Mysore, the Southern Delight in the heart of Karnataka, is the city of Sandalwood and Tipu Sultan, where history meets luxury. There is no direct flight from Kolkata to Mysore, so we took Kolkata – Bangalore flight. Mysore is around 160 KM from Bangalore and is well accessible by road and train. Approximately it took us 4 hours in car.
While talking about the places to see, the two things that comes to our mind are the Mysore Palace and Tipu Sultan’s palace, but trust me there is much more to see apart from these. The Mysore Palace is a beautifully made colourful structure which proudly speaks the artistic taste of the Wodeyar dynasty. The main attractions of the palace as per me are the beautifully decorated Ambavilasa (Diwan-e-Khas) and Public Darbar Hall (Diwan- e- Aam). The Sri Shweta Varahaswamy Temple is located at the southern entrance of Mysore Palace. It is a famous ancient temple of Mysore and is a popular tourist and pilgrimage destination. Unfortunately till the time we were there the temple was closed.
Dasara is a major festival of Mysore. It is a 10-day festival culminating on Vijayadashami or tenth day during Navratri. On Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession (locally known as Jumboo Savari) is held on the streets of Mysore city. The main attraction of this Dasara festival is the Mysore Palace which is illuminated with nearly 100,000 light bulbs from 7 pm to 10 pm on all days of the festival.
Our next day started with the blessings of Chamumdeshwari Devi. The Chamundeshwari Temple is located on the top of Chamundi Hills about 13 km from Mysore. To avoid the rush of devotees, its better to leave for the temple early. The hill top offers an attractive bird’s eye view of Mysore city and far off places. There is a huge monolith statue of ‘Nandi” on this hill. Though there is a motorable road to the Chamundeshwari temple, you may try climbing the steps (approx 300) from this Nandi hill to the temple.
From the temple we went to the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens. It is a beautiful, well maintained zoo which spreads over 157-acres and houses more than 160 species. Do wear comfortable shoes. There are battery run vehicles (chargeable) to take you around. This might give comfort to your feet but to enjoy the true beauty of this zoo it’s better to walk.
Our next destination was the St. Philomena’s Cathedral. It is an exquisite example of Non Gothic style and is one of the tallest churches in Asia. After spending 15-20 minutes in the church complex we left for Srirangapatna. The Dariya Daulat Bagh (Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace) is one of the major attractions of Srirangapatna. There is a small museum inside this teak-wood palace showcasing various achievements of Tipu Sultan and his administration. The palace is surrounded by a well maintained garden. Though I love to visit historical places most,to be honest I found this spot not that appealing. From the palace we went to Tipu Sultan’t Tomb. The Gumbaz holds the graves of Tippu Sultan, his father Hyder Ali and his mother Fakr-Un-Nisa. There are graves of his family members in the other chambers.
Next we headed towards the Srirangapatnam Fort followed by Brindavan Gardens. This magnificent fort is considered to be the second toughest fort of India. Tipu Sultan’s residence was inside this fort. Hence, it is also known as Tipu Sultan Fort. The British demolished the major part of the fort. So at resent only the remnants are present. From the fort we left towards Bridavan Garden. It is one of the most beautifully laid out terrace gardens in the world located in the Krishnaraja Sagar dam site. It is enriched with a number of terraces, fountains, running and cascading waterchannels, water chutes, floral beds etc. There is a light and sound show scheduled everyday at 7 pm. So if you are interested to watch that try to come here around 5:30 so that you can enjoy both sun and the show.
Mysore is a shoppers paradise. So if you are a shopaholic like me, you might end up spending a couple of thousands. Here you will get world famous fine Mysore Silk sarees, sandalwood oil, sandalwood soaps, perfumes, incense sticks, sandalwood showpieces, Channapatna Toys, chocolate etc. Apart from sandalwood, Mysore is also famous for the delicacy, Mysore Pak. It’s a sweet made of ghee, besan and dryfruits. Even if you are a diet conscious, you should try at least a small bite of it. You can go to Mahalakshmi Sweets as it is famous for Mysore Pak.
Next day our flight was scheduled from Bangaluru. So here comes the end to this short Southern splendour trip. On the way to the airport we took one stop at Channapatna. Here on the roadside you will find couple of outlets selling colourful wooden toys. I have wooden toys back at home but when the finishing the toys is really great how can a shopper likr me resist the urge? So I bagged a couple of those also. For the Bollywood lovers there is one spot on the way. The blockbuster Sholay was filmed here. The Ramgarh village which is the primary backdrop of the movie is actually the Ramnagar town. Our driver showed us few hills and mounds where Gabbar Singh might have uttered his 1st dialogue “Kitne admi the”.
The trip which started as an official tour ultimately got enriched with the flavours of the southern spices. Mysore has things to offer to all type of travellers. I wish we could have managed to get a couple of more days off from our office and would have covered the nearby destinations aswell.