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DESTINATIONS » SOUTH » KARNATAKA » MYSORE
 
  
 
The city of royal palaces, sandalwood and the manufacture of incense sticks, Mysore has a pleasant climate, some beautiful parks and shady avenues, and life strolls at a relaxed pace in comparison with its dynamic neighbour Bangalore. Mysore is aptly called the "Sandalwood City". Until Independence it was the seat of the Maharajas of Mysore, a princely state covering about a third of present Karnataka. The city stands by a hill named after the Goddess Chamundi. It was once the stronghold of the Hoysalas, the Wodeyars and later on, of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Mysore derives its name from the mythical Mahisuru where the Goddess Chamundi slew the demon Mahishasura.
 
     
 
Place To See
 
 
Mysore Palace, Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, Chamundi Hill, Zoological Gardens, Folklore Museum, St. Philomena's Church, Brindavan Gardens, Srirangapatnam, Somnathpur, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Nagarhole National Park.
 
Things to do
Heritage Sight seeing, Enjoying natural beauty, Wildlife safari, Bird watching, Dussera parade, understanding customs.
 
How to reach
 
By rail or road.
     
     
 
DESTINATIONS
 
     
 
  Mysore Palace   Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery   Chamundi Hill  
             
  Zoological Gardens   Folklore Museum   St. Philomena's Church  
             
  Brindavan Gardens   Srirangapatnam   Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary  
             
  Somnathpur   Nagarhole National Park   Pattadakal  
             
  Bandipur National Park   Sravanabelgola      
             
     
     
 
Mysore Palace
 
 
Destination Mysore Palace
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type  
Activities Heritage sight seeing,Visit Museums/ Libraries
One of the largest palaces in the country, the seat of the Maharajas of Mysore. Built in 1897 in the Indo-Saracenic style in grand proportions with domes, arches, and colonnades of carved pillars and shiny marble floors, the Palace dominates the city's skyline. It is beautifully restored and maintained, the stained glass, the wall paintings, ivory inlaid doors and the ornate golden throne, all are remarkable. Maharaja's Residence is now a museum. The ground floor with an enclosed courtyard displays costumes, musical instruments, children's toys and numerous portraits. The upper floor has a small collection of weapons.
 
 
 
 
     
 
Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery
 
 
Destination Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type Museum
Activities Visit Museums/ Libraries,Art Gallery
Located in the Jagan Mohan palace, near the Mysore Palace has a vast collection of paintings by renowned artists like Raja Ravi Varma, Nicholas Roerich and other renowned artists. Also on display are curios in ceramics, sandalwood, ivory, metal and stone, ancient musical instruments, antique furniture and other memorabilia from the Wodeyars.
 
 
 
 
     
 
Chamundi Hill
 
 
Destination Chamundi Hill
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type Pilgrim Centre/Holy Place
Activities Heritage sight seeing,Pilgrimage/Place of worship
10km from Mysore and towering over the city, these hills are named after the royal family's deity. Halfway up is the Nandi Bull, a 4.8m monolith. Right on top, is the 2000year old Chamundeswari Temple dedicated to Goddess Durga, (a form of the consort of Lord Shiva) celebrating her victory over the demon Mahishasura.
 
 
 
 
     
 
Zoological Gardens
 
 
Destination Zoological Gardens
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type Wildlife
Activities Zoo/ Botanical Gardens
The Mysore zoo is one of India's best kept zoos set in pretty gardens on the eastern edge of the city centre. This century-old zoo houses nearly 2,000 animals. It has the distinction of breeding some rare wild animals in captivity like the tiger and the king cobra and also has exotic species of plants.
 
 
 
 
     
 
Folklore Museum
 
 
Destination Folklore Museum
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type Modern Wonders
Activities Visit Museums/ Libraries
Located in the Mysore University Campus, is an amazing storehouse of quaint handicrafts, carved wooden figures from Karnataka's villages, decorative masks, ceremonial head wear and a display of leather shadow puppets, dolls and vibrant costumes.
 
 
 
 
     
 
St.Philomena's Church
 
 
Destination St. Philomena's Church
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type Pilgrim Centre/Holy Place
Activities Pilgrimage/Place of worship
Built in 1933 in the neo-Gothic style, is one of the largest churches in the country. It has beautiful stained glass windows and the chapel contains a relic of St. Philsomena, a 3rd century martyr said to have performed several miracles after her death.
 
 
 
 
     
 
Brindavan Gardens
 
 
Destination Brindavan Gardens
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type Heritage Site
Activities  
Located 19km from Mysore City, these ornamental gardens are laid out at the base of the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam built across the Cauvery River. The dam, 2.4km long and forming a 130sq. Km Lake, is one of the biggest in India. It has been built in stone without cement and comprises parapets and a cavern for the river Goddess Cauvery. The terraced gardens with swirling musical fountains, illuminated at night by a myriad colourful lights look like fairyland. It is a popular picnic spot.
 
 
 
     
 
Srirangapatnam
 
 
Destination Srirangapatnam
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type  
Activities Heritage sight seeing
Located 16km on the Bangalore-Mysore highway, is built on a long island in the Cauvery River. The fortress was once the capital of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Inside the fortress walls there is a mosque and the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. A kilometre east to the fort is the Daria Daulat Bagh, the summer palace of Tipu Sultan built in 1784. It is adorned with ornate and beautiful frescoes and now houses a museum with a collection of family memorabilia and paintings depicting Tipu Sultan's campaigns against the British. Nearby is the Gumbaz, the onion-domed mausoleum of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
 
 
Destination Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type Wildlife
Activities Wildlife Safari/Bird Watching
It is located 18 km from Mysore on one of the islands in the Cauvery River. The rocky but well wooded island provides an excellent habitat for water birds. Many species of birds use the sanctuary as a breeding ground, most of which begin in June. It is a good place to see storks, ibis, egrets, darters, spoonbills, cormorants and a many other species. There is a large colony of fruit bats in the trees on the edge of the river and also a number of marsh crocodiles. The sanctuary was established in 1975 and is open all year round but the best time to visit is June to November.
 
 
 
     
 
Somnathpur
 
 
Destination Somnathpur
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type Pilgrim Centre/Holy Place
Activities Heritage sight seeing
Located 33km east of Mysore, this village is known for the Keshava Temple. Built in 1268 and dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is a marvellous example of Hoysala architecture. The walls of this temple are covered with exquisite sculptures in stone depicting various scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata and the life and times of the Hoysala kings.
 
 
 
 
     
 
Nagarhole National park
 
 
Destination Nagarhole National Park
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type Wildlife
Activities Wildlife Safari/Bird Watching
Once the Maharaja's reserved forest, Nagarhole became a National Park in 1955. It derives its name from the word 'Naga' meaning snake and the Kannada word 'hole' referring to streams. It lies to the north of the Kabini River adjacent to the Bandipur national park, spreading over 643 sq. km. A dam on the Kabini River and its scenic reservoir demarcates the two parks.The park includes swampland, stream, moist deciduous forest, stands of bamboo, and valuable teak and rosewood trees. The old capital city Mysore is the gateway to this park.

There are fine facilities for some good wildlife watching and sizeable groups of gaur, elephants, sambar, chital and even the occasional tiger or leopard. The other inhabitants of the Park are the muntjac (barking deer), the tiny mouse deer, giant squirrel, slender loris, wild boar, langurs and macaques. The Park also has a wide variety of bird life like the Malabar pied hornbill, the great black woodpecker, the Indian pitta and the green imperial pigeon. The jungle cat, leopard cat and the rusty spotted cat are roam in the Park.

The best time to visit is April to May but the winter months November to February are much more pleasant.

 
 
 
     
 
Pattadakal
 
 
Destination Pattadakal
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type Heritage Site
Activities Heritage sight seeing,Pilgrimage/Place of worship

This village located 20km from Badami, was the second capital of the Badami Chalukyas and was used in particular for the royal coronations. It was the scene of great architectural activity during the 7th and 8th centuries. Like Aihole, it was a developing ground for South Indian temple architecture.

Among the monuments here, the main is the huge Virupaksha temple reckoned among the finest creations of South Indian architecture. It has a massive gateway, and several inscriptions. In front of it is a majestic Nandi. Next to it is the Mallikarjuna and Papanatha temples. All three are exquisitely chiseled and are prime specimens of early Chalukyan sculptural art. There is also a Jain Temple dating to the 9th century from the Rashtrakuta period.

 
 
 
     
  Bandipur National Park  
 
Destination Bandipur National Park
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type Heritage Site
Activities Wildlife Safari/Bird Watching
The Bandipur National Park, located 80km south of Mysore on the Mysore to Ooty road, covers about 865 sq. km and is part of a larger national park that also includes the neighbouring wildlife sanctuaries of Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu and Waynad in Kerala. This was once the Mysore Maharaja's private game reserve that established it in 1931. The Moyar River, one of the three rivers flowing through the Park, acts as a boundary between the Park and the Mudumalai Sanctuary. The Moyar gorge (260m deep) provides a fabulous view of the surroundings.

Nestled in the foothill of the Nilgiris, Bandipur offers superb scenery of mountains, gorges and undisturbed forest and a myriad of flora and fauna. This sanctuary is also one of the 15 sanctuaries selected across India for Project Tiger, a scheme launched in 1973, by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, to save the tiger and its habitat. Covered with a mix of deciduous forests, evergreen forests and scrub, Bandipur has a fairly open forest area, making it easy for visitors to spot wildlife. The prominent fauna of this reserve, include the Asian elephant, Gaur (Indian bison), Sambar, Chital (spotted deer), Sloth bears, Four horned antelope, Wild boar, Black nape hare, Indian porcupine and of course the elusive Tiger. Bandipur is also inhabited by a variety of birds.

The best time to see the wildlife is March to April, but the most comfortable time is to visit is winter (November to February).

 
 
 
 
     
 
Sravanabelgola
 
 
Destination Sravanabelgola
Location Mysore
State Karnataka
Destination type  
Activities Heritage sight seeing,Pilgrimage/Place of worship

Sravanbelgola (48km) from Hassan is one of the oldest and most important Jain pilgrimage centres. It has a long history dating back to the 3rd century BC when Chandragupta Maurya came here with his guru, Bhagwan Bhadrabahu Swami after renouncing his kingdom. The town is famous for the Gommateshwara statue, sacred to Jains. Erected at sometime between AD 980 and 983, just over 17m high, the statue represents the saintly prince Bahubali, son of the first Tirthankar, after he had gained enlightenment. Nearly 700 steps carved in the steep granite slopes start near the village tank and the path up gives excellent views. There are several small shrines on the way to the statue on top. The carved statue captures the tranquility typical of much Buddhist and Jain art. The stone looks as fresh as if newly quarried, due to its being profusely anointed at intervals of 12 years. Every 12th year it is the focus for Jain pilgrims from across India to celebrate the 'Mastakabhisheka' - the magnificent sacred head anointing ceremony.