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Mysore Palace is one of the most recognized and most visited in India. It was designed by British architect Henry Irwin. It can be called the most beautiful modern palace in India.
The palace was built on the territory of the old fort and served as the official residence of the former princely dynasty Vodeyar. Vodeyar was first who built it in the 14th century and the n the palace was demolished and rebuilt several times. During his rule, Tipu Sultan ordered to destroy a city inside the fort, including the palace, and to use the building material for the construction of the new city Nazarabad (now within Mysore). That palace that we see today began to build in 1897 and completed in 1912, then expanded in 1940 (a fire destroyed the previous wooden palace in 1897.)
Mysore Palace is one of the most famous tourist attractions in India after the Taj Mahal. Every year it hosts more than 2.7 million tourists. It is one of the most visited monuments in India, even ahead of the Red Fort and Qutub Minar in Delhi. Tourists are allowed to visit the palace, but not allowed to take pictures inside. All visitors before enter should remove their shoes.
On the territory of the palace complex are located twelve Hindu temples. The oldest of them was built in the 14th century, the most modern – in 1953.
In the palace there is armory, which stores a set of different types of arms belonging to members of the royal family. These are weapons dating back to the 14th century (lances, cutlasses, etc.), as well as weapons that were used in the early twentieth century (pistols, etc.). On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays the palace is illuminated by 100 000 light bulbs.
Mysore Palace, which originally inhabited the ruling dynasty, was destroyed by fire in 1897. Construction of a new palace was completed only in 1912, and during that time the palace Jaganmohana was used by members of the royal family as a domestic residence.
In 1915, the palace was turned into an art gallery. Art Gallery contains one of the largest collections of culture in South India. Most of them are paintings, significant part of which is painting of Indian artist Raja Ravi Varma. Number of pictures in the gallery is over 2000. Other exhibits include weapons, musical instruments, sculptures, brassware, antique coins.
In the concert hall of the Jaganmohana is organized traditional dance performances, music festivals and other cultural programs during the 10-day Dasara celebrations.
Lalitha Mahal is the second largest palace in Mysore. The palace was built in 1921 on the order of Krishnaraja IV as a residence for the Governor-General of India. The architecture of the palace recalls St Paul’s in London and is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city of Mysore. Built in the style of an Italian palazzo with two Ionic columns and domes, painted in pure white, the palace has a very elegant look. In 1974 it was converted to a luxury hotel. Near the palace is a beautiful garden.
Church of St. Philomena is a beautiful Roman Catholic cathedral, is one of the largest churches in India. Built in the Gothic style, architecture of the church resembles the famous Cologne Cathedral, listed as a World Heritage Site. Height of the spire of the church is 53 m.
Every autumn, the main palace of the city became a center for the famous Dasara festival. The festival celebrates the victory of the Great Goddess Durga over the evil demon Mahishasura, and thereby, according to Hindu mythology, symbolizes the victory of good over evil. During all 10 days of Dasara, throughout the city hosts music and dance concerts. Musicians and dancers from all over India are invited to Mysore to perform. Another attraction is the Dasara Kusti Spardhe (freestyle wrestling), which attracts wrestlers from all over India.
The tradition of Dasara was laid by Vodeyar dynasty rulers in 1610 in Shrirangapatnam and in Mysore with great pomp began to celebrate it in 1799. Dasara celebration has become an integral part of the cultural life of Mysore. In honor of this holiday Mysore Palace is illuminated by almost 100,000 lights throughout the 10 days of the festival.
On the tenth day of the festival (Vijaya-Dashami), on the streets of the city you can see a traditional colorful procession Dasara. Bright costumes, dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses and camels are part of a process that starts from the Mysore Palace and goes to a place called Bannimantap, where the liturgy takes place. Torchlight parade marks the end of the holiday. Celebration of Dasara is in September or October of each year.
Mysore has about 180 parks and recreation areas. Many residents rest near the numerous lakes, located in the city. The most famous destination was founded in 1932, the park Brindavan. Visited by about 2 million tourists a year, the park is one of the main attractions of Mysore, although it is at a distance of 15 km from the city. The main attraction of the park is the musical fountain in which bursts of water are synchronized with the music of the song. Musical fountain show starts at 19:00 pm. The park has a lake, that visitors can optionally boating.
The zoo is one of the most popular attractions in Mysore. It was created in 1892, making it one of the oldest zoos in the world. In the zoo live animals from more than 40 countries: the Royal Bengal tiger, white tigers, elephants, giraffes, deer, black bear, gaur (Indian bison), white peacock, the African rhinoceros, giraffes, hippos, and gorillas. At the zoo is a lake that attracts migratory birds during the breeding season. Other attractions include a botanical garden with many species of exotic ornamental plants and trees. Zoo is closed on Tuesday.
Mysore is one of the main reasons why tourists choose to visit the South India. The city combines the rich history and beauty of nature in their palaces, temples, parks and other attractions, annually attracting 2.7 million tourists. Being in Mysore, you can visit castles and get acquainted with the life of the royal dynasty, enjoy the grandeur of architectural structures, to relax in a beautiful park Brindavan and, if you desire, to travel to the national parks of Bandipur and Nagarhole and see Bengal tigers and Indian leopards from the cabin of your Jeep. Mysore -city of palaces, gardens, shady avenues and sacred temples – played an important role in the history of South India, and still continues to keep the charm of its ancient heritage.
The Principality of Mysore in southern India was founded in 1399. The ruling dynasty Vodeyar originally was a vassal of Vidzhayanagar Empire. With its decline (about 1565), Vodeyar was one of the first that declared their independence. In the 17th century, the principality became a powerful state in South India. In the days of the rulers Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, it reached the peak of its power and prosperity. Tipu Sultan, known by the nickname “Tiger of Mysore”, became a legend in his lifetime and is still considered to be one of the most enlightened rulers in India. “In this world I would rather live two days like a tiger, than two hundred years as a sheep” – Tipu Sultan said, fiercely resisted the British colonization in the south of India. Huge efforts and resources, four grueling Anglo-Mysore War and as much as 40 years for the British, before Mysore, the last of Indian states, was included in the British East India Company (Tipu Sultan was killed in the last battle of the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War).
Twenty-five Maharajas of Vodeyar dynasty ruled the city for 570-year history, up to the independence of India in 1947 and the government’s declaration of the final abolition of ceremonial functions in 1970. Ruling dynasty rulers were patrons of art and culture, made a significant contribution to the cultural development of the city, so that Mysore was named cultural capital of Karnataka.
Mysore is well known for the celebration of Dasara festival, painting, sweets, traditional silk turbans, manufacturing incense, schools for the study of yoga. Every year thousands of foreigners visit Mysore to study yoga. It is one of the most popular centers for the study of yoga in India.
Mysore is one of the first cities in India have implemented the ideas of modern urban planning, as evidenced by wide tree-lined boulevards, equipped markets and parks. The city is known for its palaces and old office buildings. There 17 palaces altogether. One of them is turned into a museum, the other in an art gallery, and a further three in the hotel.
As a rule, all Indian cities are noisy, dusty and crowded. Mysore is a pleasant exception to this rule. This is the city where you’ll wish to stay as much longer, and parting with it is always painful. In a survey conducted in 2001 by edition of Business Today, Mysore took second place in the category of the cleanest city in India, second only to Chandigarh. Tourism is an important sector of the economy of the city. Development of information technology in the late 20th – early 21st century has led to the fact that it has become the second largest exporter of software in Karnataka after Bangalore.