- Majestic Mysore, the city of palaces and parks is the ‘cultural capital’ of Karnataka.
- Historical town has legendary origins and its name is said to be derived from the word “Mahishasurana Ooru”, which means the town of Mahishasura.
- According to a mythological legend, Mahishasura, the demon king, once lived here and was killed by Goddess Chamundeshwari.
- Ganga kings ruled here till 10th century and were succeeded by the Cholas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagar kings.
- Mysore became the glories capital of the Wodeyar’s, feudatories of the Vijayanagar Empire, who declared independence in 16th century with the decline of Vijayanagar Empire.
- Wodeyar rule was disrupted for some time, when Hyder Ali took over the reigns of Mysore in 1765.
- Tipu Sultan, developed the kingdom rapidly, but was defeated by the British in 1799 and Mysore was given back to the Wodeyar’s.
MODE OF COMMUNICATION:
- Airport: Bengaluru International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR), 139 kms away from Mysore city.
- Rail: Mysore Railway Station, Mysore, 2.5 kms away from Mysore city centre.
- Road: Well connected by road.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
FORT & MONUMENTS
Mysore Palace Lalitha Mahal Palace Srirangapattana
St. Philomen’s Cathedral Chamundi Hill Somnathpur Talakkad Melukote Billigiri Rangana (B R) Hills
MUSEUM & AUDITORIUM
Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery Rail Museum Folklore Museum
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Kabani River Lodge Billigiri Rangana (B R) Hills Bandipur National Park
PARK & GARDEN
Mysore Zoo or Sri Jayachamrajendra Zoological Gardens Brindavan Gardens & Krishnarajasagar Dam
ATTRACTIONS OF MYSORE
- Mysore Palace:
- Magnificent three storeyed palaces in the heart of the town.
- It was built between 1897-1912 on the foundation of an old palace which was partially destroyed in a fire in 1897.
- Palace has splendid square towers at cardinal points, crowned with domes.
- Main attractions are – ‘Durbar Hall’ with its ornate ceiling and sculpted pillars and the Kalyanamandapam (Marriage Pavilion), noted for its chandeliers, cast-iron pillars, Belgian stained glass arranged in peacock designs in the domed ceilings and glazed tiled flooring.
- Palace is also known for its rich collection of priceless articles like, a golden howdah (elephant seat), fine paintings and a 200 kg gold throne encrusted with precious stones.
- About 97,000 electric bulbs light up the palace in the evening on Sunday, Public Holidays and during the Dassara celebrations.
- Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery:
- Art Gallery is housed in the Jaganmohan Palace, one of the most beautiful buildings of Mysore.
- A museum established here in 1915, has a fine collection of ceramics, sandalwood, ivory, stone, antique furniture and ancient musical instruments.
- It also treasures valuable art collection like traditional Mysore gold leaf paintings and paintings of renowned artists like Travancore ruler, Raja Ravi Varma and the Russian painter Svetoslav Roerich etc.
- Rail Museum:
- Exhibits locomotives and coaches of the erstwhile royal family of Mysore.
- There are also paintings and photographs describing the story of the railways.
- Folklore Museum:
- Museum at Jayalakshmi Vilas mansion has a rich collection of over 650 folklore articles.
- It is perhaps the biggest of its kind in Asia.
- Mysore Zoo or Sri Jayachamrajendra Zoological Gardens:
- It was set up in 1892, during the rule of Chamrajendra Wodeyar.
- St. Philomen’s Cathedral:
- Imposing twin towered Gothic structure with beautiful stained glass windows.
ATTRACTIONS AROUND MYSORE
- Lalitha Mahal Palace:
- 9 kms away from Mysore city centre.
- Charming white coloured double storeyed palace was built by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar in 1931, to accommodate the royal guests from overseas.
- It has now been converted into a luxurious heritage hotel.
- Chamundi Hill:
- 13 kms away from Mysore city centre.
- Chamundeshwari Temple perched atop the hill is believed to be 2,000 years old, but the present structure dates back to 11th century.
- It is dedicated to Goddess Chamundi, the patron deity of the Wodeyar’s.
- On the half way up there is a 4.8 metres tall monolith of ‘Nandi’, the bull, carved out of a single black rock.
- There is also a gigantic statue of Mahishasura atop the hill, which was vanquished in the battle by Goddess Chamundi.
- Brindavan Gardens & Krishnarajasagar Dam:
- 19 kms away from Mysore city centre.
- Massive dam near the confluence of Kaveri, Hemavathi and Lakshamanatirtha Rivers.
- It was designed and constructed by the famous architect M. Vishveswaraya in 1932, during the regin of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV.
- Dam is about 2621 metres long and 39 metres high, while the reservoir covers an area of 130 sq. kms.
- Beautiful terraced Brindavan Garden, built at the foot of the dam is famous for its illumination and musical water fountains.
- Well-lit gardens in the evenings look like a fairyland.
- Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary:
- 16 kms away from Mysore city.
- A rich variety of water birds like cormorant, egrets and spoonbills etc.
- Sanctuary is mainly known for herons, who visit the islands for nesting and breeding.
- Their chicks are generally hatched in July and August.
- Best time to visit May to November.
- 16 kms away from Mysore city.
- 18th century island capital of Haider Ali and his son Tipu Sultan is flanked by two branches of river Kaveri.
- Battle scarred ramparts of the fort reflects the heroics of Tipu, who valiantly fought the British and delayed their hegemony over Mysore.
- Within the fort are a mosque and the magnificent Ranganatha – swamy temple, dating back to 9th century, an evidence of secular and tolerant nature of Tipu.
- Tipu Sultan’s summer palace, Daria Daulatbagh and his mausoleum are located outside the fort.
- Palace is noted for its gilded wall panels, ornate arches and 18th century frescoes.
- 35 kms away from Mysore city.
- Sacred Somnathpur is one of the three jewels of Hoysala temple architecture; the other two are Belur and Halebid.
- Prassana Chennakesava Temple here was built in 1268.
- Built during the reign of king Narasimha III, at the instance of his minister Somanatha Dandanayaka.
- Like other Hoysala shrines, it is set on a raised plinth with a star shaped ground plan, but unlike the Belur and Halebid temples, it was actually completed.
- Temple complex has a triple – shrine (trikutachala), each with its own stunningly beautiful vimana and sukhanasi (vestibule) and a spacious common navaranga mandapa.
- Outer walls are exquisitely carved narrating episodes from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagvatha.
- Kabani River Lodge:
- 80 kms away from Mysore city.
- Jungle resort on the eastern fringes of famous Nagarhole Sanctuary has emerged as a popular tourist destination.
- Lush forest along the Kabani River teems with wildlife and birds and a nature lovers paradise.
- 45 kms away from Mysore city.
- Historic and religious centre on the left bank of Kaveri was the capital of Gangas from 5th to 10th century.
- In 1116, Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana attacked Talakkad, under the Cholas and attained victory.
- Celebrate his victory, Vishnuvardhana built five temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one of them is the Kirtinarayan temple.
- Talakkad is also known for the five Shivalinga or the ‘Panch lingas’ enshrined in beautiful temples.
- Island town endowed with exceptional scenic beauty is 44 kms from Mandya and 80 kms from Mysore.
- Famous for the two picturesque falls – Gaganachukki and the Bharacukki created by the branches of river Kaveri.
- Ranganatha and Someshwara Shiva temple are two important shrines of the island.
- 48 kms away from Mysore city.
- Melukote or the ‘High Fort’ is well known for the Panchanarayana temples.
- Five shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu and built by the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana.
- Famous Cheluvarayaswami temple atop Yadavagiri hill enshrines a fine statue of Lord Vishnu, holding the Shanku (conch), Chakra (a dise like weapon) and a Gadha (mace).
- Billigiri Rangana (B R) Hills:
- B R Hills are a delight for wildlife, trekking and adventure sports enthusiasts.
- Terrain is dotted with peaks and hill top temples.
- Billigiri Rangana Temple dedicated to Lord Rangaswamy is the most important shrine.
- Ratha (chariot) festival is held here in April.
- Other places worth seeing are – Dadda Sampige Mara, the 2,000 year old giant tree and BRT Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Bandipur National Park:
- 80 kms away from Mysore city.
- Sprawls in the foothills of the Nilgiris and is one of the finest wildlife centres in the country.
- Park was set-up in 1931, by the Mysore Maharajas and was brought under the ‘Project Tiger’ in 1974.
- Covers an area of 874.20 sq. kms, adjoining the famous Mudumalai sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad sanctuary in Kerala.
- Lush forest full of teak, rosewood, hone, mathi, bamboo and sandal trees teems with elephant, tiger, leopard, panther, dhole (wild dog), bison, spotted deer, sambar, crocodile, cobra, python etc.
- Birds like peafowl, partridge, quail, hornbill, ibis, eagle etc. can be seen here.
- Visitors can take a safari on an elephant back or hire a vehicle to go round the park.
- Best time to visit May to June and September to November.