I am a traveler/backpacker, writer/editor, amateur photographer, yoga enthusiast, and music aficionado living and working in Mumbai, India. Read about my travels in India and elsewhere at https://nomadicrhythms.wordpress.com/
Published April 1st 2014
Expereince Indian royalty, history and granduer in Mysore
Mysore is the second largest city in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It is a city known for its esteemed educational institutions, open spaces, and palaces, among other things. It has earned itself the title of being the cultural capital of the state. It was also declared to be the second cleanest city in India in a nationwide survey, just behind Chandigarh in northern India.
Mysore is one of those places where you can see the famed grandeur of India. The Mysore Palace is the biggest example of that, with its almost 100 000 lights, exquisite jewels from the time of the ruling Mysore kings, and liquid gold paintings. But a walk around the city will give you glimpses of many such buildings and spaces that give you a sense of riches and plenty.
Although you can visit all year round, the best time to see Mysore in all its royal finery is during the festival of Dassera which falls in October or November. It is a 10-day festival with processions, cultural performance, fairs and palace lights on all 10 days.
Mysore Palace, during the day!
Mysore palace, in the golden glow of dusk!
The Famous Mysore Palace Lights!
One of the three Palace gates!
Mysore is also a very well planned Indian city, with smooth wide roads, well-managed traffic, easily accessible and centrally located bus and train stations that are well-connected to the whole city. There are well-made pavements and walkways alongside all the big roads, whose absence is a common grouse for locals and travelers alike in most other Indian cities and towns. The roads and all public spaces are well-kept and cleanly maintained, no mean feat in a country like India teeming with its one billion plus people. No wonder it has earned the title of being the second cleanest city in the country.
Being a big city and an educational hub, most people know enough English for basic communication at the least. Also, good connectivity of city buses, and rickshaws that do not commonly overcharge make it very pleasant and easy to get around.
Some of the must-see places in the city are the Mysore Palace and museums, Jagan Mohan palace, KRS (Krishnarajasagara) dam and the adjoining Brindavan Gardens, the rail museum, and Chamundi Hills. The Mysore Zoo is known to be among the best in the country. Other than this, you can also walk around the small lanes with meat markets, spice markets and the markets around the palace to check out the locally famous Mysore silk saris and Mysore sandalwood products. Go to the Mysore palace on Sunday evenings for a show of lights and grandeur.
Its location is such that is serves as a perfect base for exploring a number of very interesting places around as well, including a national park/tiger reserve, a Tibetan settlement, coffee and tea estates, spice plantations, hill stations and more. It is also very close to Bengaluru, the state capital. Some of the places nearby worth visiting:
1. Srirangapatna palace of Tipu Sultan
2. Ranganthittu bird sanctuary
Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary entrance!
Pelican at Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary
3. Bandipur national park/tiger reserve
4. Coorg district coffee, areca nut and pepper plantations
5. Ooty hill station and tea plantations
6. Talakaveri/Bhagamandala source of the river Kaveri/Cauvery
7. Channapatna famous for its wooden toys and showpieces
8. Bylakuppe Tibetan settlement
9. Janapada Loka institute for study in folk art of Karnataka
Most of these places are well connected by state transport buses, as well as government and private air-conditioned Volvo buses that ply all through the day from the Central bus stand near the palace. You can also book tickets in advance for your journey, although this is usually not necessary. And while you are there, do not forget to try local south Indian delicacies like different varieties of idlis and dosas, bisi bele bhath, puliyogare, kesari bhath, holige to name a few.
All in all, you will certainly not be disappointed visiting this city on your Indian sojourn. Whatever may be your tastes and interests, you will find it here in the city of palaces.