Mysore, home to the world-famous Dasara, sandalwood, Masala dosa, Jasmine—is also known for its amazing and breathtaking architectural tourist attractions. It is one of the very few cities in India which has maintained its old-school charm and culture even with a heavy inflow and outflow of tourists every single day.
Below are mentioned the top 15 must-visit places in the royal city!
1. Amba Vilas Palace
After Taj Mahal, the Amba Vilas Palace in Mysore is the most visited tourist attraction in the country. Built in Indo-Saracenic architectural style, the palace is a beautiful amalgamation of Hindu, Rajput, Muslim, and gothic styles. It is the largest and the most important of the seven palaces in Mysore.
The interiors are richly decorated with various precious stones, paintings and artefacts. Every Sunday evening, the palace lights up and awes every visitor, every single time. The tonga rides available near the palace gates take you on a short ride around the palace complex, which is an additional attraction.
2. Jaganmohan Palace
Built as a temporary residence for the royal family of Mysore when the Old palace succumbed to fire during the 1896 Dasara festivities, the Jaganmohan palace now functions as a museum and a function hall.
The place is built in traditional Hindu architectural style, with carvings of religious motifs and miniature temples, and has three storeys. It houses over 2000 paintings of different schools of art.
3. Lalith Mahal Palace
The second-largest palace in the city of Mysore, it was built in 1921 to house the then viceroy of India. The architectural style being renaissance, the design is said to be inspired by St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
It had prominent colonial design features, complete with chandeliers, wooden flooring, cut glass lamps, and a central Italian marble staircase being the major eye-catcher. The use of decorative stain glass is prominent, both on the exterior and interiors. The palace now serves as a luxury hotel.
4. Chamundi Hills
Visited by photographers, nature lovers and trekking enthusiasts, Chamundi hills features a 1008 stepped stairway, leading to its tip, which is home to the famous Chamundeshwari temple, the deity of the Mysore royal family for centuries. The hill can also be ascended by the roadway.
The entire city of Mysore can be viewed from a bird’s eye view from atop the hill. It is approximately 1000 metres above sea level. It also houses the Rajendra Vilas palace, one of the seven palaces in the city, now converted into a hotel.
5. Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens
Spread across 157 acres, the zoo, more popularly known as Mysore zoo, is one of the major and oldest zoos in the country. Established in 1892, it houses around 168 species of various mammals, reptiles, and birds.
It aims at observation, research, documentation, breeding and rehabilitation of wild animals and birds.
6. Karanji Lake
Located at the eastern edge of Mysore zoo, it is surrounded by a nature park that houses a butterfly aviary and a walk-through aviary, the largest in India. The lake itself is the largest in the state of Karnataka.
It has a lush green cover, frequented by early morning walkers and tourists alike. A variety of birds visit the lake, the herons and egrets being a common sight. The lake complex also includes the regional museum of natural history, which exhibits information on plants, animals, and geology of the southern region of India.
7. Devaraja Market
A major component in all the heritage walks conducted in Mysore, the Devaraj market is spread over 3 acres. It houses around 300 shops selling flowers, fruits, spices, sandalwood, oils, and many more.
Constructed in 1886, the market is bounded by a wooden rafter structure and stone masonry walls facing the street on all four sides.
8. St. Philomena’s Cathedral
Being the second tallest church in Asia, St Philomena’s church is constructed in Neo-gothic style inspired by Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The twin spires on the front facade are 53 metres in height.
The top view of the cathedral is in the form of a cross. Stained glass windows are a prominent feature in the nave, which can house 800 people.
9. Railway Museum
Just a stone’s throw from the Mysore city railway station, the Mysore railway museum exhibits locomotives in an outdoor setup. It is the second of its kind in India, after the first one in Delhi.
It educates tourists and children, who often arrive here for educational walks, about the growth and development of trains in the history of India. It also houses a working mini-train that takes children on a short ride around the grounds.
10. Folklore Museum
Located within the University of Mysore on the Manasa Gangotri campus. It contains an impressive collection of arts and crafts from various parts of Karnataka. The collection includes puppets, properties, masks, and various other folk objects and souvenirs.
11. Shuka Vana
This palace, a tad different from other stereotypical tourist places, is sure to give a much-needed break in the jam-packed tourist schedule.
Founded by Dr. Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, Shuka Vana in Mysore is a rehabilitation centre for our winged friends. It houses numerous species of parrots from all over the world.
12. GRS Fantasy Park
GRS fantasy park in Mysore, like the Shuka Vana, breaks away from the typical tourist spots that one would expect to see. It has various dry and water rides which offer a fun and adventurous spirit to children and adults alike. All-day entertainment is guaranteed for sure.
13. Government Sandalwood Oil Factory
One visit to the sandalwood oil factory owned by the government of Karnataka, it educates us about the entire process of manufacturing sandalwood oil and various other sandalwood products. One can also shop for the world-famous sandalwood products of Mysore.
14. Melody world wax museum
It is one of the very few museums in Karnataka, dedicated to music. It is home to over 300 musical instruments as well as around a hundred real-life-size wax figurines of famous musicians who have contributed to the field.
15. Government Silk factory
A trip to Mysore would be incomplete without knowing about the world-famous Mysore silk sarees. A visit to the silk factory in Mysore would enlighten us about the various steps involved in the manufacturing process of Mysore silk. One can also shop them here!