Mysore is known as the cultural capital of Karnataka. Located around 145 kilometres from Bangalore, Mysore is famous for its palaces, silks,heritage buildings, extensive gardens, sandalwood and much more. Also known as the ‘Sandalwood city of India', let us see the top 5 tourist destinations that Mysore has to offer.
Mysore Maharajah’s Palace
The Mysore Palace is one of the largest palaces in India and the most visited tourist spot in Mysore. It was once a royal residence of the Wodeyar rulers.Also known as Amba Vilas Palace, the architecture of this palace has influences of Gothic, Islam, Rajput and Hindu styles.The public and private Durbar Hall, GombeThotti (Doll’s Pavilion), Portrait Gallery and Kalyana Mantapaare some of the important segments of this palace. The palace is surrounded by a huge garden designed by the British. A fest to the eye during the day and mesmerising when illuminated by more than 95000 bulbs during the night, this splendid architecture is a glory to any history lover.
The Mysore Zoo, also known as Shri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens is named after Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar. One of the oldest zoos established in 1892, it is a fascinating destination for animal and bird lovers. It houses a wide range of species from India and around the world. The uncluttered and expansive enclosure enables the species to have the feeling of remaining close to nature. One can also be a part of the ‘Adopting an Animal’ scheme, by donating money on taking care of animals for a certain period.
Sri Chamundeshwari Hills
The Chamundi hills is located around 3 kilometres from Mysore. It is around 1500 meters above sea level. It houses the Chadundeshwari temple, located at the peak of the hill built in the 19th century. The alternative way to reach the temple apart from the road is to climb around 100 steps. A Nandi or an idol of the bull is found half way up the hill,which is sculpted out of a single rock. The statue of Mahishasura, the demon King,slayed by the Goddess can also be found close to the temple. The Chamundi hills offers a panoramic view of the city highlights the major landmarks like the Lalitha Mahal Palace, Karanji lake and Mysore Palace among others.
St. Philomena's Church
St. Philomena’s church is one of the largest churches in South Asia. With a history of 200 years, it was built by KrishnarajaWodeyar IV from the Wodeyar dynasty. This building boasts of gothic form of architecture. The Church was built to provide a praying area for the new Christian settlement in Mysore. The exteriors are adorned with glass windows imported from France,depicting prominent events of the life of Jesus.
Located at the foot of Chamundi hills and next to the Mysore Zoo, Kanranji lake or Karanjikere as it is popularly known is one of the largest lakes in Karnataka. The park around the lake has a huge enclosure for birds. Constructed by one of the kings of Mysore, this charming lake is a home to a variety of migratory birds. It also features the butterfly park, boating point, watchtower among others.