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Mysore is the second biggest city in Karnataka and situated in the southern part of the Deccan Plateau. Mysore was the capital city erstwhile Wodeyar kingdom. Proof of the existence of the city is first found in the 10th century AD during the reign of the Gangas. But Mysore would finally be transformed from a small town to a modern township during the reign of Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. Mysore today, is a pleasant city with a traditional attraction, well laid out gardens, fine buildings and a salubrious climate.
Mysore is also called as city of Palaces. Mysore district is a famous tourist spot, offering several attractions ranging from the royal splendor of Mysore city. The city receives the maximum number of tourists during Dasara festival when celebrations take place for a period of 10 days, bathed in light, joy and color.
The Royal procession on the tenth day of Dasara (on Vijayadashami) is a reminder of the pomp and splendor of a bygone era. Mysore Dasara is not only the royal festival; but also a religious festival.
PLACES OF INTEREST IN MYSORE DISTRICT
Chamundi Hill is one of the main attractions of Mysore. As per the legend goddess Chamundeshwari (the tutelary deity of Mysore) is said to have destroyed the monster Mahishasura here and bringing peace to the people. The Chamundeshwari Temple on top of the Chamundi hill is one of the famous Hindu places of worship. The Chamundeswari temple found here is 2000 years old. Also close to the temple stands a gigantic statue of the demon Mahishasura.
Half way up the chamundi hill, the gigantic 4.8 meter tall, 7.6 meter wide monolith of Nandi monolithic statue of the Nandi Bull the sacred vehicle of Lord Shiva is a marvel to watch.
The Jaganmohan Palace in Mysore was built in 1861 by the king, Krishnaraja Wodeyar III as an alternate retreat for the royal family. The Jaganmohan Palace was used for daily durbar and also the special Dasara durbar during the dasara period. In 1915, the palace was converted into an art gallery. In 955 Jaganmohan Palace was renamed as Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery. The Sri Jayachamrajendra Art Gallery has excellent collection paintings by renowned artists like Ravi Varma and Nicholas Roerich paintings dating back to 1875. There are also vast collections of sculptures and musical instruments, ivory, sandalwood, ceramics and antique furniture.
Lalitha Mahal Palace
The Lalitha Mahal is the second largest palace in Mysore. It is located near the Chamundi Hills. Lalitha Mahal was built in 1921 by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. This European-Classical two storied Palace was designed by E W Fritchley, an English architect. The Lalitha Mahal palace is noted for its white color, which is visible from a great distance. Lalitha Mahal was specifically built to house the king's guests. The palace has now been converted into a five-star hotel.
Mysore palace (also known as Ambavilas palace) was formerly the official residence of the Maharajas of Mysore. It is now one of the most popular tourist spot in Mysore. Mysore palace is located in the heart of the city. Mysore palace was constructed in 1912 in the Indo Saracenic style and blends together Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture. This three storied palace is surrounded by a large garden. The main attractions of Mysore Palace are Golden Royal Elephant Throne, the Durbar Hall, the Kalyana Mantap and the Gallery.
Palace is the venue for the famous Mysore Dasara festival, during which the entire palace is lit up with about 97,000 electric bulbs, and leading artistes perform on a stage set up in the palace grounds. On the 10th day of the festival, a royal procession with caparisoned elephants and other floats originate from the palace grounds.
The Railway Museum is an outdoor exhibit of vintage locomotives. The Railway Museum of Mysore is second museum setup in 1979 by Indian Railways. In addition to the locomotives it has a gallery of interesting collection of photographs and paintings depicting the development of the railways in India. The Railway Museum is situated at Krishnaraja Sagar Road.
St. Philomena's Church
St. Philomena's Church is one of the oldest churches in Mysore. This church was built in the honor of St. Philomena. Constructed in Gothic style with twin spires, 175 ft. in height, the church is among the largest in India. Stained glass windows and lofty towers give this cathedral an imposing look. St. Philomena's Church is designed by French architects; and the foundation stone was laid by Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV in 1933.
The Sri Jayachamarajendra Zoological Gardens or Mysore Zoo was set up in 1892 by the royal family. Mysore Zoo is one of the most popular attractions of Mysore. The zoo is spread over an area of 250 acres and houses some rare and exotic birds & animals. The Zoo is also famous for breeding some very rare wild animals in captivity.
Chunchanakatte is located at a distance of 55 km from Mysore and 14Km away from K R Nagar. Chunchanakatte can be reached by taking a diversion at Krishnarajanagar on the Mysore - Hassan highway. Chunchanakatte is named after a local chieftain, Chuncha who built a dam across the river Kaveri here. A natural waterfall with surrounding greenery makes this place a good picnic spot. There is an ancient temple dedicated to Kodanda Rama (Lord Rama) built in the late Vijayanagar style is found on the banks of river Kaveri. There is a hydro power project located nearby.
Gommatagiri is about 20 km from Mysore. Gommatagiri is situated in Bilikere hobli of Hunsur taluk in Mysore district. Gommatagiri is an acclaimed Jain centre. The 700-year-old statue of Gomateshwara (Bhagawan Bahubali) is erected atop a 50 meter tall hillock called Shravana Gudda. The statue of Gomateshwara at Gommatagiri is an early Vijayanagara creation in granite. It has serene facial expressions and curly hairs. This Jain centre attracts many pilgrims during the annual "Maha masthakabhisekha" in September.
Kabini Jungle Lodge
Kabini River lodge is located at a distance of 80 km from Mysore and 220 Km from Bangalore. It is located in the southern fringes of the "Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary". Kabini River lodge is a perfect getaway for nature lovers. Kabini River lodge was once the hunting lodge of the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore, today it is rated by the British Tatler's Travel Guide as one of the top 5 wildlife resorts in the world. The lush, thick forests and the Kabani River, provides a perfect home for many wild animals and birds. Jeep safaris, Elephant and Coracle boat rides can be organized to view the wildlife here.
Mudukuthore is located at a distance of 60 km from Mysore and 25 km from Somanathapur. Mudukuthore is a famous pilgrim centre situated on the left bank of river Cauvery. Mudukuthore is quite close to Talakad. Mudukuthore is a calm village with a hillock called Somagiri. The vehicles can reach up to half way.
The ancient temple of Mallikarjuna can be found at the 200 ft high hill which is visible from a distance. This is one of the Panchalingas of Talakad and is greatly respected. It is believed that those who visit Mallikarjuna temple at Srishaila, should also visit temple here. Shrine of Bhramaramba is found just beside the main temple.
Nanjangud is an important pilgrim centre situated on the banks of the river Kapila or Kabini. Nanjangud is located at a distance of 22 km from Mysore. Nanjangud is also known as 'Dakshina Kashi' or Varanasi of the South. It is believed that sage Gauthama stayed here and installed a Shiva Linga. The main temple at Nanjangud is dedicated to Lord Nanjundeshwara or Srikanteshwara (Lord Shiva). The meaning of Nanjundeshwara is the God who drank poison. The other attractions nearby are Sri Raghavendra swamy Mutt and Parashurama Kshetra (Parashurama Kshetra is the sangam, where the Kapila and Kaundinya rivers meet.)
Somnathpur or Somanathapura
Somnathpur is about 35 km from Mysore. Somnathpur is famous for the Chennakesava Temple built in 1268 CE, by Soma, a commander under Hoysala king Narasimha III. The temple here is a superb example of the Hoysala style of architecture.
Talakad is about 45 km from Mysore. This ancient town and important pilgrim centre is situated on the left bank of the river Kaveri. River Kaveri makes a sharp turn here.
Talakad was a capital of the Ganga Dynasty (350-999 AD). Later, it was ruled by the Cholas of Tamil Nadu from the 11th to the 12th century. Then Talakad came under the Hoysalas in the 12th century after this the Vijayanagar Kings and the Maharajas of Mysore patronized this place.
Talakad has five lingas housed in lovely temples. The Pathaleshwara or Vasukishwara, Maruleshwara or Saikateshwara, Arkeshwara, Vaidyanathee-shwara and Mallikarjuna temples, the five Lingams believed to represent the five faces of Shiva.
A fair is held once every 12 years called Panchalinga Darshana. The last Panchalinga Darshana was held in 2006. The best season to visit Talakad would be from March-July and September-March.
Tirumakudlu Narsipur or T. Narsipur
T. Narsipur is about 32 km from Mysore. T. Narsipur is an important pilgrim centre located at the confluence of the Kaveri, Kabini and the mythical Sphatika Sarovara. Tirumakudlu Narsipur is the only place in South India where three rivers meet, and the only place where Kumbhamela is held in south India.
The Gunja Narasimha Swamy temple is a massive complex belonging to the Vijayanagar period. The Agasthyeshwara temple (Sanctified by the sage Agasthya) contains many monuments belonging to the Ganga, Chola, Hoysala and Vijayanagara periods. The other temples are Bhiksheswara temple, the Moolasthaneshwara temple and the Anandeshwara temple.
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