Places to visit in Mysore : The number of tourists visiting India has increased a lot in recent years. The majority of these visitors usually come to see the scenic beauty, magnificent structures and rich heritage. One such city contributing to tourism in every aspect is the city of Mysore in Karnataka state. This land is also called as city of palaces. This is because a lot of extravagant palaces are located here. Its rich cultural heritage has also attracted people from many different countries in the recent years. Besides from this, Mysore also offers many other scenic beauties that are not formed in any other parts of India. The most popular places to visit in Mysore are listed below
The Mysore Palace is probably the most visited place in the city. It attracts enough tourists to rival that of the Taj Mahal itself. It was built by the Wodeyars as a place of residence. The Wodeyars are the royal family who once ruled Mysore before Indian independence. The current place was built in the recently in the early 19th century. Before that, palaces were built and demolished throughout the second millennium in the same place. The construction of the current palace was completed in the year 1912 which was later expanded in 1940. It is estimated that the number of visitors every year has increased over 3 million. To safeguard the cultural and architectural uniqueness, the tourists are forbidden from taking pictures from inside the palace. For proper maintenance, each foreign tourist would have to pay admission fees of Rs.200 whereas Indians will be charged only Rs.20. To keep the place clean, footwear must be removed before entering the palace. The palace also has 2 Darbar houses which was the result of an extension plan of 1940.
The palace architecture is a mixture of Rajput, Muslim and Hindu styles. There are three stories in the main structure and a tower of five stories. A large and beautiful garden surrounds the entire palace. Grey colored granite stones are used for the main structure whereas the dome is made of pink marble. Amidst the central structure is a beautiful sculpture of goddess Gajalakshmi. The one thing any person visiting Mysore should not miss is the main cultural festival of Dasara. It is a ten-day festival where at the final day; a parade of elephants carrying the 750 KG Golden statue of the goddess Chamundi can be seen. People from all around the world will gather around for this auspicious occasion which happens once in every year in the month of October. During this time, the palace is fully decorated with lots of lights which are a sight to see. The interior of the palace has a mixture of several architectural styles and designs which cannot be found in any part of the word. In total, the palace of Mysore still stands glorious amidst all of the development and improvements happening throughout the city.
In other place worth visiting in Mysore is the Brindavan gardens. It is constructed adjacent to the KRS dam. The dam is built across the mighty river Kaveri. The garden was completed in that year 1932; five years after the construction began. The plan for the garden was laid down by the then Dewan of Mysore, Sir Mirza Ismail. It is estimated that over 2 million people visit the Brindavan gardens, which greatly has an influence on the overall people visiting Mysore. It occupies a total space of 60 acres. The main attraction of the garden is its colored water from things and several kinds of plants. There is no entry fee for visitors and it is open to all. A recent renovation was undertaken by spending over five crore rupees. It also has been digitized music fountain.
The Krishnarajasagara Dam or the KRS dam that is built across Kaveri River is another popular spot of Mysore. It was constructed in the year 1924. The KrishnaRajaSagar Dam is approximately 8600 feet long and 130 feet high with a reservoir spread around an area of 130 sq.kmsIt acts as a lifesaver for many districts in the state because most of the irrigation will depend on this water. This dam was amongst the first in world to use automatic sluice gates and represents the marvel of civil engineering of pre-independent India. The dam is named after a former King of the Wodeyar family.
The city of Mysore is also known for its wildlife. The Mysore zoo is located just near the Mysore Palace. It covers an area of over 250 acres and is probably the oldest zoo in South India. The zoo houses many different kinds of animals. It was built in the year 1892, making it one of the oldest zoos in existence. The main source of income for the zoo is the entry fee from visitors. Several rare animals such as elephants, tigers and anacondas are kept here.
Mysore is a place of many religious beliefs. The Chamundi hills are located very near to Mysore. It has an elevation of over 1000 m. The hill is named after the deity Chamundi, who slayed the demon. In her honor, the Temple on the top of the hill is named after her. Both the hill and the Temple are some of the most visited tourist spots in Mysore. Most people who visit Mysore never miss a chance to go on top of the mountain and watch the magnificent city below which offers breadth taking view. The Lalitha Mahal palace, race course, Mysore palace and many others can be seen from the mountain top. There is a stone stairway that will lead to the top of the hill which consists of 1180 steps. A large statue of Nandi is built amidst the top which is about 25 feet in length and over 16 feet high. On top of the hill, there is a large statue of Mahishasura-the demon who got slain by the goddess Chamundi. It is pretty easy to visit on the locations in Mysore including Chamundi hills because there is a regular bus line from and to Mysore. Decent accommodations are provided so that visitors will not how to strive to get resources that they need.
Chamundi Hill Temple (Chamundeshwari Temple) is one the famous temples in India. It’s located on the top of the Chamunda hill which is higher about 3,500 feet from the sea level and can be viewed amazingly from the lower area near the temple of about 9 to 10 kilometers. It also has a structure of Lord shiva’s Bull “Nandi” which is 16 feet tall and 25 feet in length. To reach the temple there are flat thousand steps which was built by Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar. This marvelous creation is the biggest attraction and landmark of Mysore for tourists.
The Art Gallery
The Art Gallery showcases some of the rare masterwork of royal era. In 1875 the Jaganmohan Palace was transformed into a fine arts museum treasuring all the royal artifacts. Paintings and portraits of kings and royal people, painted using natural vegetable and mineral dyes dating back to that period can also be seen. The famous Mysore ‘gold leaf ‘ painting and oil paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and Svetoslav Roerich are the other attraction of the art gallery.
Folklore Museum in Mysore was founded in 1968 and is situated in the premises of the University of Mysore which also houses the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion. Folklore Museum houses around 7,000 unequalled folklore (traditional) displays from all over the city. It also displays South Indian playthings, marionettes and house hold objects like regional garments, musical instruments, ceremonial headwear and masks. The museum can be visited between 10 am to 5 pm from Monday through Saturday. It is closed on all Sundays and second Saturday of the month.
The regal mysticism of the city of Mysore lies in the majestic Lalitha Mahal that stands at the summit point of the city presenting a spectacular and panoramic view of the city that lies beneath. The Lalitha Mahal at Mysore was once the residence of the guests who visited the royal family of the Wodeyars in Mysore. It is presently one of the most reputed five star hotels of the city that still retains the heritage and the royalty of the yesteryears. The Lalitha Mahal is situated to the east of the city. The palace was once referred to as the Summer Palace and was the home to the royal guests. The Lalitha Mahal in Mysore was constructed under the patronage of Maharaja Krishna Raja Wodeyar Bahaddur IV in the year 1921. The palace was designed and engineered by the reputed English architect, E W Fritchley.
St. Philomena Church
St. Philomena Church was built by Maharaja Krishnaraja in 1956 in the place of an old church which was more than 200 years old. This is one of the biggest churches of Asia. This Neo Gothic style of architecture is the major attraction for tourists which was designed by Daly who was from France. It has two huge Cathedrals which are 175 feet high and attract people from miles away. This Church has facility to place more than 750 people inside it. The holy mass in St. Philomena Church is performed every day in multiple languages like English, Tamil, and Kannada. Cameras are not allowed inside the Church.
Mysore is one of the most beautiful cities of India and in dotted with a number of Lakes and Park and the Kukkarahali Lake is one of them. The Kukkaranahali Lake is located within the Manasa Gangothri which is the campus of the Mysore University. A home to a number of birds, the Kukkarahali Lake is also a retreat for many migratory birds who fly in from the different parts of the world. The huge and variety of bird population at the Kukkarahali Lake attracts a number of bird watchers to the area. The Kukkarahali Lake is a perfect place to witness the antics and other interesting actions of some of the rarest birds.
Planet X Park
Planet X is largest family entertainment center in South India and the first such center in Mysore. It is situated at the foot of the picturesque Chamundi Hills and is only 5kms from the Mysore Zoo. This state-of-the-art family entertainment center has been set up over a sprawling 6 acres of land. This recreation center is equipped with bowling alleys, go-carting facility, snooker, billiards, a mini golf course and video games. Planet X Park also consists of a conference room, bar cum cocktail lounge and a restaurant which can be used for private family parties. A coffee shop is placed inside the center which provides an excellent ambiance with very friendly staffs. The perpetual wind and breeze helps you to relax and unwind yourself.
Planet X Park remains open from 4.00pm to 11.00pm from Monday to Saturday and from 12noon to 11.00pm on Sundays.
About 15 km from the royal city of Mysore lies the town of Srirangapatnam. One of the interesting places here are the summer palace of Tipu Sultan built in 1784 in the Indo-Saracenic style. The palace also has a small museum where Tipu’s trivia, including a gold-embroidered tunic, old paintings and a coin collection, are displayed. A little away from the palace is the Gumbaz.
Gumbaz is the burial chamber of Tipu Sultan, his father Haider Ali and mother Fatima Begum. It is built on a lifted platform and is circumvented by various other tombs of his relatives and nobles. The Gumbaz has magnificent ebony doors decorated with ivory which was presented by Lord Dalhousie. The interior walls are covered with lacquer Tiger stripes which is Tipu’s favourite. A corridor lined by pillars of black amphibole walls Gumbaz. Masjid-e-aksa a mosque is situated next to the Gumbaz. The Gumbaz is surrounded by a beautiful gardens adds to its beauty.
Railway Museum Mysore
The Railway Museum of Mysore is not housed in a building, but is an outdoor exhibit of vintage locomotives. You can view a vintage Austin rail-motor car as also one of the first steam engines ever made. Most fascinating are the royal carriages used by the Mysore Royals in days gone by. These are in the Sri Ranga Pavilion. The history of the Railways is depicted through an exhibit of paintings and photographs in the Chamundi Gallery. Take your kids along and enjoy a merry ride in a battery-operated mini-train at the Railway Museum Mysore.
The city is also technologically pretty advanced making Mysore one of the most sought after tourist locations.