July 8, 2014

Mysore and nearby places

Mysore is the third largest City in Karnataka. The Royal Palace of Mysore attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. To know how Kings lived in a Royal palace, visit here. Huge golden throne, Ivory and Burma Teak doors, Scotland color glass panels, Belgium chandeliers, Ravi Varma paintings on the walls, Bronze sculptures, Silver doors, marble flooring, teak wood ceilings.... this list never ends. This blog helps you to plan your visit and also covers all the places inside Mysore and around Mysore.

Note: This blog is updated with new photos, April 2017

Planning your visit in and around Mysore

I have listed around 11 important places in and around Mysore. Mysore Palace is a MUST see.

Option 1: One Day Plan
(*) Start early morning at around 7 or 8AM and reach Srirangapatna. Visit the temple and nearby Gumbaz where mortal remains of Hyder Ali, his wife and Tipu Sultan were confined. Reach back Mysore and have breakfast. You can also skip this and directly start with Palace. If you are coming directly from Bangalore, then visit these places and then head to Palace.

  • After breakfast, reach Mysore Palace and visit.  If you or your kids like take the horse-cart. Break for lunch. 
  • After lunch, it is very hot and you might want to relax. Head towards Ranganathittu Birds Sanctuary. Take the boat and take photos. After this, if you like visit Balmuri falls. Otherwise stay and relax at this birds sanctuary till 5PM and head towards KRS Dam.
  • You might need to walk around 1.5 to 2 KMs I guess inside the Brindavan Garden, so have enough (healthy) snacks and drinks. Once you reach the Brindavan garden see the Dam and get back to the Musical fountain area before it gets darker. You can enjoy the show and check the colorful lightings on fountains. You don't get good food here, so you may come back to Mysore (or) if you are heading to Bangalore then there are lots of places on the way.

Option 2: Two Days Plan with a stay in Mysore
We stayed in Hotel Jade Garden which was good. Refer to my Tripadvisor review here.
Day 1:
Follow the "One Day Plan" above.
Day 2:
  • Start with Mysore Zoo in morning after breakfast. Zoo opens at 8:30AM itself and if you get in. then you will be back by 12 noon. You can go for lunch at your hotel (Jade garden) or check other options.
  • Afternoon you visit St.Philomena Church and head towards Chamundi Hills. Instead of St.Philomena church you can also try Nanjangud and paddy fields on the way. But try to be back to Chamundi hills before it becomes dark (before 5PM) to see the Big Nandi statue on the hill. Get back to the hotel.
  • After lunch, you can straight head for shopping as well and then plan the Chamundi Hill before 4PM or 4:30PM evening.

Option 3: Around Mysore
You can stay in Mysore and plan for Somanathapura, Talakkad and Shivanasamudram falls in one day. And kokkare bellur if you like on the next day.

1. Mysore Palace
Timings: 10AM till 5:30 PM. 
Palace illumination on every Sunday and pubic Holidays between 7PM to 7:45PM. 
Time Needed: 1.5 hours to 2 hours. Don't be in a hurry and watch each every details inside.

Literally nothing is allowed inside. No bags, no bottles, strictly no cameras. There are lockers available in the entrance where you purchased the tickets. Always in Mysore, start with the Majestic and so beautiful Palace. My photos will be nothing when you have this official website having 360 degree, Refer 360 Degree View of Mysore Palace .

Check the PDF document in this "click the link here" which is the complete reference to the palace with all the 20+ things you need to see and their small photos as well. This is what is been repeated by the local guides as well. But prefer to chose a Guide, he will explain the history and take you through the places. Strictly they don't allow photos inside and even the mobile phone cameras also not allowed. So be careful not to take photos. Check with the guide always.

Mysore Palace
Majestic View of the Royal Mysore Palace

Bronze Domes at Mysore Palace
Look at the Bronze covered domes

Bronze Lion at Mysore Palace
Bronze Lion Sculpture

Paintings at Ceilings of Mysore Palace
Beautiful paintings on the ceilings at Darbar Hall of Mysore Palace

Chamundi Hills view from Mysore Palace
Do you see the Chamundi Hills back to the temple from Mysore Palace

Sri Shvetha Varahaswamy Temple Info Board Mysore Palace
Information Board on Sri Shveta Varahaswami Temple Mysore Palace

Sri Shvetha Varahaswamy Temple Tower Mysore Palace
Temple Tower of Sri Shveta Varahaswami Temple Mysore Palace

Bronze Domes at Mysore Palace
Another view of Bronze domes at Mysore Palace and see the temple tower as well inside the Palace

Cannon at Display Mysore Palace
Cannon at display at Mysore Palace

2. Chamundi Hill and Chamundeshwari Temple

Note: During Abhisheka timings there will be a big Queue. So plan accordingly. 
Timings may be changed on Special Days (Copied from official site)
Time Needed: 1 to 1.5 hours including driving up the hill and coming down plus temple visit

This Chamundi Hill is close to 3500 feet high. Motorable and you can go in your car to the top and there are parking facilities available in the temple complex. If you go here by evening, then watch the sunset from either on the top of the hill or from the Big Nandi statue. There seem to be steps as well which is close to 1000 and if you are energetic use this.

On the way you will see a Big Nandi statue. This statue is seen half the way to the top of the hill. This is about 16 feet in height and monolithic statue. Either from this point or from the top of the hill the sunset will be beautiful. As you reach the top of the hill, you will see a statue of demon Mahishasura. Very colorful.

Refer the below photo for the temple timings.

Chamundeshwari Temple Tower (renovation takes place)

Temple Timings Chamundeshwari Temple 
Silver carvings at the Temple Door Chamundeshwari Temple Mysore

Silver carvings at the Temple Door Chamundeshwari Temple Mysore

3. Mysore Zoo

Timings: 8:30 AM till 5:30 PM. Note: TUESDAY is a HOLIDAY. 
Time needed: Minimum of 3 hours if you really want to see the entire zoo. 

This is one of the famous zoo with different species. See my photo below which list down the animals you can see and the map of the zoo. You would have seen animals in TV, but seeing them in front of eyes is a very different experience. Particularly after seeing the Giraffes I realized how tall and powerful they are. Looks like the area of this Zoo is about 157 acres. Strictly they dont allow any plastics inside and I like that. There are shops inside and you get Ice creams, Milk peda, other cool drinks and snacks. Yes, it takes close to 3 hours to see the entire zoo. Plan half-day for this Zoo alone. Visit the official site which has tons of details.
Note: Since it will be very hot between 11:00 AM till 3:00PM, looks like the animals will be taking rest in a shade and you may not spot. Visit the official site which has this details.

4. Ranganathittu Bird's Sanctuary

Timings: 8:30 AM till 6 PM
Time needed: 1 hour to 2 hours depends on your photography interests. You can also spend sometime relaxing under the shade of trees.

This is also another important place apart from palace where huge crowd is attracted to see variety of birds.

Check this latest Photo feature blog for the beautiful photos of variety of birds here. !

5. KRS Dam and Brindavan Garden

Timings: 10 AM till 8PM
Time needed: 1.5 to 2 hours. If you go in late evening don't forget the musical fountain.

Both are in same place. Incase if you like to stay inside the garden, there is Hote Royal Orchid. Refer to tripadvisor and other reviews. You might get food as well here, but again check reviews.
Musical fountain, fountain with colorful lighting are main attractions here. It is good if you see this entire garden after it gets dark. Also you can check the KRS dam.

6. St Philomena's Church

Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM
Time needed: 30 to 45 minutes

This is a Roman Catholic Church and was built 200 years back. This church has a cellar where there is a statue of St. Philomina was a holy saint during the 3rd century in Greece, in a reclining posture. A piece of her bone and clothes are also in this church.

7. Nanjangud Temple and Paddy fields

Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM
Time needed: 30 to 45 minutes

Nanjangud is 23 Kms from Mysore. This is the temple of Sri Nanjundeshwara, the God who saved the earthy by drinking all the poison of his own. (Hindu mythology, read more in Wiki here). This is on the banks of the river Kabini. As you drive from Mysore to this temple, on the right hand side you will see many paddy fields. Also lakes with many varieties of birds. If you like to take photos of the birds along the paddy fields and lake, then this is another place.

8. Srirangapatna

Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM
Time needed: 30 to 45 minutes

This is located before Mysore on the Bangalore-Mysore highway. Very famous for the very old temple for the Lord Ranganatha. Horseback riding is available and you can engage your kids. Many shops selling Channapatna toys can be seen.

8. Shopping in Mysore

Mysore silk sarees, Channapatna Wooden Toys, Sandalwood/Rosewood artifacts, incense sticks, mysore paintings on a wooden board.  Cauvery Emporium is one of the famous shop to buy the above items. Visit this link in Lonely Planet which has the shop name details. Fabindia has the Indian Ethnic wear for both Men and Women.

9. Balmuri Falls

Time needed: 1 hour

When you go from Ranganathittu towards KRS dam, this Balmuri falls is on the right hand side. Please ask for the directions from the locals as you can easily miss. The water that is released from the KRS dam comes here. There is a small stream of water diverted from the main river and many people enjoy bath. Be very careful. If I remember most of the times the water level here is only just a feet high. So one can simply lie down and let the water flow over your body. Make sure that the water is clean.

10. Somanathapura, Talakkad and Shivanasamudram Falls

Time needed: 1 day for all the three

Somanathapura is a MUST see in INDIA for the wonderful, amazing, beautiful intricate carvings and sculptures. I say Somanathapura is one of "Wonders of the World". These are not in the Mysore town, but bit close to Mysore i.e. 35 Kms. If you stay in Mysore then plan to cover all these three places in a day and return to Mysore by evening.
Visit my blog on the above three places, follow the link here

11. Kokkare bellur

Time needed: 1 to 2 hours. (travel time not included, 70 Kms from Mysore)

This is another place where you can see many variety of birds apart from Ranganathittu. This is not a maintained place, but villagers do respect the nature and birds. The village is so beautiful and I am sure you will fall in love with the paddy fields and trees on both sides of the road. Sit under the tree and relax, meditate over the songs of the birds. If you carry a DSLR, then you can go on for hours.

Note: Scroll to the bottom of this page to see the other nearby places from Mysore. 

Moving onto the photos of the places....

Nandi at Chamundi Hill
Basavanna or Nandi at Chamundi Hills

Nanjundeshwara swami Temple Nanjangud Mysore
Kalasa of Temple Tower, Nanjundeshwara swami Temple Nanjangud Mysore

Nanjundeshwara swami Temple
Nanjundeshwara swami Temple Tower

Sculptures on the wall of Nanjundeshwara swami Temple 

Chariots at Nanjundeshwara swami Temple
Chariots at Nanjundeshwara swami Temple (festival was at 7th April 2017)

Mysore Chamundi Hill
Sunset from the Nandi statue was beautiful. 

Mysore Chamundi Hill
Since this is taken late in evening, did not come well, but just want you to know this is on the entrance to the temple. Mahishasura demon.

Mysore Zoo
Giraffes, amazing to see them. Little one is staring at me.. !

Mysore Zoo
Lions at Mysore Zoo. Don't worry they cannot jump on you, there is a deep excavation

Mysore Zoo
Rhinocerous ...

Mysore Zoo
Zoom this map to see what animals you get to see in this Zoo !

Beautiful Tower of Nanjangud Temple

Wov... so colorful and nice sculptures on the wall

Close look at one of the sculptures

The temple elephant helping his mahout to climb and sit on his back

This Shiva statue is close to the main temple in Nanjangud
Indian Musical instruments display at Wax Museum at Mysore
Indian Musical instruments display at Wax Museum at Mysore

River Tern at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Mysore
Look at the color... !!

Pelicon Skimming at Ranganathittu Bird Santuary Mysore
Action shot of Pelicon Skimming at Ranganathittu Bird Santuary Mysore

Brindavan Garden
View of Brindavan Garden and the KRS Dam in the backside

Brindavan Garden
This is the place where the musical fountain show happens.... huge crowd gathers here for the show
Brindavan Garden
Fountain with colorful lightings

View of the KRS Dam
Channapatna Wooden Toys
Channapatna Wooden Toys

Channapatna Wooden Toys
Channapatna Wooden Toys

Other Places Near Mysore you might be interested


Lord Krishna dancing over the snake Kaliya. You must visit Belur and Halebid which is about 149 Kms. This is a MUST see in INDIA. Visit my post for more photos and planning the trip.
Redhills Ooty
Ooty is 125 Kms from Mysore and it is a hill station. 

Coorg / Madikeri is about 118 Kms from Mysore. Again a hill station and you can visit Waterfalls, landscapes, starting point of the sacred Kaveri river, Namdroling monastery, Nisargadama ...etc. 
Visit my post for more details and photos.

Please post your comments below. Thanks. 

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