The abode of Mahisha—Mahishuru, has now come to be anglicized and known popularly as Mysore. Mysore, or Mysuru, is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka, and perhaps the most visited city by tourists in the state, after the capital Bangalore. The city is known and loved for its rich history and beautiful heritage structures, and attracts tourists from all around the world, thus making it no surprise that tourism is a booming industry in this royal city. There is no dearth of things to do in Mysore and activities range from visiting the breath-taking palaces to trying out renown dishes to splurging at local artisan shops.
The rich heritage of the city comes from its tenure as the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore. The Kingdom had become a powerful presence during the reign of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan before the Anglo Mysore wars. Its cultural influence hence deems it worthy of being the cultural capital of Karnataka. If you are secretly a history nerd and enjoy visiting museums and places with strong pasts, this is the ideal holiday destination. Not only this, Mysore is also known for its delicious food, especially the sweet Mysore Pak which gets its name from the demon city itself. If this hasn’t convinced you yet, perhaps the wide range of things to do in Mysore will. Here is a list of the top 7 interesting things to do in Mysore:
Visit the Mysore Palace
Mysore palace should definitely be on your travel bucket list. The Ambavilas Palace, known commonly as the Mysore Palace, is a magnificent work of architecture. It lies in the heart of the city and faces the Chamundi Hills toward the East. With a fusion of Hindu, Mughal, Gothic and Rajput architectural styles, the domes of this palace are termed ‘Indo-Sarcenic’ – a style adopted classically by the British architects when constructing official buildings in the princely states of India. The Golden Throne is one of the most prominent sights at this palace and is usually kept dissembled in a safe room and brought out only during the Dasara festival for public sighting. There are sound and light programmes conducted every evening and special palace light illuminations on public holidays and weekends.
Take a stroll through the Brindavan Gardens
Spread across a vast 60 acres of land, the Brindavan Gardens lie in the Mandya district, adjoining the Krishnarajasagara dam which is another great place to visit when in Mysore. It is maintained by the Kaveri irrigation department and has a number of beautiful species of flora. The fountain shows in the garden and the boating in the waters of the dam close by are relaxing activities making the garden the perfect picnic spot for weekend outings with the family. The garden also has gazebos, animal sculptures made in shrub clippings, and picturesque passageways made by the entwining of creepers. All in all, it is a scenic destination for all the nature lovers out there.
Spend a day at the Mysore Zoo
Again, definitely on every ‘Things to do in Mysore’ list, the Mysore Zoo is a beloved family outing destination. It is one of the oldest zoos in the country and spans an expanse of over 150 acres of land. The zoo is known for its commendable population of over thirty elephants, and varieties of zebras, baboons, giraffes, tigers and rhinoceroses. The Karanji Lake and the Chamundi hills enclose the zoo from either side and make for scenic backdrops as well.
Tour the Railway Museum
The Railway Museum of Mysore is an establishment started in 1979 as an initiative by the Indian railways. It has an outdoor display of vintage locomotives and engines and a large gallery with pictures depicting the inauguration and growth of the rail systems of India. There is also a small toy-train that runs through the length of the museum along with realistic looking tracks and changing traffic signals along the course of its path. The train is battery operated and is a sight to behold.
Have your breath taken away by Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace
Again a classic example of the Indo-Sarcenic style, this was the summer residence of Tipu Sultan who is believed to have vowed to never use the palace until the British were overthrown. Following his death, the magnificent throne that was an awestriking presence was dismantled and sold by the British. It is located at the centre of what is Old Bangalore today. Tipu Sultan’s swords and armour, along with his regular clothes are displayed in the museum as is the replica of his famous Tiger, the original piece lying in the V&A Museum at London. The palace, also known as the Dariya Daulat palace, contributes to Mysore’s own name as the Palace City of India.
Let down your hair at the GRS Fantasy Park
If you want a break from the historical richness of the city and are looking for other kinds of things to do in Mysore, the GRS Fantasy Park might catchy your eye. Amusement parks have never ceased to entertain kids and adults alike, and the GRS park is no exception. With rides ranging from roller coasters to carousels to water splashes and long water slides, this fantasy park will leave you exhausted but happy by the end of the day. It is a great place to rejuvenate with your loved ones and bring out the inner child in you.
Plan your trip according to the Mysore Dasara festival
The Nadahabba (official state festival) of Mysore is Dussehra, or Dasara as it’s known in Mysore. The festival spans the course of ten days up until Vijayadasami and is celebrated with enormous joy and gaiety in the entire city. As mentioned before, it is the only time in the year when the throne of the Mysore palace is brought out for public viewing, making it a highly tourist populated time of the year. The goddess Chamundeshwari is believed to have killed the demon Mahishasura (after whom the city is named) and thus marks the victory of good over evil in the traditional Manichean setting. There is a magnificent procession that takes place accompanied by numerous stalls and exhibitions set up around the city during this time making it a must visit if in Mysore at that time.
If the sheer beauty of the city did not have you convinced at first sight, then the vast number of things to do in Mysore definitely would have. The summer temperatures of April-June could make it slightly unpleasant at these times, but the temperatures through the rest of the year remain moderate and pleasant making it easy to access at all these times. So educate yourself as you travel with your family this year and imbibe some heritage and culture in you and your child along the way. Plan a fun and safe trip to one of India’s cultural capitals now and be sure to book your stay with Sterling.