Mysore, the second largest city in Karnataka, is located in the Mysore division and is easily reachable from Bangalore. Located 146 km away, it lies to the south-west of the capital city, spans an area of 128.42 sq km and is located at the base of Chamundi Hills.
The word Mysore is derived from “Mahishuru” which literally means the abode of Mahisha. According to a legend, the demon Mahishasura (Mahisha means buffalo and Asura, the demon) was slayed by Goddess Chamundeshwari. The city came under the rule of the Wodeyars and remained their capital until 1947. After the British took over, the city had lost its status as an administrative centre but was restored to its former glory when Bangalore became the capital of the British.
Known for its distinct culture, Mysore, apart from the world famous Mysore Palace, is known for its Dussera festivities. Its ten-day Dussera Festival is a time when the city attracts the maximum number of visitors.
There are various items exclusive to Mysore city, which have given it its name. The list includes Mysore paintings, Mysore Malliage, the sweet delicacy Mysore Pak and the Mysore Peta, a traditional turban made from silk. Mysore silk saris are another popular commodity found in this historic city. Mysore touts to be the second cleanest city in the country as per the 2010 census and is also the cleanest in Karnataka.
Mysore Palace, with its splendid architecture and intricate carvings, is a standing testimony of exquisite craftsmanship. This is easily reflected through the palace’s ceilings, rosewood doors and paintings that provide a glimpse of the structure’s glorious history. Brindavan Gardens and its musical fountains at Krishna Raja Sagar Dam are some other attractions that have contributed to the popularity of Mysore.
Tipu Sultan’s Palace in Mysore is yet another attraction. Also, the city offers enough attractions for art lovers in the form of Jaganmohan Palace and Art Gallery, St. Philomena’s Church, Lalit Mahal Palace, Datta Peetham, Karanji Kere and museums. The Mysore Zoo is a must-visit.
Chamundi Hills is a popular religious centre that lies close to Mysore. It is home to a beautiful temple dedicated to Goddess Chamundeshwari and is also a popular choice among adventure lovers as it offers an excellent trekking route.
Apart from sightseeing, people can opt for temple tours, excursions to places like Shivanasamudra, Shravanabelagola, Dharmasthala, or indulge in adventure activities like kayaking, trekking, river rafting and coracle rides. While these can be arranged on one’s own, there are several Mysore packages which can help the tourist in organising their itinerary.
Mysore cuisine consists of the usual South Indian fare. The most popular breakfast items served as per typical Mysore cuisine are masala dosa, set-dosa, rava or semolina dosa, bonda, bajji, thatte idlis, uppittu, puri palya, uthapam, vada sambar, kesari bath, etc.
Vangibath, chitranna, puliyoigrae, bisibelebath, etc. are the popular rice dishes served for lunch. Mysore pak (mysurpa), chiroti, obbattu (holige), shavige payasa, etc. are the famous Mysore desserts which are worth trying.
For centuries, the name ‘Mysore’ has been synonymous with Mysore silks, Mysore handicrafts and Mysore sandalwood. A wide variety of handicrafts and textile items are available here including artefacts done in teakwood, rosewood and sandalwood. The city is famous for its sandalwood products such as incense sticks, sandalwood perfume, sandalwood oil, sandalwood powder and sandalwood artefacts. It is also well known for its silk and Ganjifa paintings.
Mysore can be reached easily and is well connected to the rest of the country by rail and road. It is connected to major cities like Bangalore and Mangalore by State Highways. It can also be reached by flights. To reach Mysore, travellers can avail direct flights to Bangalore or Chennai or Hyderabad and then take connecting flights from these places to Mysore.
Railways connect Mysore to all major cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad etc. Mysore Railway Station is situated just 2 km away from the city centre. Most passengers hire pre – paid auto rickshaws to reach the desired destination in the city. Taxis and buses are also available from the railway station to the city centre.
Travelling within Mysore is easy as the city has good transportation facilities. There are ordinary buses as well as luxury buses plying within the city that cover all the major destinations. Many luxurious resorts of Mysore provide travel assistance and transport facilities to its guests.
Auto rickshaws, rental cars, taxis and tongas are the other means of transportation available within the city. Guided tours of the city are provided by several hotels.
Hotel options in Mysore range from luxury accommodations to budget hotels to private lodges. Most luxury hotels of Mysore can be found along the route to Chamundi Hills, while some resorts can be found towards the city centre, in the close vicinity of prime tourist attractions.
The private lodges are located nearby public transportation terminals like railway station and bus terminals. The accommodation options located in the city centre are costlier than those towards transportation terminals and city suburbs.