Mysore is the city that I was born. I grew up watching the pompous Dasara festival, which attracts lakhs of visitors every year, spent countless evenings strolling in the lakes. One of the favourite college getaways was driving our bikes up to Chamundi Hills just for fun. In short, I can say that I lived and enjoyed Mysore like a true local, and the city has given me some of the best and the worst memories.
For a traveler, Mysore is one of the places that capture your heart and weaves a magical feel in your soul. Mysore leaves a lasting impression on the traveler with its compelling charisma and leaves one wanting for more.
The City has something to offer to all the kind of travelers – backpackers, slow travelers, solo travel, short family trips or for people just looking for a getaway to unwind and let their hair down.
The city, located about 140 km from Bangalore is known as the cultural capital of Karnataka. One visit to this marvellous city will let you know how aptly the title fits in. Mysore is rich in heritage and has a history dating back to about 300 years. For starters, Karnataka was known as the princely state of Mysore until the year 1950. The Wodeyars dynasty – known as ‘Maharajas of Mysore’ ruled the state and they inherit their lineage from the golden era of the Vijayanagar Empire.
For those who are visiting Mysore for the first time or for those new to this city, here are the places that I would recommend:
Also known as ‘Amba Vilas Palace’, this palace is the residence of the Wodeyars and boasts of truly majestic architecture. There are about seven palaces in Mysore and the most important of them is the Mysore Palace. The durbar hall with its astounding interiors, the long corridors with tall ceilings that showcase the history of the state and the paintings depicting the tradition are not to be missed.
Try to spend a whole day here, because in the evening the palace is lit with about 30,000 bulbs of light and this is a spectacular sight to witness. It makes you fall in love with the sheer beauty of the place and you cannot stop admiring the palace.
For the religious folks, this place is of high reverence and pilgrims from all over come to seek the blessings of the mother Goddess. Chamundi Hills are also just perfect for nature lovers. One call climb up to the top or simply take a long drive on bike letting the cool breeze play against the face. The entire city of Mysore can be viewed from atop the hill. This viewpoint gives a panoramic view of the wonderful city which is breath-taking and awesome.
Brindavan gardens lie adjoining the Krishnaraja Sagar dam, which is built across the river Cauvery. The garden is huge and spreads across a vast area and has big fountains. A walk during the evening is a pleasant experience and there are varieties of colorful fauna that makes the place more pretty.
This is one of the famous Catholic church known explicitly for its architecture. The walls run higher and the inscriptions on the inside are truly beautiful. Visit this place to experience the gothic style of architecture.
Officially known as Chamarajendra Zoological Garden, this zoo is located at a stone’s throw from Mysore Palace. It is one of the oldest and the most popular zoos in India and is home to some of the unique species like King Cobra, Giraffe, Orangutan and various rare breeds of birds. It was built during the princely rule and is very well maintained to this day.
Jaganmohan Palace is known for the largest collections of artefacts dating back to hundreds of years. The palace has a gallery which has the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, one of the renowned painters. Apart from this, there are numerous paintings related to Hindu mythology and rare collection of artefacts are preserved here.
Karanji lake has a nature park surrounding it and a butterfly park. This lake is a place to unwind and get a view of a number of beautiful birds around. This lake is pristine and peaceful and is a great place to lay back and enjoy. A large flock of birds migrate and make the home for themselves in this park.There is the Regional Museum of Natural History besides the lake. Boating is also available here, depending upon the season.