Mysore, the sandal city of India, is in Karnataka state of India. It is known as the city of palaces. Mysore is a dream city and it always welcome the tourists from all over the world with its clean, light and easy going environment. This beautiful city is called the Culture Capital of Karnataka. The city of Mysore, once the capital of the former Mysore State, is now the cultural and tourist center of the expanded Karnataka State.
The name Mysore is believed to have been derived from "Mahishasurana Ooru", (town of Mahishasura in Kannada). he Wodeyar family ruled Mysore since 14th century except for a short period of 40 years in later 18th century when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were the rulers.
There is a pleasant weather in Mysore through out the year. Summers are warm and winters are cool. From October to March is the best time to visit this city.
The city is well-connected with almost all the major cities of India. State Highways connect Mysore to the national Highways and to all parts of the country. There are many train services operating between Bangalore and Mysore. The Shatabdi Express connects Mysore to Chennai. The ideal route to reach Mysore is via Bangalore.
The Important Places to Visit
Mysore Palace is situated in the heart of the city. It is the most famous tourist attraction of this place. This is the residence of the royal family – the Wodeyars. The best time to visit the Palace is during Dasara festival. Although tourists are allowed to visit the palace, they are not allowed to take photographs inside the palace. The Mysore Palace is the center of attraction during this festival. The entire Palace is illuminated with thousands of lights. The wall size paintings look so real that you might just walk into them. There are also the three dimensional paintings and no matter where you are standing these will appear to face in your direction. The Diwan-e-Khas is the most spectacular room with a huge doorway of carved rosewood embellished with ivory, stained glass ceiling, chandeliers with fine motifs, mosaic floor and walls decorated with marble and semi-precious stone and painted with gold.
2. Brindavan Gardens:-
It is one of the major tourist attraction of Mysore. Spread over vast area, the terraced lawns and fountains make these gardens one of the best in South India. The dancing fountains also called musical fountains are a major attraction among the tourists. The musical fountains have spectacular harmony of water, colors and music and one could feel the charm of heaven on earth. The boating pond in the midst of the garden is a location where the visitors can enjoy a boat ride around the famous statue of Goddess Kaveri. It is an attention-grabbing sight when the whole garden is lit up in the evenings.
3. Krishnaraja Sagar Dam:-
It is another popular tourist attraction. It is 3 kms long . The dam is across Kaveri River , near Mysore. The ornamental garden ‘Brindavan’ is attached to the dam. The dam is named after the then Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar, who financed this novel project. It was built in 1932 using ‘surkhi’, a mixture of limestone and brick powder instead of cement. There is a boating pond to cross the dam from the south bank to the north bank.
4. Chamundi Hills:-
The chamundi hills is on the outskirts of Mysore City, It is at a height of 1065 meters above sea leave and about 800 feet above Mysore city. From the top of hill you can have a panoramic view of Mysore. The top of the hill has a few attractions - the Mahishasura Statue, the Chamundeswari Temple, and a few other temples nearby. The temple tower is 40m high with seven stories. Behind the main temple there is a small shrine dedicated to Mahabaleswara which is over a thousand years old. Legend has it that that the demon Mahishasura, the king of the area that is currentlyMysore, was killed by the Goddess Chamundeswari after a fierce battle. The hills hence got their name and a temple of the goddess was built on the top.
5. Srirangapatna Fort:-
This glorious fort is considered to be the second toughest fort of India. The fort has a double wall defense system, which is what makes it impassable. The legendary Tipu Sultan's residence was inside this fort. Therefore, it is also known as Tipu Sultan Fort. The credit of keeping the British away from southern India truly goes to Tipu Sultan and his father, Hyder Ali. The architectural style of the fort is supposed to be Indo-Islamic and there is a Persian inscription on the gateway that announces its date of construction. There are two dungeons in the lower chambers of the fort that were used to imprison captured British officers. A temple dedicated to Lord Sriranganatha is also situated over here that is yet another important landmark and tourist attraction.
6. St. Philomina’s Church:-
St. Philomena's Church in Mysore is one of the oldest churches in India. It is no longer just a religious place but has become a major tourist attraction in Mysore. There is an orphanage on the premises of the church that is run by the church. The church is located at a distance of 3kms from the city bus stand and 2km from the Palace. The church is open from 8am to 6pm. Holy Mass is held in the morning and evening. Special masses are held on Sundays and on festivals. An Annual Feast is held on August 11th each year.
7. Mysore Zoo:-
It is one of the main attractions in Mysore especially for children; it also is very educative for children. Some of the animals and birds they would have just seen in books are in front of their eyes – that is why, the zoological garden in Mysore attracts more and more tourists everyday. The Mysore zoo abounds in natural vegetation cover and comprises of various rare species of plants & trees that are hard to find some where else.
8. Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery:-
The Jayachamarajendra art gallery has a remarkable collection of Rembrandt paintings. It is considered one of the best art galleries in South India. The artists of that time used natural vegetable and mineral dyes. The famous traditional Mysore "gold leaf" paintings are also exhibited in the gallery. The walls of the third floor of the gallery are covered with rich colorful paintings relating to the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. This gallery has an excellent collection of musical instruments that is displayed on the second floor.
9. Sandal Wood and Silk Factory:-
At the Government Sandalwood Oil Factory, you can buy Sandal Powder, Sandal Oil and scented incense sticks. At the Government Silk Factory you can see the master weavers at work. Buy shimmering silks straight off the looms.
10. G.R.S. Fantasy Park:-
This is a 30 acres amusement cum Water Park in the outskirt of Mysore City with an international flavor. It provides ambience leisure with fun, which one feel a perfect holiday for families. Also one can have get together and other celebrations. G.R.S. Fantasy Park is a high-tech entertainer with variety of fun rides and multi purpose play systems which caters to people of all ages.
11. Rail Museum:-
It is located near the Mysore Railway Station. It is the second one of its kind constructed in India after the one at Delhi. This museum exhibits ancient locomotives and carriages some of which are still in working condition.
12. Lalitha Mahal Palace:-
It is located near the Chamundi Hills, east of the city. This is a pure white colour palace built in the style of Italian palazzo with twin Ionic columns and domes. In 1974, Indian Tourist Development Corporation converted this regal guest palace into a star hotel. The Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel offers royal living and dining in the environs of a real palace.
13. Folk Lore Museum:-
Folk Lore Museum is located in the University Campus of Mysore and display over 6500 folk art and crafts from all over the state of Karnataka.
14. Jayalakshmi Vilas Palace:-
This palace was built by Chamaraja Wodeyar for his eldest daughter Jayalakshmi Devi in 1905. The building itself is made up of a three wing structure but so connected as to give the appearance of a single massive structure. A dancing hall with a wooden floor and a 12 pillar, square Kalyana Mantapam are the major attractions of the palace which represent the pinnacle of artistic ability of the local craftsman of the bygone golden era.
15. Oriental Research Institute:-
It is a research institute in Mysore which collects, exhibits, edits and publishes rare manuscripts in both Sanskrit and Kannada. It was formerly known as the Oriental Library. It was established in 1891 which contains over 33000 palm leaf manuscripts.
15. Shivanasamudra Falls:-
It is situated on the banks of the river Kaveri. It is the 2nd largest water falls in India and the 16nth largest in the world. This is a segmented waterfall. Segmented waterfalls occur where the water flow is broken into two or more channels before dropping over a cliff, resulting in multiple side by side waterfalls. It is the location of the first Hydro-Electric Power Station in Asia and the electricity produced here was initially used in the Kolar Gold Fields.
16. The Regional Museum of Natural History:-
It was inaugurated on 20th May 1995. The museum is located on the banks of Karanji Lake. The museum exhibits plants, animals and geology of the southern region of India. It provides an extracurricular activity for schools and promotes environmental awareness.
Other Important Places In and Around Mysore
Vasantha Mahal Palace
Rajendra Vilas Palace
Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary,
Venkata Ramana Temple
Trineswara Swami Temple
Pandavapura etc are some other important places in and around Mysore.