Mysore's proud possession and one of India's most tour attractions; Mysore Palace is an preposterous man-made edifice. It is a imposing structure that tells many tales of India's complex and intriguing past. This palace was once a royal residence of the mighty Wodeyar rulers, who ruled Mysore for seven centuries. At present, it witnesses more than 2.7 million visitors every year. Built between 1897-1912 as per the designs of English architect- Henry Irwin, this three-storeyed building boasts of a flawless combination of Hindu, Gothic, Muslim and Rajput styles of architecture. The palace is constructed using fine grey granite and features beautiful domes that are made of deep pink coloured marbles. The central arch of the seven broad arches in the façade features an impressive idol of Gajalakshmi (the Goddess of prosperity, wealth and luck with her elephants) on its top.
Sprawling over a large area of about 150 acres, Brindavan Gardens are considered to be the best in Mysore. This beautiful stretch of land is situated just a level below the popular Krishnaraja Sagar Reservoir that is built across the Cauvery or Kaveri River. The garden is about 18 kilometres northwest of the city of Mysore. The idea of building this fascinating garden close to the dam was of two former Devans of Mysore, namely Sir M. Visveshwaraiah and Sir Mirza M. Ismail. The most notable thing about Brindavan Gardens are the beautiful fountains that look wonderful during the night when they are lit up. Sunset is the best time of the day to visit this garden and enjoy the sight of water (from fountains) dancing to the tunes of pleasant music. The area of the garden that is covered with shrubs, grass and trees looks like a well-manicured lawn. Within the garden, there is also a children’s park, hydraulic research station and fisheries station. Adding to the beauty of the garden is an attractive sculpture of Goddess Cauvery, set at the foot of the dam.
Thonnur Lake is a beautiful excursion site, placeded about 30 kilometres away from Mysore.The lake is spread across 2000 acres and is used as a tank to collect rainwater for irrigation. Surprisingly, it never runs out of water even if there is no rainfall. The lake and its surroundings (including rocky hills and tall trees) together make it a scenic spot. It is among those places that are not known to many tourists; however, locals are often seen here picnicking with their friends and family.
Karanji Lake, also known as Karanjikere Lake, is an appealing place to holiday. Apart from its natural beauty, this picturesque lake is noted for being home to a wide variety of indigenous and migratory birds. Spanning in an area of about 90 acres, this lake area features a butterfly park, boating point, children's corner, watchtower and India's largest walk-through aviary (with over 70 species of birds). Inhabited by a wide variety of birds, including peacock and geese, the aviary is the main highlight of Karanji Lake. Neighbouring the aviary is another huge area that is home to Sarus Cranes (a striking and possibly one of the tallest flying birds). A stroll in the butterfly park, located on an island in the lake, is a must while you are here. Brimming with plenty of natural treasures, this picturesque site is definitely a must-visit for every tourist coming to Mysore.
GRS Fantasy Park:
GRS Fantasy Park is one-of-a-kind amusement park, located about 6 kilometres away from the city centre. An endeavour of Baliga Investments Pvt. Ltd., the park is ideal for both adults and kids as there are a number of fun-filled rides for everyone. Sprawling over an area of 10000 sq ft, Jal Tharang or Wave Pool is the prime highlight of the park. For an experience similar to that of sea waves, this is an ideal place to be. Next is the Dragon's Den, built in an area of 60000 sq ft, which takes visitors to the Jurassic Age. This particular attraction won the National APT Award in 2003 for being the most innovative ride. The Red Indian Falls or theme based man-made waterfall catches the fancy of visitors. Witnessing 72000 litre of water falling per minute from a height of 80 feet is truly a sight worth beholding. Keeping the zest alive is the Aqua Tornado that is a four-seater family float ride.
Chamundi Temple, famous known as Chamundeshwari Temple, is a 12th century shrine placeded a top Chamundi Hills, about 13 kilometres away from the Mysore city. A flight of 1000 steps takes guests to the temple, which is named after Goddess Chamundeshwari or Durga, (the fierce form of Shakti). She is often identified as Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva, and is also the family deity of the Maharajas of Mysore. Architecturally, this shrine has a quadrangular structure with loftygopuram (temple tower) and dwara (entrance), which are visible from a distance. It also consists of a navaranga, sanctum sanctorum, antharala mantapa a prakara. The seven-tier gopuram of the shrine has been constructed in Dravidian style of architecture. Atop the tower orshikara, there are seven golden kalashas that capture attention of every onlooker.
Bylakuppe, a beautiful yet unexplored region in Karnataka, is home to two major Tibetan settlements. The town is noted for housing one of the most fascinating monasteries across the country - Namdroling Monastery. It is also popular as the ‘Buddhist Golden Temple’ as there are three colossal golden statues of Buddha Shakyamuni, Padmasambhava and Buddha Amitayus. The foundation stone of this three-storey monastery was laid by His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche. Later, the monastery was sanctified by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Presently, this beautiful gompa serves as home to about 5000 monks and nuns. In the monastery, visitors can see silver coloured prayer wheels that are inscribed with holy chants. Buddhists are of the view that spinning these wheels is equivalent to the recitation of the prayers inscribed on them.
Mysore Zoo, or Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden, was established in 1892. The zoo has been named after its founder and erstwhile ruler of the city, Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar Bahadur. Initially, it was only meant for royal families, but in 1920, was opened to public. This zoo spans over a large area of about 80.13 acres along with 77.03 acres of Karanji Lake in the heart of the city. The zoo home to about 1450 animals belonging to 170 varied species. Gorilla, Chimpanzee, African Rhino, Tapir, Baboon, Emu, Marmoset, Lemur and Cassowary inhabit the zoo. Besides, Deer, Antelopes, Candies, Primates and Reptiles can also be seen here. Since the popular Karanji Lake is an integral part of the zoo, you can even spot different types of birds here. Butterfly Park is another highlight of the zoo, which will especially be loved by kids.
Located in the foothills of the Chamundi range, Planet X is a fabulous entertainment centre in Mysore. Ideal for a day out or picnic, this place is perfect for both kids and grown-ups. It provides facilities for snooker, billiards, go-karting and video games. The complex has a bowling alley, mini golf course, restaurant, coffee shop and even a conference room. Planet X is a great place to spend a fun-filled day with family.
Srirangapatna is a charming town located approximately 15 kilometres away from Mysore city. It boasts of an interesting history that dates back several centuries. It served as the capital of many mighty kings, including Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, who was also known as ‘The Tiger of Mysore’. From one end to another, this town has several monuments that commemorate their imperial reign and combat against the British. Srirangapatna also bears traces of the Hoysala Dynasty. It is believed that originally the town of Srirangapatna was built by the Hoysala king Udayaditya. From temples and tombs to cenotaphs and palaces, there are seemingly endless numbers of attractions that can keep tourists engaged for weeks. One of the largest shrines in Karnataka, Ranganathswamy Temple is located in this town. Founded by Thirumalaiah (Ganga Chieftain), this temple witnessed many renovations that were made by the Hoysalas, Mysore Wodeyars and Vijayanagaras. Other important shrines in the town are Shri Narashimha Swamy Temple, Sri Gangadareshwara Swamy Temple and Shri Nimishamba Temple.