A Day Trail to Mysore - The city of Palaces
Mysore is a city where heritage and technology blend harmoniously. It has a rich history & culture and is known for its magnificent palaces and the pomp and gaiety of the festivities that take place during the festival of Dasara.
Mysore is one of the most flamboyant places in South India, bustling with the history of its glittering royal heritage and famous for exquisite silk saris, elaborate architecture, sandle wood and yoga amongst many other things. The Lonely Planet claims that “if you haven’t been to Mysore, you just haven’t been to South India”
Here is a list of perfect Weekend destinations in Mysore-
Mysore is also known as the city of palaces as it has several palaces in its fold. The historical main Palace has been the seat of power and the residence of the Wodeyars -The Maharajahs of Mysore. This main palace lies close to the city center. The Palace is a three storey structure of gray granite with marble domes and embellished with beautifully carved and placed arches and pillars. Construction of this palace is a blend of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic styles of architecture and is a magnificent work both from the inside and the outside. In the Palace, there are two gigantic halls where the King held court and is a fascinating collection of courtyards, buildings and gardens. The descendants of the royal family still live in a section of the palace which is off bounds for the public.
This palace has on display fascinating paintings, weapons, thrones etc. and gives a glimpse into the grand lifestyle of the Royalty of Mysore. It takes about a couple of hours to tour this palace. The Palace is open for general public from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. on all days.There is an entrance fee of INR 200 for foreign nationals and Photography inside the Palace is strictly prohibited. But photography is allowed in the Palace grounds. The main highlight of this palace is its illumination during evenings.
The palace is illuminated on Sundays and Public holidays between 7 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.
Mysore zoo is one of the oldest Zoos in India. The original Mysore Zoo was created way back in 1892 on 10 acres of land by a German horticulturist named G.H. Krumbeigal. The official name of this Zoo is Sri Chamrajendra Zoological gardens and today it is spread over 157 acres of land. This Zoo houses more than 164 species of animals including lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, white Rhinoceros, peacocks, bear, different species of birds etc.. The Zoo is a fun place for children.
Entry for children below 5 years is free. There is an entrance ticket of INR 50 per adult on weekdays and INR 60 during weekends and public holidays. There is also a separate charge for cameras of INR 20. The Zoo is open for general public between 8.30 a.m.to 5.30 p.m.on all days except Wednesday.
St. Philomena’s Church
This is one of the landmarks of Mysore. It is a a Catholic Church. The Church was built in 1936 and the architecture of the Church has been inspired by the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The Patron saint of the Church Saint Philomena was a Latin Catholic saint who was martyred. She was a girl who was not more than 14 years and her remains were discovered in 1802 in Rome. Once you are inside the Church, you will realize that it is built in the shape of a Cross, with the long part of the Cross being the congregation hall.
This church is open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. on all days of the week.There is no entrance fee for this Church.
Chamundi hill is located about 13 Kilometers from the city of Mysore. It has an average elevation of about 3,300 Feet. This hill has a temple dedicated to the Hindu Goddess called Chamundi after whom the Hills are named. One can take a bus up to the summit. There are frequent buses plying from Mysore to this hill. If you love hiking then it is more exciting and interesting to walk up the hill through an ancient stone stairway that has about 1008 steps. On the way to the hill top, one comes across a giant statue of a Bull, which is 7.6 meters long and 4.9 meters tall. The Bull is called Nandi. It is said to be the vehicle used by the popular Hindu God Shiva.
While on the summit, do not miss to treat your eyes to a panoramic view of the Mysore city.
The Chamundi temple is open from 7.30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 3.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. to 9 p.m. There is no entry fee for this temple.
Brindavan gardens are located near a dam built across the river Kaveri. The Dam is known as Krishna Raja Sagara dam. It is the primary source of water for the cities of Bangalore, Mysore and Mandya. It was built in 1924.
The laying out of Brindavan gardens was started in 1927 and was completed in the year 1932. This garden is spread over 60 acres of land. Close to 2 million people visit this garden every year. The garden has been landscaped in the form of three terraces and is dotted with fountains, flowering plants, trees and foliage of different species.
The main attraction of the park is the Musical Fountains which come to life every evening as the sun sets. The fountains sway to the music in a kaleidoscopic display of colors. The musical fountains are operational between 6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. on weekdays and 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. during weekends i.e. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Brindavan gardens are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.on all days. There is an entrance fee of INR 15 for adults and INR 5 for children between 5 to 10 years of age. They say the more we know about our past, the more and better we can be prepared for our future. We don’t know how true this is. But we know one thing for sure – even a day’s visit to these places will leave you mesmerized and make you travel back in time. Besides the above-mentioned places, Mysore has many other hidden gems for history buffs. This list is just a starter. Get a Mysore tourist places map and you will be able to spot many places that take you in the days gone by. You can get one at the railway station or airport.