Mysore- Experience the Royal History

Mysore is a vast and majestic royal state that provides numerous tourist attractions. Exploring Mysore will give you a splendid opportunity to connect with its regal past. When it comes to ancient kingdoms, Mysore undoubtedly stands out as one of the most notable places in the country. The city’s landmarks showcase its impressive royal legacy, stunning architecture, and natural splendor, making it a top destination for historical tourism in Karnataka.

Mysore is renowned for its silk sarees, yoga, and sandalwood, and visiting the city’s palace is a must-do activity. The palace has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its Indo-Saracenic style and intricate designs will leave you amazed. If you want to experience yoga, the Ashtanga School of Yoga is an excellent option. Mysore is an ideal place to visit in Karnataka that will leave you with a sense of wonder and awe.

Tourist attractions of Mysore

  • Sri Chamundeshwari temple
  • Mysore Palace
  • Somanathapura Temple
  • Brindavan Gardens
  • Mysore Zoo

1. Sri Chamundeshwari temple

The Chamundeshwari temple, situated at the peak of Chamundi Hills, is one of the most notable temples in Mysore. This temple is dedicated to the goddess Chamundeshwari, who is revered by both the Mysore Royal Family and the city of Mysore. It takes around 1000 steps to reach the temple from the foot of the hill, and the goddess is depicted seated on a lion, brandishing her ‘trishul’ as she defeats a demon. The temple boasts impressive architecture, historical significance, and a serene natural environment, making it a renowned temple in India that attracts not only devotees but also tourists who come to admire its enduring splendor.

History and Architecture of Chamundeshwari Temple

The Chamundeshwari Temple follows the Dravidian style of architecture and has a rectangular structure. It features a stunning seven-tier tower, known as ‘gopuram’ or ‘gopura,’ and a grand entrance called ‘dwara,’ which can be seen from miles away. The temple’s silver gates offer a glimpse into its royal past. Additionally, the temple comprises of several areas, such as the Sanctum Sanctorum, Navaranga Hall, Antharala Mantapa, and Prakara, with a small tower, known as ‘vimana,’ located on top of the Sanctum Sanctorum.

Originally a small temple, it was expanded by the Mysore Maharajas into its present form. It is believed that animal sacrifices used to be performed here, but this practice was stopped in the 18th century. The temple was under the care of Mysore rulers.

Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar built the 1000 steps leading up to the temple in 1659, and he also commissioned the creation of the enormous statue of Nandi, Lord Shiva’s bull. The statue is one of the largest of its kind in India, standing at 16 feet tall and 25 feet long, with pendant bells hanging from its neck.

In 1827, Krishnaraja Wodeyar III oversaw the renovation of the temple and the construction of its impressive entrance. He also donated a lion-shaped vehicle called the “Simha-vahana” along with other vehicles used in temple processions. A statue of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, along with statues of his three wives, is located in front of the sanctum sanctorum. Over the years, many rulers have contributed valuable jewels and other offerings to the temple, which now sees devotees offering coconuts, fruits, and flowers to Goddess Chamundeshwari.

The temple is a beautiful example of Dravidian architecture and is infused with religious significance. At the entrance, there is a pyramidal tower with a small statue of Ganesha, and many different images of the goddess can be found at the silver-plated doorway. The temple is also surrounded by natural beauty and offers stunning views of the surrounding area. Two more temples, the Lakshmi Narayana Swamy and Mahabaleswara, can be found on the hill, with the latter being the oldest. It is believed that climbing the steps to the temple can absolve past sins.

Chamundi Hills

Chamundi Hills, which rise to a height of around 3,489 feet above sea level, are a prominent landmark of Mysore that can be seen from all corners of the city. These hills are located approximately 13 km from Mysore and tower about 800 feet above the city. The Chamundi Hills have been mentioned in ancient Hindu scriptures like the ‘Skanda Purana’ as a place called Trimuta Kshetra, surrounded by eight hills, with Chamundi Hills being one of them. Previously, the hills were called Mahabaladri after the Mahabaleswara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, which is the oldest temple on the hills. Later on, the hills were named after the Goddess Chamundi. Visitors to Chamundi Hills can enjoy panoramic views of Mysore, including the Mysore Palace, Dasara Exhibition grounds, Lalitha Mahal Palace, and more.

Chamundeshwari Temple Timings

The darshan and puja timings at Chamundeshwari Temple are 07.30 AM- 02.00 PM; 03.30 PM- 06.00 PM and 07.30 PM – 09.00 PM. For those who are interested in attending the pooja, visiting during these hours is ideal. The abhishekam timings are 6. 00 A.M to 7.30 AM in morning and 6.00 PM to 7.30 PM in evenings. On Friday it is from 5 AM to 6.30 AM. Every day, free meals are also organized for devotees from 12.30 PM to 2.30 PM.

Reaching Chamundeshwari Temple

One can spot Chamundi Hills while travelling words Mysore. Located only 13 km away these hills can be reached easily via road. From Mysore as well as Nanjangud, it is connected via road. Tourists can either take bus or hire a taxi to the hills. There are regular Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses to the hills at interval of less than 20 minutes from Mysore. As Chamundi Hills have been declared as no plastic zone, tourists are not allowed to carry plastic bags.

2. Mysore Palace

Mysore Palace, also known as Amba Vilas Palace, is a major tourist attraction in Mysore and is located in the heart of the city. The palace is situated within the Old Fort, facing the Chamunda Hills, and served as the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty, who ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1950. The palace showcases an Indo-Saracenic style of architecture and was built in the late 19th century as a replacement for the old wooden building that was destroyed by fire. The construction was commissioned by Krishnarajendra Wadiyar IV and comprises two durbar halls, a number of spacious courtyards, buildings, and beautiful gardens, all of which are a testament to the magnificence of the Wadiyars.


The palace, which is the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty, is a three-storey building made of grey granite with pink marble stones on top and a 145 ft tall five-storey tower. The size of the palace is 245 ft by 156 ft, and it showcases Indo-Saracenic architecture, a combination of Indian, Indo-Islamic, Neo-Classical, and Gothic revival styles. The palace has three gates: the East Gate, which is the front gate for VVIPs during Dasara, the South Gate for the general public, and the West Gate, which is open during Dasara. The façade of the building is adorned with fancy arches and a sculpture of Gajalakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth, is seated atop the central arch. The palace is surrounded by a beautiful garden and has secret tunnels leading to confidential areas and other places like the town of Srirangapatna. The palace reflects the devotion of the Maharajas of Mysore towards Goddess Chamundi, and the emblem and coat of arms of the Mysore Kingdom are displayed at the entrance gate and arch.

Attractions & Events

The Mysore Palace, which was once the residence of the Wodeyar Maharajas of the Mysore Kingdom, is now a museum and a treasured possession of the country. The intricately designed doors lead visitors to richly decorated rooms with elegant furnishings. The Durbar Hall, with its ornate columns, solid silver doors, and finely carved mahogany ceilings, showcases the luxurious lifestyle of the royals. The museum features an impressive collection of royal clothing, memorabilia, musical instruments, and weapons used by the Wodeyars. The palace also displays an exquisite array of paintings, including works by renowned artist Raja Ravi Verma and depictions of the eight manifestations of the goddess Shakthi.

The Mysore Dasara festival, which takes place during autumn, is celebrated every year in the Mysore Palace. During the festival, the palace is illuminated with approximately 100,000 light bulbs from 7 pm to 10 pm for ten days. The Chinnada Simhasana or Ratna Simahasana, the royal throne decorated with beautiful designs on its gold plates, is displayed during the festival. Religious and cultural events are held in the palace during this time. On Mahanavami, the 9th day, the royal sword or “Pattada Katti” is worshipped and taken on a procession with camels and elephants. On the 10th day, or Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession begins from the palace with great fanfare, with the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari seated on a golden mantapa made of approximately 750 kg of gold being the centerpiece.

In the palace, there are 12 Hindu temples built at various times from the 14th century to 1953, including Someshvara Temple and Lakshmiramana, among others.

How to Reach

Mysore can be easily reached from Bangalore, which is about 140 km away, by taking a KSRTC bus, train or cab. Bangalore is well connected to other major cities in India by both train and air, and also has some international connections by air.

3. Somanathapura Temple / Chennakesava Temple

Somnathpur, also referred to as Somnathpura, is a small town situated in the district of Mysore, Karnataka, India, which is around 35 kilometers away from the City of Mysore. The renowned Chennakeshava Temple, built in 1268 A.D by the Hoysala commander Somnath, using soapstone, is located in this town, which serves as an excellent example of the Hoysala Empire’s heritage and culture. The temple’s architectural design is stunning and draws visitors from around the globe, and it has been designated as a heritage site by the Archaeological Survey of India. Another famous pilgrimage spot in the town is the Talakad Panchalinga Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and features the Pathaleshwara Shivalinga, which appears red in the morning, black at noon, and white in the evening. The Mudukuthore Mallikarjuna Temple is another must-see attraction in the area.

Shivanasamudhra, a small village situated about 27 kilometers from this town, boasts of two well-known waterfalls – the Gaganachukki and the Barachukki, which originate from the Kaveri River. The nearby city of Mysore is also a highly popular tourist destination in the country. While the peak season to visit Somnathpur is typically between April, May, and September to January, the ideal time to go is from October to March.

4. Brindavan Gardens

Brindavan Gardens, which covers an area of 60 acres, is situated below the Krishnaraja Sagara Dam (KRS), across the Cauvery River. It was designed based on the Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir and features lush green lawns, terraces, flower beds, topiary, and colorful fountains that captivate visitors. The garden’s beauty and grandeur have made it a world-renowned destination today. The terraced gardens are a vast expanse of greenery with beautiful blooms, and they are appreciated for their symmetrical design. The highlight of the gardens is undoubtedly the musical fountain, which is a spectacular water ballet accompanied by lights and music, and is performed for tourists every evening.

Krishnaraja Sagara Dam (KRS): The former planners and engineers of Mysuru State had a variety of objectives in mind when they conceptualized the dam, including providing drinking water to Mysuru and neighboring areas, supplying water to the hydroelectric power station at Shivasamudra, and ensuring a consistent supply of Cauvery water for irrigation purposes. The dam project was completed between 1911-1932, thanks to the hard work and expertise of notable visionaries such as Bharat Ratna Sir M. Vishweshwaraya, T Ananda Rao, Sir Mirza Ismail, and other engineers. The dam spans 8600 feet in length and stands at a height of 130 feet.

What to expect at Brindavan Gardens:

  • Garden: Laid out in 3 terraces, the garden is full of splendour. As the sun sets, the colorful lights and captivating showers of fountains turn this garden into a paradise. The musical fountain that showcases the synchronized movement of water to the mesmerizing music leaves everyone spellbound. Apart from this, other popular attractions include illuminated flower beds and open spaces to relax and unwind.Spread over 60 acres, it is a well-maintained botanical garden with an array of exotic flowers. You can find Ficus Tres, Foliage Plants such as Duranta and Euphorbia, and flowering plants like Celosia, Marigold, and Bougainvillea. Not only this, but it also has Topiary works, Pergolas, and much more.
  • Multi terrace structure: Brindavan Gardens elevation increases as one walks closer towards KRS Dam. The elevation offers an excellent view of the garden below.
  • Children Park: An area for kids
  • Nursery: Nursery houses saplings of several flower plants and trees. Visitors can purchase seeds and saplings.
  • Lake & Boating: Visitors can enjoy a boat ride in the lake. It  is open from 6 AM to 8 PM everyday.
  • Photo opportunity: Extremely picturesque Brindavan garden has been featured in hundreds of movies and offers excellent photo opportunities.
  • Musical Fountain: Brindavan garden is famous for well-orchestrated musical fountain show, held after sunset every day.

Timings to visit Brindavan Gardens:

Brindavan Gardens is open from 8 AM to 9 PM.  Ticket sales close 30 min before closing time. Musical fountain runs after sunset, 6.30 PM and 7.30 PM (weekdays), 8.30 PM (weekends). It is recommended to visit just before sunset hours – around 4 to 5 PM, explore the gardens in daylight, witness the musical fountain after sunset and return.

Places to visit near Mysuru:  

Srirangapatna (19 kms), Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary (16 kms) and Mysuru city (18 kms) can be visited along with Brindavan Gardens.

How to reach Brindavan Gardens:

Brindavan Gardens is 145 kms from Bengaluru and 18 kms from Mysuru. Mysuru airport is the closest airport just 25 kms away. Mysuru is also the closest train station. Taxis can be hired from Mysuru city to reach Brindavan Gardens.

Places to stay near Brindavan Gardens:

KSTDC runs Hotel Mayura Cauveri near Brindavan Gardens. Royal Orchid Brindavan Garden Palace & Spa is a luxury property overlooking Brindavan Gardens. Nearby Mysuru city has more accommodations suitable to all budget groups. 

5. Mysore Zoo

The Mysore Zoo, also known as Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, is considered one of India’s finest zoos. It was established in 1892 by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar as a royal zoo and later handed over to the State Government’s Department of Parks and Gardens after India gained independence. The zoo is well-known for its careful planning and creating natural habitats for its 168 species of animals, including large and small cats, aquatic and terrestrial birds, primates, and reptiles. The zoo gained global recognition when it performed the world’s first caesarean section on an elephant.

The Zoological Garden, situated close to the Mysore palace, spans across 157 acres and is one of the most renowned and ancient zoos in India. It serves as a shelter for abandoned animals and hosts frequent exhibitions, with the insect exhibition being a prominent one. Additionally, the zoo conducts several educational programs such as Youth Club activities, Literary Competitions, and Summer Camp activities. The Karanji Lake, which is a tranquil location for boating, was brought under the zoo’s jurisdiction in 1976.

Mysore Zoo Timings

The Zoo remains open on all days except for Tuesdays from 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM. If you wish to make your visit to this zoo a success by having a look at the maximum number of creatures it has then either go before 11:00 AM or after 3:00 PM. During the afternoon, most of the animals and birds remain inside due to which the visitors aren’t able to watch them. Hence, visiting between 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM won’t fetch you many advantages.

Mysore Zoo Tickets 

Cost of tickets varies on weekdays and weekends. The website of Mysore Zoo has an online booking portal. 

Charges for Adults are Rs 50 per head
Charges for Children (5-12 years) are Rs 20 per head

Weekends and Government Holidays
Charges for Adults are Rs 60 per head
Charges for Children (5-12 years) are Rs 30 per head

You need to pay for vehicles Vehicles separately. Remeber you are subjected to pay an additional fee if the time exceeds four hours. 

Cycle is chargeable for Rs 5
Scooter / Motor Cycle is chargeable at Rs 10
Car / Jeep / Auto is chargeable at Rs 30
Mini Bus / Tempo is chargeable at Rs 50
Bus is chargeable at Rs 70

Lastly, carrying a video camera requires you to pay a sum of Rs 150 each and a still camera Rs 20 each.

How To Reach Mysore Zoo 

One can easily locate the Mysore Zoo as it is 3 km away from the Mysore Bus stand and 2 km away from the Mysore Palace. Horse carts run between the palace and the zoo. Moreover, Local buses and auto-rickshaws are readily available. If travelling by private vehicle, there is parking facility right across the entrance of the zoo.

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