The word Mysore expands to 'Mahishasurana Ooru', which means the town of Mahishasura. The story goes that the demon Mahishasura was killed by goddess Chamundeshwari atop the Chamundi hill near Mysore. The Wodeyar family ruled Mysore since 14th century except for a short period of 40 years in later 18th century when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were the rulers. Mysore has always fascinated with its quaint charm, rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples. Mysore still retains much of its carefully built character of a Maharaja's capital.
A city of palaces, people and smells, the princely city of Mysore is worth a visit whatever the month or season. Mysore is a dream city that never lets down the visitors with its clean, light and easygoing environment. A mysore overview, highlighting it's cultural traditions. Mysore is well connected through road and rail networks with other parts of Karnataka and India. Steeped in tradition, mysore is located at the epicenter of Indian history, culture, and timeless elegance. The city of mysore, once the capital of the former mysore state, is now the cultural and tourist center of the expanded Karnataka State.
Mysore is a shopper's paradise. It is surrounded by sandalwood and rosewood forests. Thus, most of the tourists coming to Mysore look for items made from sandalwood or rosewood. Though a bit expensive these, pieces make excellent gift as well as decorative items. The sandalwood oil might be a bit expensive but is an essential commodity to be bought in Mysore. Mysore silk sarees are very popular and coveted by the ladies. Here you can purchase some of the finest silk. The government silk factory offers silks straight off the loom. Apart from the sandalwood items and silk, Mysore is also famous for the stone carved statues. The government run "Kaveri Emporium" located on Sayyaji rao road provides genuine sandalwood, rosewood and wooden carvings for the tourists.
Mysore does not have an extreme type of climate and the weather throughout the year is pleasant. The summers are warm and winters are cool. One can visit the city any time of the year but it is advisable to avoid the rainy seasons.
Bannerghatta National Park: Located 22 kms. South amidst sylvan surroundings, this park has a crocodile farm, and a tiger and lion safari.
Nanjangud: It is 23 kms south of Mysore.
Hesaraghatta: 25 kms away, has an artificial lake and a dairy and horticulture farm. Boating and windsurfing are the other attractions here. Here also is the famous dance village - Nrityagram, where young dancers are trained in all disciplines of traditional Indian dance.
Ramohalli: 28 kms west, is a popular picnic spot, famous for its 400 year old Banyan Tree. The giant tree spreads over an area of 3 acres.
Muthyalamaduvu - (Pearl Valley): 40 kms away - is known for its verdant surroundings and beautiful water falls. This is a favorite picnic spot.
Ramanagaram: 49 kms southwest, this beautiful landscaped spot is popular with rock-climbers. It is also an important silk cocoon-marketing center.
About 53 kms from Bangalore, near Ramanagaram is the Janapada Loka, a subsidiary of the Karnataka Janapada Parishath, dedicated to the preservation and promotion of folk culture. Sprawling across 15 acres, the complex has an art gallery, an open-air theater, a studio and a museum.
Shivaganga: 50 kms north - is a conical hill which offers a breathtaking view from the top. There are two shrines dedicated to Lord Gangadeshwara and Goddess Honnadevi.
Channapatna: 60 kms southwest, this town is famous for its lacquerware and hand-crafted wooden toys. It is also a silk center.
Temple of Mysore
Chamundi Hills Mysore
Nandi Hills: 60 kms north, is Nandi Hills, a small hill station. It was one of the retreats of the Tiger of Mysore. Tipu's Drop - a 600 m high cliff face - offers a magnificent view.
Mekedatu: 98 kms south, is a beautiful picnic spot where the river Cauvery squeezes through a narrow gorge.
Attractions and Places to Visit in Mysore
Mysore Palace : Whre the Mharajas lived? You can't miss the Palace at Mysore, for all roads lead to the Maharaja's Palace. Built in Indo-Saracenic style with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the Palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. Intricately carved doors open on to luxuriously furnished rooms.
Chamundi Hills : Presiding deity; of Mysore. A well known 335 metres high landmark, Chamundi Hill can be reached by a 13 km road or by climbing up the 1,000 steps laid out by the Mysore Maharaja in the 17th century. Half-way up long the stone steps is Nandi, Lord Shiva's bull, a majestic 4.8 metre monolith. At the top is the 12th century temple of Chamundeshwari, the patron goddess of the Wodeyars. The summit offers a panoramic view of Mysore's lakes, parks and palaces. MAHISHASURA? From whom Mysore got its name Close to the temple is the gigantic stature of the demon Mahishasura.
St. Philomena's Church : Gothic art A beautiful Cathedral, reminiscent of medieval architectural style. Stained glass windows and lofty towers make it an imposing structure.
Mysore Zoo : Home of rare species of fauna The Mysore Zoo was set up under royal patronage in the nineteenth century. Its fauna includes rare and exotic species which are housed in lush, green surroundings. The zoo is famous for breeding some very rare animals in captivity.
Sri Jayachmarajendra Art Gallery : A treasure house of masterpieces The Jaganmohan Palace was converted into an art gallery in 1875 and exhibits paintings which date back to that period. The artists of that time used natural vegetable and mineral dyes. The famous traditional Mysore 'gold leaf' paintings are also exhibited in the gallery, as are oil paintings of contemporary Svetoslav Roerich.
Mysore is known the world over for its exotic silks . At the Government Sandalwood Oil Factory, you can buy Sandal Powder, Sandal Oil and scented incense sticks. At the Government Silk Factory you can see the master weavers at work. Buy shimmering silks straight off the looms.
Srirangapatna : The Tiger's Lair Take yourself back to another spot, another, time. 16 kms away from Mysore is the island fortress of Tipu Sultan, the legendary Tiger of Mysore who put up a valiant fight against British domination. The high stone walls and moats enclose palaces, temples and a great mosque. Tipu's summer Palace, with its beautiful frescoes, the tombs of Tipu and Hyder Ali at Gumbaz, Royal Mosque, Wellesley Bridge and the celebrated Sri Ranganatha Temple are other monuments from its chequered past.
Ranganathittu : A haven for winged visitors 5 kms from Srirangapatna, lush green islands on the river Cauvery, are home for an astonishing variety of migratory birds from as far away as Siberia - Spoon bills, Open Bill Stork, White Ibis, Little Egret Darter, Pond Heron, Cattle Egret, Cormorant, Wild Duck, Peafowl. A little boat takes you close to the islands where the trees are covered with birds of different species. The only sounds are the cries of birds, swoosh of wing and the ripple of water. Ideal for picnicking and bird watching. Season : Between June and October.
How to Reach Mysore
By Air: The nearest airport is Bangalore that is a mere 140km away. All domestic airlines are operating flights to and from Bangalore to all major cities of the country. A few international flights to the Middle East are also operated from Bangalore.
By Rail: There are many train services operating between Bangalore and Mysore. The Shatabdi Express connects Mysore to Chennai. The ideal route to reach Mysore is via Bangalore.
By Road: State Highways connect Mysore to the national Highways and to all parts of the country. Bus services by Karnataka Road Transport Corporation and transport corporations of the neighboring states as well as private tour operators make it easy to reach the city without any difficulty. It is only a 3 hour journey from Bangalore.