The charming city of Mysore in one of Southern India’s most popular destinations, and boasts an array of historic temples, skilled craftsmanship and a pleasant climate. Mysore is a joy to simply stroll around and dilapidated pre-Independence buildings imbue the city with an understated grandeur. Renowned for its silk, incense and sandalwood production, Mysore has recently established itself as an international centre of Ashtanga yoga.
Our sample tour ideas in Mysore
Mysore is frequently referred to as the ‘City of Palaces’, and the Maharaja’s Palace- an extravagant structure topped with multiple brass-plated domes- is the city’s crowning glory. The former residence of the Wodeyar dynasty, the Maharaja’s palace was completed in 1912 after the previous wooden palace was destroyed in 1897 by fire. The lavish interior demonstrates an astonishing fusion of styles, both from India and around the world. Best viewed on Sunday nights and during festivals when lit by 5,000 or so light-bulbs, creating a magical spectacle.
The Jaganmohan Palace was constructed in 1861 as a royal residence, but was transformed into a museum and picture gallery in 1915. The collection is varied, featuring painting, games, musical instruments and religious sculpture. On the first floor you can see works of art by the revolutionary artist Raja Ravi Varma, who is credited with introducing modern painting techniques into Indian art.
Devaraja Market & Government Cauvery Arts and Crafts Emporium
Devaraja Market on Sayaji Rao Road is one of India’s most atmospheric produce markets. This enormous complex, formed of hundreds of covered stalls, sells an array of vibrant and mouth-watering fruits and vegetables. The Government Cauvery Arts and Crafts Emporium is located on the same road and is a great place to acquaint yourself with the local crafts for sale at the many souvenir stalls.
3km southeast of the city is Chamundi Hill, offering excellent views of Mysore. At the summit of the hill is a twelfth-century temple to the dedicated deity of the Mysore rajas – the goddess Chamundi, who conquered the demon buffalo Mahishasura. A solid gold figure of Chamundi adorns the temple’s interior, whilst the formidable figure of Mahishasura can be spotted in the courtyard. The top of the hill is accessible by bus. The walk back down is roughly thirty minutes and affords a chance to see the five-metre statue of Shiva’s Bull, Nandi, carved in 1659 from black granite.