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Mysuru, the ‘City of Palaces’, is royalty and magnificence embodied; overflowing with history, sprawling gardens and tree-lined boulevards. One of South India’s most fascinating cities, Mysuru has a plethora of places to visit and explore. Ruled over by the Wadiyars from 1399 till Independence, Mysuru is renowned for its royal heritage and splendid monuments and buildings. This former state capital is a seamless blend of old-world charm and modernity. It retains its traditions in music and dance, art and literature, and time-honoured crafts. Mysuru entices you at every turn with its regal splendour. Discover enchanting Mysuru, experience a different world!
Mysuru is the cultural capital of Karnataka, home to the Internationally popular Mysuru Palace which gets over 6 million visitors each year and is India’s second cleanest city after Auroville. Before the formation of Karnataka State in 1956, most of South India was under the rule of Mysuru state. It is the erstwhile capital of the Wadiyar Dynasty.
Interestingly, history or legends say that it was around this time during their rule that the famous sweet Mysore Pak was invented in the palace kitchen’s by one of their cook’s. The cook, although, had no idea himself of the name of the most mouth watering sweet whose ghee immersed flavor just melts in your mouth, boggling your taste buds. Such was the feeling of the then king when he first tasted Mysore Pak. So yes, this delectable sweet is a must experience when in Mysuru that will take you through a tour of flavours of the city in itself.
When at Mysuru, the cultural capital of Karnataka, one can soak up it all up by taking a walking tour around this beautifully calm city and indulging yourself in some shopping experiences like the beautiful Mysuru Silk (weaved from Mulberry Silk), the famous Chennapattana Wooden Dolls, Mysuru Sandal Soap (Sandal Soap Factory) and the fragrant Mysuru Jasmine(Malli) to name a few.
This is a city that is the epitome of cultural indulgence and a tourist’s most loved destination. Over the year’s Mysuru has seen a surge in International Tourists who flock to the city to rejuvenate in the Yoga retreats, thus, making the city a yoga hub.
Mysuru Dasara is an annual festival not to be missed. Held during the month of October, Mysuru Dasara attracts visitors from all over the world. Mysuru city will be at its best during the Dasara celebrations. Jambu Safari (elephants carrying the royal throne and going in a procession) is a major attraction.
Mysuru is the global headquarter of Infosys, the world’s premier information technology company. Mysuru is also an education hub with Mysuru University and several higher education institutions.
For further information, visit the official district website click here!
When to go: All year round
- Mysuru Palace: Constructed in Indo-Saracenic style, the magnificent Mysuru Palace also known as Amba Vilas is the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty and the seat of the Kingdom of Mysuru. Its exquisite interiors – replete with carved mahogany ceilings, stained glass, gilded pillars and glazed tiles – epitomizes royalty and grandeur. The palace, illuminated with 97,000 lights, turns into a glorious spectacle at dusk on Sundays and public holidays. It is arguably the most visited palace in India.
- Lalit Mahal Palace: The second largest palace in Mysuru, located near the Chamundi Hills. Built in 1921, Lalit Mahal Palace is now a heritage hotel.
- Talakadu: A place of tremendous archaeological significance, Talakad is known for the 30 temples buried under the sands. Legend says that the temples of Talakad buried under the sands due to a curse. Excavations led to the discovery of several temples - mostly dedicated to Lord Shiva - belonging to the Hoysala, Ganga and Chola dynasties. Devotees throng this temple town during the Panchalinga Darshan held once in 12 years.
- Chittaranjan Palace: Chittaranjan Palace was built by the Maharaja of Mysuru for his sister in 1916. Chittaranjan palace is located on the Hunasur road.
- Mysuru Zoo: The Mysuru Zoo or the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens is the most popular zoo in Karnataka and is one of the oldest zoos in the country, established in 1892. The zoo is home to abundant flora and fauna and is known for 1,450 species of animals and 168 species of birds belonging to more than 25 countries. Mysuru Zoo is a must visit when in Mysuru, particularly for animal lovers and families with kids. Most popular animals in Mysuru Zoo are Tigers (including white tiger), Lions, Jaguars, Giraffe, Zebra, Leopards, Rhinos, Birds, Elephants and Hippopotamus
- Nagarahole National Park: Situated between the Mysuru plateau in Karnataka and the Nilgiri Mountains of Tamil Nadu, Nagarahole is a 640 sq. km. sanctuary that is home to an abundant variety of wildlife. Rajiv Gandhi National Park is an important Tiger Reserve in Karnataka and is a major hub of conservation under Project Tiger and Project Elephant, the sanctuary is host to the largest herd of Asiatic elephants in the world and innumerable species of birds, flora and fauna including large predators, reptiles, gaurs, deer, bears and smaller animals. Nagarahole is a must visit national park for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers as the forest safari offers a very high probability of being able to spot Bengal tigers and Asiatic elephants in their natural habitat. Nagarahole national park is also home to a large number of wild dogs, leopards and bears. Commonly spotted herbivores animals are wild gaurs, wild boar, sambar deer, Antelope, spotted deers as well as several species of birds.
- Chamundeshwari Temple: Located 12 km from Mysuru, the Chamundi Hills is home to the Goddess Chamundeshwari, the patron deity of the Mysuru Royal Family. Built in the Dravidian style architecture, the 17th-century Chamundeshwari temple with a richly-attired image of the deity also has a huge statue of Mahishasura near the entrance. An older Ganga-era Mahabaleshwara Temple is also located on the hilltop. According to the legends, the Goddess defeated the demon king Mahishasura, on this hill. Halfway up the hill, you can also see the monolithic Nandi, believed to be one among the largest in the country.Said to have been 1000+ years old, Chamundeshwari temple featuring Goddess Durga received patronage from all rulers such as Hoysalas, Vijayanagara Empire and Mysuru Wodeyars. The temple tower (Raja Gopura) was added by Krishna Raja Wodeyar III in 1830.
- Temples inside Mysuru city: Kamakameshwari Temple, Maruleshwara temple and Chaudeshwari temple.
- Somanathapura (35km): Displaying every bit of the artistry that its sculptures were famed for, the Keshava Temple at Somnathpur is one of the best preserved example of Hoysala architecture. Completed in 1268, the temple exhibits ornate carvings on literally every inch. Though the image in the central sanctum is missing, the other two contain an image of Krishna playing the flute and of Janardhana, respectively. A unique feature of the temple is that sculptors were allowed to sign their work here.
- Gomatagiri(24km):Though not as tall as the one at Shravanabelagola, the statue of Gomateshwara at Gomatagiri is still an imposing figure, at 10 m tall. Shrines with the footprints of the 24 Jain Thirthankaras are scattered around the hillock. From the top, one can view the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam and the Brindavan Gardens, at a distance. Gommatagiri comes alive during the head-anointing ceremony of Lord Bahubali every September.
- Siddhalingapura: Just outside Mysuru city limits, Siddhalingapura is home to Chandramoulishwara temple.
- St. Philomena’s Cathedral, Mysuru: One of the largest cathedrals in India, St. Philomena’s Cathedral in Mysuru is a remarkable example of Gothic architecture. The majestic church, built to honour the memory of Saint Philomena, a Latin Catholic Saint of the Roman Catholic Church, draws inspiration from the beautiful Cologne Cathedral of Germany. Remains of St Philomena are preserved at the cathedral. St. Philomena’s Cathedral is one of the tallest churches in Asia.
- Nanjangud (23 km): Nanjangud owes its name to the ancient temple of Nanjundeshwara situated on the banks of the River Kapila. An architectural marvel, the temple stands out for its remarkable tiered gopura, stucco work and ornately sculpted mythological scenes. The temple, with Lord Srikantheshwara as the main deity, has an impressive gallery of 122 metallic figures on Shaivite themes and a stone Nandi facing the sanctum sanctorum. Nanjangud is also famous for the exotic Nanjangud rasabale – a unique banana variety grown in and around here, which was given a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
- Datta Peetham. Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Avadhoota Datta Peetham is an ashram in Mysuru with beautiful gardens with bonsai among other plants.
- T.Narasipura: Thirumakudlu Narasipura is known for Agastyeshwara, Markandeshwara, Someshwara, Gunja Narasimha and Hanumantheshwara temples. River Kaveri and Kabini merge near T Narasipura.
- Golden Temple: The Namdroling Monastery, popularly referred to as ‘The Golden Temple’ is one of the largest Tibetan settlements in India. Located in Bylakuppe, about 5 kms from Kushalanagara, the golden temple complex is home to about 16000 refugees and 600 monks.
- Tagadoor: Home to Mulasthaneshwara, Lakshmi Narayana Swamy and Ankanatheshwara temples
- Suttur: A prominent Veerashaiva centre, agrahara and home to Sutturamma temple of Ganga times. Other prominent temples near Suttur are Hoysala style Narayanaswamy temple, and Mahadeshwara temple.
- Sosale: Home to Honnadevi, Veerabhadra, Kote Ganapathi and Kolalu Gopala temples.
- Saligrama: Home to Yoga Narasimha, Shambhulingeshwara, Jyothimayeshwara and other temples.
- Periyapattana: Home to Chennigaraya temple and an old fort with Vidyeshwara temple, Anjaneya Temple and Manikamma temple.
- Maszid-e-Nawab Saheb: Oldest mosque in Mysuru from Tipu Sultan’s times. Halain Moimen mosque is the other notable mosque in Mysuru.
- Mugur: An ancient capital town now known for Tibbadevi, Narayanaswamy, Desheswara, Sankareshwara and other temples.
- Mudukuthore Betta: Is one of the panchalingas of Talakad and known for Mallikarjuna temple. The temple entrance (gateway) features a Kamadhenu.
- Krishnarajanagar: Home to temples of Arkeshwara, Anjaneya, Chandramaulishwara, Lakshminarayana, Kannika Parameshwari and Akka Mahadevi.
- Mirle: Home to Hoysala era temples of Chennakeshava and Yoga Narasimha.
- Kittur: Home to Hoysala era Someshwara temple, Mysuru style Adinarayana temple and Vijayanagara style Hanumantha temple.
- Kalale: Home to Pattabhirama, Gopalaswamy, Someshwara, Lakshmikanthaswamy, Varadarajaswamy and other temples.
- Hemmaragala: Home to Hoysala era Venugopala temple, Anjaneya, Mahadeshwara, Maramma, Malledevaru and Beeredevaru temple.
- HD Kote: Heggadadevanakote is home to Someshwara temple, a fort with Hoysala era monuments dedicated to Varadaraja and a shrine dedicated to Goddess Ranganayaki.
- Hedathale: Home to beautiful temples of Nageshwara, Laksmikantha and Chennigaraya.
- Chikkahanasoge: A celebrated Jain centre with Adinatha basadi
- Dodda Hansoge: Home to Anjaneya and Raghavendra Brindavana temples.
- Bettadapur: Bettadapur is on the edge of Western Ghats, home to Sidilu Mallikarjuna temple, Veerabhadra temple and Hanumantharaya temple.
- Bannur: A village on the border of Mandya district, Bannur is home to Kosaleshwara temple, Oddagalu Rangaswamy, Hanumantheshwara and other temples. Maadhwa Saint Vyasa Thirtha was born in Bannur.
- Gargeshwari: Home to Gargeshwari and Rama temples on the banks of River Kaveri in T. Narasipura.
- Brindavan Gardens (24 km): Spread across an area of 60 acres, Brindavan Gardens is adjacent to India's first irrigation dam - the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam, across the river Cauvery. Modelled on the Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir, the garden entices visitors with its lush green lawns, terraces, parterres, flower beds, topiary and multihued fountains. Today, the Brindavan Gardens is world famous for its ethereal beauty, grandeur and musical fountain.
- Melkote (50 km)Known for its shrines, monasteries, Iyengar Puliyogare and the Academy of Sanskrit Research, Melkote is a scenic hill town and an important pilgrim centre in Karnataka. Melkote is the location of the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple, with a collection of crowns and jewels which are brought to the temple for the annual celebration. Legend has it that Ramanuja, the Vaishnavite saint, recovered the lost idol of the main deity and installed it here. The main attraction here is the annual Vairamudi festival when the deity is adorned with the magnificent diamond studded crown offered by former Maharajas of Mysuru and taken out in procession.
- Shukavana: A rescue centre for injured birds, Shukavana also facilitates visitors to get close with birds and understand them better. Shukavana is located in Dattanagar in Mysuru. Read more...
- Karanji Lake Nature Park: A popular garden and lake with boating facility and bird watching opportunity.
- Kukkarahalli lake: A popular walking track around a beautiful lake, located near Saraswatipuram.
- Sanjeevini Park: Often referred to as ‘Happy Man’s Park’, Sanjeevini park near Kamakshi hospital in Kuvempunagar is popular for large statues of laughing Buddha.
- Lingambudhi Kere: Lingambudhi Lake in Mysuru was built by Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodiyar in 1828 in memory of Maharani Krishna Vilasa Lingajammanni.
- Chunchanakatte: Popular picnic spot on the banks of Kaveri River. Also home to Rama and Anjaneya temples.
Art & Festivals
- Dasara:The ten-day festival of Dasara has become synonymous with Mysuru, thanks to the grand celebrations held at the Mysuru Palace. Celebrated with aplomb and joy, Mysuru Dasara is the “Nadahabba” or the State-Festival of Karnataka. With fairs, cultural events, dance performances and musical concerts, the ten-day festival is celebrated with pomp and pageantry. The tenth day, Vijayadashami, brings a spectacular procession led by the image of the deity. Bedecked elephants, cavalry, foot soldiers, folk dancers, musicians and tableaux wend their way through the city. The extravagant celebrations come to an end with a torchlight parade as fireworks light up the night sky.
- Kabini Backwaters Forest Safari: Kabini Backwaters Forest Safari is a popular experience at Kabini. All forest safaris start from Gol Ghar. There are two types of safaris in Kabini- one is the jeep safari and the other is boat safari in Kabini River. The boat safari lasts for close to 90 minutes and guests may see elephants mud bathing on the shores, several birds such as cormorants, cranes, darters along the river banks, crocodiles as well as snakes. Ensure you are at the location 30 minutes prior
- GRS Fantasy Park: GRS Fantasy Park is a popular amusement park in Mysuru city, offering a wide range of thrill seeking rides, family rides, games and entertainment options. Aqua racer, Aqua tornado, Pendulum Slide, Crazy Cruise, Amazonia, Colombia, Music Bob and Dragon’s Den are the intense, adrenaline pumping thrill rides at GRS Fantasy Park.
- Mysuru Dasara Kite Flying Competition: Kite flying competition is usually organized as part of Dasara celebrations, where both professional and amateur kite flyers can participate.
- Hike up to Chamundi Hills: Visitors can climb about 1008 steps to reach the top of Chamundi hills, instead of using a vehicle.
- E-Bike tours: Guests can take a guided tour of Mysuru city on electric bikes, operated by B:live https://www.blive.co.in/tours/majestic-mysore-72972
- Walking tours: Private operators and volunteers organize short walking tours of Mysuru, based on different themes such as Palace, Food, Best of Mysuru, Mysuru on cycle and so on. http://gully.tours/destination/mysore.html
- Watersports at Varuna Lake: JetSki Rides, Kayaking, boat rides and other watersports are available in Varuna lake, 13 kms from Mysuru city. Varuna is also known for Mahalingeshwara temple showcasing fine Ganga era sculptures.
- Horse Riding: Puravi riding academy conducts horse riding sessions and activities. http://puraviridingacademy.com/
- Skydiving in Mysuru: Skydiving at Mysuru airport is organized subject to operator discretion and necessary approvals. Skydiving is the ultimate of adventures where one can experience free fall for several seconds (30-40 seconds in a tandem fall from 10000 ft).
Museum & Art
- Mysuru Rail Museum:The Rail Museum was setup in 1979 and provides a fascinating insight into the history and growth of the railways in India. It contains a number of interesting exhibits, including the impressive Sri Ranga Pavilion, with its royal coaches belonging to the Maharaja of Mysuru, the vintage Maharani's Saloon built in the UK in 1899, and a kitchen dining car built in Mysuru in 1914. A stone's throw away from Mysuru Railway Station, the museum also showcases a battery operated mini-train that takes visitors on a ride around the grounds of the museum.
- Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion , Manasagangotri: A former royal mansion now converted into a museum. Artifacts pertaining to local folk performing arts, tools and ancient objects of various artisans and other archaeological findings are exhibited here.
- Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery: Known for its architectural brilliance, the magnificent Jaganmohan Palace now houses the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery which boasts a stunning collection of clocks, traditional Mysuru gold leaf paintings, ivory and sandalwood figurines, musical instruments, and antique furniture. Providing a glimpse into the lives of royalty, it displays old photographs of royal occasions and paintings by renowned artists such as Raja Ravi Varma and Roerich.
- Folklore Museum:The Folklore Museum is a brilliant repository of folk culture, housed in the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion of the University of Mysuru. The museum features a mind-blowing collection of 6,500 indigenously-made artifacts from all over Karnataka, including wooden figurines, rural costumes, utensils, tools and decorative masks.
- Melody World Wax Museum: Located on the way to Chamundi Hills, this unique museum is first of its kind in India. An excellent example of creative brilliance, sand sculpture museum offers a creative setting with artistic works. Intricate carvings on the sand and their unique themes make it a place worth visiting. A 15-feet-high sand statue of Lord Ganesh welcomes visitors to this open air space. It displays around 150 sculptures of sand in 16 different themes, which have been placed over an area of 13500 sq. feet. These sand sculptures have been created using more than 115 truckloads of sand. Various interesting themes have been used at the museum ranging from mysore heritage, wildlife, culture, instances from different religious epics and fairy tales and stories.
- Sand Sculpture Museum: Located on the way to Chamundi Hills, this unique museum is first of its kind in India. An excellent example of creative brilliance, sand sculpture museum offers a creative setting with artistic works. Intricate carvings on the sand and their unique themes make it a place worth visiting. A 15-feet-high sand statue of Lord Ganesh welcomes visitors to this open air space. It displays around 150 sculptures of sand in 16 different themes, which have been placed over an area of 13500 sq. feet. These sand sculptures have been created using more than 115 truckloads of sand. Various interesting themes have been used at the museum ranging from mysore heritage, wildlife, culture, instances from different religious epics and fairy tales and stories.
- Regional Museum of Natural History: The historical city of Mysuru added another landmark with the opening of the Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH) on 20th May 1995. It provides a unique opportunity to explore the natural world with exhibits on plants, animals and geology of the southern region of India. The 'Discovery Centre' is the main focus here, where visitors can learn about the exhibits. The museum is located on the banks of the Karanji Lake, with the Chamundi Hills visible in the background. http://nmnh.nic.in/mysore.htm
- Rangayana: Rangayana is a theatre institute and an autonomous cultural organization which operates from Mysuru. The organization consists of a professional repertory company and a theatre-training institute called Bharatiya Ranga Shikshana Kendra. It also comprises a documentation and research centre called Sriranga Ranga Mahiti and Samshodana Kendra. It has an eminent faculty of trainers, designers and technicians and operates from its own campus. Rangayana organizes theme based national festivals that attracts from all over the country.