6 Hidden Places to Visit in Mysore #GoneOffbeat

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Glorious Mysore Palace during Dasara

Photo of 6 Hidden Places to Visit in Mysore #GoneOffbeat by Utsa Bhattacharyya

Mysore, the cultural capital of Karnataka, is famous for its glorious palace and spectacular heritage landmarks spread across the city. I shifted to Mysore in 2019 for my job and got a chance to explore the city to the fullest. Soon, I realized that the city has to offer more than ancient mansions and iconic buildings and there are a lot of places to visit in Mysore for nature-lovers, adrenaline-junkies, and devotees among others. So, if you have already visited the popular tourist spots of the city, here’s a list of 6 hidden places to explore in Mysore.

Varuna Lake

Located at a distance of 10kms from the city center, Varuna Lake, managed by Outback Adventures, is the perfect gateway for water sports enthusiasts. It hosts a bunch of thrilling activities at an affordable price throughout the year like kayaking, pedal boat, jet ski, speed boat, banana ride, zorbing, canoeing, and water trampoline. Inaugurated during Dasara 2018, this hidden gem is a perfect escape into the lap of nature for an adventurous joyride. This scenic place also has a small lakeside café to enjoy snacks and beverages while rejuvenating with the serene surroundings.

Water Sports at Varuna Lake

Photo of Varuna Lake, Karnataka by Utsa Bhattacharyya

Shuka Vana

The Shuka Vana or Parrot Park has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for housing the largest number of bird species in an aviary. It is a rehabilitation center for birds, founded by Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji in the sprawling campus of Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Ashrama, located at a distance of 5kms from the city. More than 450 species of birds from different countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia fly around the 60-feet tall aviary to meet and greet the visitors. Originally established as a treatment shelter for injured birds, this place has now become popular for its large number of colorful and exotic avian friends like lorikeets, sun conures, Quaker parrots, macaws, and cockatoos.

Colourful Macaws at Shuka Vana. Picture Courtesy: Star of Mysore

Photo of Shuka Vana, Gundurao Nagar, Chamundipuram, Mysuru, Karnataka, India by Utsa Bhattacharyya

Balmuri and Edmuri Falls

The twin waterfalls, located at a distance of 16kms from the city center, are a popular shooting spot for Sandalwood movies and highly adorned by the locals for a quick break. Balmuri and Edmuri Falls are artificial waterfalls, built on River Kaveri by creating 6 feet step along with the water flow, surrounded by lush greenery amidst the scenic neighborhood. The visitors can take a dip or waddle and splash through the water. During the monsoons, Coracle rides are available to drift through the water and soak in the natural beauty. Also, there are a few stalls set up near the falls which sell lip-smacking fried seafood items to be enjoyed by the visitors.

Balmuri Falls during Monsoon

Photo of Balmuri Falls, Balumuri, Yadathittu, Karnataka, India by Utsa Bhattacharyya

Kukkarahalli Lake

Kukkarahalli Lake is a J-shaped lake, located at a distance of 3kms from the city center and adjacent to the University of Mysore, is the lung of the city which is extremely popular among residents for walking or jogging along the 4.5km walking trail. Originally built as a source of water for irrigation to the outskirt lands, this area is home to almost 180 species of birds and also migratory birds are often spotted. One can enjoy the beauty of the lush green surrounding the backdrop of the mighty Chamundi Hills while listening to bird chirps.

Sunset at Kukkarahalli Lake

Photo of Kukkarahalli Lake, Kukkarahalli, Saraswathipuram, Mysuru, Karnataka by Utsa Bhattacharyya

GRS Fantasy Park

GRS Fantasy Park is the only amusement and water park in Mysore which is located on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway, at a distance of 7kms from the city center and a popular destination for day-out experiences. It offers a wide range of entertainment options which can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages. There are Thrill Rides for the adventure enthusiasts like Aqua tornado, Pendulum Slide, Crazy Cruise, Amazonia; Family Rides for group activities like Wave Pool, Aqua Dance Floor, and Hawaiian Paradise; and Kids Rides exclusively for the young members like baby trains, play area, kids pool, etc. There is also an eatery and other essential amenities like changing room inside the premises. Recently, a snow park has come up in 2019 beside the amusement park premise where the visitors can play with snow and have the experience of being in a valley surrounded by mountains.

Hawaiian Paradise at GRS Fantasy Park. Picture Courtesy: GRS Fantasy Park

Photo of GRS Fantasy Park, KRS Rd, Metagalli, Mysuru, Karnataka, India by Utsa Bhattacharyya

Venugopala Swamy Temple

The 12th century Hoysala temple has an interesting history as it was submerged underwater for almost 70 years during the construction of the KRS Dam and resurfaced during 2000 when the water level in the reservoir receded. Later during 2003-2011, under the guidance of Sri Hari Khoday, the Venugopala Swamy Temple has been relocated to its current location which is 1 km to the north of the original site near KRS Dam and 30kms away from Mysore. The architectural wonder is devoted to the worship of Lord Venugopala Swamy, who is also known as Lord Krishna. The symmetrical temple complex consists of two prakara, an outer gate, a sanctum sanctorum, the middle hall, vestibule, and main hall and it is built such that the backwaters would touch the outer walls of the complex if the KRS water level reaches the maximum capacity. The religious place can be ideally visited during sunset to enjoy the splendor view of the architecture and the surrounding.

Architectural Marvels of Venugopala Swamy Temple. Picture Courtesy: Trip Advisor

Photo of Venugopala Swamy Temple, Srirangapatna, Karnataka, India by Utsa Bhattacharyya