The Bangalore Kempegowda International Airport located 184 kms. from Mysore is the best for domestic and international flights.Book with us
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Mysuru formerly Mysore constantly conjures up visions of palaces. There are just too many of them. The 10 day Mysore Dasara festival during which the Palace is lit with 98,260 bulbs is a spectacle that somehow lodges themselves unshakably in one’s memory, as a mnemonic for the heritage city. The city has a long tradition of celebrating the Dasara festival with utter pomp, caparisoned processions, elaborate cultural and religious festivals, that draws a mammoth no of visitors. The 9th day of Dasara, Mahanavami is an auspicious day on which the royal sword (Pattada Katti) is worshipped and taken on a procession with elephants, camels and horses. On the 10 th and most auspicious day, Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession (locally known as Jumboo Savari) is held on the streets of Mysore city. A caparisoned elephant carries the idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari, placed on a 750 kilogram golden mantapa, after being worshipped by the royal couple.
Accompanied by horses, camels, decorated elephants, dance groups, music bands and throngs of tourists. The procession starts from the Mysore Palace and culminates at a placecalled Bannimantap where the Banni tree (Prosopis spicigera) is worshipped. This as per legend is where the Pandava warriors from the epic Mahabharata, hid their weapons during their exile. The fact that the festival has completed more than 405 anniversaries keeps the mnemonic fresh. With a line up to rival Scotland and its castles or Rome and its cathedrals, Mysore claims its crown as the City of Palaces. With not a whole lot of noise. But always with 10,000 lamps.
The name Mysuru is the anglicised version of Mahishuru, meaning the abode of Mahishasura, the buffalo headed demon who was felled by Goddess Chamundeshwari, whose temple abode atop the Chamundi Hills near present-day Mysore, is one of the most revered sites.
The princely state of Mysore has relatively obscure origins before the reign of the Gangas in the 2 nd century. They were followed by the Cholas, Chalukyas and the Hoysala dynasty, the latter particularly known for their architecture. The Mysore Yadu dynasty, feudatories to the Vijayanagara Empire, ascended the throne in 1399 AD and over time, became the Wodeyar Dynasty. From 1761 to 1799, Mysore was practically ruled and governed by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, often called the Tiger of Mysore, who kept the British juddered and at bay from 1789 to 1799. This even inspiring a call for an alliance from Napoleon Bonaparte.
The subsequent reign of Krishnaraja Wadiyar III (1799–1868), came under British hegemony, leaving the Wadiyars to the pursuit of the fine arts. Mysore soon became a cultural hub fostering a number of famous musicians, writers and painters. The Wodeyars of Mysore is the only Indian Royal family in the 5000-year-history of India (right from the times of Ramayana) to have ruled a kingdom for more than 500 years.
Today, Mysore is home to sprawling gardens, royal residences, the Ashtanga Yoga, signature Vijaynagar school paintings with organic colors and Gesso work, the Ganjeefa card art, a formidable reputation in sandalwood, rosewood, stone and ivory works, the eponymous Mysore Dosa, Mysore Pak and the flat Thatte Idli and the wardrobe wonder, Mysore silk. And we have just got started.
Be it the 10,000 lamps that light up the palace or the 10,000 shiny discoveries to be made, the travel appetite one needs to pack for Mysore simply remains palatial.
The Bangalore Kempegowda International Airport located 184 kms. from Mysore is the best for domestic and international flights.Book with us
Mysore offers excellent highway connectivity with Bangalore, Mangalore and even the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.Book with us
Mysore Railway Station connects the city to Bangalore, Mangalore and Chamarajanagar.Book with us
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Maha Shivaratri Karaga Festival Ugadi
Karaga Festival Ugadi
Jayalakshmi Vilas Palace, named after one of Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar of Mysore’s daughters, one of three built for his three daughters. Each mansion erected in three corners of the city atop hillocks provide apanoramic view of the city. Built in 1905 from brick, mortar, timber and iron, and renovated in 2002, the Palace is now a folklore museum and a research center of the Mysore University housing a collection of rare objects of folklore, archaeology and geology collected from different parts of India. They include a wooden puppet of the 10-headed demon Ravana, rural costumes, leather shadow puppets and a 300-year-old temple cart. Its architectural style reveals an Indian style as opposed to the more European influences of the Lalitha Mahal and Amba Vilas Palaces. The most prominent attraction at the mansion is the dancing hall with wooden floors and the Kalyana Mantapa (wedding complex), which is decorated with an eight-petal shaped dome and 12-pillar square, with a 40 foot high roof decked with painted glasses. As with its sister Palaces, the Jayalakshmi Vilas has a Kalasha, which is a gold-plated tower overlooking the 6-acre grounds. Each of the 125 rooms, 300 windows, 287 doors and sprawling halls have a story to tell.
Designed by Sir Mirza Ismail, the then Dewan of Mysore, the Brindavan Gardens is renowned for its symmetrically laid out design that is modeled around the equally revered Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir. Set against the backdrop of the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam, the garden is populated with musical fountains, terraces, parterres, water channels, verdant lawns, flower beds, shrubs and trees. Evenings are particularly special with the fountains lit up whilst the jets sway to music, sort of a water ballet that is controlled by an aquatic organ operated by an expert. The Krishnaraja Sagar Dam – named after the Mysore regent Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV - is both a source of irrigation as also a source of drinking water for Mysore and Bangalore. The Dam’s walkway offers a panoramic view of the Brindavan Gardens.
Dedicated to Goddess Chamundeshwari or Durga, the fierce form of Shakti, a tutelary deity held in reverence for centuries by Mysore Maharajas, temple sits 3300 feet high atop a hill that with an ancient stone stairway and seeks 1008 steps from visitors. En-route, near the 800 th step is a statue of bull Nandi, the celestial vahana, or "vehicle" of Lord Shiva, carved out of a single piece of black granite, glistening 4.9m tall and 7.6m long. Built by the Hoysalas, in the 12 th century it remains the crowning glory for Mysore. The Wodeyars in the 16 th Century built the huge Gopuram (cupola) atop the original shrine, which is an architectural phenomenon, inscribed with dancing statues, Lord Shiva in a meditative pose and at the very top sits Goddess Chamundeshwari herself in a yogic trance. The temple resounds with vedic chants and devotional songs during Dussehra/ Dasara.
The Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel is shimmering white monument, a splendid Italianate palazzo, double-columned and domed – with sprawling terraced and manicured gardens. Built by the erstwhile Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV to host his most important guest, the Viceroy of India. Inspired by the architectural styles of manors and the Italian Palazzo, with its stained glass ceilings and windows, and a globular roof above its central hall, the Lalitha Mahal Palace can easily be seen as the fraternal twin of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Equally stunning are its innards that comprise of a banquet hall, dancing floor, a marvelous viceroy room and an authentic Italian marble staircase that greets visitors at its entrance. With Belgian crystal chandeliers, cut glass lamps, opulent furniture using the finest silk and wood of Mysore and lavish Persian carpets, this is bling with a bang. Today, a converted hotel it preserves paintings, lithographs, portraits of the Royal families, with as much fervor as its memories.
If Bangalore has planes, Mysore has trains. Pity there isn’t a city to complete the trio with automobiles, but it’ll do. The second such exhibit after the National Railway Museum in Delhi, the Mysore center possesses a number of vintage locomotives, carriages, coaches, telecommunication paraphernalia and equipment, all of which help chart India’s technological progress in transportation since the industrial age. Highlights include royal carriages used by the Wodeyars of Mysore, decorated with the finest interiors made of silk, carved fittings, velvet upholstery, and gilt edged embroidery with paintings adorning the walls that would be fit for display in any European exhibit. The Maharani’s Saloon from the late 20 th Century is also on display, replete with royal dining quarters, chef’s kitchen and a queenly bathroom. Apart from carriages used by the regents from Mysore, the Railway Museum also possesses India’s first steam engine, a 1925 Austin automobile that was remodeled by an engineer to operate on a railway track, a peerless set of rare black and white photographs, signaling signs, station lights, tickets, ticketing machines, clocks and other objects related to India’s railway history. For children, there is a battery operated mini train that takes them on a tour of the Museum grounds and stops of at vintage carriages stored outdoors.
Designed by the British Architect, Henry Irwin, Amba Vilas Palace, referred to as the Mysuru Palace still has a part of it play residence to Mysore’s first family, the Wodeyars. Originally made of wood, it was razed by a fire and then rebuilt by many generations of the Royal family, the last one completed in 1912. The work is a blend of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic styles, often called the Indo-Saracenic style. With a 3-storeyed structure consisting of gilded pink marble domes, imperious arches and a sculpture of Gajalakshmi (the Goddess of wealth) standing tall over the entrance arch, it’s a fitting portal for royalty. Today, the palace is a museum, that holds souvenirs, paintings, jewellery, weaponry and royal costumes. The Royal Throne of Mysore made out of 200 kilograms of gold holds centre court. The Kalyana Mantapa (wedding complex) is graced with a ceiling of a stained glass tapestry of quintessential Mysuru motifs including peacocks & floral mandalas and was specially manufactured in Glasgow with the shimmering tiles of the hall imported from England. The maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, a fan western classical music founded a European Band in the palace tutored by a German conductor, Otto Schmidt. The palace also conducted examination for members of the European Band, with examiners coming all the way from London, according to the gazetteer. Today the courtyard is easily the biggest open-air classical music concert venue in the country, during the Dasara festival.
After stopping off to gape in awe at the St Philomena’s Cathedral on Ashoka Road, the 2nd tallest church in India, you’ll find one of Mysore’s worst kept secrets. The Nasheman Hotel, in Lashkar Mohalla and the kingdom of the regal Sultani biryanis, helmed by Abdul Hamid – who has been the chef in residence for 40 years. Steaming rice, ghee, bay leaf, turmeric, coriander, pepper and meat have a holy union. It is believed that Biryanis as we know them today originated in Mysore, thanks to Hyder Ali’s Sultanate, who wanted a dish fit, filling and robust for warriors. No wonder the army won most of its battles. Polish off a meal with a glass of ‘hanna’, made from pure ginger extract. Next stop would be the iconic Andhra inspired RRR. Limited menu, limited tables and limitless waiting lines for a date with a banana leaf and copious courses of food. Famous for its parceled chicken biryanis, chicken chilli and chicken roast, the crowning glory is a vegetarian cousin called the masala dosa. This Mysore variant adds a bit of red chilli and garlic chutney. Chitranna (rice with lime juice, green chilli turmeric powder sprinkled with fried groundnuts and coriander leaves), Vangibath (spiced rice with egg plant), Pulliyoigrae (rice flavoured with tamarind juice and garnished with groundnuts) and Bisibelebath (rice, lentils, tamarind, dried coconut, chilli powder and spices) round up possibly thelongest retinue of rice dishes. Sweet toothed hunters need not despair for the Mysore Pak is at hand. Created by the Maharaja of Mysore’s chef extra ordinaire Kakasura Madappa over a century ago, this melt in your mouth sweet blends ghee, chickpea flour and sugar, best sampled at Guru Sweets near the flower market on Sayajji Rao Road or Mahalakshmi Sweets near Devaraja Market.
Shopping is a medley at Mysore. Collectors can forage at the Cauvery Arts & Crafts Emporium for furniture, imperial tables, souvenirs, wooden swings or high backed chairs, all most likely bearing a royal motif on the head, and on closer inspection revealing Sanskrit verses or tales from Mysore’s past inscribed into the arms and legs of the very same piece. Even items like tiny key chains carry imagery of Lord Garuda that is associated with the City. Grand tables contain complete tapestries detailing one of Mysore’s famous Dussehra processions. Wardrobe hungers take you to the Government Silk Factory and its vault of silk saris, georgettes and crepes to custom embroidery designed pieces. To ensure patent ownership each sari has a special embroidered number and hologram certifying their authenticity. Doubting Thomases could take a guided tour of the factory. Right from loading silk threads onto bobbins, to dying the threads and the final weaving process including the intricate creation of the gold inlaid zari borders. The Devaraja Market with its 842 shops defines the Buzzy bazaar. Its colorful, noisy and chaotic in equal parts. But always rewarding. Banana chips, garlands, incense, colorful kumkum for the perfect bindi, perfumes or bangles to complement the saris, cooking utensils and what not.
Considered one of the finest art galleries in South India thanks to the fine condition of its paintings and the sheer diversity of the masterpieces on display. The Art Gallery has an extensive collection of Rembrandts; only one museum in Russia possesses a larger set, works by artists like PP Ruben, Titan, A Caddy and miniature paintings by Gunoy. Moreover, Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery has on display works by the famous prince-painter, Raja Ravi Varma, and gold leaf paintings that come from the Mysore, Bengal and European Schools. But the crowning glory of the place, owing to its deep connection to the Wodeyars is the third floor of the gallery, which has paintings relating to the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. One of the most prominent works is the earliest authentic visual record of a Dussehra procession in Mysore. The regent is in a chariot drawn by elephants decorated in gold and a throng of citizens surrounds him celebrating the holy festival. In addition to this, the Wodeyar works include depictions of sports events hosted by the King along with his most favourite game, Indian chess being portrayed in many of the paintings. Rounding off the collection is a set of musical instruments, ornamental furniture, Chinaware, sculptures and photographs. All in all, it is one of the most unique galleries in the world, coupled with its home being the famous Jaganmohan Palace of Mysore; it’s a destination that cannot be missed.
Bandipur National Park started its life as the Venugopala wildlife park, the private hunting reserve of the Maharajas of Mysuru. This nearly 900 square kilometers stretch of the dense Nilgiri biosphere, joins forces with adjunct forest reserves to present possibly one of the country’s richest animal citizenry. With over 70 Tigers, 3000 Asian Elephants, 4 horned antelopes, muggers, the flying snake, Asiatic wild dogs, sloth bears, leopards, Gaurs and more than 200 species of avian life, Bandipur National Park simply teems with wildlife. Bandipur is home to a wide range of timber trees including teak, rosewood , sandalwood Indian- laurel and the giant clumping bamboo. With the natural rivers of the Kabini in the North, Moyar in the south and the Nagur flowing through this beautiful wood land Bandipur is a hotspot for safaris, picnics, boating, birdwatching, fishing and trekking. The watering holes are excellent spots during summer to sight wild animals. The highest point in the park is on a hill called Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, where there is a Hindu temple at the summit. The Bandipur Tiger Reserve was established under Project Tiger in 1973 by adding nearly 800 km2 (310 sq mi) to the Venugopala Wildlife park. It lies 80 kms. from Mysore.
Mysore is home to the largest walk through aviary in India, which is located at Karangi Lake, which is surrounded by Butterfly Park.
These Mysore missiles were iron cased rockets fitted with swords in them. These rockets used to travel long, covering various kilometers up in the air before launching down. Tipu Sultan had written a Military Manual Fathul Mujahidin in which he explained the operation of these Mysore Rockets. This was mainly due to the iron tubes which were used for holding the rocket propellant. No wonder, it enabled greater thrust and extended distance up to 2 kms. These missiles in 1801,were worked upon in the Royal Arsenal lab UK for R&D by Col. (Later Sir) William Congreve to make the Congreve rocket. Congreve Rockets helped the British troops in the Napolenic Wars and also in the War of 1812.
Mysore is home to one of the oldest libraries in India, known as the Oriental Research Institute, which has a collection more than 50,000 palm leaf manuscripts that have been collected from personal collections from all across South India.
The origins of the Dussehra, some insist owes itself to the slaying of the demon Mahishasura by Goddess Durga or Chamundeshwari, who was manifested from the collected energies of all Gods. The Goddess engaged the demon in battle and killed many of his comrades, like Chanda and Muna (hence the name Chamundeshwari). On the tenth day of a grueling battle, the Goddess killed the demon and which came to be known as Vijayadashmi (10 th day of victory) in eastern India and Karnataka. The celebrations in Mysore, are most lavish as it is believed that the demon King Mahishasura belonged to Mysore. The 10 day event is celebrated with a spectacular scale.