Mysore, the cultural capital of Karnataka and the second largest city in the state is a famous tourist destination in South India known for its luxurious and majestic atmosphere. The old world attraction of Mysore city along with its well-clipped gardens, custom mansions and shady avenues leaves an never-ending memory in the minds of its visitors. According to a nationwide application accompanied by the Union Urban Development Authority in the year 2010, Mysore was declared the ‘second cleanest city’ in India and first in Karnataka.
The Mysore Palace dominates the skyline of the district. It was designed by the English architect, Henry Irwin. The Mysore Palace is a three storied structure constructed in the Indo Saracenic style.
Gorgeously designed square towers are situated at the cardinal point and are enclosed with domes. The decorative ceiling and sculpted pillars of Durbar Hall along with the Kalyana Mantapa (marriage pavillion) which has glassy tiled flooring, stained glass and domed ceiling are absolutely the charm of this majestic tradition. The golden howdah (elephant seat) along with knottily carved doors and fabulous paintings are among few other treasures of the Mysore Palace. The Residential Museum within the Mysore Palace incorporates some of the living quarters, temples and shrines including the Shweta Varahaswamy temple.The jewel encrusted golden throne is on display during special occasions like the festival of Dasara.
JaganMohan Palace of Mysore:
Jagan mohan Palace was built during the rule of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in 1861 to celebrate the marriage of his daughter. The palace is situated to the west of Mysore Palace and happened to be the residence of the king and his family from 1861 to 1912.It was converted into an art gallery and was renamed as Jaganmohan Palace Art Gallery in 1955 after Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar. The art gallery and museum were officially started in 1915. The main door of the museum which has intricate carvings was constructed within a span of 70 days.
Conjoint of the paintings displayed here represent the life and times of the Wodeyar kings and the famous Dasara festival. It houses the famous painting “The Lady with the Lamp” by S.L. Haldekar and moreover famous works by Nicholas Royrick, Raja Ravi Varma, Rabindranath Tagore and Rembrandt.A diverse collection of musical clock, various kinds of brass-ware, sculptures, coins and currencies can be found here. Jaganmohan palace has an auditorium which is occasionally used for cultural events like dance and music performances and especially during Dasara festival.
Brindavan Gardens of Mysore:
The gardens are built across river Cauvery and below Krishnaraja Sagar Dam which is in itself a splendid example of engineering and a major tourist attractions. The dam was built by Sir M. Vishweshwariah in 1924 whereas the Brindavan Gardens were built by Sir Mirza Ismail.Its symmetric design and terrace gardens clustered around topiaries, pergolas and gazebos instantly become a beloved among travellers. The brightened dancing fountains on the northern side of the Brindavan Gardens are surely one of the many highlights of this place. A beautiful orchestrated show with colorful lights, music and harmonious coupling of water can be seen after sunset. The show is made more dramatic with laser lights.
The garden has a botanical park as well as fountains. Boat rides in the lake can also be enjoyed here. Fruit orchard and horticulture farms are found adjoining to the Brindavan Gardens. Best time to visit the garden is after sunset as one can view the fountain show and enjoy a amusing evening.
Somanathapuram Temple in Mysore:
Somanathapuram Temple can be patterned near the Shivanasamudra Waterfalls. The temple is skillfully carved in star shape and consists of triple towers. Elaborate designs of Hoysala Architecture can be observed here.Images of caparisoned elephants, charging horsemen along with mythological birds and beast are arranged in rows on the outer walls of the temple. Sculpted images of gods and goddesses along with scenes from epics can be noticed here.
The temple is a world heritage site and is a must visit for history seekers as well as nature lovers. The temple is placed in an isolated location and serves as a peaceful retreat.
Lalitha Mahal of Mysore:
Located near Chamundi Hills, Lalitha Mahal transpires to be the second largest palace in Mysore. The architecture of this place has been enthused by St.Paul’s Cathedral in London. It was initially built for the viceroy of India but later on converted into a royal guest house. It was built by the Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV.
The overall architecture of the palace is a arrangement of Italian palazzo and English manor house. The Lalitha Mahal is sustained by ionic double columns and is a two storey mansion. Moreover, spherical domes surrounding the central dome beside with extended porch can be mentioned here. The interiors are built with stained glass used in windows, ceilings and doors. Italian marble floors, staircases along with crystal chandeliers from Belgium, long portraits of Wodeyar kings and Persian carpets are some of the exclusive attractions of this palace.
Railway Museum of Mysore :
The Railway Museum of Mysore is second only after the National Railway Museum, New Delhi. The museum is positioned in front of the Central Food and Technology Institute and was group in the year 1979.The Railway Museum has a number of galleries which represent the development and growth of railway systems in India. These can be noticed from the locomotives, photographs and painting depicted in these galleries. One can view the lights and signals which were originally used and even the mini railway which activated on battery.
The first engine ever used can be patterned at the entrance. A working model of the steam locomotive planned by technicians from Mechanical Department can be seen here. The museum includes mini rides on trains and a small kids’ play park.Dance room, banquet hall and the viceroy’s room have been retained in their original glory. At present, these are used as dining rooms or conference halls. A magnificent view of Chamundi Hills and the Mysore city can be seen from the balconies.
Chamundi Hills of Mysore:
Located 12 kms from Mysore are the Chamundi Hills which lie 3,489 ft. above ground. One can reach a topmost of the hills through a motor road or by climbing the 1000 steps which were made approximately 300 years ago. On reaching the top of the hill, one can visit the Dravidian Temple dedicated to Sri Chamundeshwari Devi who is regarded as the tutelary goddess of Mysore. She is also considered as an living form of Parvati and/or Durga.
The sculpture of Goddess Sri Chamundeshwari is situated on the Chamundi hills. The idol of the goddess abides twenty hands and a statue of a lion besides her. During 1600 AD, Raja Wodeyar built a gopura with four large pillar posts. These were removed when Krishnaraja Wodeyar III rebuilt the gopura. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III shielded it with golden finials along with a statue of himself and his three queens in the presence of the Goddess. In 1827, he made arrangement for festivals and processions.
Situated half way through the Chamundi Hills, one can spot a holy bull. It was a gift given by Doda Deva Raja and is considered as a resting colossal Nandi or the Vehicle of Lord Shiva. The eyes of the bull are half shut. It is 25 feet long and 16 feet high and is covered with with ropes, chains, bells and jewels of stone.
GETTING THERE – Mysore:
Nearest airport to Mysore is Bangalore (139 km). All the domestic airlines in the country operate their flights to Bangalore from all the major cities in the country. Some international airlines too have flights to Bangalore. Bangalore is to have an international airport shortly.
Mysore is connected with a number of trains to Bangalore. The superfast luxury train the Shatabdi Express connects Mysore to Madras. The quickest and most comfortable way to reach Mysore is via Bangalore.
Mysore is 139kms to the south west of Bangalore. The state highway that connects these two cities is very well maintained. Travelling from Bangalore to Mysore by road is a pleasant experience and will take about 3hrs. The Karnataka Road Transport Corporation has excellent bus service to Mysore. There are ordinary buses, semi-luxury buses and luxury buses operated by the Government of Karnataka. Every half an hour there is a non-stop bus to Mysore from Bangalore Bus Station. Corporations of other states and private tour operators have buses plying to Mysore as well. All these facilities have made Mysore extremely accessible by road.
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