Mysore Travel Guide
The palaces and temples around the city speak volumes about heritage and architecture of the medieval times and the kind of patronage the city received from its rulers.
Situated in the southern part of the Deccan Plateau, Mysore retains a quaint charm that never fails to enchant. From ancient times, this district has played a significant role in the history of South India. Mysore is a popular tourist destination, offering several attractions ranging from the royal splendour of Mysore City and its fabulous Dasara Festival to exquisite temples, pilgrimage centres and scenic spots. The city has emerged as a thriving market for exotic sandalwood, the Mysore silk sarees and stone carved sculptures.
Sightseeing - Places to visit
Take the city tour of Mysore by visiting the Maharaja's Palace built in 1911-12. It is a veritable treasure trove of exquisite carvings and works of art from the world over. Later visit the Rajendra Art Gallery that has some remarkable selections of paintings by Raja Ravi Verma, Nicholas Roerich and traditional paintings in the Mysore style. Also visit the Zoological Garden, Mysore Arts&Crafts Centre and then proceed to the Chamundi Temple on a hill high above the city.
Mysore, known as the 'Cultural Capital of Karnataka', offers an insight into the lifestyles, cultures and traditions of its erstwhile rulers. The palaces and temples around the city speak volumes about heritage and architecture of the medieval times and the kind of patronage the city received from its rulers.
Srirangapatna is of religious, cultural and historic importance. The town takes its name from the celebrated Ranganathaswamy temple which dominates the town, making Srirangapatna one of the most important Vaishnavite centres of pilgrimage in south India.
Visit the remains of the Fort and the Hindu temples and the Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan. This little town played an important role in the region since its origins in the 10th century, being the focal point in South India's political development. The fort was built under the Vijayanagar kings in 1454 AD, 150 years later the last Vijayanagar King handed over authority to the Hindu Wodeyars of Mysore, who made it their capital. In the second half of the 18th century, it became the capital of Haidar Ali, who defended it against the Marathas.
Somnathpur is home to the Keshava Temple built during the reign of Hoysala emperors. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is a fine example of Hoysala architecture with beautiful sculptures.
Somanathpur is famous for the Keshava Temple built by Somanatha, a commander under Hoysala Empire King Narasimha III. Constructed in 1268AD, the Keshava Temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. Standing on a star-shaped platform, the temple has three exquisitely carved pinnacles and shrines, each housing a life-size model of the gods Venugopala, Janardhana and Kesava; the image of the last, unfortunately, is now missing. The halls and inner sanctums in each of these shrines is covered with intricate and highly detailed carvings, friezes and stone work, depicting gods, goddesses, animals and scenes from epics.
Mysore Palace or Maharaja Palace is one of the largest and most spectacular monuments of the city. Also known as Amba Vilas, the palace is built in Indo-Saracenic style and blends together Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic styles of architecture. The palace houses a collection of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world.
The Mysore Maharaja Palace is the seat of the famed Wodeyar Maharaja's of Mysore. It is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. The palace is built in Indo-Saracenic style with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades. The palace is now converted into a museum that treasures souvenirs, paintings, jewellery, royal costumes and other items, which were once possessed by the Wodeyars. The magnificent jewel studded golden throne of the Wodeyars is displayed here during the Dasera festival. Illuminated on Sundays and public holidays, the palace presents a spectacle of breathtaking beauty.
Rajendra Art Gallery/Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery
Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, one of the best art galleries in South India, exhibits excellent collection of paintings and artefacts that once belonged to the Wodeyars of Mysore. It also displays some remarkable selections of paintings by Raja Ravi Verma, Nicholas Roerich and traditional paintings in the Mysore style.
This art gallery displays an immensely rich collection presenting a peek into the world of royals and bygone eras. The collection of paintings in the gallery exceeds 2000 in number and these belong to different Indian styles of painting like Mysore, Mughal and Shantiniketan. Some of painters whose works are exhibited here include Nikolai Roerich, Svetoslav Roerich and Rabindranath Tagore and Abanindranath Tagore. Along with paintings, the art gallery also displays an exotic collection of war weaponry, musical instruments and various other artefacts which were once an intricate part of Royal lifestyle.
Built across the River Kaveri, these beautiful gardens are spread over 150 acres of land and were modelled after the Shalimar gardens of Kashmir. The beauty of these gardens multiplies in the evenings when the fountains light up in various colours.
Brindavan Gardens, one of the best gardens in South India, is world famous for its ethereal beauty, grandeur and illumination/ musical fountain. Modelled on the design of the Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir, the Brindavan Garden is enriched with a number of terraces, parterres, fountains, running and cascading water channels, water chutes, lush green lawns, flower beds, shrubs and trees. Special attractions include the 'Dancing Fountains'. At night the gardens are transformed into a kind of fairy land when the concealed lights near the flower beds and fountains are turned on and add a new dimension to the garden.
The Chamundeshwari Temple is a Hindu temple located on the top of Chamundi Hills in Mysore. The temple was named after Chamundeshwari or Durga, the fierce form of Shakti, a tutelary deity held in reverence for centuries by Mysore Maharajas.
Chamundi Hill is named after Goddess Chamundi who is believed to be the incarnation of Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. The hill can be reached by a 13 km road or by climbing up the 1,000 steps, where stands the beautiful tall Gopuram of the temple, one of the best examples of the Dravidian school of architecture. Halfway up along the stone steps is Nandi, Lord Shiva's Bull, a majestic 4.8 meters monolith. At the top is the 12th century temple of Chamundeshwari, the patron goddess of the Wodeyars. Close to the temple is the gigantic statue of the demon Mahishasura. The summit offers a panoramic view of Mysore's lakes, parks and palaces.
Mysore Arts&Crafts Centre
Contacted local office via email, no information on the art&craft centre.
The Mysore zoo or Shri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens is over a century old and has an interesting history of its own. The zoological gardens in Mysore were set up by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar who is acclaimed as one of the architects of modern Mysore.
Mysore Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the country, was started way back in 1892 as a private zoo attached to the palace. Though it is popularly called "Mysore Zoo", the official name is Shri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, named after its founding Maharaja Shri Chamarajendra Wodeyar. It is home to a wide range of wild species and the rich breed of flora and fauna. It also has an artificial lake, a beautiful bandstand, spacious enclosures, walk-throughs and a veterinary hospital. The zoo has a small museum which has exhibits of stuffed animals and an aquarium.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is the largest bird sanctuary in the Karnataka. The sanctuary includes six islands on the River Kaveri and is an important nesting and breeding ground for the thousands of bird species.
The Bird Sanctuary at Ranganathittu owes its existence to the world famous ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali who convinced the Maharaja of Mysore in 1940 to declare Ranganathittu as a protected area. The sanctuary is home to a wide species of birds including cormorants, darters, white ibis, spoon billed storks, open billed storks, painted storks, white necked storks, egrets, herons, terns, swallows, kingfishers, sandpiper etc. There are a few mammals in the sanctuary like fruit bats, bonnet macaques, palm civets, common mongoose and common otters. Marsh crocodiles make up the reptile population of the sanctuary.
Boat Ride in Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
A boat ride at the river and the islets offers breath-taking views along with glimpses of a variety of beautiful birds. Visitors can enjoy guided boat rides and catch glimpses of crocodiles, bats and otters along with birds.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is the largest bird sanctuary in the state and is named after the Hindu God Sri Ranganatha Swamy, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This bird sanctuary is spread across an area of 40 acres. As the saying goes 'birds of a feather flock together', each islet has different species of inhabitants. Hence, it is a varied experience for everyone as boat drifts from one islet to another.
Experience the best the city has to offer. The tour includes the best of the Royal Walk and the food tour.
Explore the city and unfold the story of Mysore. Let your imagination run wild with what was of a bygone era, understand how the royals live and ruled the city and find the cities past connection to the world. Explore the 125 year old market and then entice your taste buds with unlimited mouth-watering food at best local joints.
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Mysore on a Bicycle
Join us on a cycle tour as the city wakes up through its narrow streets and varied communities, the tree lined avenues giving you a picture of time standing still.
This is an eco-friendly and fun introduction to Mysore. Start early in the morning to see the city come to life. This bicycling tour is an intimate introduction to the city you might not otherwise see. This tour last for three hours with breakfast. Start early in the morning to avoid the busy streets and takes advantage of the guides' intimate knowledge of the city. Experience the tranquility and see, hear and smell the city coming to life to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. The groups are small for an intimate experience, with between 2-8 riders on each tour (maximum 8 pax).
Royal Mysore Walk
Walk the city to discover the colonial connections, how the American War, French Revolution, Battle of Waterloo relates to Mysore. Also visit the 125 year old market known for its vibrancy and colours.
Experience this guided tour in the heart of the city and walk by some grand old structures and unfold the story of Mysore. Learn about the opulent lives of the Maharajas and how one of the richest men on the planet lived. Get a feel of vibrant markets and parts of the old city.
Mysore Silk Tour
Mysore silk – the name speaks for one of the purest forms of silk sarees in the world. The tour explores what goes into making such an elaborate dress and why they are worth every penny.
Saree the traditional attire of the Indian woman is made from various fabrics the most special being from silk. The Mysore Silk Saree has the distinction of being the only pure silk saree that uses gold in its making. Started by the Maharaja this heritage industry celebrated its centenary in 2012. Get to see the complete process of how from yarns of silk a complete saree is woven.
Mysore Vintage Jeep Tour
A half day tour of Srirangapatna in an open (top) jeep and hear the story of Tipu Sultan, the only Indian king to have died on the battlefield.
This is a tour in the island of Srirangapatna, which is 12kms, in an open top jeep to witness the Hindu rituals of death by the riverside. Also get to know how the Anglo Mysorean wars were plotted and fought in this island and hear the story of Tipu Sultan, the only Indian king to have died on the battlefield
Ghatam Experience in Mysore
Learn one of the most ancient percussion instruments of South India.
Ghatam is one of the most ancient percussion instruments of South India. It is a clay pot with narrow mouth. Although the Ghatam is the same shape as an ordinary Indian domestic clay pot, it is made specifically to be played as an instrument. Interact & enjoy a private show with Ananth Jayaram, a young&aspiring trained Ghatam player, who will perform exclusively for you. He will explain about the different rhythms&musical notes of Ghatam – how to play&produce different sound with tap of your fingers, thumb, palm&heel of the hands on the clay pot.