Mysore is the land of kings and opulence. The city gets its name from Mahishasura, a demon who was slain by the Goddess Chamundeshwari. Her temple atop the Chamundi Hill watches over the city. Mysore or Mysuru as it is officially called, has been ruled by the Wadiyar dynasty, Tipu Sultan and the British before India’s independence in 1947. If you love history and culture, Mysore is the place for you!
Mysore is also known as the cultural capital of Karnataka due to its rich history, magnificent palaces and gardens, temples and museums. Its façade is changing to accommodate MNCs and new businesses however Mysore probably is best known for its cultural legacy and probably will continue to be the most talked about tourist destination in South India, for decades to come.
Attractions: Mysore Palace with the King’s throne, ornate ceilings, jeweled corridors, paintings and Wadiyar memorabilia is key to Mysore tourism. The Dasara festival (9 day festival in October, dedicated to the Goddess) is celebrated with fervor at the Mysore palace grounds. Tourists and photographers from all over the globe visit this spectacular event. Mysore still has its iconic Maharaja or King who lives in a portion of the palace and retains ownership of various heritage properties in Mysore and around Karnataka.
Visit the city circle, clock tower, Art gallery housing beautiful paintings and legacy items from bygone eras, Chamundeshwari temple on the hill, Ranganthittu bird sanctuary for crocodiles and migratory birds; Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple, Tipu Sultan’s palace and tomb in Srirangapatna, St Philomena’s church built in neo-gothic style, Karanji lake and park – a peaceful lung space in the center of Mysore which hosts migratory birds, local market, yoga schools of Pattabhi Jois and BVK Iyengar, administrative training institute, Mysore golf club, Mysore turf club for horse racing and Mall of Mysore for shopping.
Shopping: Local market and government emporiums for sandalwood powder and articles, wooden toys, metallic statues and artefacts, antiques, silk saris and material, temple items, prayer bells and accessories, heritage jewelry, carpets and durries, local produce like fresh fruit, vegetables and Indian culinary masalas. The mall of Mysore offers branded goods, movie hall and restaurants.
Accessibility: Bangalore Airport (3.5 hours away,) train and buses from all major cities/ nearby states.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year. October is high season due to the Dasara festival.