Mysore Palace, also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, is a must visit for travellers in the city of Mysore. The palace displays Indo-Saracenic, Dravidian, Roman and Oriental styles of architecture. Grey granite that consists of three pink marble domes is used for constructing this three-storey palace. Along with the palace, there is a 44.2 m high five-storey tower where domes are crafted from gold. What's more, while it happens to be one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, this beautiful palace also holds the privilege of being listed by the New York Times as one among the 31 must-visit places on earth!
Tourists can enter the palace via Gombe Thotti or Doll's Pavilion, where a group of dolls, dating back to the early 19th and 20th centuries, is present. Apart from this, there is a wooden elephant howdah that is decorated using 81 kg gold. At the front of Gombe Thotti, seven canons are used for marking the commencement and completion of Dussehra, a festival where a 200 kg gold throne is displayed in public.
Visitors can also see the rooms that are dedicated to royal costumes, portraits and jewellery. The walls of this palace are embellished with paintings of Siddalinga Swamy, Raja Ravi Varma and K. Venkatappa. Constructed between 14th and 20th centuries, Mysore Palace has twelve temples showcasing various styles of architecture.
Chamundi Hills is at an elevation of around 1065 m above sea level and travellers are recommended to visit the spot on the trip of Mysore. On the top of Chamundi Hills, The Chamundeshwari Temple is situated that is dedicated to avatar of Goddess Parvathi, Chamundeshwari, goddess of Wodeyars. The temple was constructed in the 11th century and was repaired in 1827 by the Mysore Kings. In front of the temple, an idol of the demon king Mahishasura is placed.
Another major attraction of the Chamundi Hills is the statue of Nandi that is around 5 m tall and is engraved out of single black granite in 1659. A small temple dedicated to Chamundeshwari and Hanuman is also present on the hill which remains open from 7:30 am to 2 pm and 3:30 pm to 6 pm. Tourists can enjoy beautiful views of the city from the top of Chamundi Hills.
Tourists on their trip to Mysore 'must visit' Brindavan Gardens that is located at a distance of 20 km from Mysore. Once known as Krishnarajendra Terrace Garden, Brindavan Gardens is situated just below the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam (KRS) that got its name after Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and was built during 1924-1932 by Sir M. Vishveswariah.
Brindavan Gardens, based on Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir, is stretched over sixty acres and has beautiful flower beds, lawns, trees, pools and fountains. Tourists can go for boating around the idol of Cauvery in the pond located mid of the garden. Visitors can see the musical and dancing fountain at the gallery in the north side of the garden.
The impressive lightning in the garden can be seen during 7 pm to 8 pm from Monday to Friday and on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 pm to 9 pm. This garden is under the supervision of Cauvery Niravari Nigama or Cauvery Irrigation Department.
While travelling to Mysore, it is 'recommended' that the tourists should visit Jaganmohan Palace which is counted amongst the oldest buildings of Town. This palace was constructed by the rulers of Mysore in 1861 and was the residence of the royal family at the time when in 1897 the old wooden palace was destroyed in a fire till the main palace was built.
In 1902, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV got the command of the palace and the ceremony was attended by the then Viceroy and Governor General of India, Lord Curzon. Tourists can see a wedding pavilion, which was added to the palace during the wedding of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. This pavilion is also known as Durbar Hall and is popular as the place where Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV used to celebrate his birthday.
These halls were used for numerous purposes such as music festivals, drama and cultural activities and convocations of Mysore University. Currently, the palace is used for organising cultural programmes and conferences during Dussehra festival.
There are two huge wooden doors that have Dashavatharas of Lord Vishnu carvings along with the main structure that showcases the paintings and artefacts of the Mysore Kings.
Travellers are 'recommended' to visit the Rail Museum that came into existence in the year 1979. At the Chamundi Gallery of the museum, tourists can see the expansion and development of railways. Tourists can also visit Sri Ranga Marquee to view the royal coaches of the Mysore Maharaja, the first steam engine made in India.
There is a toy train available at the museum on which children can take a round of the museum. With a minimal amount of fee, tourists can visit this museum all days of the week between 10 am to 1 pm and 3 to 5 pm, except for Mondays.
Tourists are 'recommended' to visit Wax Museum-Melody World if time permits while on their trip to Mysore. This museum was founded in October 2010 keeping the main focus on music and musical instruments. The museum exhibits around 100 life-size wax statues along with more than 300 musical instruments.
Tourists can see instruments from Stone to Modern Age and bands performing Punjabi Bhangra, Indian Classical North & South, Jazz, South Indian, Middle East and Rock. The museum can be visited on any day of the week between 9.30 am to 7 pm.
Travellers are recommended to visit Mysore Zoo while heading to the city. Mysore Zoo was constructed in 1892 by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar and is counted among the best zoological gardens of India. Sprawling over a vast area of 250 acres, this zoo is home to various rare and unique species of mammals, reptiles and birds.
This zoo was initially named the Palace Zoo and was visited by the royal families. However, Maharaja Chamarajendra Wodeyar later allowed the entry of common people as well. In 1909, the zoo was renamed as Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens.
Mysore Zoo is used for a captive breeding programme in order to increase the population of endangered species, along with other conservation initiatives. Elephants calves, young apes, gaur and leopards and tigers cubs are some of the animals that can be seen at the zoo. This zoo is also known for the breeding of many species, such as barbary sheep, zebra, giraffe, emu, chimpanzee, hippo, kangaroo, tiger and sangai. Tourists can also see rare species including mouse deer, four-horned antelope, caracal, civet, Nilgiri langur, chinkara, binturong, leopard and others at this zoo.
Tourists are 'recommended' to visit the beautiful heritage building, Lalitha (also Lalita) Mahal, situated in the foot of Chamundi Hills. This mahal was specially built by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV in 1921 for the Viceroy of India. E.W. Fritchley from Mumbai designed the mansion, showcasing Renaissance style architecture with English manor and Italian palazzo.
Presently, the mansion has changed into a five-star hotel by the Tourist Development Corporation of the Government of India. This royal hotel serves its guests with a great hospitality equivalent to the origin of the mansion. Although the mansion has been converted into the hotel, nevertheless the original palace is still preserved.
Everything from the viceroy room to the dancing hall and banquet hall to the Italian marble staircase is well maintained. Currently, dancing and banquet halls are used as the dining and meeting rooms. Along with ancient portraits and furniture, the hotel also has upgraded conveniences to ensure the comfort of guests.
Tourists can also enjoy tea and cocktail parties at the lawn that features beautiful fountains with adequate parking space.
Travellers are 'recommended' to visit Folklore Museum that is located in the beautiful Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion on their trip to Mysore. Founded in 1968, this museum houses 6500 folklore articles, marionettes, South Indian playthings and household objects. Along with these, the museum also displays different elements of dance, drama and music.
The gallery of the museum is segregated into the various sections that exhibit large dolls, folklore, literature, art and folklife. The doll section of the museum displays dolls of different sizes that were used in dances such as Talebhutha, Kaibhutha, Maari, Soma and Gadi Maari. Several tools used by fishermen, potters, boatmen, blacksmiths, goldsmiths, farmers, cobblers and other artisans are displayed at the Folklife section of this museum.
Additionally, this section features weapons, lamps, cooking utensils, agriculture implements, churns, pots, beads and baskets. The folklore wing of the museum displays costumes of Yakshagana, Katakali, Andra Pradesh folk dramatists, a unique Hanuman crown and many other objects. Tourists can visit this museum from Monday to Saturday between 10 am to 5 pm and it is closed on Sundays and second Saturday of every month.
On their trip to Mysore, tourists are recommended to visit St. Philomena's Church that is also known as St. Joseph's Church. The construction of this old colossal church started in 1933 by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III and was completed in 1941. The church displays the Gothic style of architecture and conserves relics from the 3rd century in a catacomb underneath the main altar. The floor plan of this Church is influenced by the Holy Cross while cross nave is the Congregation Hall; transepts are the two arms and the crossing has an altar and a choir.
Tourists can see idols of St. Philomena and Holy Christ on the marble altar in the sanctum sanctorum. Paintings on stained glass windows signify the birth of Jesus Christ, the Crucifixion, the Last Supper, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ. Another important feature of this church is the two spires or towers which are around 54 m high and similar to the St. Patrick's Church of New York Towers.
Karanji Lake in Mysore is a fascinating attraction for tourists to visit while in the city. The lake is surrounded by a beautiful nature park that comprises of a scenic butterfly park and an alluring walk-through aviary. What makes this aviary amusing is that it is the country's biggest walk-through aviary.
Karanji Lake that is owned and taken care of by the Mysore Zoo Authority and has a total area of about 90 hectares of which, 55 hectares is covered with the lake waters, and the foreshore area covers about 35 hectares. Visitors can also enjoy boating in the lake, and the place makes a perfect spot to spend some quality time in leisure.
The walk-through aviary inside Karanji Lake is the biggest aviary of the kind in India. Established at a cost of Rs 3.8 million, the aviary is 60 m long and 40 m wide. It has a scenic artificial lake and two small water bodies within. Present inside this beautiful aviary are birds like peacock, hornbills, turkeys, black swans and more.
The butterfly park inside Karanji Lake is yet another beautiful spot to rest and relax at. Present in this vast spread flower garden are butterflies of about 45 different species. And to attract more butterflies towards the park, appropriate nectar plants have been exclusively selected and planted here.
The place also attracts many migratory birds towards it that take shelter on trees present inside an island within the lake. Some of the birds that migrate to the lake include painted strokes, pelicans, ibis, egrets, herons, sandpipers, black drongo and many more.
Entry to the lake is through tickets, and the lake is open between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm. It is located behind the Mysore zoo and is easily reachable by city buses.
Travellers are 'recommended' to visit Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion, one of the most beautiful heritage buildings of Mysore. This mansion is bounded with beautiful greenery of Manasagangothri, the campus of the Mysore University and is situated on the western side of Kukkarahalli Kere (lake) on a hillock.
Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion was erected in the Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV period for the eldest daughter of Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar, Princess Jayalakshmi Ammani in the year 1905. It is said that the mansion cost Rs.7 lacs when it was built and later in 2002 the building was renovated that cost Rs.1.17 crores. The mansion was again inaugurated in 2006 by the Karnataka Governor.
The restored mansion sprawls over 6 acres and has entrances on each side. It houses 300 windows, 125 rooms and 287 elegantly carved doors along with some of the invaluable artefacts. This mansion is erected using timber, iron, brick and mortar.
Travellers visiting Mysore are 'recommended' to pay a visit to Happy Man Park if time permits. The park is among the prime hangout attractions for parents and children. This small park accommodates a mini zoo and visitors can see a number of hens and ducks near a small stream while walking on the wooden bridge.
The prime attraction of this park is the Happy Man that has a pot belly and signifies the Mysorean's unhealthy diets. A slow soothing music can be heard at the garden. The park is a perfect place for joggers and can be visited between 4.30 pm to 9 pm.
On their trip to Mysore, travellers are 'recommended' to visit Oriental Research Institute that was established in the year 1891. The prime objective of this institute was to gather, change, publish and maintain all the old Sanskrit and Kannada holographs. There are around 33,000 palm leaf manuscripts in the institute.
Initially this institute was commenced by the Department of Education; however, it was later taken over by the University of Mysore. In 1943, the institute got its new and present name as Oriental Research Institute. The Oriental Research Institute is open on all working days from 8 am to 8 pm whereas on holidays, it operates from 10 am to 5:30 pm.
180 beautiful parks and gardens of Mysore are highly 'recommended' to be visited by the travellers for a memorable outing.
Small parks like the Ambedkar Park of Jayanagar has a footpath of around 500 metre and is located at the residential area; whereas Andolan Circle Park, situated near to Kuvempu Nagar, has five minutes of one round walking track. Lingabudhi Kere is another notable park that has a striking footpath and bamboo forests.