Mysore City Tour Guide - Karnataka
• Area 6,269 sq. km
• Population 3,165,018
• Altitude 776 m above sea level
• Languages Kannada, English, Tamil, Hindi
• STD Code 0821
• Best time to visit October to March
A land of grandeur! A land filled with richness in every form. A land of glory which reaches out to you and pulls you into its folds and leaves you with an enriching experience of an old world charm which one yearns for in this day and age. Captivating, breathtaking, do these words do justice to the capital city of the Wodeyars. The magnificent palaces, beautifully laid out gardens and imposing architecture, sacred temples and institutions, the richness of sandalwood and the aroma of incense sticks. All this just add to the love story that this city builds around you when you step foot into this magical paradise.
There’s just something about this place which beckons you to get into the laidback mode. The grandeur the way of life, the old world charm weaves you into its loop and promises you an experience worth your while an experience which leaves you with a profound sense of contentment.
Mysore is thought to have been named after the demon Mahishur, who according to legend was slain here by the goddess Durga. From 1400, Mysore was the main city of the Hindu kings, the Wodeyars. The Wodeyars were under the Vijayanagar Empire till it collapsed in 1565, upon which they declared themselves independent. They ruled from Mysore ever since, till in 1956 the princely state joined the Republic of India. There was a brief interlude though in the 18th century with the power of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan in the ascendant, they could hardly resist this rich kingdom, only 15 km from Srirangapatnam. However, on defeating Tipu, the British handed Mysore back to the Wodeyar kings.
How to get there
Mysore doesn’t get any air traffic. The nearest airport at Bangalore is quite well connected to the rest of the country and to some places abroad. The distance is very easily covered; there’s a host of rail and road options to choose from.
More than four trains ply between Bangalore and Mysore everyday. Mysore is pretty well connected to the rest of the local area and it also has weekly connections to Chennai and Mumbai.
Mysore is quite close to the southern border of Karnataka. Road distances are really more manageable from tourist places in northern Tamil Nadu and Kerala than to a place in even central Karnataka. There are buses plying all around, deluxe, super deluxe, express and super fast. It is also possible to hire chauffeur driven cars, which would make the longer journeys a little less never-ending and tedious.
Best time to visit
Mysore enjoys a moderate climate. The summer maximum and minimum temperatures are 33C and 21C, while the winters promise to be a very pleasant experience. Most of the city’s rainfall occurs between June and October. The ideal time therefore is from October to March. If you come around October, you can be part of the famed Dussehra festival. The now defunct Rajah winds his way across the city in a royal grand procession with much fanfare and trumpeting never mind his plebeian status!
Mysore is home to some hot and spicy concoctions. Treat your taste buds to the hot and sweet sambars called huli, the bisebelle baath, the signature sweet Mysore Pak and the wafer thin dosas.
Walk into Bombay Tiffanys, among the best places in Mysore to go sweet shopping. Gopika Restaurant and Om Shanthi are the local favourites for vegetarian delicacies. For Kerala fish curry, walk into Dynasty on Sri Harsha Road.
Shilpashri Restaurant & Bar at Gandhi Square is the ideal eat-out if you feel like digging into a Continental breakfast..
Mysore silk is world famous. The saris come in jewel colours laced with a thin gold border. The cost depends upon the amount and purity of gold and the weight of the silk. You can buy these at the Government Silk Factory (Lakshmibai Road) or the showrooms in Manandavadi Road and the shopping area of KR Circle. Government Silk Factory (Mananthody Road, Ashokapuram) is open Monday through Saturday. You can see weavers at work and buy the silk you want from the small shop inside the factory.
Mysore also makes articles of sandalwood, rosewood and teakwood. These include figurines of gods and goddesses, jewel boxes, table tops, and furniture. Stone carving, gold-leaf painting and ganjifa painting (painting on leather) are other local arts. The Cauvery Handicrafts Emporium run by the Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation is an ideal place for buying handicrafts and artifacts.
The Government Sandalwood Oil factory is where oil is extracted and incense made. You can visit this place from Mon - Sat (0800 - 1700). This shop sells soaps, incense sticks etc.
The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) office is on Irwin Road, in the Old Exhibition Building. It is open Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 5:30 pm.
Tel: 442096. Fax: 441833. It has branches at the railway station and the main bus stand.