In the grand palaces of Mysore, the past still echoes in the air. The palaces and temples bear witness to the majesty and mighty of the kings who made this city their home. The word Mysore is a corrupted version of "mysooru", which is derived from the word "mahishur" or "Mahishasurana Ooru", which means the town of Mahishasura in Kannada, the local language.
Mysore has been home to the Vijayanagar Empire and the Wodeyars. It was during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III that the town of Mysore expanded and moved beyond the walls of the fort. Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV developed Mysore into a beautiful city with excellent planning. Under his reign Mysore became famous for its wide roads, magnificent buildings and elegant parks.
Known as the “City of Palaces”, Mysore’s vibrant history, its famous sandalwood, rosewood artifacts, grand palaces, majestic temples and beautiful landscaped gardens attract tourists from all over. Also, a steady patronage from Kings have led to the evolution of a distinct style known as the "Mysore Style" in the field of painting, architecture, music, and poetry.
Today Mysore is a modern city that has managed to retain its quaint old world charm. Its moderate climate makes it worth visiting any time of the year.
Mysore has a plethora of experiences on offer for anyone who visits this place. Being the old capital of Karnataka, it is not surprising to come across some of the most magnificent palaces of this part of the country. But that’s not all. The place has a lot more to offer - from the historical monuments to grand palaces, from ruins to beautiful gardens, Mysore has it all. Noted for its art and culture, Mysore has never failed to impress the connoisseurs of art and culture. Catering to a wide range of visitors, this historical town has quite an impressive itinerary on offer.
Things to see and do:
Mysore Palace: Also known as the ‘Ambavilasa Palace’, the famous Mysore Palace was the official residence of the Emperor. Flanked by gardens on all sides, this palace stands as the ultimate example of the influences of art and culture from across the world. The palace also holds the largest collection of antiques that takes one back to the pages of history.
Zoological Garden : It may seem to be just another zoo, but the Mysore Zoo or the Chamrajendra Zoological Garden, as it also known by, has a history of its own that dates back over a century. Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar is acclaimed as one of the architects of modern Mysore. He was a nature buff and set up a number of gardens and parks.
The Zoological Garden was carved out of a portion of his Summer Palace, located in the eastern part of the city.
The zoo was called Palace Zoo and was inaugurated in 1892. At that time there were very few zoos in the country and the Mysore zoo came to be considered as the best in the country. It not only has an excellent collection of animals, but also a beautiful bandstand and a picturesque setting with the Chamundi hills as its backdrop and an artificial lake on its premises. After independence the Zoo was gifted by the then Maharaja to the Department of Parks and Gardens of the Mysore State Government in 1948. The Mysore zoo is located at a distance of about 3 km from the City Bus Stand and 2 km from the Mysore Palace. Timings: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on all days except Tuesday. Entry: Rs 5 only.
One of the most visited places in Mysore by locals and by tourists is the famous Brindavan Gardens. Located about 19kms from the heart of Mysore these beautiful gardens are laid out below the Krishnaraja Sagar dam built across the river Cauvery. These gardens are famous for the illuminated dancing fountains that come to life after sunset.
Brindavan Gardens: The Krishnaraja Sagar Dam (KRS) (known as Kannambadi to the locals) itself is a superb example of excellent engineering and is a tourist attraction in Mysore. Sir M. Vishveswariah, one of India''s finest engineers, built it in 1924. The best time to visit the gardens is after sunset when all the fountains to life alive and dance with joy to the accompanying music. Timings: 7.00 pm to 7.55pm from Monday to Wednesday and from 7.00pm to 8.55 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Entry: Rs 10 for adults and 5 for children. Still cameras Rs 50, video cam Rs 100.
Chamundi Hills: It has a temple of Goddess Chamundeshwari (or Chamundi). The huge Nandi statue on the mountain is also well known. The Hills are 3300 Feet above sea level and are known for their wild life like leopards, but trekking is safe, and facilities to climb to the top are available. Atop the hill, Goddess Chamundi's idol is placed in a beautiful temple with marvelous architecture. It is a plastic free zone. Air Conditioned Volvo buses are available to Chamundi Hill and back from the city bus stand every twenty minutes. Rs. 20 for regular queue (typically longer). Rs 100 for shorter queue.
Jagmohan Palace and Art Gallery: A former palace that has been converted into a wonderful art gallery featuring famous works by various Indian artists.
Lalit Mahal Palace: Also a former palace but now a five star hotel, visitors should go around afternoon tea time as they serve a great British high tea. This is outside of mysore ,some time is required to visit that place
St. Philomenas Church: A beautiful Cathedral, reminiscent of medieval architectural style,is one of the largest churches in the country. Built in the gothic style,the Church is an imposing structure with stained glass windows and lofty towers.
Dasara (Dusshera): This is the state festival of Karnataka, carried over from the time when it was celebrated by the Wodeyars in grand style. On the last day, of the 10 day festival celebrated during the month of September and October, a procession of the state's guards lead the Goddess Chamundi seated on a golden howdah mounted on an elephant. The procession is followed by various tableaux, a visual treat rarely seen anywhere else in the world.
Celebration Run: An additional reason to visit Mysore during the Dasara, is Celebration Run Mysore which is based around the theme of celebration tied up with travel and wellness. The run has three running category – 5K, 10K and Half a marathon (21K).
The 5 km run is non-competitive, and everyone from children to senior citizens can participate. 10 kms and 21 kms are competitive runs. The Celebration Run includes live music bands and varied cultural dance groups positioned at every two kilometers along the race route to encourage the runners and to exhibit the spirit of festivity. The last date of registration this year is September 25. Runners can participate in the event by visiting http://www.lifeiscalling-sports.com/registration/.