If ever I was asked to settle somewhere in India other than Mumbai, I would most happily choose Mysore. My love for the place reflects through the fact that in the last 4 years, I have been there 4 times. It just keeps calling me back. There’s a certain charm about the place that draws me. Its beautiful, its vibrant, its pleasant.
Although it is the third largest city in Karnataka, it has always comes across as a small-cozy-town to me. Being just less than 150 kms from Bangalore, Mysore serves as a major weekend getaway for the techies from Bangalore. And just like its neighboring city, Mysore too enjoys a pleasant climate through the year.
After the Mysore Pak, the Mysore Masala Dosa and the Mysore Sandal Soap,Mysore is also famous for its ‘Palace’. When I landed in this city for the first time, the palace was the first place to which I headed. And I must say, the Mysore Palace is an architectural marvel. It is stunning. Enter the lavish mahal and go bananas imagining that it was the official residence of the Royals of The Mysore Wodeyars. Walking through the palace, I was mesmerized by the classic interiors, the carvings and the paintings. The 120 year old monument is very well maintained and I think it can actually be considered as one of the most beautiful pieces of constructions in India after the Taj Mahal.
The story behind the Mysore Palace is also pretty interesting which was brought to me by a local guide from Mysore. And it goes something like this. Long long time ago, the Maharaja Wodeyar of Mysore went to London. There he saw the famous Windsor Castle. Heads over heels in love with Windsor, he came back to Mysore and in 1887 spent One Lakh Rupees and built a structure in the heart of Mysore that spreads across 430 acres. Now that’s called ‘Living Life King Size’.
Apart from the Mysore Palace, I have also been to the huge and expansive Brindavan Gardens. Call it Brindavan or Vrindavan, the garden is the same, the location is the same and the popularity is the same. As I made my way into the garden, I quickly realized that it had served as a shooting location for some of Bollywood’s super hit songs. It has a beautiful landscape. Whichever way I turned, I saw only lush green lawns and shrubs and pretty flowers of different colors blossoming across the garden! Built near a dam, it has a huge turnout of people daily. In addition to the landscape, I also enjoyed seeing the famous musical fountain at Brindavan. The musical fountain is a major attraction at the garden. I was a part of the thousands who came there especially for the fountain. As soon as the sun sets and it gets dark, people head towards the musical fountain. With colorful lights in full effect, the fountain swings and dances to the tunes of some famous Hindi and Kannada songs. The fountain is the highlight of the garden and it is some entertainment to be a part of it, with thousands of people cheering and singing as the musical fountain entertains all with its different styles and motions.
The food in Mysore is also great. Dig into the famous Mysore Masala Dosa at any food joint and enjoy the local delicacy. Personally I have liked this place called, Cafe Aramane. Located just near the Palace, this place is one of the oldest and one of the most popular eating places in town. I would strongly recommend biting some stuff from Cafe Aramane. It is affordable for the pocket and satisfying for the stomach. During the evening you can also bite into some cheap and tasty street food at Chaat Street. The Baby Corn Manchurian I ate there was mouth watering. Actually, if you want to know more about the food in Mysore, you can hook onto this YouTube channel called ‘Mysoora Paaka’. The channel has reviews of many popular restaurants and eating places from Mysore.
On a whole, Mysore is a place that I love being. I enjoy it. The best time to visit this place would be during Dussehra. The place is choc-a-bloc during that time. Local tourists, foreign tourists throng the place for the mega event. Everything is commercialized. However, since I hate big crowds and all that jazz, I have never been there during Dussehra. During the off-season, it is much cheaper, calmer and convenient. But you can opt for a visit anytime because there is never a bad time to visit Mysore. The weather there is always great, the people are great and so is the food. If you ever think of going to Mysore, just pack and set off, the place won’t ever let you down.
Below, I have given some details about Mysore which can be handy for planning your travel to this place.
1. How to reach Mysore:
Bangalore is the nearest city to Mysore. It is just 142 kms from the the IT City. You can either drive to Mysore or take a KSRTC bus to reach there (KSRTC Buses are the local buses operated by the Karnataka State Government). Mysore also has a railway station and an airport and is well connected to major cities by rail and air.
2. What to See & What to Do in Mysore:
The Mysore Palace and the Brindavan Gardens are the major attractions. However, in the post above, I forgot to mention two more places worth visiting. One is the St. Philomena’s Church. This Gothic style church is one of the largest ones in the country. The other famous tourist spot is the Chamundeshwari Temple. Located on the beautiful Chamundi hills, this is a very popular 12th century temple of Goddess Durga. The markets in Mysore are also worth a stroll. Nothing like experiencing a walk in the local market;-)
If you don’t want to take the pains of planning your Mysore trip, you can also take some help from guys at GoMowgli.com. They are an interesting company for backpackers. They have a special plan for exploring Mysore called ‘Mysore Pak’. Their tour has some great features out of which two of my favorites are; Wide range of ayurvedic therapies and Cheese tasting;-) The next time I am there, I shall definitely give this a try!
3. Where to Stay in Mysore:
I stay at Hotel Bombay Tiffanys. The hotel is as good as its name sounds. You can book a room for anywhere between 700 bucks to 1200 bucks. Suits the pocket and it is also centrally located. Just a walk away from the palace. You can also search for cheaper option but if you go there during Dussehra, then be prepared to spend more because everything becomes a slightly more expensive during that time.
4. Where to Eat in Mysore:
If you are a Idli-Dosa lover like me. You can go to any local restaurant and enjoy a bite. For good lunch, you can go to Café Aramane. Personally, I liked the place. If you are missing some junk food, you can also go to McDonalds or eat at Café Coffee Day.
5. When in Mysore, Beware of:
Fraudsters at Brindavan Garden. You will mostly bump into them at the parking lots and they will promise you quick tickets for a higher price without having to wait in the line for tickets. But take my advice, just chuck them off. Stand in the queue, the line moves fairly fast and it hardly takes anytime to get the tickets.
Pictures in the post are courtesy Chandan CM: Pictures in the post have been sourced from my Mysorean friend Chandan CM. He also runs a YouTube channel called ‘Mysoora Paaka’ which has food review shows! I would like to thank Chandan for sourcing some excellent imagery from Mysore for this post.
If you have been to Mysore, do share your experiences or if you have any doubts feel free to connect back. Cheers!
This travelogue was first published by Desi Onboard .