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As one of the cities in South India that has managed to maintain its rich heritage along with the urbanisation, Mysore is a favourite pick among travel buffs and first-time explorers who got bit by travelling bugs. The city offers the best experience in showing the exquisite culture and history that the rulers of the past dynasties had laid down along with adventurous places that can refresh your otherwise mundane life with natural beauty. Despite the pandemic dampening the spirit of travelling in India and abroad, Mysore continues to be that one destination you can visit without any apprehensions thanks to its breezy climate and rush-free atmosphere. Following are the 12 places to check out in Mysore:
Also known as Amba Vilas Palace, this palace is the heart and soul of the city. Located in the centre of the bustling hub of modernity and culture, it is one of the largest architecturally splendid palaces in India. Once home to the rulers of the Wodeyar dynasty who elevated the city to a haven of palaces with art and literature dominating the scene till 1947, The palace offers a glimpse into the heritage of the past rulers with its enormous domes that stays upright with all majesty and 97000 bulbs illuminating during night times and the world-famous Dussehra festival. You can visit the inside of the palace anytime before 5:30 in the evening and admire the illuminating lights adorning each and every part of the palace from the outside.
For more details: https://www.mysorepalace.gov.in/
Located 38km east of Mysore city, Somanathapura Chennakeshava temple is one of the oldest temples in Karnataka known for the display of architectural genius of temples constructed during the Hoysala dynasty. Built around 1238 CE, the temple has intricate designs in the interiors with depictions of sections from Hindu mythology and epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata and so on. Check this place to know more about the history of this glorious temple which is as mesmerising and mystical as the temple itself.
If you are an ardent shopper, add this more than 100-year-old market located in the old part of Mysore, to your itinerary to quench the shopping drought you might feel when you visit Mysore. A paradise for photographers to get their best clicks, everything under the sun from spices to fruits to sweets and other accessories is available in this market that represents the city’s cultural heritage strongly. As a personal recommendation, visit Guru sweets, a stall that actually sells the authentic Mysore Pak that topples any other variation of this sweet you might have tasted!!
If you want to explore the hilly side of Mysore, Chamundi Hills is the best place where you can travel along the hairpin bends to reach the Chamundeshwari temple, which was renovated around 1827 by Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. The peak provides a scenic view of the city from the top which can blow your mind once dusk sets in. Named after goddess Chamundeshwari, the temple sits atop the main hill.
Located 21 km from Mysore, this beautifully constructed garden was the brainchild of Diwan of Mysore, Sir Mirza Ismail, which was brought to reality in 1932. It is constructed over river Cauvery, with a boating facility, light and music fountain shows, with well well-manicured grasses and maintained flower garden, adding to the tourism factor of the place. The best place for a lazy evening stroll. Period.
Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, better known as Mysore Zoo, is one of the oldest zoos in the country. If you are an avid lover of zoos, this is the first spot in Mysore you have to visit. Built around 1892 by the erstwhile ruler of Mysore, Sri Chamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur, the zoo attracts a lot of people for the variety of wildlife species you get to see and is a growing tourist centre.
Karanji lake is one of the most famous nature “walkthrough” parks, known for its big aviary park surrounding it. An absolute delightful spot for birdwatchers, Karanji lake is the favourite place for migratory birds like herons and egrets. With a relatively low entry fee, the place is situated in the city, with Mysore zoo authorities overseeing the maintenance of this beautiful lake.
St Philomena’s Church
If gothic architecture captivates you, then St Philomena’s Cathedral is the perfect place for you to admire its brilliance. Built to honour the memory of St Philomena, a Latin Catholic saint of the Roman Catholic church, this majestic church draws inspiration from European Architecture to add to the aura of the religion it represents. A perfect place for you to pray and admire the wall engravings, right in the heart of the city.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
Located in Srirangapatna, around 25 km from Mysore in Mandya district, this bird sanctuary, legitimised as one by Dr Salim Ali, the famous ornithologist is a paradise for bird watchers and the lovers of nature. Around 170 species of birds have been recorded to be seen in the sanctuary including painted stork, kingfishers and so on. A perfect place with the add-on advantage of having the boating facility which can help in providing a more immersive experience in enjoying nature and birdwatching together.
One of the most less-visited, yet captivating towns in Karnataka, Melukote is a sacred town located around 50km from Mysore and is the perfect place to visit especially in the mornings. The major attraction of this exquisitely constructed town is the Cheluvanarayana Swamy temple, which boasts of the Hoysala architecture adding to its beauty. At the top of the town, is a trek-worthy Yadagiri hill which gives you the scenic view of Melukote. Plan an impromptu trip here if you are an ardent history-cum-architecture-trekking fan.
Don’t get mistaken by the term waterfall as it is technically a human-made check dam with cascading water, yet adding more to the beauty and naturality of the waterfalls. Located around 12 km from Mysore, Balmurri waterfall is the perfect picnic spot that you can spend with your family and friends. Photographers can also relish this place as it is known for its scenic locations with water and manmade dam juxtaposing each other to create a perfect picture to be captured!!
Krishna Raja Sagara dam, better known as KRS dam is one of the famous dams in South India which is also a popular tourist spot. Built over river Cauvery and supplying water to Mysore, Bangalore and Mandya, the dam is a crowd attraction due to the exceptionally beautiful site and the areas around it. Illuminated gardens, waters and musical fountains make this place a must-visit for every traveller and a perfect weekend getaway.