraja Wodeyar the fourth’ executed this dream project and the construction was completed in the year 1932. Sir. M. Vishvesvariah was the prolific architect of this masterpiece of art.
A garden that has been cultivated at the footings of the dam using the water resources of the Kaveri River is widely known as Brindavan Gardens. This garden is also called Krishna Raja Sagar after the name of the king Krishnaraja Wodeyar.
The garden is spread over the area of 50 acres and has a tremendous floral variety. The alluring beauty of these flower plants, their attractive arrangement, the fountains, lights and the big lake collide with each other and create the heaven on the earth.
The evening light show known as ‘Dancing Fountain’ fascinates the visitors to no limit. The fountain water dances to the rhythms of the music played and creates a magnificent sight. For past 50 years Brindavan Garden has been providing backdrop for numerous Indian films. In 2004 the entire Brindavan Garden was revamped with brand new lights and fountains and made even more beautiful.
The garden can be visited between 7:00 am to 8:00 pm everyday and on the weekends the garden is open till 8:45. Brindavan Garden is a place where fairyland comes to life. Everybody must pay visit to this garden at least once in a lifetime.
The idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed in the magnanimous temple, famous for its very tall dome embellished with innumerable sculptures and marvelous architecture at Chamundi Hills. Goddess Chamundeshwari, also called Goddess Chamundi is the one who destroyed the demon king Mahishasur in a nine days combat and thus established good as the eternal victor. The city Mysore is named after the same Goddess Mahishasur Mardini.
Chamundeshwari is the patron Goddess of Wodeyar kings and the temple was built in by them in 12th century. Later in 19th century it was repaired by the Royal order. Before we reach the temple, a colorful and gigantic statue of the demon king Mahishasur is placed in an open front carrying a sword in his hands. This is a famous photo location for the visitors. Situated at the altitude of 3300 feet, Chamundi Hills can be viewed from any part of Mysore and from the hill top one can get a birds eye view of the entire Mysore region. During the evening time when the city is glittering with lights and the Mysore Palace is illuminated with more than 90 thousand bulbs, this view becomes even more enchanting.
The Chamundi Hills is 13 km from Mysore and KSRTC buses or auto rickshaws are easily available to reach there. The way up to the hills has sandalwood trees on its both sides and this is marked as ‘Plastic Free Zone’. Trekkers also choose to climb up their way using the 1000 steps built by the King of Mysore in 17th century.
A giant statue of ‘Nandi’ – the mythological vehicle of Lord Shiva, is situated half way up the Chamundi Hills towards the temple. The statue is 4.8 meter high and is counted amongst the largest statues of Nandi in India. Initially this statue was grey in color but the oil offered by the devotees through all these years has turned it into black.
St. Philomena's Church
After the defeat of Tipu Sultan, the reigns of Mysore were handed back to Wodeyar kings by the British government. Many British soldiers and officers came and settled down in Mysore during that time. Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III gifted those Christian brothers a small area of land to build a church on it. The original church was quite small. But later Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV decided to construct a bigger church for the sake of increasing population of Christians in his domain. In 1933, the king himself laid the foundation stone for St. Philomena’s Church.
As the church was built in the honor of St. Philomena, the martyr for Christ, it was named after her. This church was fashioned after Cologne Cathedral and the architectural style of the church is purely Neo Gothic. A Frenchman named Daly served as the architect to this church. The church is famous for its 175 meters high twin spires. This is one of the tallest churches in South Asia. The congregation hall is called ‘the nave’ and the main hall is big enough to accommodate 800 people. 200 years old image of St. Philomena is placed in the underground portion. And the windows of the church portray the important events of the life of Jesus Christ starting from his birth to his crucifixion and resurrection.
St. Philomena’s Church is situated just 2 km from the Palace and it can be visited between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. There is no entrance fee but photography inside the church is strictly prohibited.
Mysore Zoo (Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens)
One of the most visited tourist destinations of Mysore is the Mysore Zoo. This zoo is honored to be counted among the oldest zoos of India. Established by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar of Mysore in the year 1892, the zoo houses a wide range of rare and exotic species of animals and birds from more than 40 different countries. The king had hired a German horticulturist and landscaper named Mr. G.H. Krumbeigal for setting the zoo up. This zoo has registered its name in golden letters for successfully breeding some of the rare species of animals in captivity.
The animals and the birds are kept here in their natural surroundings. Several migrating birds like painted storks, darters and pelicans find their way to this zoo during their breeding season. The Zoo has a maze like walk of 5 km and once we are in the Zoo, we must complete the entire walk. But old people, differently able people and mothers with infants are provided with electrically running cars that take them on the ride of the zoo. The birds and animals staying here are adopted by different people from the country who pay for their expenses.
Apart from this, the Zoo houses a Zoological garden too. We can see a wide range of exotic species of ornamental plants and trees from India as well as abroad. The Zoo is open everyday with a one weekly off on Tuesdays. You can visit the Zoo between 8:00 am and 5:30 pm. some rare
Mysore Railway Museum
Established in the year 1979, this railway museum is the first Railway Museum in INDIA. Situated on the Krishnaraja Sagar Road, this museum is placed just opposite the CFT Research Institute. Mysore Railway Museum is notable for its unique collection of objects and photographs explaining the evolution and development of the railways. A distinctive collection of paintings and photographs relating the growth of railway is exhibited in Chamundi Gallery.
Sri Ranga Pavilion exhibits two grand royal coaches which belonged to the King of Mysore in past. Another very interesting monument exhibited in the Mysore Railway Museum is the Maharani's Saloon Carriage. Used back during 19th century this carriage contains a kitchen, a dinning car unit and also a royal toilet. Many of the articles in this museum were placed in The Mysore Palace once. Then they were moved to this museum.
The first steam engine is also preserved very well by this museum and is displayed here. Many other steam engines and different designs of signals are also kept here. There is a mini train in the museum that is operated by battery. This train will take you around on the trip of the museum. For small children, this is the major attraction of the museum.
The museum is open all the days of week but Monday. The timings are 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. You will have to buy an entry pass and also pay the camera fee. This museum is very close from the Mysore Railway Station.
Built by the King of Mysore, ‘Krishnaraja Wodeyar’ the 3rd, in the year 1861, Jaganmohana Palace was used as an alternate palace by the royal family of Wodeyars. When the older Palace of Mysore was burnt to ashes in 1897, the royal family took shelter in the Jaganmohana Palace. Jaganmohana Palace witnessed the coronation ceremony of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV in 1902. Lord Curzon, the then Governor General and Viceroy of India also attended the coronation ceremony.
Originally the palace was built in wood and the architectural style was predominantly Hindu. On the occasion of the wedding ceremony of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, a beautiful front porch embellished with stain glass and an ornamental huge hall was built as an addition to the palace. This hall is rightly named as Wedding Pavilion.
The Wedding Pavilion also sufficed for the Durbar Hall and auditorium until 1910 when the new Durbar Hall in the new main palace – ‘The Amba Vilas Palace’ was completely built. The auditorium of the Jaganmohana Palace is used for cultural programs during the Dasara Festival. Even the convocation ceremonies of the University of Mysore were organized in this exquisite hall
The main door of the Palace displays the ‘Dashavataras’, the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu in very ornate style. It is said that the florid carvings of the grand wooden gate were made just in 70 days.
During the administration of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Jaganmohana Palace was converted into Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery in the year 1915. The gallery exhibits more than 2000 paintings and portraits of the kings and members of Wodeyar dynasty, and the articles that belonged to them. Paintings by Raja Ravi Varma and Svetoslav Roerich, a Russian Painter are displayed there. Mysore style paintings are the major attractions of this art gallery. The famous painting of the lady with a lamp in her hand is also exhibited here. Apart from the paintings a wide collection of weapons, musical instruments, brass ware, sculptures, artifacts, antiques, toys, old coins and currencies is housed in this gallery. The Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery is considered to be one of the best art galleries of South India.
Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion
Maharaja Chamraja Wodeyar built this grand mansion for his eldest daughter Jayalakshmi Ammani in 1905. The total money spent for the construction was 7 lakhs and when this mansion was renovated in the year 2002, it cost Rs. 1.17 crores. The Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion is situated near Kukkarahalli Lake surrounding lush greenery in the campus of the Mysore University. The mansion was built at a very prominent location on a hillock which offers a very enchanting view of the entire Mysore city. Originally the palace was named as 'the First Rajkumari Mansion'.
The main hall of this mansion is called the Kalayana Mandapam which is famous for its attractive dome built in the shape of an eight petal flower. The windows are embellished with stain glass and the dome is adorned with a glittering golden Kalasha. The mansion comprises 125 rooms, 287 doors and 300 windows. And the total area covered by the mansion is more than 24,000 sq meters.
Each side of the mansion is adjoined with a grand entrance, each entrance being different in design from the other. Mainly the mansion is built in brick, mortar, iron and timber. Presently an exclusive lighting system has been fixed which illuminates the mansion at night and creates a magnificent vista.
Classified as a heritage structure by the government of Karnataka, this mansion is now owned by the Mysore University. The famous ‘Folklore Museum’ and a research centre are housed in this mansion and the museum displays a rare stock of artifacts related to archaeology, folklore and geology. The Kalyana Mandapam is turned into a writer’s gallery where personal photographs, things, writings and awards of renowned Kannada writers are exhibited.
Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion is considered to be the first University Museum Complex in India.
Lalitha Mahal Palace
Situated 11 km from the city of Mysore, at the bottom of Chamundi Hills, ‘Lalitha Mahal Palace’ was built by the King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV in 1931. This two storied palace was specially built for the stay of Viceroy of India and other royal guests, when on their visit to Mysore. E.W. Fritchley was the architect who designed the palace in Renaissance style, Italian palazzo concepts and English manor. Fashioned after the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Lalitha Mahal Palace is the second largest palace of Mysore city.
The central hall of the palace is adorned with the full size portraits of the kings of Mysore and paintings displaying different historical events like the battle between Tipu Sultan and British army.
Today this palace has been converted to a five star hotel and Tourism Development Corporation of India is in charge of the maintenance. The beautiful white palace is conserved very well and retains its glamour and glory. The viceroy room, dancing floor, banquet hall, and Italian marble staircases are the special attractions of the palace. The old furniture of palace is used in the hotel today.
Happy Man Park
Just 3 km away from the Mysore Railway station, The Happy Man Park is a favorite picnic spot in Mysore. Located near Kamakshi Hospital, this park is named after the prominent statue of the Happy Man with a big belly in the garden. Though the park is not very capacious, a mini zoo and a beautiful little stream decorated with a wooden bridge attract children to the garden. You will see many ducks and hens roaming around freely in the park and children get so excited to play with them. A nice slow music I splayed in the garden through small loudspeakers and that creates a very mesmerizing effect. The park is open in the morning for joggers. And for the visitors who want to hang out with their near and dear ones, the park is open between 4:30 pm and 9:00 pm.
Tourist Destinations around Mysore
Srirangapattana, a historic and religious hub, is situated 19 km from the city of Mysore on Mysore – Bangalore highway. Named after the famous ‘Ranganathaswamy temple’, Srirangapattana is a popular pilgrim destination for the Vaishnavites. The Ranganathaswamy temple was constructed during the dominion of the Kings of Ganga Dynasty in 9th century AD.
Srirangapattana was the capital of Mysore during the reign of Tipu Sultan. Its name is noted in the pages of history for the famous battle of Srirangapattana of 1799 fought between Tipu Sultan and British army. Tipu Sultan was betrayed and assassinated in the fort of Srirangapattana.
The major attractions of Srirangapattana are Ranganathaswamy temple, the Fort, Daria Daulat Bagh, Museum, Jamia Masjid, Gumbaz, Colonel Bailey’s Dungeon, Place of Martyrdom and Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.
Daria Daulat Bagh was the summer palace of Tipu Sultan. Jamia Masjid was built by Tipu Sultan in 1787 AD and the first ‘Imamath’ of the mosque was performed by Tipu Sultan himself. Gumbaz shelters the tombs of Tipu Sultan, his father Hyder Ali and his mother Fathima Begum. Other members of their family also lie buried here. Place of Martyrdom is the place where Tipu Sultan’s dead body was found.
Nanjangud, also known as ‘Southern Kashi’, is a small town situated on the banks of the river Kapila, just 23 km from Mysore in Mysore district. Renowned for the holy Srikanteshwara Temple dedicated to Shiva and Parvati, Nanjangud is a place of pilgrimage. The original Srikanteshwara Temple was built during the governance of Ganga kings and later, the temple was renovated by Hoysala kings. Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and Wodeyar kings had close connection with the temple. The Srikanteshwara Temple is illuminated with innumerable lights in the night and creates a very spectacular view.
Apart from the Srikanteshwara Temple, other attractions of Nanjangud are Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt and Parashurama Kshetra. Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt harbors Pancha Brindavana, the mortal remains of five sages of the Mutt namely: Sri Subodhendra teertha, Sri Sujanendra teertha, Sri Sujnanedra teertha, Sri Suprajnendra teertha and Sri Sukruteendra teertha and Preteeka Sanidhi: Idol of Raghavendra Swami.
Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt harbors ‘Pancha Brindavana’, the mortal remains of five sages of the Mutt namely: Sri Subodhendra teertha, Sri Sujanendra teertha, Sri Sujnanedra teertha, Sri Suprajnendra teertha and Sri Sukruteendra teertha and a ‘Preteeka Sanidhi’: An Idol of Raghavendra Swami. This is the only Idol of Raghavendra Swami ever.
Parashurama Kshetra is situated at the ‘Sangam’ of two rivers Kapila and Kaundinya. It is believed that Lord Parashurama after beheading his mother Goddess Renuka came to this holy place and washed himself off the sin at this Sangam. Later he performed a penance at the place where Nanjundeshwara temple is situated today.Nanjangud is also famous for the Ayurvedic medicines made by Late Sri. B.V.Pandit and a local toothpowder brand Nanjangud Hallupudi.
Situated 35 km from Mysore city, Somanathapura is well known for its Chennakesava Temple. This temple was built during the rule of King Narasimha III of Hoysala dynasty in 1268 CE. Preserving the heritage of Hoysala Architecture, this temple is well maintained by Archeological Survey of India. The temple is built in the shape of constellation and the gracefully carved idols of Janardhana and Venugopala are housed in the beautiful sanctorum. Originally there were three idols, Keshava, Janardhana and Venugopala. But the idol of Keshava has gone missing now.
Shivasamudram, a small town of Mandya district is about 60 km away from Mysore on the Mysore Bangalore highway. Situated on the river banks of the Kaveri River, Shivasamudram is widely known for the famous twin waterfalls. Shivasamudram waterfalls rank second amongst the waterfalls in India and 16th in the world. The first Hydro-electric Power station in Asia was also established here in the year 1902.
The twin waterfalls of Shivasamudram were created because of the breaking of the water flow into two before dropping down the cliff. These segmented waterfalls are known as Gaganachukki and Bharachukki. Average height of these waterfalls is 90 meters, width is 849 meters and the average volume of water is 934 cubic meters per second.
Gaganachukki waterfall is situated on the left and drops in the shape of a horse tail. The waterfall on the right is called Bharachukki. During the rainy season Bharachukki, as the name suggests is completely full and creates an enormous sight. The average width of the waterfall goes up to 1000 meters.
Initially, the hydro electricity produced at these waterfalls was used by ‘Kolar Gold Fields’, the first Asian town to use Hydro electricity.
Bharachukki and Gaganachukki waterfalls are very scenic and attract swarms of tourists every year. People from Bangalore often enjoy bike rides to these waterfalls and though there is a risk of drowning, people enjoy bathing in the waterfalls.
Bandipur National Park
Located 80 km from Mysore, Bandipur National Park is a famous ‘Project Tiger Reserve’ and ‘Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve’. Spread over the vast area of 874 sq. km, this national park comprises the largest protected area of South India. Bandipur National Park houses around 70 Bengal tigers and more than 3000 elephants.
Bandipur is situated in Gundlupet taluk of Chamrajnagar district in Karnataka. Considered to be one of the best wildlife sanctuaries of India, Bandipur National Park provides shelter to numberless wild animals like tiger, elephants, panther, wild boar, sambar, jackal, gaur, barking deer, langur, squirrel etc. The birds found here include robbins, tits, jungle fowl, bulbils, warbles, partridges, pigeons, peacocks, etc. Sandal, dindal, teak, honne, nerale, matti, tadsal, bamboos etc are the trees seen in the forest.
Bandipur National Park was established in the year 1931 and the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, in 1973.
This is a very famous tourist destination of south. Government buses are available at the entrance of the sanctuary. They charge around Rs 100 per person and you can have a ride in the bus through the forest for an hour or so. Many beautiful birds and animals in their natural habitat can be sighted here.
Nagarahole National Park
Nagarahole National Park Also known as ‘Rajiv Gandhi National Park’, this wildlife sanctuary is situated about 94 km from Mysore. Spread over the wide area of 643 sq. km, this park provides a natural but protected dwelling place to a wide range of variety animals. Nagarahole National Park is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve too.
Originally this area was a special hunting reserve of the kings of Mysore. Later, it was converted into wild life sanctuary in 1955. In the year 1988, this place was finally turned into a National Park.
This park is famous for its flora like Sandalwood, Rosewood, Silver oak Teak, etc and fauna like tiger, bison, elephants, leopard, wild dogs, jackals, grey mongoose, sloth bears, striped hyenas, spotted deers, sambar, barking deer, four-horned antelopes, wild boar, civet, mongoose, pangolin, flying squirrel, porcupine, etc. birds like white cheeked barbet, Indian scimitar babbler, Malabar whistling thrush, painted bush quail, Sirkeer malkhoa, prinia, Indian robin, Indian peafowl, yellow legged green pigeon, etc are seen in this park.
The forest department of Karnataka Government has established guesthouses for visitors. 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, the park is closed and no movement is allowed. Twice a day visitors can enjoy the safari ride through the park arranged by the Forest department. But during the rainy season visitors are not allowed as it is a mating season of the animals. Presently the park is under relocation consideration.
Talakad is a town situated on the banks of the river Kaveri, just 45 km from Mysore. This is a place where the Kaveri River takes a sharp turn. The Kaveri River looks magnificent and vast when it changes course.
Reported as a historic site Talakad, also called Talakadu, once had more than 30 temples. All of them are buried under sand now. At some places, remains of the temples like pillars made of stones, squares, wheels, etc are found scattered.
Out of all the temples at Talakad,
the major 5 temples are:
Once in every 12 years, a fair is held at Talakad in honor of Lord Shiva. Last fair was held in the year 2006, so next fair will be held after 12 years, that is, in 2018. It is very auspicious to take the darshana of the five lingam on the Karthiki Pratipada (the new moon day in the month of Karthik, a hindu calendar month).
Apart from the Pancha Lingam, a very beautiful Keerthinarayana temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu is also noteworthy.