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Mysore Travel Guide

Discussion in 'Destination Guides' started by Debapriya Deb, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. Debapriya Deb

    Debapriya Deb Active Member

    Fondly referred to as the Palace City, Mysore is a historic place that still has its royal charm intact. Millions of tourists from all over the world visit Mysore every year to get themselves enriched with a share of its rich heritage. Situated at a distance of 140 odd KM from Bangalore city, this charming, old-fashioned and unhurried place never ceases to amaze the tourists with its riches of historical marvels.

    Having said that, Mysore's claim to fame isn’t solely due to its royal inheritance. The erstwhile capital of the Wadiyar dynasty is equally known for the exquisitely crafted silk sarees and incensed sandalwood carvings. Mysore is also considered to be the cultural capital of the state. Add to that the unhurried lifestyle, art gallery, religious significance, diversified wildlife and not to forget, the sweet taste of Mysore Pak - you have a range of exclusive features to explore at Mysore.

    Besides its historical and geographic attractions, Mysore is also known for the Dussehra festival held every year in the month of October. The festival of Dussehra is celebrated with great fanfare and it attracts tourists from all over the world. All in all, the royal legacy, folk culture, rich biodiversity and pleasing climate throughout the year make Mysore a must visit place in the Indian sub-continent.

    Did You Know? According to a recently conducted 'Swachh Bharat' survey, Mysore has bagged the top honors for being the cleanest city in India.

    Best Season to Visit Mysore:

    Located in a tropical region surrounded by hills, Mysore exhibits a moderate climate. The summer months of May-July can be hot, and the temperature may touch 35° Celsius mark; but humidity, being on the lower side, provides you the much needed respite to combat heat. The South-West monsoon usually arrives in late July and lasts till mid of September. That's the period when Mysore receives the majority of its annual railfall.

    Winter sets in from the end of October, with December-January being the coldest months. Temperature in the winter season remains in the range of 12° Celsius to 25° Celsius. It is considered as the ideal time to visit Mysore.

    While planning your trip, do keep it in mind that Mysore experiences heavy tourism rush on and around the Dussehra festival and it may prove to be difficult to find accommodation - unless booked well in advance. So plan early and book your transporation/accommodation at-least a couple of months prior to your trip for a comfortable vacation.

    How to Reach Mysore:

    By Air:

    Mysore has an airport of its own, though smaller in size. It's a domestic airport which is situated at a distance of 12 KM from the city center. There is a direct flight operated by Air India on a daily basis from Bangalore.

    If you are coming from abroad, then the nearest International airport is at Bangalore. Bangalore has daily flight services to and from all the major cities within India and beyond the national boundary. Once you land at Bangalore International Airport, you need to change the flight for the Bangalore-Mysore leg of your journey. Alternatively, you can also hire a taxi, take a bus or board a train from Bangalore.

    By Train:

    Mysore is a major South Western Railways junction. It is well connected to Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. Mysore-Bangalore route has several daily trains. Mysore-Mumbai and Mysore-Delhi routes have scheduled services thrice a week. The super-fast Shatabdi Express has daily connectivity to Mysore from Chennai via Bangalore. The railway station at Mysore is located right at the center of the city.

    By Road:

    Located close to the Tamil Nadu and Kerala borders, Mysore is an important regional bus terminus for the state-owned Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). Several KSRTC buses ply to various destinations within Karnataka and other nearby states. KSRTC fleet comprises of AC Volvo, Corona Ambari, Rajahamsa Executive and Ordinary Sariage buses. It takes around 3 hours to reach Mysore from Bangalore.

    Besides, there are a number of private buses for the tourist travelling to Mysore. Daily direct bus service to Mysore is available from Bangalore, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Coimbatore, Mumbai and Pune.

    In-case you are not keen on staying at Mysore, then it is recommended to hire a taxi from Bangalore for the Mysore sightseeing purpose. If you start early, around 6 AM, then you can easily visit all the places of interest at Mysore during the day and return to Bangalore at night.

    Last but not the least, Karnataka Tourism Department (KSTDC) runs daily package tour to Mysore from Bangalore city. An air-conditioned Volvo bus takes the visitors to important tourist attractions in and around Mysore before returning to Bangalore at night to conclude the trip. For the budget travellers, this KSTDC tour package is the most preferred option for visiting Mysore.

    Local Transport in Mysore:

    Tourist buses are the most popular transportation medium at Mysore. There are multiple tourism companies that operate bus service to popular tourist circuits. Most of these tourist agencies are located close to Mysore Sub-urban Bus Stop. You can just approach one of them to make your Mysore sightseeing arrangements. Alternatively, you can get in touch with your hotel management to book seats in a tourist bus. Almost all the popular hotels in Mysore have tie-ups with one or the other tourism agencies. The usual bus fare ranges between INR 150 to INR 250 per seat.

    Besides there are KSRTC buses that ply from Mysore City Bus Stand to various tourist attractions within Mysore. Although a cheaper option, it would require you to change buses for visiting each of the attractions. For the same reason, it is also a time-consuming exercise.

    Greater comfort comes with a higher price tag. Renting out a private taxi can be way more comfortable than the bus ride, but it would cost you close to INR 1000 for a 5-seater non-AC vehice. You would end up spending over INR 1500 for booking an 8-seater taxi. There is no fixed fare chart. The final price would depend on the tourist rush and your negotiation skills.

    If you are interested to roam around within the Mysore city, then auto rickshaws can be a cheaper option. If you have time in hand, then you should try out the 'Tonga' (horse-driven cart) ride. Although they move at a relatively slower speed, it can be a lot of fun.

    Tourist Attractions at Mysore:

    Mysore Palace:

    Mysore Palace comfortably occupies the top most slot among all the tourist attractions at Mysore. From 1399 until the independence of India in 1947, the Mysore Kingdom was under the rule of Wadiyar dynasty. Constructed in the year 1912, the Mysore Palace is considered to be the finest example of Indo-Saracenic architecture.

    This 3-storeyed main structure, accompanied by a five-storied tower having a gilded dome, display an intrinsic blend of Dravidian, Indo-Saracenic, Oriental and Gothic architectural styles. The exterior of the palace is crafted in Gothic style. On the other hand, the interior carvings demonstrate a combination of Hindu and Rajput architectures, while the marble domes represent a strong Islamic influence. Intricately decorated ceilings, ornate mosaic floors, wood-crafted artifacts and beautiful chandeliers bring the royal charm alive. The palace is surrounded by a huge garden that has a few ancient Hindu temples constructed between the 14th and 18th centuries.

    An illuminated Mysore Palace at night is a sight to behold. More than 97,000 bulbs are used to lighten up the palace. If you are interested to catch a glimpse of the enthralling sight, then plan your Mysore trip either on a Sunday or any other national holidays. The palace also remains illuminated throughout the Dussehra festival.

    You are allowed to enter the palace after depositing your shoes and cameras at the designated check post. Photography is prohibited inside the palace, but you are permitted to capture the exterior structure. The palace is open to visitors from 10 AM to 5:30 PM everyday. INR 40 is the entry fee for the Indian citizens, while foreighners need to pay INR 200 to enter the premises.

    Jagmohan Palace and Art Gallery:

    Jagmohan Palace, much smaller in stature, is located close to the Mysore Palace. It used to be the site of the Dussehra Festival before Mysore Palace was constructed. Jagmohan Palace has now been turned in to an art gallery which features paintings by renowned artisans. Among its collection of beautiful paintings, the most notable ones were the creation of Raja Ravivarma.

    Jagmohan Palace is open for the visitors from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM everyday. You will be charged INR 15 as the entry fee. Photography is strictly prohibited here.

    Chamundeshwari Temple:

    Situated atop the Chamundi Hills, Chamundeshwari Temple attracts thousands of devotees everyday. If mythology is to be believed, then it was the place where the demon Mahishasura was killed by Goddess Chamundi. The temple complex comprises of a beautifully carved main sanctrum and a huge Gopuram. The idol of the Goddess is said to be made of pure gold. There is a 15-feet tall monolithic statue of Nandi situated on top of the hill, which attracts a lot of tourist interests.

    Saint Philomena’s Cathedral:

    With a remarkable height of 175, Saint Philomena's Cathedral is one of the largest churches in the country. Designed in a typical Gothic architecture, the imposing structure is a reminiscent of medieval architectural style marked by beautiful stained glass windows and lofty towers. The Church is open from 5.00 AM to 8.00 PM everyday. Photography is prohibited inside the church, but you are allowed to capture exterior photographs.

    Brindavan Gardens:

    Located at the foot of Krishna Raja Sagar Dam, Brindavan Gardens is famous for its terraced lawns and multiple fountains of various dimensions. The main attraction at this place is a set of musical fountains. It is a spectacular sight to catch the fountains dancing to the tune of music and bursting into colourful beams. There is boating facility available on the artificial lake inside the coumpound. Few of the popular Bollywood movies (for example - Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) have been shot on the backdrop of Brindavan Gardens.

    You can visit Brinavan Gardens from 8 AM to 8 PM on weekdays. On weekends and holidays, the closing time is extended by an hour. A nominal entry fee of INR 10 is charged from the adult visitors. There is no entry fee for children aged below 5 years. If you would like to take your camera inside (which is obvious), then an additional INR 20 has to be paid as the photography charges.

    Mysore Zoological Park:

    Arguably, the most well-maintained zoo in India, the Mysore Zoo, also known as Sri Jayachamarajendra Zoo, boasts of some of the rarest collection of animals, including Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Giraffe, Zebra and White Tiger. Mysore Zoo also has an Great Ape (Hominoidea) - an old world tailless primate which is considered to be the most human-like animal ever. Spreaded across a huge area, you need at-least 3 hours to explore the entire park.

    The Zoo is open to visitors from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM everyday, except on Tuesdays. INR 15 is the entry fee for adults, while children are charged INR 5. To carry your digital camera inside the zoo, you need to pay INR 10. Video cameras are charged INR 150.


    Situated at a distance of 20 KM from Mysore City, Srirangapattana was the erstwhile kingdom of Tipu Sultan. The Srirangapattana Fort, almost in ruins at present, is renowned for the battle between Tipu Sultan and the British soldiers. After losing his life in that war, a memorial (Tipu's Tomb) was created at this place to honor Tipu Sultan's bravery. There is a large round-shaped dome (Gumbaz) perched on top of the structure.

    The summer palace of Tipu Sultan, built in 1784 is the center of attractions at Srirangapattana. The palace is known as Daria Daulat Bagh and it was built in Indo-Saracenic architecture. It has a small museum displaying various artifacts used by Tipu and his father Haider Ali.

    There is also an ancient temple, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, built in the 16th century which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is still functional. It is one of the largest temples in Karnataka.

    Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary:

    Ranganathittu Bird Sactuary is situated on the bank of river Cauvery in the downstream of KRS Dam. The sanctuary consists of 6 tiny islets formed by the Cauvery river meandering around a rocky terrain.

    A paradise for bird-watchers and photographers, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is pretty rich with its collection of over 180 native and migratory avian species. It is an important nesting and breeding ground for migratory birds. Surrounded by a deciduous forest with lots of bamboo, eucalyptus, and arjuna trees, the sanctuary is home to cormorants, darter, white ibis, spoonbills, open-billed stork, painted stork, egret, heron, stone plover, Indian cliff swallow and kingfisher to name a few. Besides, you can also spot a few marsh crocodiles roaming around in the river bed.

    A leisurely boat ride can take the visitors within touching distance of a variety of migratory birds. It's a delight to watch the winged visitors making happy forays into the water. You can visit Ranganathittu between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM everyday. Entry fee is INR 50 for Indians and INR 300 for foreigners respectively.

    Here's a travelogue to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary - A Date With the Winged Visitors at Ranganathittu

    Karanji Kere:

    Karanji Lake is a favorite hangout spot for romantic couples. Boating is a popular activity here. Surrounded by greenery all around, the lake is known to host a variety of bird species. Pelicans and painted storks can be spotted on the island in the middle of the Lake. You can catch a hawk-eye view of the entire lake from the watch tower. There is an aviary and a butterfly park on the Eastern bank of the lake.

    Folklore Museum:

    Located inside the campus of Mysore University, the museum has an impressive collection of ancient art forms. It serves as a showcase of Mysore's rich cultural tradition. The museum is open for public from 10 AM to 5 PM. It remains closed on Sundays and other national/state holidays.


    Situated at a distance of 35 KM from Mysore, Somnathpur is a place of great historical significance. The main attraction at Somnathpur is the historical Chennakesava Temple, built on the bank of Cauvery river, during the ruling of Hoysala King Narasimha III, in the 12th Century. This ancient temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala Architecture that stood the test of time.

    Taken care of by the Archeological Survey of India as a protected heritage site, it is considered to be the best preserved specimen of the distinct stone-crafted architecture that the Hoysala Kingdom was famous for. The beautiful sculpted pillars and ceiling panels of the main hall deserve special mention. This is one of the three Hoysala architectural marvels (alongside Belur & Halebid) which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    It is open to visitors from 9 AM to 5.30 PM throughout the week. An entry fee of INR 5 is collected from the visitors as maintenance fee by the Archeological Survey of India.

    Here's a travelogue to Somnathpur - Somnathpur Travelogue - A Marvel of Hoysala Architecture

    Railway Museum:

    Pay a visit to the Railway Museum to catch a few of the vintage locomotives used during the bygone era. Especially, the century-old wagon used by the Queen of Mysore deserve a special mention. A small Toy Train is also on display at the museum. The musium can be visited at any time during the official working hours (10 AM to 5 PM).

    Must Buy:

    Want to impress your mom, wife, sister or girlfriend? Gift an exquisitely woven Mysore Silk saree to your special one and be assured to bowl her over. If you are looking for a cheaper option, then the intricately designed sandalwood and rosewood artifacts can do the magic.

    Must Try:

    Mysore Pak - Mysore Pak is unarguably the most famous food item in Mysore in terms of popularity. It is the sweet that has carved a huge fan following for its delightful taste. Now-a-days, Mysore Pak can be available almost everywhere, but to taste its true flavour, you must grab a bite here at Mysore.

    Sounds tempting, isn't it? So when are you planning to grab a bite of Mysore? Just pay a visit to Mysore once and savor the royal experience forever.


  2. travelguide

    travelguide Active Member

    Thanks for this excellent guide. It is really useful.

    I had been to Mysore a number of times but could not visit any places till now. Brindavan Garden is my dream location. But now I am too tempted to visit other locations too. Till now I was unaware of a zoological park there. Hope the charges for carrying digital cameras are not increased now. I heard that in most of the parks it is increased to many fold for domestic and foreign travelers all over India.

  3. Debapriya Deb

    Debapriya Deb Active Member

    Thanks, mate. I have been to Mysore Zoo as recently as April 2015. No idea if the fee structure was modified since then. I will let you know in case I manage to find any updates regrading this.

    If you are interested in wildlife photography (especially birds), then don't miss out on visiting Ranganathittu. I am sure, you are going to love the place.

  4. Ashwin Mahesh

    Ashwin Mahesh Member

    Thanks once again for sharing this valuable information, I left a similar comment on another guide about Mangalore and the same applies here. Mysore is the colonial name of the place and it was changed to Mysuru. Though the colonial name might persist for a few more years to come, its usage should decline and be gradually replaced by Mysuru which is the official name.

    If you are planning on a trip to Mysuru, there are luxury buses available directly from BIAL to the royal city. You are not required to go via Bengaluru city.
  5. Indyra

    Indyra Member

    This looks like a beautiful place to visit! I love checking out old historical cities. I find it amazing to see how old structures were built with the lack of machines and materials that we have a available today.