The former capital of the Mysore Maharaja's, Mysore still retains its old world charm with its heritage buildings, cultural traditions and scores of temples. The city with the main palace as the focal point is divided mainly into the north zone, comprising the Vinobha road; and the south zone by the Nazarbad Main Road. Mysore is famous for its beautiful crepe silk sarees and sandalwood oil as well as sandalwood and rosewood carved articles, agarbattis and the delicious Mysore 'Pak'. The month long Dussera celebrations in September - October, with its colourful processions, fireworks and the beautifully lighted palace, gives an enchanting look to the city.
¤ History of Mysore
The Mysore Yadu dynasty came to power in 1399 AD. The dynasty also bestowed to the expansion of temples in Mysore. The Emperor of Mysore - Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar, restructured the fort of Mysore in 1584 AD and made Mysore as his capital known as 'Mahishur'. Later Raja Waidyar shifted the capital of his kingdom from Mysore to Srirangapatna in 1610 AD.
In 1799, due to the fall of Srirangapatna and death of Tipu Sultan, Mysore again became the capital of the Wadiyars. The small town of Mysore, which restrained in the walls of the fort was expended and transfigured into a modern township at the time of Krishnaraja Wadiyar III. It was Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV who developed Mysore into a most charming city with foremost layouts, wide roads, majestic fort palaces and fairy-tale gardens.
The famous Kannada work, "Kantirava Narasaraja Vijaya", displays a gorgeous portrait of Mysore. Poet-Govinda Vaidya, describes King Kantirava Narasaraja Wadiyar as "Maisoora Narasarajendra". The Sri Mahabaladri Hills, Goddess Chamundi atop the hills, the Palace, the fort, the streets, the gardens and the people in the town of Mysore are the highlights of his work.
¤ Main Attractions of Mysore
Mysore Palace is one of the major attractions of Mysore. Built in Indo-Saracenic style the Palace is an abode of exquisite carvings and precious paintings from all over the world. The fort also has abstruse designed gateways with carved domes, minaret, archways and gallery. The royal Durbar Hall has a decorated ceiling and many chiseled pillars. Another attraction of the palace is the Wodeyars royal throne made of gold, embellished with precious stones and jewels. The throne is displayed in the palace for public viewing during the Dasera festival.
The palace is beautifully lighted on Sundays and all public holidays, an awe-inspiring view that makes one's visit worth.
On top of the Chamundi Hills the 12th century temple of Goddess Chamundeshwari of the Wodeyars perches about 335m high from the sea level. The temple can be approached through a 13km well-formed road or can climbed up by the 1,000 steps constructed in 17th century by the Mysore Maharaja. Major attraction of the site is the Nandi, Lord Shiva's Bull, an august 4.8m structure carved out of single granite rock. The zenith of the hill offers a breathtaking panorama of Mysore's lakes, gardens and palaces.
Expended over 150 acres, Brindavan garden is the most acclaimed garden in Indian sub-continent. Situated at the KR Sagar Dam Kannambadi, Brindavan Garden is a popular site of the Indian Films. Since 1960s, it is continuously used for shooting song sequences for the films. A special attraction of the garden includes the 'Musical' Dancing Fountains'. Today garden has gone under complete renovation with introduction of new fountain and light system, which attracts tourist not only from India but also from other parts of the globe and futther helped in boasting tourism industry of Mysore.
Timings: Monday-Friday: 6:30 PM - 7:25 PM and Saturday-Sunday: 6:30 PM - 8:25 PM
St. Philomena's Church
Another attraction of the city is exquisite Cathedral- the St. Philomena's Church. A specimen of medieval architectural style, the church is one of the biggest churches in the country showcasing stained glass windows and elevated towers.
The Mysore Zoo includes some of the rare species of wildlife, which are kept in natural, green surroundings. The Zoo is also notable for breeding some very rare mammals in confinement.
The Art Gallery
In 1875, the Jaganmohan Palace was transformed into an art gallery, showcasing beautiful paintings of that era. The world prestigious, Mysore 'gold leaf paintings are also exhibited in the gallery, which are also a great source attraction among the tourist.
There is a Gumbaz,Tipu's tomb near the fort with splendid black doors carved out of ivory. The fort also houses a mosque and the Ranganathaswamy Temple.
¤ Excursion from Mysore
50km from Mysore, Melkote is a divine pilgrim center, known for its Vairamundi festival held in March-April. Worth a visit site.
48kms from Mysore, is a temple site, famous for Vaidyeshwara shrine. Once in twelve years the temple is opened for ritual worships.
Shivsamudra 85km from Mysore, is famous for its scenic waterfalls. These falls are best during the monsoons falling down from a height of 75 m into a deep ravine. The other highlight of the region is Asia's first hydroelectric power project set up in 1905 set up a distance of 1.5km.
40km has one of the finest 13th centuries Hoysala temple in the shape of a star with 16 points a most visited spot by the devotees.
Sravanabelgola - 99 km is famous for 57feet high massive statue of Gomateswara. This holy figure is known to be 1000 year old.
Belur - 91 km has the beautiful Chennakesava 13th century temple.
Halebid - 117 km has the famous Hoysaleswara Temple. The temple took nearly 80 years in its construction.
Nagarhole National Park
The National Park is 93km from Mysore, housing a rich variety of wildlife, aerial population and reptiles. Elephants, antelopes and even leopards are the common sites.
14km lies on the Bangalore Mysore highway. This island fortress was once the capital of the warrior king Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. The place also holds the charm of magnificent monuments that are well worth a visit.
Beside other charms of the city, Mysore holds the enthusiasm of Dussehra celebrations. Dussehra Festival is one of the most significant and renowned festivals of India that holds a notably stead in Mysore City.
In Mysore, Dasara is observed as State festival also known as 'Nadahabba', which is a 10 day celebration during the month of Oct/ Nov a marvelous event to watch. During the festive season the entire city is bedecked and illuminated with multicolored light patterns displayed on the prominent monuments and palaces. Majestic processions, of decorated elephants along with a torch light parade, dance and musical events revitalizes the beautiful city of Mysore. Many cultural programs are organized in the Mysore Palace, performed by famous artists. Sport events, poets meet, food festival, film festival are also held.
Thousands of tourist visit the city during Dussehra time and make their visit a life time experience.
# Shopping In Mysore
Mysore Silk is also famous for its Silk items like Silk sarees and Magutas. One can purchase silk items from Government Silk Factory - Jhansi Lakshmibai Road famous for its silk products.
Handicraft -Mysore is famous for its handicraft products. Articles made out of sandalwood, rosewood and teakwood are famous all over the world.
A variety of articles, including a large number of figures of gods and goddesses, are available either in sandalwood or rosewood. The Cauvery Handicrafts Emporium of the Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation is an ideal place for purchase these and other items like silk sarees, jewelry and other handicraft and artifacts.
Agarbathies- Mysore is also famous for variety of Agarbathies or fragrant sticks.
Stone carving is another traditional art item manufactured in Mysore and is much of demand in international market.
Mysore is a reputed place for good paintings. Some of the leading painters are M. Ramanarasaiah and Raghupathi Bhat.
¤ Accessibility To Mysore
By Air: The nearest airport is Bangalore. 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 regular 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: Bus services by Karnataka Road Transport Corporation as well as private tour operators run regular bus services for the city. It is only a 3-hour journey from Bangalore to reach Mysore.
The KSRTC Town Bus services, connecting different parts of the city and suburbs provide transport within the City. Auto Rickshaws and Private Taxisis are the most reliable and easily available mode of transport in the city.