Mysore India – 10 Best Tourist Attractions to See and Things to Do
Known as the culture capital of South India, Mysore is a fascinating place steeped in rich cultural history. It is located at the base of the Chamundi hills and there are many natural and man-made wonders here that you can spend hours just looking at. Whenever we travel to Mysore, we often come across some wonders that we had not explored before and we just fall in love with the city even more.
Here is a list of the top 10 things to do while you are in Mysore.
1. Mysore Palace
The Wodeyars ruled Mysrore for over 5 centuries and the place of their residence, the Mysore palace, is perhaps the most iconic monument of the city. Originally built as a wooden structure, the Mysore Palace was destroyed by a fire in 1897 and Lord Henry Erwin was commissioned to build a new palace in its place which was completed in 1912. The Mysore palace is grand, to say the least. Sprawling over 3 floors and built with fine granite, it is reflective of the Indo-Saracenic architecture with elements from India, Indo-Islamic, Neo-classical and Gothic styles. With crystal chandeliers and ornate upholstery, the Mysore Palace is truly a place fit for Kings. It stays open from 10.00 am to 5.30 pm with an entry fee of INR 200.
2. Folklore Museum
We have always been fascinated with the folk arts. So, when we heard that there is an entire museum dedicated to the folk arts, we knew that it would definitely be one of tourist attractions that we would visit. Folklore museum in Mysore has a very large collection of over 6500 unique folklore exhibits along with elements of music, dance, literature and drama.
Founded in 1968, we found among its many treasures the costumes for Yakshagana, props for Thenna, and a number of masks, puppets, leather dolls and figurines of Gods, Kings and Queens. It is easy to spend hours here if you are in love with the folk arts like us and even if you are not, the amazing display here is sure to enthral you. It would take at least 2-3 hours to experience the folklore museum and it stays open from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm on all days except Sundays, public holidays and the second Saturdays of every month. There are no entry charges and we highly recommend a visit to this museum.
3. Brindavan Gardens
Watching nature in its full glory is a sight which can never be matched. Which is why, the Brindavan Gardens finds its way on this list of top tourist attractions in Mysore. Located around 21 kms from the city, the Brindavan gardens is built across the Cauvery river spreading over an area of 60 acres. Be it the rose gardens, the flower beds, topiaries, pergolas or the terrace gardens, the Brindavan garden is a much needed relief from the hustle bustle of the city.
It is a very good place to visit with family as the exciting swings and rides present here are a joy for the kids and the lovely fountain show accompanied by music in the evenings is simply breath-taking. It is built in the complex of the KRS dam and the 2 horticulture farms which houses different plants are worth seeing. The garden stays open from 6.00 am to 8.00 pm for a fee of INR 15. A word of advice though, cameras are strictly prohibited so you are better off not carrying them and just enjoying the lovely spectacles of the garden.
4. Somnathpur Temple
One of the best examples of Hoysala architecture, the Somnath temple, located about 35 kms from Mysore, is a beautiful place which one should not miss if they visit Mysore. Built in 1268, the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who in Hindu mythology is known as the Preserver. The temple is built on a raised platform with three shrines holding idols of Lord Keshava, Janardhana and Venugopala. There are elaborate carvings and sculptures, including miniature ones, highlighting the Hoysala architecture. You can visit the temple from 9.00 am to 5.30 pm for an entry fee of INR 100.
5. Philomena Church
India is perhaps the best example of different communities living harmoniously together. And the Philomena Church is a testament to that. Built by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III on the same spot that his father built a smaller church, The Philomena Church, or the St. Joseph’s church is dedicated to Saint Philomena and preserves her relics in the catacombs below the main altar. The church is one of the tallest in Asia and is built using Gothic styles. There are idols of St. Philomena and Jesus along with stained glass windows above the sanctum sanctorum with paintings depicting the stages of Christ’s life. The church is open from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm every day and there are no entry charges.
6. Happy Man Park
Honestly, it was the name which drew us to the park. And when we went inside, the huge statue of the laughing Budhha was enough to convince us to put its name on this list. The park is superbly well maintained and is the perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing. There is also a mini zoo and we laughed heartily when we were chased around by a duck there. Wooden bridges and springs have also been incorporated into the park and it just adds to its overall charm. The park is open from 4.30 am to 9.00 pm with an entry fee of INR 100 and it is situated quite close to the station.
The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya is a museum dedicated to the evolution of man through space and time. The museum is housed in Wellington lodge in the heart of Mysore city. The museum holds regular exhibitions, training programmes, and presents human creativity and progress through an inter-disciplinary method. There are various exhibits depicting the cultural diversity of India and we also learnt the arts of tribal mask making through the workshops conducted here. The museum stays open from 10.00 am to 5.30 pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays and the entry if free.
8. Mysore Rail Museum
Railroads are perhaps something that feature in every kid’s imagination. The rhythmic movement, the whistling sounds are something all of us have fallen in love with. So, when we heard of the Mysore Rail Museum, we just had to visit. Established in 1979, the Mysore Rail Museum has many exhibits like vintage locomotives, paintings, royal coaches, Austin Railway Car, the first steam engine of India and signals are just some of the many wonderful things to see in the museum. There is no shame in admitting that we felt like children in this place running from gallery to gallery as the place is just amazing. The place stays open from 10.00 am to 5.30 pm on all days except Monday and the entry fee is just INR 15.
9. Karanji Lake
Located in the heart of Mysore, the Karanji Lake is a beautiful place for a picnic. And what is more, there are a number of birds which will give you company as the Karanji Lake hosts India’s biggest aviary. A waterfall with two water bodies and a butterfly park are just some of the things which attract many people to this pristine lake. There are over 147 species of birds here which can be observed from the bird watch tower built here. You can also enjoy a boat ride across the lake for a really enjoyable afternoon. The lake is open from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm on all days except Tuesday for an entry fee of INR 10.
10. Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum
What makes Mysore such an interesting place to visit is that there are so many different kind of things to see. And Mysore Sand Sculpture museum is one such. It is a one of a kind museum in India and displays the creativity of human hands. There are about 150 sand sculptures here which have been made using 115 truckloads of sand. Some of them include sculptures of Lord Ganesha, Goddess Chamundeshwari, Lord Krishna and Arjuna and Santa Claus with a Christmas Tree. The museum stays open from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm and has an entry fee of INR 40.
Mysore is blessed with some truly wonderful places to visit which is why we love coming to this city so much. This list will be a good reference point for your tour of the city and we hope that you have as much fun here as we did.