Mysore has a long history of eminent dynasties who ruled from here and created a city that, even today, is one of the finest in southern India with tree-lined boulevards, beautiful gardens, parks and stately palaces. 770 m above sea level and 140 kms from Bangalore, Mysore was once the capital of the Wodeyars. A city steeped in history, Mysore was once the stronghold of the Hoysalas, the Wodeyars and later on, of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Mysore is derived from Mahisasura, the demon king, who once lived here and was vanquished by Goddess Chamundi.
The Mysore Palace: once the residence of the Wodeyars, was built in 1911-12. It is one of the largest and most splendid of its kind in India. This Indo-Saracenic building has among other things, a carved silver door, a solid gold throne and a gallery of exquisite paintings. Timings: 10.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery: is a palace transformed into an art gallery with paintings dating from 1875. The collection includes paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, the Russian Svetoslav Roerich and the traditional Mysore 'gold leaf' style of painting. Timings: 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
St. Philomena's Church: in the Gothic style, is one of the largest churches in the country and has beautiful stained glass windows.
Mysore Zoo: houses some rare animal bred in captivity and exotic species of plants. Timings: 9 am to 6 pm.
Chamundi Hills: is 13 kms off Mysore city. Halfway up the hills is the Nandi Bull, a 4.8 meter monolith. Right on top is the 2000-year old Chamundeswari Temple, dedicated to the patron goddess of the royal family.
Khrishna Raj Sagar Dam & Brindavan Gardens: 19 kms northwest of Mysore. The ornamental terraced gardens, the swirling fountains, the colorful fairy lights - Brindavan Gardens attracts thousands of visitors.
Srirangapatnam: is 14 kms northwest of Mysore on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway. The island fortress was once the capital of the warrior-kings Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore. Tipu's summer palace, Daria Daulat, built in 1784, was his favorite retreat. Now a museum, it tells eloquently of his valor and his losing battle against British expansion. It has ornate and beautiful frescoes.
Tipu's Fort: at Srirangapatnam holds within it a mosque and the Ranganathaswamy Temple. Outside the Fort is the Gumbaz, the Tiger's tomb, with doors of ebony inlaid with ivory. 3 kms south of Srirangapatnam is the Sangam, where the two branches of the river Cauvery reunite.
Ranganathittu: 4 kms from Srirangapatnam and 18 kms from Mysore. A bird sanctuary that allows a close view of exotic and familiar birds and of crocodiles that resemble mud banks. Birds from as far as Siberia make this their home.
Melkote: 50 kms north is a sacred pilgrim center, known for its Vairamudi festival in March-April. Melkote is also known for its handlooms.
Somnathpur: 35 kms east of Mysore. Noted for its star-shaped, 13th century Hoysala temples which are in excellent condition. The exterior walls of the temple are frescoed with episodes from the epics.
Shivasamudram: 85 kms east of Mysore is the point where the river Cauvery cascades down in two picturesque waterfalls.
Bandipura National Park and Tiger Reserve: 80 kms south of Mysore. This is one of the 15 national parks selected across the country for Project Tiger, a scheme launched in 1973 by the World Wildlife Fund to save the tiger.
Cauvery Fishing Camp: 82 kms away from Mysore, at Bhimeshwari, is a paradise for anglers with the rich mahaseer found in abundance. This camp is also accessible from Bangalore (100 kms).
Nagarhole National Park: located 96 kms north of Mysore. Accommodation at the Kabini River Lodge, to the south-east, is comfortable and the jungle inhabitants well worth a visit.
Biligiriranga Betta: is 114 kms south-east of Mysore. A pleasant hill station, there is also a Wildlife Camp here, which is run by the Forest Department. Right on top of the hill stands the Biligirangaswamy Temple, from which the hill takes its name.
The easiest access to the city from Bangalore is by train. There are regular bus services to the city from all major centers in the region.