Photo Credit : Ian Kenn
Mysuru or Mysore, the previous capital city of Karnataka situated at the base of the Chamundi Hills is one of the most prominent tourist areas of India. It is also known as the Palace City of India.
- Mysore Palace:
Mysore Palace is the official residence and seat of the Wodeyars — the rulers of Mysore. The palace houses two durbar halls (ceremonial meeting halls of the royal court) and incorporates a mesmerizing and gigantic array of courtyards, gardens, and buildings. The palace is in the central region of inner Mysore, facing the Chamundi Hills eastward.
The architectural style of domes of the palace is normally described as Indo-Saracenic and blends Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles. It is a three-story stone structure with marble domes and a 145 ft five-story tower. The palace is bounded by a large garden. The entrance gate and arch hold the emblem and coat of arms of the kingdom of Mysore.
The Golden throne is one of the main attraction of Mysore Palace .It is both antique and sacred. The very sight of the throne itself is considered as privilege. The palace has three entrances: the East Gate, the South Entrance and the West Entrance.
In addition, there are numerous secret tunnels from the palace cellar leading to Srirangapatna, other palaces, and confidential areas.The palace features a number of unique rooms.
Ambavilasa, Gombe Thotti (Doll’s Pavilion) Kalyana Mantapa and other rooms like the Diwan-e-aam, a public durbar where the general population could meet the king at scheduled times to submit petitions; an armory which contains arms used by the members of the royal family.
The palace complex includes twelve Hindu temples. The oldest was built in the 14th century, while the most recent was built in 1953.
- Lalitha Maha:
The second largest palace located near the Chamundi Hills. The palace was built by Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV in 1921 for the exclusive stay of the Viceroy of India.
The palace is pure white in color and is built in the style of Italian palazzos with twin ionic columns and domes. It also has a sprawling terrace and landscaped gardens.
- Jaganmohan Palace:
Jaganmohan Palace was constructed in 1861 and was initially used by the Wodeyars, kings of Mysore as their home. It is now converted into an art gallery and a function hall. The palace is one of the seven palaces of the royal city of Mysore and one of the most beautiful contributions of the Wodeyar Kings of the city during their regime.
- Brindavan Gardens
Brindavana Gardens located in the Mandya one of the major attractions of Srirangapatna ( 25kms from Mysore ). It lies adjoining the Krishnarajasagara dam which is built across the river Kaveri and visited by close to 2 million tourists per year.
The garden is maintained by the Cauvery Irrigation Department and the garden is open to the public and an entry-fee is charged. The garden also has topiary works, pergolas and gazebos. The main attraction of the park is the musical fountain in which bursts of water are synchronized to the music of songs. There is a lake within the garden with boating facilities available for visitors.
- Happy Man Park
It is a very popular spot among children and parents. The park is quite compact in size and houses a mini zoo. The park is landscaped with a stream and wooden bridges. Music is played through loudspeakers scattered around the park. The main attraction of the park is a statue of a ‘Happy Man’ with a pot belly representing the “Laughing Buddha”.
- Regional Museum of Natural History:
This museum is located on the banks of the Karanji lake in Mysore and houses exhibits related to biological diversity, ecology, and geology of Southern India.
- Wax Museum – Melody World:
This museum is based on music and musical instruments. This one-of-its kind museum exhibits over 100 life-size wax statues and over 300 musical instruments categorized in various bands and stage settings.
Representing Stone Age to Modern instruments, some of the bands and genres displayed are Indian Classical North & South, Punjabi Bhangra, South Indian, Jazz, Rock, Middle East etc. It was established in October 2010.
- Mysore Zoo:
Mysore Zoo one of the city’s most popular attractions officially known by Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens is a zoo located near the palace in Mysore. It is one of the oldest and most popular zoos in India, and is home to a wide range of species. Mysore Zoo was created in 1892 in the summer palace of Maharaja Sri Chamaraja Wodeyar, and was originally called the Palace Zoo.
The zoo was originally set up by G.H. Krumbeigal, a German landscaper and horticulturist. Over the next 10 years the zoo was expanded with spacious fields. The zoo was opened to the public in 1902, and now includes a bandstand and an artificial lake. It was given to the Department of Parks and Gardens of the Mysore State Government in 1948.
The zoo was expanded first with the acquisition of the Karanji Tank (Karanji reservoir), in which an artificial island has been created as a sanctuary for birds.The zoo was handed over to the Forest Department in 1972, and was entrusted to Zoo Authority of Karnataka in 1979. The zoo had completed 100 years in 1992. The centenary celebrations were held in 1990 and 91.
- Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary:
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Mandya is also known as Pakshi Kashi of Karnataka. It is the largest bird sanctuary in the state which is about 40 acres and comprises six islets on the banks of the River Kaveri. The islets came into being in 1648.
The ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali observed that the isles formed a nesting ground for birds, and persuaded the Wodeyar kings of Mysore to declare the area a wildlife sanctuary in 1940.Roughly 170 birds have been recorded here. Of these, the painted stork, Asian openbill stork, common spoonbill, woolly-necked stork, black-headed ibis, lesser whistling duck, Indian shag, stork-billed kingfisher, egret, cormorant, Oriental darter, and heron breed here regularly.
The great stone plover and river tern also nest here. The park is dwelling to a large flock of streak-throated swallows. About 50 pelicans have made Ranganathittu as their permanent home. During the months of January and February, more than 30 species of birds are found and the season of the sanctuary is from November to June.
- Shivanasamudra Falls:
It is the second largest waterfall in India situated on the banks of the river Kaveri. This is a segmented waterfall having an average width of 849 meters and height of 90 m.
Gaganachukki on the left is a large horsetail waterfall and Barachukki on the right is a jagged crashing cascading waterfall. Asia’s first hydro-electric power station, still functional, is located at the waterfall. The electricity produced here was initially used in the Kolar Gold Fields.