Mysuru: The city of festivities and palaces


There is no surprise why Mysuru is referred to as the cultural capital of Karnataka. The city is well known for its palaces, its culture, museums and art galleries and the festivities that take place during the period of Dasara, the state festival of Karnataka.

Mysuru served as the capital city of Kingdom of Mysore for nearly six centuries, from 1399 until 1947. The Kingdom was ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty, except for a brief period in the late 18th century when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were in power. Patrons of art and culture, the Wodeyars contributed significantly to the cultural growth of the city. The cultural ambience and achievements of Mysore earned it the sobriquet Cultural capital of Karnataka.

Mysuru is a major tourist destination in its own right and serves as a base for other tourist attractions in the vicinity. One of them is Srirangapatna. Srirangapatna became the de facto capital of Kingdom of Mysore under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. If you are travelling to Mysuru from Bengaluru, then the best for you would be to start your day with Srirangapatna. It is merely 15kms away from Mysore. The entire town is enclosed by the river Kaveri to form a river island. It is best to visit this town in the early part of the day so that you can be free by 11-11:30 AM and the later part of the day can be utilized for Mysuru.

The two most important places to look for in this town are the Dariya Daulat Palace (Summer Palace) and Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. Srirangapatna takes its name from this temple itself.

The Dariya Daulat Palace (Summer Palace) is set amidst beautiful gardens called Daria Daulat Bagh. Tippu Sultan built this palace in 1784. The palace is built in the Indo-Sarcenic style and is mostly made of teakwood. Try not to spend a lot of time here as the saved time might come handy at Sri Ranganathaswamy temple.

Photo of Mysuru: The city of festivities and palaces 1/10 by Ankur Gupta
Daria Daulat Bagh

The celebrated Sri Ranganathaswamy temple dominates this town, making Srirangapatna one of the most important Vaishnavite centers of pilgrimage in south India. The temple was built by the Ganga dynasty rulers of the area in the 9th century; the structure was strengthened and improved upon architecturally some three centuries later. Thus, the temple is a medley of the Hoysala and Vijayanagar styles of temple architecture. Here, you can expect some long queue for Darshan of the diety and it might take you an hour or two to visit the temple. But it is all worth it. So don't miss this one.

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Sri Ranganathaswamy temple

Once you are done with it, you can take your vehicle around the town and take a glimpse of places like Tipu Sultan memorial, Srirangapatna Fort and Jumma Masjid.

Post this, you can straight away head for Mysuru. Once you reach there, you can straightway head to St. Philomena's Cathedral.

St. Philomena's Cathedral is a Catholic church that is the cathedral of the Diocese of Mysore, India. The full name is the Cathedral of St. Joseph and St. Philomena. It is also known as St. Joseph's Cathedral. It was constructed in 1936 using a Neo Gothic style and its architecture was inspired by the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. This is one of the tallest churches in Asia.

Take some time to admire the architecture of this grand church. You are surely going to be mesmerized by its beauty.

Photo of Mysuru: The city of festivities and palaces 3/10 by Ankur Gupta
St. Philomena's Cathedral
Photo of Mysuru: The city of festivities and palaces 4/10 by Ankur Gupta
St. Philomena

Now it would be better if you take a Lunch break, as the next destination, the Ambavilas Palace or the Mysore Palace requires quite an energy.

It is the official residence and seat of the Wodeyars — the rulers of Mysore, the royal family of Mysore, who ruled the princely state from 1399 to 1950. The palace houses two durbar halls (ceremonial meeting halls of the royal court) and incorporates a mesmerizing and gigantic array of courtyards, gardens, and buildings. The palace is in the central region of inner Mysuru, facing the Chamundi Hills eastward. It will again take a minimum of 1-1.5 hours to visit this palace completely.

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Ambavilas Palace

The next place you can visit is the Mysore Zoo. Mysore Zoo (officially the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens) is a 157-acre (64 ha) zoo located near the palace in Mysore, India. It is one of the oldest and most popular zoos in India, and is home to a wide range of species (168). Mysore Zoo is one of the city’s most popular attractions.

The zoo is currently home to ten elephants, and has more elephants than any other zoo in India. A total of 34 elephants have lived at this zoo, many of which were eventually transferred to other zoos. The zoo also has five green anacondas, contributed by Colombo Zoo. It also has giraffes, zebras, lions, tigers, white rhinoceroses, and baboons.

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Mysore Zoo
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Mysore Zoo
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Mysore Zoo

Once you are done with Mysuru and thinking of heading back to Bengaluru, the last place you can visit is the Brindavan Gardens. The best time to visit this place is around 6:30 PM as they host a musical fountain around 7PM which is the most attractive part of these gardens.

Brindavan Gardens lies adjoining the Krishnarajasagara dam which is built across the river Kaveri. The work on laying out this garden was started in the year 1927 and completed in 1932. Visited by close to 2 million tourists per year, the garden is one of the major attractions of Srirangapatna.

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Full moon view from Brindavan Garden
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Musical fountain at Brindavan Garden

Enjoy your evening here, post which you can head straight away to Bengaluru. :)