If you have not visited Mysore while in India, let me tell you that you are missing out on a treat. In fact, an amateur estimate puts the Mysore Palace as the second most visited landmark in India after the Taj Mahal. Mysore has several forms of transportation available in the form of roadways, train station (it’s a junction) and the Mysore Airport, also called the Mandakalli Airport. Although it has a relatively low capacity of passenger accommodation (200 people), the major connecting routes with almost everywhere ensuring a smooth operability for all of its passengers.
The Heritage City
Now onto the city itself. Mysore is often called the cultural capital of the state of Karnataka because of its contributions and major artworks. Mysore has a very pleasant weather all year round, but the best time to visit the place is during the Navaratri festival. It is a 9-day long and at the 10th day (Vijayadashami), a royal procession emerges from the Mysore Palace, replete with elephants carrying the royal sword. Needless to say, it is one of the grandest festivals in the country and if you are thinking of visiting during the time, better start planning ahead- almost all tourist capacities are always filled to the brim. The festival, called by the name of Mysore Dasara was started as early as the 15th century and the main attraction is undoubtedly the Mysore Palace, which is lit up by about 100000 lights during the period. Then there is also the Dasara exhibition to check out, held in front of the palace.
Did you miss the date to visit during the festive season? Not to fret, the palace gets lit up on normal days as well. It might not be as spectacular as the Navaratri celebrations, but the feat is the one which should not be missed nonetheless. All major parts of the Mysore city light up in the evenings. Do not miss the “Light and Sound” show which is an experience in itself. You will feel that you are going back with a piece of history yourself. But the real beauty of the palace lies inside. The beauty of the marriage pavilion or the Diwan-E-Khaas can’t be described in words alone.
Adventure for you
If you are one of the adventurous types, though, you might want to check on the trip from Mysore to Coorg. This is one of the best roads which is a perfect fit for a skilled bike rider. One can check his driving skills here. The town of Coorg, in itself, is a reason enough for you wanting to brave the trip. For those on the less side of the adventure, it is a mere 3 hour trip via a bus. Coorg (or Kodagu), has one of the only 2 temples dedicated to Lord Brahma at Talakaveri in South East Asia. So be sure to visit that. You also have the Iruppu and the Abbey Falls and the wildlife sanctuary of Nagarahole for those wanting a peaceful commune with nature herself.
Mysore Tourist Attractions
Coming back to Mysore, visit the Mysore zoo (Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens). It is one of the oldest zoos in Southern India and has a huge collection of species you can rarely find anywhere else in the world including green anacondas and white rhinoceroses. Following closely on its heels is the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary. It is situated on the banks of the Kaveri river and is a mere 3 km. from the historic town of Srirangapatna which itself has a huge historical significance of the ancient times due to the presence of the temple of Sri Ranganathaswamy. Needless to say, the intricate carvings of the temple are a feat worthy of being in a class of its own.
Do not forget to visit Nimishamba Temple, which is close to Srirangapatna. The temple is situated amidst nature and River Kaveri flows close to the temple. The place is a beautiful combination of nature and devotion. The place attracts devotees from all parts of Karnataka. Do not forget to shop for fresh vegetables here!
Everything combined, it can safely be concluded that Mysore is one of those rare places in India you would not want to miss. Take my word for it.