Grandeur, glory, magnificence, beauty and charm seem to have found an abode in the city of Mysore. Spread over an area of approximately 82 sq., kms, it is situated in Southern part of the state of Karnataka. Located at 770 m above sea level, the city is 135 kms away from Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka.
From times immemorial, the city has played a major role in the history of South India. It has retained an aura of the old world charm with its magnificent palaces, ancient temples, sculptures, art, architecture, culture and the famous Dasara festival that never ceases to enchant and attract tourists from around the world.
One of the largest palaces in India and the residence of the Wodeyar Maharaja's of the Mysore state, it was designed by British architect Henry Irwin and built in 1912, after a fire burnt down the old wooden palace. The stained glass roof of the 'Kalyana Mandapa' (marriage pavilion), wall paintings, ivory inlaid rosewood doors and the ornate golden throne here, are all remarkable.
The palace now under the supervision of Department of Archaeology and Museums of the Karnataka Government is converted into a museum. The royal costumes, children's toys, musical instruments, photographs and numerous portraits are placed at the ground floor. A small collection of weapons are displayed on the upper floor.
Chamundi Hill is one of the landmark tourist attraction of Mysore. It is located about 13kms South east of Mysore.
The Chamundeswari temple on the top of the hill, dating back to the twelth century, is dedicated to Durga Devi or goddess Chamundi (avatar of Parvathi, Shiva's consort) for celebrating her victory over the demon Mahishasura. The idol of goddess Chamundi inside the sanctorum sanctuary is in solid gold. The temple is a fine example of Dravidian temple architecture. The temple tower is 40m high with seven stories. From the top of hill you can have a panoramic view of Mysore. There is a giant statue of Mahishasura, the demon who was killed by the goddess Chamundi (Durga Devi) near the temple.
St. Philomenas Church
Built in 1933 and designed by Reverand Rene Feuge, St. Philomena's church is one among the grandest churches in India. Located about 3 kms from the city on Cathedral road, it is the tallest Church in India built in the neo-Gothic style. A statue of 3rd century saint, Philomena is placed in an underground chamber. The twin spires are 175 feet in height and are visible from miles around. Some fine attractive glass paintings depicting scenes from the birth of Christ, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ can also be seen here. Presently it is known as St. Joseph's Church.
KRS dam, built in 1932, is located 12 kms north-west of Mysore. The project was designed by the farsighted engineer Sir M. Vishweswaraiah and constructed during the rule of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. The dam is around 8600 feet long and 130 feet high with a reservoir spread over an area of 130 sq.kms. It represents a marvel of civil engineering achievement in pre-independence India and was among the first in the world to use automatic sluice gates. There is a boating pond to cross the dam from the south bank to the north bank and at the northern edge are the dancing fountains. The beautiful terraced Brindavan Gardens is located just below the KRS dam.
The Brindavan Gardens, a celebrated beauty spot in this part of India is world famous for its symmetric design. It is one of the most beautifully laid out terrace gardens in the world. The creation of this garden in the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam site has been the achievement of Sir Mirza Ismail, the then Dewan of the princely State of Mysore. The beautification of the whole dam complex was conceived by Sir Mirza Ismail. Modeled on the design of the Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir in the Mughal style, the garden is enriched with a number of terraces, parterres, fountains, running and cascading waterchannels, water chutes, lush green lawns, flower beds, shrubs and trees. Today, the Brindavan Gardens is world famous for its ethereal beauty, grandeur and illumination/ musical fountain.
Another major tourist attraction in Mysore city is the Mysore Zoo. The Mysore zoo is over a century old and has an interesting history of its own. The zoological gardens in Mysore were set up by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar who is acclaimed as one of the architects of modern Mysore.
Zoo has been able to breed various animals in captivity successfully. Today though the Mysore zoo is over a century old it has spacious enclosures, walk throughs, a veterinary hospital, with facility for quarantine, operation theatre, medicine rooms and wards for animals. The Mysore zoo is located at a distance of about 3 km from the City Bus Stand and 2 km from the Mysore Palace. The Mysore zoo is open from 8.30am to 5.30pm on all days except Tuesday.