Mysore, the city of places is a city for every traveler. This cultural capital of Karnataka, not only offers richness of past but also presents a beautiful amalgamation of historical splendour with the scenic beauty of nature which is dotted with lakes, waterfalls and gardens. There are many popular places to see in Mysore, each promising a unique experience to the visitors.
The places to visit in Mysore vary from highly revered religious places to harmony inducing scenic sites. However, if you are still pondering over what to see in Mysore then choose a few or all of these sightseeing places of Mysore for a memorable trip.
Undoubtedly the most popular tourist attraction of Mysore, Mysore Maharaja Palace is located in the heart of Mysore city. Known for its renowned Mysore Dussehra Festival, it is one of the largest palaces in India. This palace was designed by a known British architect, Henry Irwin.
Residence of Mysore kings Wodeyars, the present structure of the palace was built in 1912 when the previous wooden building caught fire during a wedding ceremony of Chamaraja Wodeyar eldest daughter Jayalakshammanni. This palace is known for its architectural beauty which combines Muslim, Gothic, Hindu and Rajput style of architecture as well as Indo-Saracenic architecture.
It is said to be the fourth building to be constructed on the same location. An imposing structure, it is almost impossible to miss it for anyone on Mysore tour. Located at the Sayyaji Rao Road, Agrahara, Chamrajpura, it opens at 10 AM and closes by 5.30 PM.
One can enter the palace through four majestic arched gates which lead to the beautiful garden surrounding the palace. Durbal Hall, Royal Howdah, Sri Lakshmi Ramana Swami Temple and the Private Durbar (Amba Vilas Palace) are some of the places to be visited within the palace. The sound and light at the Mysore Maharaja Palace is also not to be left when visiting Mysore.
Built in 1905, for Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar’s eldest daughter, Jayalakshmi Vilas Palace also used to be called First Rajkumari Mansion. One of the most beautiful palaces in Mysore, it has been declared as a heritage site by the government of Karnataka.
This palace houses three museums namely Folklore Museum, Archaeology Museum and General Museum. This spacious palace, which is spread over 6 acres of land, has around 125 rooms and more than 250 carved doors and windows. It is located near another popular Mysore attraction Kukkarahalli Lake.
It is the second largest church in South Asia. It was built by Mysore King for the European residents of Mysore, setting an example of religious harmony and understanding. This church is dedicated to St. Philomena.
Boasting of more than 200 years of historical relevance, this Church is indeed a place to visit in Mysore. Initially a small church, it was later renovated into its present grandeur by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar. Located at the Lourdes Nagar, Ashoka Road, it opens for devotees and visitors at 5 in the morning till 6 in the evening.
Golden temple is located in Bylakuppe which is the second largest Tibetan settlement outside Tibet. Located around 80 km away from Mysore, it is a place worth visiting. Established by His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche in 1933, this monastery presents a serene spiritual atmosphere along with a captivating architecture.
This temple is adorned with detailed colourful paintings which present a glimpse into the Buddhist Mythology. Adding further to its beauty are the enchanting scenic surroundings. You can visit Namdroling Monastery from 7 AM to 8 PM.
No trip to Mysore is complete without a visit to the highly regarded Chamundeshwari Temple. Not only religiously inclined, this temple attracts nature lovers too. Located on top of Chamundi Hills, this temple has been built in Dravidian architectural style. The main deity of this temple is Goddess Chamundeshwari, who is also considered at the deity of Mysore Royal family.
Majestic Chamundeshwari Temple stands beautifully with the backdrop of natural beauty, making for sight worth capturing. The 360 degree view of Mysore from the hills is also admirable.
One can visit the temple from 7.30 AM to 2 PM in the morning, 3.30 to 6 in the evening and again from 7.30 to 9 in night. Walls carved intricately, an imposing seven tier gopuram, silver gates and majestic pillars makes the Chamundeshwari Temple even more alluring.
06. Chamundi Hills
Chamundi Hills in Mysore is popular not only for the Chamundeshwari Temple but also for its absolutely stunning scenic beauty. Although popular perception is that Chamundi hills is a place for religious visitors or those on a spiritual journey, these hills are among the must-visit places for photographers, nature lovers to adventure seekers as well.
Accessible either through stone stairs or by road, the hills present a peaceful getaway from the city life. It is located around 13 km away from Mysore city.
Popularly known as KRS Dam, this dam was built in 1932 during the reign of Wodeyar Kings. Named after Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, it is the creation of Sir M. Vishweshwaraiah, who is considered to be one of the best engineers of India.
Built over Cauvery River, this dam is also the first irrigation dam of India. It is 130 feet high and has 152 sluice gates. About 3km long, this dam is around 20 km away from the Mysore city. Illuminated gardens and lush green landscapes add to the beauty of the entire area. The backwaters of KRS Dam present an equally enchanting view. Brindavan Gardens, another iconic sightseeing place, is located in its proximity.
Located at the foothills of Chamundi Hills, it is the second largest palace of Mysore. This palace was designed by E.W. Fritchley. The structure of this palace is believed to be an imitation of St. Paul’s Cathedral which is located in London. It was built in 1921, by the Mysore King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV to serve as a guest house for the then Viceroy of India. Later on it served as a royal guest house.
In 1974, Lalitha Mahal Palace was converted into a luxurious heritage hotel. It is currently maintained by the Ashok Group of India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).
Its architectural brilliance with pure white structure, imposing around lush greenery which has been, carefully maintained is a sight to be behold. Its grandeur along with the luxury and comfort of a royal stay attracts many guests from all over the world. At Lalitha Mahal Nagar, Siddhartha Layout, this palace is easy to locate and opens from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Gumbaz consists of the tombs of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. It is located in Srirangapatna which is about 15 km from Mysore. It was built by Tipu Sultan in 1784 as tombs of his father Hyder Ali and mother. Later on in 1799 AD, Tipu Sultan was also buried here.
Standing in the midst of Lalbagh Gardens, these tombs captivate everyone with historical significance and alluring architecture alike. Their structure is found to be similar to that of Golconda Tombs. These tombs with a height of 20 meters are built in the Persian style of architecture. Visiting timings are 8 AM to 6 PM.
Located in Somnathpur, about 35 km away from Mysore, Chennakeshava Temple is one of the best examples of Hoysala architecture. Standing on a raised platform, this temple is a Trikuta. It consists of three shrines. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple was built in 1268 during the reign of King Narasimha III.
A heritage site, this religious shrine is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). This temple has also been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site. It opens every day for visitors from 9 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening with a minimal fee of Rs.5 for Indian tourists and Rs.100 for foreign tourists.
Located inside the Mysore Palace Complex, this temple is on its north eastern corner. Trinesvaraswamy Temple stands facing the Mysore Fort. Built in the Dravidian style, this temple is dedicated to three-eyed Lord Shiva, often referred as Trinesvara.
Initially located on the Banks of Doddakere, this temple came under the premises of the fort when the fort was extended during Kanthirava Narasaraja Wodeyar and Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar rule. The temple too has been renovated under the reign of Maharajas of Mysore.
Lakes in Mysore
Mysore tour is incomplete without a visit to its lakes. This historical town boasts of a few breathing lakes, which ensure an enriching trip. After visiting marvellous monuments, one must visit one or two of the lakes and spend some time amid the serenity of nature.
12. Lingabudi Lake
Located in Srirampura which is 8 km from the centre of city, Lingabudi Lake is a freshwater lake. Built in 1828 by Mysore king Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, this lake is the one of the oldest lakes in Mysore. It is also considered to be the largest lake of Mysore with an area of 260 acres. If you are looking for an hour or two of complete peacefulness then visit this lake.
It attracts visitors with its bewitching scenery. Not just humans, it is an equally popular place amid the avian fauna. Verditer Flycatcher, Brown-headed Gull, White Ibis, open billed storks, little cormorants, egrets, river terns, Pied Avocet and Common Teal are just a few birds that one can commonly spot at the lake. As many as 250 varieties of birds are found around the Lingabudi lake.
13. Karanji Lake
Initially built as a source of drinking water and as a source of water for day to day chores, Karanji Lake was built by Mysore Maharaja. However, later in 1976, this lake became a part of Mysore zoo and since then it is maintained by Mysore Zoo authority. This lake is spread over 90 acres of land and is often referred to as the fountain lake.
Located at the Chamundi foothills, it has the largest walk-through aviary in the country. Not only visitors seeking a captivating view and serene waters, this lake attracts a lot of birdwatchers as well. More than 147 species of birds are seen here. The Regional Museum of Natural History, Butterfly Park are other attractions at the Karanji Lake.
Built in 1864, this lake was the brainchild of Krishnaraja Wodeyar. Spread over 58 hectares, Kukkarahalli Lake is often visited by nature lovers. Its 5 km long shoreline is also a major attraction point apart from the rich avian fauna. Close to 180 varieties of birds can be spotted around the lake.
Its scenic beauty has mesmerised many painters and poets such as Gopalakrishna Adiga, S.L. Bhyrappa, T.S. Venkannaiah, A.N. Murthy Rao, G.S. Shivarudrappa, V. Seetharamaiah, who have praised this lake in their creations. Situated in Saraswathipuram, near the University of Mysore, it is easily accessible. It is only 3 km away from the Mysore railway station.
Art and Museums in Mysore
The city of Mysore presents a rich cultural and historical heritage, which is often seen in the various museums and art galleries that it presents everyone with.
Mysore rail museum promises a unique experience to its visitors. One of its kind, this museum was established in 1979 by Indian Railways. Another similar kind of Museum is located in Delhi- National Railway Museum.
This museum displays a wide array of locomotives along with pictures and items from various stages of Indian railways development. It boasts of an extensive range varying from ancient parts to the kinds which are still in operation at the Indian Railways. Located on the KRS Road, it is easily accessible as it is quite close to the Mysore railway station. It is open from 10 in the morning till 5 in the night.
At a distance of around 3 km from Mysore Palace, on the Vihara Marg, Kurubara Halli, this is another popular and unique museum of Mysore city. Housed inside a heritage building, this museum has the largest collection of musical instruments in Karnataka.
Apart from varied traditional and ancient musical instruments, the other major attraction here are the life size wax statues of musicians in traditional attires playing different instruments. There are 19 galleries in the museum and each gallery presents awe striking sculptures. This museum was built in 2010 by an IT professional Shreeji Bhaskaran. You can visit the Melody wax Museum from 9.30 AM till 7.30 PM.
The first sand sculpture museum in the entire country, it is a unique and comparatively new addition to the list of sightseeing places in Mysore. Inaugurated in 2014, this museum showcases a wide array of brilliantly sculpted sand creations. This museum is a brainchild of M.N. Gowri, who is one of the very few women sculptors in India.
One of its kinds in India, Mysore sand sculpture museum, presents sculptures made just out of sand and water, depicting unparalleled craftsmanship, precision and creative excellence. A 3-dimensional selfie gallery has also been added to the museum in 2017.
Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum presents 16 different themes of sculptors. Some of the themes are Dasara procession, Disneyland, civilizations, Goddess Chamundeshwari, wildlife and many more.
Jaganmohan Palace, an alternate home of Mysore royal family, was converted into an art gallery in 1915, during the rule of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. In the honour of Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar Bahadur, this art gallery was renamed as Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery in 1955.
One of the best art galleries in India, it boasts of a rich collection of artefacts and paintings of the renowned painters from all over the world. With more than two thousand paintings and equally impressive numbers of artefacts, it is a must visit for art lovers. Located on Deshika Rd in Devaraja Mohalla, Chamrajpura, this art gallery opens at 8.20 AM and closes at 5.30 PM.
19. Folklore Museum
Another interesting museum to visit in Mysore is the Folklore Museum. Established in 1968, this museum, as the name suggests, focusses on the varied folk arts and crafts of Karnataka. It has a rich collection of more than 6500 archives about dance, literature, music and various other arts forms from all over the state.
The collection range includes puppets, masks, props from folk dramas and much more. Situated inside the campus of University of Mysore in Manasa Gangothiri, it can be visited from 10.15 in morning till 1.15 in afternoon. It reopens at 2.30 in afternoon till 5 in the evening. However, it remains closed on every Sunday of the week.
True to its historical background, the city of Mysore has many cultural centres as well as museums. Another place for art seekers to visit is the Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts. At this academy along with seeing impressive arts forms ranging from paintings, photojournalism to applied arts, one can meet varied artisans as well.
A quick tour to this place will also introduce the process of creating visual arts. It is located on the Indian Text Book Press campus, Siddarthanagara, and opens from 10.30 AM to 5.30 PM every day of the week except Sunday.
Located on the T.N.Pura Road in Siddhartha Nagar, this museum is an interesting place to visit if you are interested in learning about the natural history. It was built with the purpose of making people aware about the varied aspects of nature and educating them on the way to preserve it.
It is open on all days of the week except Mondays from 10 in the morning till 6 in the evening. It also houses a garden which is perfect to relax or to visit with children.
Parks of Mysore
The beautiful city of Mysore is incomplete without the mention of its astonishing gardens and parks. Nature is as much a part of Mysore city as any historical building or its grand palaces.
22. Mysore Zoo
At a distance of only 2 km from Mysore Palace, Mysore zoo was established by Chamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur in 1892. Hence it is also known by the name of Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens. It used to be known as Khasa Bangle' or ‘Private Bungalow’. It is one of the oldest zoos in India.
A popular attraction among nature enthusiasts, this zoo has different species of animals and birds which are brought from more than 40 countries. It is also known as a popular breeding centre for varied endangered species from all over the world. Tourists can visit the zoo from 8.30 in morning till 5.30 in evening.
Brindavan gardens of Mysore is one of the best terraced gardens in the world and a must visit for any Mysore Tour. Built in the KRS Dam complex, construction of these gardens was completed in the year of 1932. Spread over 60 acres of land, Brindavan Gardens consist of three terrace gardens which are illuminated in evenings. It has four primary parts, namely, Main Gate, North Brindavan, South Brindavan and the Children’s Garden; each presenting an unparalleled appeal.
It’s sprawling landscapes and botanical park create a breath-taking view. There is also the facility of boating here. Musical fountains, where water bursts are rhythmically synchronised with the sounds of various songs are also worth watching. The craftsmanship of topiary is the major attraction. Shrubs in the shapes of animals create an interesting photo opportunity for visitors too.
Situated 19 km away from Mysore, this bird sanctuary is not only a place for bird watchers but a must visit for anyone who wants to spend some time amid nature. Located on the banks of Cauvery River, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is spread over 66 sq.km. This bird sanctuary gets its name after the Hindu God Sri Ranganatha Swamy. Its scenic beauty and rich avian fauna is worth experiencing. Apart from spotting rare species of Migratory birds belonging to places as far as Siberia, Australia and North America, you can also go for boat rides at the river.
The view of surrounding greenery and serene water is worth experiencing. Indian tourists can visit Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary with a fee of Rs.50 while those from outside the country are required to pay Rs.3000 as entry fee. It is open from 9 AM to 6 PM.
25. Shuka Vana
Another place to visit in Mysore for the admirers of nature and especially ornithologists, is the Shuka Vana. Established by the Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, it is located in Avadhoota Datta Peetham of the Sri Ganapathi Sachidananda Ashram.
This place was built with the main purpose of rehabilitating birds which have been injured or abandoned. It is now an abode of more than 450 species of birds, and also holds the Guinness Book of World Records for being the aviary with maximum number of bird varieties. Popularly known as Parrot Park, different species of parrots from around the world is a major attraction here.
Another park established by Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji which one can visit in Mysore, if there is enough time, is the Kishkindha Moolika Bonsai Garden. A home to an extensive range of bonsai plant species, this garden is spread over an area of four acres. More than 450 species of bonsai trees can be seen in this garden.
Along with trees, you will find statues of Buddha and scared monkeys around the park. A small stream also flows within the garden. Every year, in the month of December, bonsai Conventions is also held here. Located within the premises of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Ashram, it is open to visitors on all days of the week except Wednesday. Its entry timings are 9.30 AM to 12.30 PM and 3.30 PM to 5.30 PM.
27. Javaregowda Park
For those travelling with kids, or those who want to take a break from the tourist sightseeing, Javaregowda Park is a good place to go. Located in the Saraswathipuram, it is an ideal place for a quick jog, walking or meditation. The garden has lush green lawns which are ideal to sit and relax. A new addition open gymnasium at the park, attracts a lot of residents too. It is open from 5 in the morning till 10 in the night.
Another park, which is not a popular tourist spot but makes for a relaxing visit is the Dr. Ambedkar’s Park. Located in Krishnamurthy Puram, this park also offers a serene and peaceful setting amid a residential location. Its green and open surroundings makes it an ideal place to visit with children and for walks.
29. Sanjeevini Park
Another park in Mysore that you might want to visit while on the city tour is the Sanjeevini Park. A well maintained park, with ample of open space and frondescence, it is quite famous among the residents as well. A giant golden laughing buddha is a major attraction here, where many visitors can be seen taking photographs. Along with a serene landscape for jogging and walking, there are fun rides for children as well. It is located in Kuvempunagar.
No discussion about the parks in Mysore can be over without admiring the Freedom Fighter’s Park. Clear from the name, this park is dedicated to the memory of great freedom fighters and leaders of the country. It boasts of colourful foliage and peaceful open space as well, which has been enhanced further after the recent facelift by the City Corporation.
The captivating statues of freedom fighters are the major attractions here. A new statue of Mahatma Gandhi has also been added recently. Situated in Chamrajpura, this park entry timings are from 7 AM to 6.30 PM.
31. GRS Fantasy Park
Located in Metagalli, GRS Fantasy park is a popular amusement and water park that is immensely popular among the residents of Mysore and nearby places. It is not more than 40 minutes away from Mysore Palace.
A good place to visit with family or a group of friends, this park promises to add a lot of fun and laughter to your Mysore trip. It has dry as well as water rides for adults and kids along with a list of adventure activities. The entry fee to this park is Rs.700 per person.
Shopping in Mysore
No trip can ever be over without stocking up souvenirs. A trip to Mysore is especially unfinished if one doesn’t indulge in shopping for its globally famous products.
32. Devaraja Market
Devaraja market of Mysore is not just a place to shop but an essential part of its historical legacy. Often a part of Mysore heritage walks, it has more than 300 shops which are located over an area of 3 acres.
This market has four entrances and visitors can find shops in three aisles. From fresh flowers to puja materials to grocery, one can find almost everything in this market. However for tourists this is a place that presents a glimpse of local life. It is popular among photographers too. It opens at 6.30 in morning and closes at 9.30 in the night.
When in Mysore, take some time out and visit the Govt Sandalwood Oil Factory. An unusual tourist place, this factory will offer you a detailed idea about the methods of creating sandalwood products. With a surety of high quality, one can buy varied sandalwood items at the factory itself.
Mysore sandalwood is world famous, so do not miss the opportunity to take back a few precious sandalwood products for yourself and your loved ones. It is located in Ashokapuram and opens at 9.30 AM to 1 PM. It opens again at 2 PM till 5.30 PM.
Silk is almost synonymous to Mysore. Although one can buy Mysore silk from anywhere in India or even in Mysore city, one reliable and prominent place to visit is Govt Silk factory. A visit to the Silk Factory gives tourists the opportunity to learn and understand various aspects of silk making. One can also explore different varieties of silk products. The government silk factory is open from 10 AM to 6.30 AM and is situated in Bettadapura.