Home to an assortment of majestic palaces, royal mansions, lakes, scenic waterfalls and beautifully laid-out gardens, Mysore is stationed right at the foot of Chamundi hills in Karnataka. The best tourist places in Mysore are a unique blend of natural attractions, monuments and magnificent edifices.
Mysore was the former capital of the Kingdom of Mysore which was ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty until India gained independence in 1947. Given its rich cultural heritage, the city is famously known as the cultural capital of Karnataka.
The city of Mysore gets its name from Mahishuru, the city of demon king Mahisha. According to the legends, the wicked buffalo-headed demon was killed by the Goddess Chamundeshwari whose temple is located atop Chamundi hill.
Adorned with notable heritage structures, it has earned the moniker ‘City of Palaces’. The quaint charm and royal grandeur of the city leave visitors in awe of this place. Here is a rundown of the top 10 tourist places in Mysore to visit for a 2-day trip.
A Quick Glance Through
- How To Get To Mysore
- Top 10 Tourist Attractions
- Where To Stay
- Other Key Attractions Near Mysore
How To Get To Mysore
The nearest domestic airport is Mandakalli Airport in Mysore which has direct flight connectivity from cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Bangalore Airport is the nearest international airport that is well linked to many cities in and outside India. It is roughly 170 km away from Mysore city. Rented cabs and taxis are easily available at the airport to take you to your desired destination.
Mysore is well connected by a network of trains to the major cities of the country. Mysore railway station is about 2 km away from the city center. It has direct trains to and from cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Some of the direct trains running between Mysore and Bangalore include Chamundi Express, Kaveri Express and Mysore Express.
It takes nearly 3 hours to reach Mysore from Bangalore by road. Many buses also ply from Bangalore to Mysore at regular intervals. You can take a KSRTC bus or rent a cab to reach Mysore.
Top 10 Tourist Attractions
With a number of imposing places to see you may feel that even two days are not enough to visit all the prominent spots in Mysore.
This meticulously designed itinerary will help you cover the prime tourist places in Mysore including famous heritage structures, sacred temples and nature attractions in 2 days.
1. Mysore Palace
A masterpiece displaying Indo-Saracenic architecture, Mysore Palace is a magnificent heritage edifice located in the center of the Mysore city facing the Chamundi hills.
The palace stands as the royal residence of Wodeyar rulers who ruled the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947.
This splendid building houses two durbar halls, a number of huge courtyards, buildings and breathtakingly beautiful gardens. It offers a unique opportunity to experience the royalty and grandness with which the Wodeyar kings used to live.
This palace is amongst one of the must-visit tourist places in Mysore. There are three entrance gates for visitors – Varaha and Amba Vilas gate at the south and Jayarama Balarama gate at the north. It is open every day from 10 am to 5:30 pm.
Lit with almost 97000 bulbs in the evening on Sundays and public holidays this palatial edifice looks like a glowing bride.
You can enjoy a spectacular light and sound show (Son et lumière) at the palace depicting the glorious past of Mysore.
It is organised every day for an hour in the late evening except Sundays and government holidays.
2. Jaganmohan Palace
Another marvellous example of Wodeyars architectural brilliance, Jaganmohan Palace was the residence of the royals of Mysore for 15 years from 1897 to 1912.
Owing to a fire in Mysore Palace which destroyed the entire old structure, the royal family stayed in this palace until the construction of the new Mysore Palace.
In 1915 the palace was converted into an art gallery housing some of the finest collections of artifacts including prominent paintings by the famous Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma.
It is open for tourists from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm from Monday to Sunday.
3. Kukkarahalli Lake
Placed right in the heart of Mysore city in the vicinity of the University of Mysore, the picturesque J-shaped Kukkarahalli lake offers an ideal ambience to spend some quality time in nature’s midst.
The lake is spread over an area of 62 hectares (150 acres). It was created in the year 1864 at the behest of king Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, a great ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore.
Enjoy a boat ride in the lake or take a walk along the shoreline which is quite a refreshing experience.
There are shaded stone benches along the walkway for visitors to sit and enjoy the charming beauty of the lake. With the lofty Chamundi hills in the backdrop, it offers mesmerising views of the sunset.
Counted as one of the Important Bird Areas in Karnataka, the lake serves as a breeding ground for several bird species like openbill stork, little cormorant and spot-billed pelicans.
Kukkarahalli Lake is amongst one of the prime tourist places in Mysore city for nature lovers.
4. Chamundi Hills And Chamundeshwari Temple
Perched at an elevation of 3,300 ft (1,000 metres) and about 13 km away from Mysore, lies the sublime Chamundi hills. The sacred hills find mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures.
Visitors can get splendid views of Mysore city from the hilltop.
Located atop the hills is the holy Chamundeshwari temple dedicated to the goddess Chamundi.
The temple is one of the most prominent tourist places in Mysore which gets thousands of visitors every month. There are about 1000 steps from the foot of the hills leading to the temple.
The history of the temple dates back to a mythical past when the demon king Mahishasura was slain by the goddess Chamundi.
The temple also features a statue of Mahishasura bearing a sword in one hand and cobra in the other hand.
The temple of goddess Chamundeshwari is considered a Shakti Peetha (powerful energy centre) and is one among the eighteen Maha Shakti Peethas. Goddess Chamundi is a manifestation of Devi Parvati, the divine spouse of Shiva.
Patronised by the rulers of Mysore Kingdom, the temple was renovated in 1827 during the reign of Wodeyar king Krishnaraja Wodeyar III.
A grand Dussehra celebration is organised in Mysore every year to mark the victory of the goddess Chamundeshwari over the devil king.
The temple boasts of Dravidian-style architecture which has a quadrangular structure with an impressive seven-tier Gopura (pyramidal tower) and a grand entrance embellished with precious metals.
The temple is open for darshan (visit) and pooja (worship) from 7:30 am to 2 pm, 3:30 pm to 6 pm and 7:30 pm to 9 pm while the Abhisheka timings are 6 am to 7:30 am and 6 pm to 7.30 pm and on Fridays 5 am to 6:30 am.
5. Sri Nandi Temple
There is a huge sculpture of Nandi, Lord Shiva’s bull en route to Chamundeshwari temple. About 16 ft in height and 24 feet long, it is regarded as one of the largest statues of Nandi in India.
The charming pendant bells around the neck of the Nandi bull make the statue look even more impressive.
Get rewarded with the stunning views of Mysore city as you climb higher to reach the temple.
6. Karanji Lake
Surrounded by a beautiful park Karanji lake is spread across an area of 90 hectares. The picturesque lake is situated merely 2 km away from the famous Mysore Palace.
The lake was originally built as a percolation tank by the King of Mysore about 100 years back to meet the daily needs of the citizens.
It supports and nurtures a diverse species of resident and migratory birds. Some of the commonly spotted birds include pond herons, egrets, kingfishers and painted storks.
A lazy boat ride in the lake offers opportunities to admire the beauty of these colourful birds. In addition, It has a butterfly park, a walk-through aviary, beautifully laid out walkways and picnic spots.
This aviary is said to be the biggest ‘walk-through aviary’ in India. Boating is another leisurely activity you can enjoy here with family and kids.
Karanji lake is owned and maintained by Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens (Mysore Zoo).
7. Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens
Commonly referred as Mysore Zoo, Shri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens is placed adjacent to Karanji lake.
One of the oldest zoos of the country, it was established in 1892 by the Kings of Mysore as part of the summer palace of Maharaja Sri Chamaraja Wodeyar. It features as one of the most popular tourist places in Mysore.
Sprawling over an area of 157 acres (64 hectares) the zoo houses several endangered animals and rare birds brought here from all over the world.
Some of the key mammals in the park include tiger, jaguar, giraffe, bear, antelope, elephant, African rhino and many kinds of primates.
The zoo provides shelter to rescued animals and birds from all across the country. The zoo’s one of its kind initiative to adopt your favourite animal has contributed significantly towards conserving wildlife.
8. Shuka Vana
Located merely 3 km away from the Mysore Zoo Shuka Vana is a walk-through aviary hosting more than 450 species of rare and exotic birds.
The aviary is part of Avadhoota Datta Peetham Ashram founded by Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji.
It also acts as a rehabilitation center for injured and abandoned birds. This Mysore aviary holds Guinness world record for hosting the most bird species in an aviary. Shuka Vana is one of the must-see tourist places in Mysore for nature lovers.
The aviary is open for visitors on all days except Wednesdays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm.
9. Kishkindha Moolika Bonsai Garden
Touted as one of the biggest bonsai gardens in the country, the Kishkindha Moolika Bonsai Garden is a part of Avadhoota Datta Peetham Ashram.
The main attraction of the garden is more than 250 varieties of bonsai trees on display. Trees are said to be grouped reflecting various themes including Indian music, Indian sages, zodiac signs.
It is a perfect place for those who want to escape the monotony of city life and delve into nature’s beauty.
10. Brindavan Gardens
A sprawling garden near Mysore laid adjacent to Krishnaraja Sagar Dam, Brindavan Gardens is spread over a whopping 60 acres (24 hectares) land area.
This landmark attraction is placed in the historical town Srirangapatna in Mandya district about 21 km away from Mysore.
The garden is the brainchild of Sir Mirza Ismail, the then Deewan of Kingdom of Mysore.
Started in the year 1927, it took almost 5 years to lay out the garden. The design of the garden is said to be inspired by the Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir.
Comprising of a wide array of terraced gardens, fountains and huge lawns this place mesmerises everyone with its unparalleled natural beauty.
The Illuminated fountains dancing to the tunes of music, popularly referred to as musical fountain, is a major highlight of this place.
You may also like: 15 of The Most Magnificent Gardens in India
The awe-inspiring beauty and vibrant ambience of Brindavan Gardens earn it a mention in the list of the best tourist places in Mysore.
To make your visit more enjoyable, go boating in the serene waters of the river Cauvery that flows through this lovely garden.
This place is open for visitors on all days from 6:30 am to 8 pm (weekdays) and 6:30 am to 9 pm (weekends).
Daily evening illumination is done from 7 pm to 8 pm. Musical fountain timing for weekdays (Monday – Friday) is from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm and weekends (Saturday – Sunday) timing is from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
Where To Stay
Now, since you know which are the must-visit tourist places in Mysore. The only thing you need to complete your ideal trip is to book your stay. Let me help you with the best places to stay in Mysore.
Royal Orchid Metropole
Located in the heart of the city, Royal Orchid Metropole is a heritage hotel. It lies hardly a few meters away from the Mysore Junction Railway Station.
This property once belonged to the Maharajas of Mysore and served as their royal guest house. The rooms are elegantly decorated to give a royal feeling to the guests.
Shikari, an open-air barbeque restaurant is truly a delight for foodies. It serves up lip-smacking kebabs and tikkas.
The hotel also features a big courtyard with plenty of greenery. Besides that, there is a dedicated play area for kids. The iconic Mysore Palace is just about 10-15 minutes drive from the hotel.
Grand Mercure Mysore
Grand Mercure Mysore is another fantastic place to stay in the center of the city.
It is in proximity to some of the famous tourist places in Mysore, including Jagmohan Palace and Mysore Palace. From the hotel, these attractions are located within 15 to 20 minutes driving distance.
The hotel offers an excellent range of facilities like a rooftop swimming pool, spa, gym, poolside restaurant and kids play area. In addition, it also has an all-day fine dine restaurant – La Uppu. They serve a variety of Indian delicacies as well as international cuisine.
Other Key Attractions Near Mysore
A man-made scenic waterfall over the Cauvery river, Balmuri falls gets birth from a check dam built across the river. The sparkling waters of the river gush down from a moderate height of 6 ft.
It is a popular picnic spot placed in Srirangapatna at a distance of around 18 km from Mysore city.
Away from the hustle-bustle of the city, it is an idyllic spot to relax in the serene ambience and admire the picturesque surroundings.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
Nestled on the banks of the river Cauvery, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a popular bird sanctuary in Karnataka.
Dr. Salim Ali, India’s renowned ornithologist, persuaded the then King of Mysore to declare this area as a bird sanctuary.
Eventually, the river island of Ranganathittu became a bird sanctuary in 1940. It is spread over an area of 0.1 sq km (67 hectares).
The sanctuary is a bird-photography hotspot that offers wonderful birdwatching opportunities near Mysore. It also attracts many birding enthusiasts and weekend travelers from Bangalore.
Also Read: 12 Awesome 2-Day Trips From Bangalore.
The sanctuary lies at a distance of 3 km from the heritage town Srirangapatna and 16 km from the city of Mysore.
It comprises six beautiful islets that serve as a nesting ground to a variety of birds, such as painted stork, Indian shag, stork-billed kingfisher and Oriental darter.
Several kinds of migratory birds from Siberia and Latin America visit the sanctuary during winters to breed.
Lord Srikanteshwara Temple
About 27 km away from the holy Chamundeshwari temple and 25 km from Mysore city center, the Srikanteshwara Temple is situated in Nanjangud town.
It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is situated on the right bank of the river Kapila (Kabini) which is a tributary of the river Cauvery, one of the major rivers in India.
According to legends, a poison came out during the process of great churning of the Ocean of Milk. Lord Shiva consumed the poison to save the world from destruction. That is why the deity got the name Srikanteshwara which literally means “God with poison in his throat”
As an ancient pilgrimage center of southern India, it is one of the famous tourist places in Mysore district. It is believed that the waters and the soil around the river banks possess curative properties.
The temple is open for visitors and devotees from 6 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 8:30 pm.
Renowned as the largest teaching center of the Nyingma lineage of Buddhism in the world Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe is located about 88 km away from Mysore.
It offers a great opportunity for visitors to get a glimpse of the great Buddhist culture and their way of living.
The settlement is home to nearly 5000 monks and nuns. It houses beautiful temples and magnificent prayer halls with paintings and carvings on the walls depicting the life of Buddha and his disciples.
Padmasambhava Buddhist Vihara, also known as the golden temple, is the main temple of the monastery. It has three majestic statues of Buddha which measure more than 50 ft in height.
Over To You Now…
Which all tourist places in Mysore have you visited? Tell us in the comment section below.
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