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Tourist Places To Visit In Mysore
As the official capital of the erstwhile Maharajas, Mysore has succeeded in retaining its royal aura. Reflections of the lavish lifestyle can be found almost everywhere, from the railway station to government offices and hospitals. As you enter this fascinating city of gardens and palaces, you are swept off your feet by the intoxicating fragrance of sandalwood of this ‘Sandalwood City.’ Mysore is a popular manufacturer and exporter of sandalwood oil, incense and ivory, rose and sandalwood carvings and furniture. Here are some amazing tourist places to visit in Mysore, from Mysore Palace to Chamundi Hills, Brindavan Gardens to Jagmohan Palace.
Undoubtedly the biggest tourist attraction of Mysore is the Mysore Palace. The seat of power of the Maharajas of Mysore, built in the Indo-Saracenic style, the palace is a treasure house and a repository of immense artistic wealth. The exquisite carvings that adorn every room of the palace, the sheer magnitude of wealth that is on display is breathtaking and is bound to leave every visitor spellbound. One of the most priceless objects of the palace is the jewel studded gold throne of the Wodeyar dynasty. On Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays and national festivals the entire palace is illuminated which is a spectacular vision.
Mysore Palace remains open between 10 A.M and 5.30 P.M. It is illuminated from 7.00 P.M to 8.00 P.M on Sundays, national holidays and state festivals; on Saturdays from 7.30 P.M. to 8.00 P.M. and between 7.00 P.M to 9.00 P.M. during Dussera festival. Entry fees is Rs. 40 (Indian Adults), Rs. 200 (Foreigners) and Rs. 25 (for Children between 7 to 10 years).
Reached by climbing 1000 steps or by travelling 13 kilometres by road, Chamundi Hill is a famous landmark of Mysore. Atop this hill is the temple of Chamundeshwari, the patron goddess of the Wodeyars. There is an enormous statue of Mahisasura, the demon whom Chamundeshwari had vanquished. Halfway along the steps is a gigantic monolithic statue of Nandi, the bull which is considered to be extremely sacred. The hill offers a panoramic aerial view of the city of Mysore.
Chamundeshwari TemplePuja timings are between 7.30am to 2.00pm, 3.30pm to 6.00pm and 7.30pm to 9.00pm.
Spread over an area of 150 acres, Brindavan Gardens is situated 19 kilometres from Mysore City at the base of the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam built across river Cauvery. The 2.4 kilometres long dam forming a 130 square kilometres lake is one of the biggest in India. The terraced and meticulously planned garden with beautifully illuminated and dancing fountains is a treat for the eyes.
Brindavan Gardens remains open on weekdays from 6.00am to 8.00pm and during weekends from 6.00pm to 9.00pm. The musical fountain show timings are from 6.30pm to 7.30 pm on weekdays and from 6.30pm to 8.30 pm during weekends. Entry fee is Rs. 15 (adults) and Rs. 5 (children between ages 5 to12).
The Mysore Zoo or the Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens is home to some exotic and rare species of fauna and a myriad species of animals. Over the years with much effort, the Zoo has emerged as one of the finest in the country with plans to set up state-of-the-art Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. It also enjoys the distinction of breeding animals in captivity.
Mysore Zoo is open all days except Tuesdays from 8.30am to 5.30pm. Entrance fee is Rs. 40 (adults) and Rs. 20 (children). It is free for children below 5 years.
St. Philomena’s Church
Built between 1933 and 1941, the gothic style church is reminiscent of medieval architectural style with lofty towers and stained glass windows. In many ways it resembles the Cologne Cathedral. St. Philomena Church remains open to public between 5.00am and 6.30pm.
Also known as Chamarajendra Art Gallery, Jaganmohan Palace has a huge repository of paintings by Ravi Verma and Nicholas Roerich. Some exquisite curios in sandalwood, ivory, stone and ceramics are also displayed here.
Jaganmohan Palace remains open on all days except Thursdays from 8.00am to 12.00 noon and then again from 2.30pm to 7.00pm. Entry fee is Rs. 10 per adult.
Built by the Wodeyar ruler - Maharaja Chamaraja, Jayalakshmi Nivas is one of the royal mansions he built for his eldest daughter in 1905. An architectural landmark of Mysore, the mansion is now a property of Mysore University and houses the Folklore Museum. Built on an elevated land, it is opposite to the Kukkarahalli Tank.
Jayalakshmi Vilas mansion remains open between 8.30am to 6.00pm on all days except Mondays. An entrance fee of Rs. 15 is charged for adults and for children Rs. 5.
On the way to Mysore, situated 14 kilometres from the city is Srirangapatna, the capital of Mysore State under Tipu Sultan. After his death in 1799 A.D. the British shifted the capital to Mysore. In Srirangapatna is Daria Daulat Palace, Tipu’s summer palace made of teakwood. The walls are covered with beautiful frescoes. There is the Masjid-e-Ala or Juma Masjid built by Tipu with lofty minarets. The Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangapatna is very famous, containing the idol of Lord Vishnu. The Gumbaz housing the tombs of Tipu Sultan, his father Hyder Ali and mother Fathima Begum is renowned for its craftsmanship.
In Srirangapatna, Daria Daulat Palace remains open between 8.30am and 5.30pm. An entry fee of Rs. 5 is charged for Indian adults and Rs. 100 for foreigners. Juma Masjid can be visited between 8.00am and 5.00pm. The Gumbaz remains open from 10.00am and 5.00pm. Sri Ranganathaswamy temple can be visited between 6.00am and 2pm and between 4.00pm and 8.30pm.
Karanji Lake, as the name suggests, is a lake in the city of Mysore. It is located at the foot of the Chamundi Hills and must be visited when you take a trip to the hills. A man-made marvel, this lake is one of the largest in all of Karnataka and was built by a king for recreational back in the day. Today tourists flock here to watch birds flutter and paddle in the water and enjoy the small park situated nearby. The bird sanctuary here is the largest in India and holds more than 90 species of different birds.
Another point of tourist attraction near Chamundi Hills is Lalitha Mahal, a palace that was inspired by the St. Paul's Cathedral of London. It is the second largest in Mysore and makes for an exceptional piece of architectural wonder with a unique and edgy style. Photographers consider Lalitha Mahal a haven and enjoy their art immensely.
The Shivanasamudra Falls make for a great picnic spot in Mysore. The water here falls from a height of 90 m and the pattering hum of its falling on cut rocks make for a relaxing feel. You will have to travel a little farther away from the main city to visit these falls but that is definitely worth it, considering you will leave the hustle-bustle of the city far behind in your quest.
Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens
Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens of Mysore makes for a popular animal lover’s paradise. School field trips are often found roaming here, and local families with kids choose picnicking as a good Sunday activity. You can visit here with your kids and enjoy some quality time educating them about animals and their surroundings. The garden is almost zoo-like, and open daily from 8.30 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening.
Shuka Vana, as the name suggests, is the forest of parrots (re: birds). Created by Dr. Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji to preserve and spread the word about birds, this became one of the most famous rehabilitation centres. If you are in love with the avifauna then this is the place for you. And why are parrots so important here? Well, the creator of this park is of the opinion that each type of parrot represents a different planet according to one’s birthdate. You can learn more about it when you are here!
The park is closed on Wednesdays.
Folk-Lore Museum Mysore
If you are done with nature and animals and birds, then here’s something for the history buff inside you. The Folk-Lore Museum Mysore is a great place for people who love stories, myths, legends and culture. The place literally blooms with the crafts, arts and folk tales of Mysore. In the campus grounds of Mysore University, this museum is a centre of education as well as a tourist haunt. It boasts of over 6500 handicrafts celebrating literature, music and dance of the ancient days, along with wide collections of masks, folk puppets, props and more drama material.
Kishkindha Moolika Bonsai Garden
Kishkindha Moolika Bonsai Garden is a hub of this popular lucky plant of fengshui that is supposed to impart peace and prosperity wherever it is planted. This garden is a paradise of peace, family picnic spot and a place to educate the kids about plants. Again, created by Dr. Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, this Bonsai Garden sprawls across 4 acres and has more than a hundred bonsai species.
Talakad is the origin of River Cauvery, which is, for all intents and purposes, the Ganga of the south. The Talakad region is a beautiful sightseeing spot, with birds chirping and greens spreading wide. There are temples, birds of different species flocking and architectural marvels in ruins. The place is around 50 km from Mysore city and should be visited for a serene escapade on a weekend.
There are museums of many kinds, some weird, some unique. The Railway Museum of Mysore is both of these, with relics and ancient train parts displayed for you to take a trip down the memory lane. Literally. It is quite close to Mysore Railway Station and displays functioning as well as non-functioning engines, locomotives and coaches of Indian Railways. The museum is built on the lines of a similar museum of Delhi. It imparts education and also attracts good tourism. Some of its engines and carriages are still used by the Railways.
Kukkarahalli Lake, a unique lake in the shape of letter ‘J’ is all of 5 km and sprawled over 58 hectares. You can stop here, in this serene place to catch your breath after the hectic Mysore city bustle. The Chamundi Hills form a chain in the backdrop and the green lush verdant meadows remind you of R. K. Narayan’s stories. In fact, the lakeside was an inspiration to some of his stories. More than 180 species of birds migrate here from time to time, so you get to bird watch in almost any season.
Government Sandalwood Oil Factory
Sandalwood is a heritage scent of India, known for its cooling properties and musky scent that keeps the wearer cool through the parching summers. Sandalwood, or chandan, as it is called in India, is found in the trunk of the sandalwood tree and these trees are found in abandon in South India. The Government Sandalwood Oil factory of Mysore processes this raw wooden sandalwood to make the thick chalks and oils that later go on to add scent to soaps, perfumes, attars, incenses and more. Mysore is also known for its sandalwood products and you can understand why at this factory.