Mysore is a colourful city that boasts of a fascinating history, exuberant traditions, dazzling architectures, and perfumed spices. Every monument, building and street here is a storehouse of ancient tales waiting to be explored by the world. From renowned royal palaces, marvellous temples, fascinating museums, to attractive markets and spotless gardens, the places to visit in Mysore are nothing short of a treat. A visit to Karnataka is incomplete without a trip to all these intriguing Mysore tourist places. The best part is that while it revels in its traditions, this lovely city retains its modernity. With so many places to visit in Mysore, you are guaranteed to be enchanted by the exuberance of this magical city.
The gorgeous Mysore Palace was built in the year 1897 to serve as the royal residence of the Wadiyar dynasty. Not only does the palace today act as the official residence of the descendants, but it is also a state-owned museum, which is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Mysore. Also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, this magnificent structure was built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture with visible Gothic and Neo-classical influences.
Among all the popular Mysore tourist places, this palace receives the maximum number of visitors, ranging from about five to six million, annually. The palace is so popular among tourists, that it is the most-favoured historical building, second only to the Taj Mahal. An ideal time to visit the Mysore palace would be during Dussehra to witness the celebrations, when the palace is beautifully decorated with lights and flowers. Mysore palace is surrounded by an exquisite garden, indicative of the refined tastes of the palace occupants.
The palace interior is adorned with large durbar halls, spacious courtyards, kaleidoscopic ceilings, made more regal with a red and golden colour scheme. There are 12 temples inside the palace grounds. One of the most iconic places to visit in Mysore, the palace hosts a dazzling light and sound show every evening.
The Jagmohan Palace of Mysore acted as the royal residence to the Wadiyar royals after the old Mysore palace was burnt down during a wedding. Constructed in the year 1861, the white walls of the palace exude regal splendour. While entering, you will be greeted by the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu carved intricately.
An excellent place to visit in Mysore, the Jagmohan Palace hosts a number of cultural events each year. Today, the palace is used as an art gallery known as the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, which is easily one of the best in India. Displaying artworks by Rabindranath Tagore, Ravi Verma, P.P. Ruben and S.L. Haldankar, this gallery houses over 2000 paintings. With tons of sculptures, antique pieces and carvings, this palace is definitely one of the unmissable places to visit in Mysore if you are an art lover.
Photography inside is prohibited, so you can bid adieu to your plans of capturing images of the priceless artwork. Keeping in mind the importance of the palace, the Jagmohan Palace could use a little more maintenance to help preserve the invaluable items stored inside. Standing opposite the city bus stand, the Jagmohan Palace is easy to locate.
The Chamundeshwari Temple in the Chamundi hills is one of the most wonderful places to visit near Mysore, situated about 12 kilometers away from the city. Located at a height of 838 feet, the Chamundeshwari Temple was built in the Dravidian style of architecture in the year 1659. One of the oldest places to visit in Mysore, this temple is the seat of Goddess Chamundeshwari, an incarnation of Durga.
The Chamundeshwari is the family deity of the Mysore kings and has been worshipped for generations. A 16 feet tall statue of Shiva’s bull is situated outside, which is one of the largest statues of Nandi to exist in India. The temple atop the hill provides a stunning view of the city of down below. There is usually a huge line of devotees, so make sure you reach early when visiting this Mysore tourist place. You may buy some fruits from the stalls outside as offerings.
Offer your prayers to the goddess Chamundeshwari in one of the most holy places to visit in Mysore.
Venugopala Swamy Temple
The Venugopala Swamy Temple was originally constructed in the 12th century in the village of Kannambadi. However, disaster struck the village in the form of Krishna Raja Sagara Dam (KRS Dam) when it overflowed and, as a result, submerged the village including the original temple. A new village was constructed, and the temple was shifted there. The idol of Krishna playing the flute as a cow herd, is worshipped here as Venugopala Swamy.
One of the enthralling places to see in Mysore, the Venugopala Swamy Temple was restored by the Khoday Foundation, and every corner of the huge temple area is perfectly maintained. A replica of the stone chariot in Hampi is also displayed here.
You can catch a wonderful image of the sun setting over the KRS dam when visiting. There are a few Mysore tourist places nearby, including Brindavan gardens and Srirangapatna. Do not miss out on the lip-smacking fish and crab dishes served around the KRS dam.
St. Philomena’s Cathedral
This Roman Catholic Church was built in memory of Saint Philomena, and is famed as one of the largest churches in India. Located in the bustling streets of Ashoka Road, St. Philomena's Cathedral is a Mysore tourist place worth visiting. With a spire that seems to touch the sky, this cathedral is a brilliant example of the Neo-Gothic style of architecture. Covering a vast area with a remarkable structure and grand interior, this cathedral is one of the most captivating places to visit in Mysore.
The stain glass windows of the church narrate events from Christ’s life such as the Birth of Christ, the Last Supper, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension. Special masses are held on Sundays and special occasions. There is an orphanage attached to the cathedral as well. A wonderful view of the tall spires of the cathedral can be seen from all across the city, making it one of the most fascinating things to see and places to visit in Mysore. Thousands of people – both tourists and residents – visit the church to offer their prayers every single day, making this a chief attraction in the city.
Inspired by the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, do not forget to add this to the list of places to visit in Mysore if you wish to witness the grandeur and architectural marvel of the St. Philomena’s Cathedral.
Travel back in time with this historical Railway Museum in Mysore. Established in the year 1979, the museum was an initiative by the Indian Railways to inform people of the fascinating history of railways. This is one of the best places to visit in Mysore for a railway enthusiast.
The museum displays the narrow gauge and old metre railways of Mysore. Photographs of various railway coaches of the past are lined up in the walls. When here, definitely have a look at the saloons used by the Maharajas of Mysore, and get a taste of their lavish lifestyles. There is a train operating on battery, so if you happen to be at this Mysore tourist place with kids, make sure to take them for a fun ride!
Celebrate your memories of nostalgic of train rides in this fantastic place to visit in Mysore.
Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion Museum Complex
This magnificent example of royal architecture is located in the University of Mysore campus atop a small hill above Kukkarahalli Lake. Constructed in the year 1905, this Mysore tourist place was originally called the First Rajkumari Mansion, and was established by Sri Chamaraja Wadiyar for his daughter.
One of the most impressive places to visit in Mysore, this heritage building has a glassed roof that stands at a height of 40 feet. The Jayalakshmi Vilas is a celebrated folk art museum, and has rightfully earned the position of being one of the best places to visit in Mysore. From wooden carvings, sculptures to leather items, rural weapons and ornaments, this museum is a treasure trove of magnificent artifacts.
There is nothing more fascinating than being able to see the animals of the wild up close. One of the absolute best places to visit in Mysore for this experience is the Chamarajendra Zoological Park, better known as the Mysore Zoo. Set up in the year 1892, the Mysore Zoo is one of the oldest zoological parks in the country. The zoo boasts of a variety of animals, including Asiatic lions, tigers, rhinoceros, zebras and giraffes among many others. There is a wide range of exotic birds and reptiles as well.
The animals roam about freely in their near-natural enclosures, are well-fed and healthy. This makes the zoo an attractive Mysore tourist place where both children and adults can enjoy a nice day. There are provisions for battery-operated cars within the zoo for the elderly, nice restaurants, and clean washrooms. With an area covering 157 acres, the enormous zoo is very well-maintained, both in terms of pleasing visitors and taking caring for animals. A no-plastic zone, the Mysore Zoo dedicates itself to the conservation of the environment, and is a fantastic place to visit in Mysore. If you wish to spend a morning in the company of nature, then is zoo is the ideal place to do that.
Take a walk around this delightful park close to nature, and enjoy the serenity that it brings. The Brindavan Gardens is a marvellous place to visit in Mysore, with lush greenery, chirping birds, colourful flowers, and the burbling river Cauvery by your side. Located at the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam, Brindavan Gardens brings to you a terrace garden so lovely that you lose track of time strolling here.
The construction of the Brindavan Gardens, inspired by Kashmir’s Shalimar Gardens, started in 1927 and ended about five years later. The Dewan of Mysore, Sir Mirza Ismail, who was well known for his love of gardens, founded it. Brindavan Gardens offer illuminated fountain shows, botanical parks and is especially famous as a popular Mysore tourist place for its symmetrical designs. There are three prominent parts to the Brindavan Gardens: the main gate area, North Brindavan and South Brindavan. North Brindavan is exceptionally elegant, and is primarily the reason why this garden is considered one of the best places to visit in Mysore. With enormous viridian gardens, boating facilities, luxurious flowers, and fountains brightened by vibrant lights, the Brindavan Gardens is bound to make your already glamorous holiday to Mysore, a little bit more artistic.
Karanji Lake Nature Park
After a long hectic day of sight-seeing, unwind in the laps of nature in the Karanji Lake Nature Park. Formerly part of the Mysore Zoo, Karanji Park is one of the most popular places to visit in Mysore, earning upto a revenue of Rs. 50,000 each day. The lake is lined by trees on either side, providing a pleasant shade perfect for a picnic with friends or family.
The park is home to the largest aviary in the country, with 150 species of birds. It does not end at that, the Karanji Lake possesses a butterfly park with 45 different species of vibrant butterflies. You also have the option to learn more about the natural environment of South India in the Regional Museum situated here.
The Karanji lake is a perfect place to visit in Mysore if you want to go for a boat ride, stroll around the park, expand your knowledge or just admire the beauty of the magnificent birds and butterflies.
Devaraja Market is the heart of the city of Mysore, and every beat resonates with the millions whose lives revolve around it. Built around the 18th century, this is a well-organised market, with thousands navigating their way through the crowd, throughout the day. Although congested, this market is extremely clean and tidy. Your trip to this city is incomplete if you haven’t been to one of the most crowded, yet the most loved places to visit in Mysore.
Also known as the Dodde Market (big market) among the residents, the Devaraja Market boasts of over 800 shops over four acres of land. The main market is divided into different sections for a variety of items. The southern side displays fresh vegetables, whereas the northern side has a wide array of fruits. Over 40 different types of bananas are sold regularly, making it a bestseller fruit. With busy mornings and evenings, this Mysore tourist place has everything you could need – from puffed rice, coconuts, jaggery to bangles, perfumes and clothes. The bustling life here is a captivating subject to photographers, who spend hours trying to capture the different shades of the market. One of the most incredible places to visit in Mysore, it is as if the market has a life of its own.
Government Sandalwood Oil Factory
It is strange how whenever we think of Mysore, the pleasant aroma of sandalwood fills the air around us. Truly though, Mysore is unthinkable without sandalwood and its products. This factory was constructed centuries ago, when Mysore was the largest producer of sandalwood.
One of the most intriguing places to visit in Mysore, a tour to this factory would educate you on the different processes involved, such as powdering wood, boiling, and distilling, in the making of several items such as the famous sandalwood soap, cosmetics, talcum powders, perfumes and incense sticks. This is a guided tour, and your tour guide will give you a detailed description of the boilers, condensers and storerooms used. Sadly, there aren’t enough sandalwood regeneration schemes to bolster the growth of sandalwood reserves in the state.
Government Silk Factory
Mysore is world-famous owing to its silk sarees, which are known to be exquisite and one of a kind. Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation Ltd. is a factory-cum-showroom, which has over 150 looms imported from Switzerland. Today, the state government owns the silk weaving factory.
This is undoubtedly the best place to visit in Mysore if you wish to buy premium quality silk sarees. Not only do you get authentic Mysore silk here, but the price is remarkably less when sold at factory rates. This is a guided tour where the processes involved in silk production — right from reeling of the cocoon to the weaving of silk — are shown and explained. Take a walk through the factory and watch the men at work in this amazing place to visit in Mysore. However, photography is not allowed.
Vinayaka Mylari Restaurant
If you want to taste heavenly dosas, look no further than the Vinayaka Mylari Restaurant. Famous all over the world, their delectable dosas are served with a dollop of butter on banana leaves. This is one of the best places to visit in Mysore if you want to relish the authentic flavour of dosa. Six decades old, the small restaurant is often jam-packed with food-lovers in the form of tourists and residents, and you might have to wait for several minutes before getting a table. Due to its popularity, the Vinayaka Mylari has turned out to be a Mysore tourist attraction.
Crispy and fluffy, the dosa here is served with coconut chutney and a spicy vegetable curry with a coconut base. The dosa is so delicious that you might even be tempted to order more than one. This famous place to visit in Mysore is located in Nazarbad, so be wary of any other restaurants that you may encounter with the same name on different parts of the city.
A quaint place, the Hanumanthu Mess is brimming with people waiting to have a taste of the delectable mutton pulao. It is said that once you’ve had a taste of the pulao here, there is no other place you want to go to. The non greasy, flavoursome pulao makes this small mess one of the best places to visit in Mysore.
The recipe of the pulao is a secret passed on from one generation to the other. The owner makes the pulao himself, which, due to its immense demand, is usually over by noon. Cooked in firewood and served on a dry leaf, the mutton pulao here is a must try. This Mysore tourist place has become a food lovers’ paradise because of all the lip-smacking chicken and mutton preparations found here.
Guru Sweet Mart
It is a sin to return from Mysore without trying the famous Mysore pak. A sweet so delightful that its luscious taste lingers in your mouth for days to come. Although there are shops selling Mysore pak almost everywhere, the best place to visit in Mysore for this rich, sugary treat is the Guru Sweet Mart.
Owned by the descendants of the original royal cook, Kakasura Madappa, this shop carries on the legacy responsibly. When Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV wanted the royal cook to create a sweet fit to represent Mysore, the cook came up with this item. Made of sugar syrup, gram flour and ghee, Mysore pak melts in your mouth and leaves you craving for more. Add this to your places to visit in Mysore if you want a true taste of this glorious city.
Written by Baishali Dutta, an in-house Tripoto writer.
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