Mysore Palace or the Mysore Maharaja Palace is located in the heart of the city. Mysore Palace is one of the most visited monuments in India. And its one of the largest palaces in the country, also known as Amba Vilas Palace, was the residence of the Wodeyar Maharaja's of the Mysore state.
The original palace built of wood, got burnt down in 1897, during the wedding of Jayalakshammanni, the eldest daughter of Chamaraja Wodeyar and was rebuilt in 1912 at the cost of Rs. 42 lakhs. The present Palace built in Indo-Saracenic style and blends together Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture. It is a three-storied stone structure, with marble domes and a 145 ft five-storied tower. Above the central arch is an impressive sculpture of Gajalakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity, good luck, and abundance with her elephants. The palace is surrounded by a large garden. Designed by the well-known British architect, Henry Irwin, the palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world.
Chamundi Hills can be viewed from a distance of about 8 to 10 kms and from all the corners of Mysore City. Chamundeshwari temple is situated on the top of Chamundi hill which is about 3,489 ft. above sea level and located at a distance of 13 kms. from Mysore. The temple is dedicated to Sri Chamundeshwari, the titular deity of the Mysore Royal Family also described as ‘Mahishasura Mardini’ for having killed the buffalo headed demon Mahishasura. The temple has a very beautiful idol of the goddess wearing a garland of skulls. Goddess Chamundeshwari, also spelled Chamundeswari is an incarnation of Goddess Durga, Goddess Kali is also referred to as the Goddess Chamundi.
Mysore was ruled by the demon-king Mahishasura, he was a buffalo-headed monster. Hence, came the name of this place - Mahishuru, the city of demon Mahisha. Hearing to the prayers of Gods and Goddess to save them from the monster, Goddess Parvathi, (consort of Lord Siva), took birth as Chamundeshwari and killed the monster. After killing the demon, the Goddess resided atop the Chamundi Hills where she is worshiped with reverence and devotion. The goddess is also known as Mahishasura Mardini meaning She who slew Mahishasura.
Brindavan Gardens lies adjoining the Krishnarajasagara dam (KRS Dam) which is built across the river Kaveri. A dam at the length of 8600 ft. and height of 130 ft. above the river bed was built below the confluence of the three rivers – Cauvery, Hemavathi and Lakshmanateertha in 1924. The place was formerly called as Kannambadi after the Kanveshvara temple in the village submerged in the reservoir. Earlier to this, it was known as Kanvapuri, where the sage Kanva is said to have had his ashram and worshiped Shiva.
Mysore Zoo or Shri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens is one of the oldest zoo in India. It is home to a wide range of wild species and takes the credit for alluring vast number of visitors with its rich breed of flora and fauna. Mysore Zoo is a must in the itinerary for sightseeing in Mysore. Mysore Zoo is a pleasant experience also because most animals are kept in well spaced enclosures and it’s a delight to see them move around freely. The Mysore zoo abounds in natural vegetation cover and comprises of various rare species of plants & trees that are hard to find some where else. It is located inside the city unlike many other Zoos in India and Mysore Zoo is considered to be one of the best and oldest in the world.
This beautiful St.Philomena's Church was built in 1956 and is one of the largest churches in the country. The illuminated church in the evening is a wonderful site not to be missed. St. Philomena's Cathedral is among the most majestic churches in India. Drawing inspiration from Germany's Cologne Cathedral, this colossal church built in the neo-Gothic style.
The twin spires of the Cathedral, 175 feet in height, are seen from miles around making it a distinctive city landmark. The main hall or nave of the cathedral can seat up to 800 people and is as exquisitely conceived as the ornately crafted exterior with beautiful stained glass windows depicting scenes from the birth of Christ, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ.
The St. Philomena's Church in Mysore is one of the oldest churches in India. It is over 200 years old. Initially over 250 years ago there was a small church in its place. Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV laid the foundation of the new church on October 28th, 1933 that was to be built in the place of the small church built by his grandfather. A Frenchman named Daly designed the church. The floor plan of the cathedral is in the form of a cross. The long part of the cross is the 'nave', which is the congregation hall. The two arms of the cross are the 'transepts'. The fourth part containing the altar and the choir is the 'crossing'.
The Railway Museum in Mysore was the earliest railway museums set up in India, established in 1979 by Indian Railways is the second such museum after the National Railway Museum in Delhi. The Mysore Railway Museum was the one of a kind outdoor exhibit of locomotives in India.
The Maharaja of Mysore contributed with his royal carriages enriching the treasure of the Railway Museum in Mysore. Main highlight of this museum is Sri Ranga Pavilion, two royal coaches that belonged to the Maharaja of Mysore. The museum has the `Maharani's saloon' carriage that has a kitchen, dining car unit and royal toilet dating back to 1899 and an Austin rail motor car, a 1920-built `E class engine'.
The Jaganmohan Palace was built during rule of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in 1861, as an alternate retreat for the royal family. The Mysore Palace, which was the original home of the royal family, was burnt down in a fire and the construction of a new palace in its place was started in the year 1897. The Royal family lived in this palace till the construction of the new Amba Vilas Palace in 1912. The installation of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV took place in a pavilion inside the Jaganmohan Palace in 1902. The early convocations of the Mysore University were also held in this palace. The first session of the Legislative Council of the Mysore state was held here in July 1907. The Legislative Council was then called as the Representative Council and was presided over by the Diwan.
The Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion was constructed by Sri Chamaraja Wodeyar for the royal comforts of his eldest daughter Jayalakshammanni. It is situated in the lush green landscape of the University of Mysore premises. The Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion was built in 1905, with total building cost of 7 lakh rupees. Jayalakshmi Vilas Palace reflects the rich architectural splendor of the ancient times and represents the zenith of artistic caliber of the local craftsman of bygone golden era.
The Lalitha Mahal Palace is the second largest palace in Mysore. It is located near the Chamundi Hills. Lalitha Mahal Palace was built by the Maharaja Krishna Raja Wodeyar Bahaddur IV to host his most important guest, the Viceroy of India. Designed by E.W.Fritchley, a much patronised Mumbai-based architect of those days and constructed by B. Munivenkatappa, the building was built in 1931 at a cost of Rs.13.00 lakhs. Built on a raising ground, the palace was fashioned on the lines of the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and is one of the imposing structures of the Mysore city.
One of the reasons people like to visit hill stations is that, they not only offer respite from the dust and pollution of the city but also give people a chance to see the undefiled beauty of nature. The green hills, the cascading waterfalls and sparkling brooks, all make the hill stations a delight for the eyes of the city-weary. Ooty is an ideal hill station since it offers all this and much more. There are many places you can tour, such as the Botanical Gardens, Lamb's rock, Dodabetta Peak, among many others.
If you are on a sightseeing tour to Ooty, you might want to visit the Government Botanical gardens, which were laid out in 1847.The picturesque gardens that are maintained by the Horticulture department of the state, cover an area of about 22 hectares. The Gardens have well over 650 species of plants and trees, including a fossil of a tree, which is believed to be more than 20 million years old. The garden is very popular with nature lovers and those who long to walk among greenery and see rare ferns and shrubs up close. If you are in Ooty in the month of May, then you can also be a part of the summer festival, which is held here annually. The festival holds flower shows and various cultural programs showcasing the talent of the locals and the renowned artists.
If you love the outdoors, Ooty lake is a must see for you. It was built in 1825 and is about 2.5 km long. Visitors to this lake can go for boating on the lake or enjoy their favorite outdoor activity of fishing. If the latter really appeals to you then remember to get fishing permission before you head to buy baits!
The Dodabetta Peak stands at an altitude of 2,623 meters. It is the highest point in the district, making it possibly the best vantage point around Ooty. It is merely 10kms from Ooty so you can simply grab your camera and head straight to the peak, and click amazing pictures of he valley below. Many say that on a clear day, which is honestly not that often, one can see far off areas, even the plains of Coimbatore and the flat highlands of Mysore.
Lamb's Rock is another vantage point that is ideal for taking pictures and is a wonderful picnic spot. It is merely 9kms. From Coonoor and is known for the splendid views it offers of the plains of Coimbatore and the tea states in the surrounding areas.
Kodanadu is about 16kms from Kotagiri, and is situated on the eastern edge of the Nilgiri range. It is a great vantage point that offers a breathtaking view of the Moyar river and the tea estates. There is a watchtower here that offers a view of the Rangasamy peak.
Kurg is rated as one of the top hill station destinations in India. Most popular tourist attractions in Kurg include:
Talakaveri: the place where the River Kaveri originates
Abbey Falls: a scenic waterfall 5 km from Madikeri.
Nisargadhama: An man made island and picnic spot near Kushalanagara, formed by the river Kaveri.
Dubare: mainly an elephant-capturing and training camp on the bank of the river Kaveri
Bhagamandala: situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Kaveri and the Kanika. A third river, the Sujyothi, is said to join from underground.
Iruppu Falls: A sacred spot in south Kodagu in the Brahmagiri hill range.
Nagarahole: a national park and wildlife resort.
Mallalli falls: 25 km from Somwarpet, downhill of the Pushpagiri hills
Omkareshwara Temple: A beautiful temple in Coorg.
Mandalapatti: 28 km from Madiker
Chelavara Waterfalls Coorg – Chelavara Falls near Virajpet in Coorg.
Srirangapatna is an island fortress-city is of great religious, cultural and historic importance. It is situated about 14 Kms. from Mysore and 125 Kms. from Bangalore. Srirangapatna is nestled in the banks of river Cauvery is about 3 Kms. in length and one Km. in breadth. The town derives its name from the presiding deity of Ranganatha Swamy temple situated at the western end of the island in the Cauvery River.
For a short while the city of Srirangapatna was the capital of the Mysore state, while Tipu Sultan was ruling Mysore. After the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799 the British shifted the capital back to Mysore. The town, temples, mosque and other historical monuments are surrounded by a strong stone fort with four gates. There are remains of Tipu’s palace known as Lal Mahal, a Water Gate, two Dungeons, one at the north-east corner of the fort, another to the east of Delhi gate.
The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is situated at 4 Kms. from Srirangapatna and 19 Kms. from Mysore. The Bird Sanctuary is named after Sri Ranganatha Swamy, an incarnation of Hindu God Vishnu. It is an island on the river Cauvery and it is spread on an area of 40 acres. The Sanctuary includes six islands and was declared a bird sanctuary in 1940.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is an important nesting and breeding ground for the thousands of bird species. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary witnesses the arrival of a large number of migratory birds of different flocks from as far as Siberia, North America and Australia. The migratory birds start arriving at the Ranganathittu Bird sanctuary in December and the breeding season starts during the winter months and they finally migrate back with their nestlings in August.
Nanjangud is a taluk headquarters in Mysore district and is an important center of pilgrimage. Nanjangud is on the banks of the River Kapila (Kabini) tributaries of the Cauvery River. The name of the town is derived from the huge Nanjundeshwara or Srikanteswara temple dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva who is locally known as Nanjundeshwara. It was also known as Garalapuri in the Sthalapuranas. Nanjangud is considered as one of the sacred Hindu pilgrimage center and also known as the ‘Dakshina Kashi' (southern Kashi). The temple town of Nanjangud is situated about 23 Km. from Mysore and 162 Km. from Bangalore.
As per Hindu mythology, while searching for nectar of immortality the Gods and demons churned the ocean. During this churning, poison emanated first out of the ocean, to prevent the poison from spreading across the universe and to destroy it, Lord Shiva came to the rescue and drank the poison. Lord Shiva's wife Parvathi then held his throat tightly to prevent the poison from spreading to the rest of his body and killing him. Narada held his mouth so that he did not vomit it out. The poison remained in his throat, making it blue in colour. So Lord Shiva is also called Neelakantha, or "the blue-thorated one". Nanjanagud literally means the place where Nanjundeshwara (God who drank poison) resides. Nanjundeswara is also described as one who cures diseases of his devotees.
The Shivanasamudra Waterfalls, literally meaning Shiva's Sea are situated at a distance of 85 kms from Mysore and 139 kms from Bangalore. The island town of Shivanasamudra divides the river Cauvery into two different falls which display a captivating sight. On the one side, it forms the Gaganachukki falls shaped like a large horsetail and on the other side are the Bharachukki Falls. The sight of these two falls is enchanting and the best time to visit them is during the monsoon. The falls are considered to be one among the 100 best waterfalls in the world.
The Gaganachukki waterfalls are best viewed from the Shivanasamudra watch tower. There is another approach to the Gaganachukki falls from the Darga Hazrath Mardane Gaib. Bharachukki falls are situated at distance of approximately one km from the Dargah. These falls are best during the monsoons, nevertheless their beauty mesmerizes tourists throughout the year.
Talakad also Known as 'Talakadu' is on the banks of the river Cauvery. Talakad is situated 45 km from Mysore and 185 km from Bangalore, is known for its sand dunes. Tradition says that two hunters by name Tala and Kada attained moksha by offering worship to the deity Vaidyanatheswara and the place came to be called after them. The place was also known as Gajaranyakshetra.
Melkote is an important pilgrim center that about 51 km from Mysore and 133 km from Bangalore. It lies in Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district. According to mythology, the Melkote was known as Narayanadri, Vedadri, Yadavadri, Yathishaila and Thirunarayanapura as the temple of Narayanaswamy is built on granite rocky hill that comprises some of the oldest rock formations on earth known as Yadavagiri or Yadugiri overlooking the Cauvery valley. Melkote is very well known for various famous temples and a festival called Vairamudi.
Biligiri Rangana Hills, commonly called BR Hills, is a dense hill range found in the south eastern part of Karnataka and which is a border between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The area is called Biligiri Ranga Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary or simply BRT Wildlife Sanctuary. Being at the confluence of the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, the sanctuary is home to eco-systems that are unique to both the mountain ranges.
Biligiri Rangana range of hills is picturesquely situated between the Cauvery & Kapila Rivers. The hills are in the Yelandur taluk of Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka and considered as bio-geographic bridge between the Western and the Eastern ghats. Biligiri Rangana hills is locally called as Biligiri Rangana Betta, "betta" means "hill" in Kannada.
Somanathapura, a village situated on the left bank of the river Cauvery boasts one of the last and the grandest of Hoysala monuments - Chennakeshava Temple (also called Kesava or Keshava temple) built 742 years ago. There are three temples enshrined within the premises of the star shaped temple standing on a jagali (raised platform) that are dedicated to the Prasanna Chennakeshava, Lord Janardhana and Venugopala, two different incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Halebid situated at a distance of about 27 Kms. north-west of Hassan town and about 7 Kms. east of Belur, was once the regal capital of the Hoysala Empire. The place was known as Dorasamudra or Dwarasamudra founded in the early 11th century A.D. It came to be known as ‘Halebeedu’ after it was plundered by the Delhi Sultan’s armies two times in 1311 and 1327 and deserted. Halebeedu means ruined city.
Belur, a taluk headquarters in Hassan district, situated on the banks of Yagachi River at a distance of 38 Kms. from Hassan was known as Velapuri, Velur, Belapur and Dakshina Varanasi in earlier times. It was once the capital of the Hoysalas before Dwarasamudra (Halebidu) became their capital.
Bandipur National Park is one of India's best known sanctuaries, and is an important Project Tiger reserve. Bandipur National Park is about 80 kms from Mysore city and is a peaceful retreat in nature's lap far from the din of the city. It is home to around seventy tigers and over three thousand Asian elephants as per the 1997 census, along with leopards, doles, gaur and sloth bears. Bandipur is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
Shravanabelagola in Hassan district is one of the most important Jain pilgrim center, located between the Indragiri and Chandragiri hills. In Kannada language, "Bel" means white and "kola", the pond, an allusion to the beautiful pond in the middle of the town. It reached a high point in architectural and sculptural activity under the patronage of Gangas of Talakad.
Indragiri has thousand-year-old tallest monolithic statue of Gomateshwara, 57ft. in height installed by the Ganga General Chavundaraya. Bhagavan Gomateshwara Bahubali statue is considered to be the world's largest monolithic stone statue. The base of the statue has inscriptions in Kannada (dated 981 CE) and Tamil, as well as the oldest evidence of written Marathi, from 981 AD. It has Siddhara Basadi, odegal Basadi, Chennanna Basadi and Chauvvisa Tirthankara Basadi and a finely engraved pillar called Thyagada Brahma pillar. Chandragiri has the Chandragupta Basadi of the Gangas and the big Parshwanatha Basadi. The last shruta-kevali, Bhadrabahu Swami, and his pupil Chandragupta Maurya (formerly the king), meditated in Chandragiri hills. Chandragiri also has a famous temple built by Chamundaraya, who was a disciple of Acharya Nemichandra Siddhanta-chakravarti. The town below the hill has the Jaina matha with very old paintings on its walls. Shravanabelagola has more than 500 inscriptions and some of them refers to Sallekhana (starving to death) by the Jaina ascetics. Most of the inscriptions at Chandragiri date back to the 10th century. These inscriptions have helped modern scholars in understanding the nature, growth and development of the Kannada language and its literature.