The birth place of India’s most delectable dessert - Mysore Pak, Mysore is a thriving city, situated in the heart of the South Indian state of Karnataka. A short 33-minute drive away from this busy city is the small and often overlooked town of Srirangapatna. With spellbinding architecture and rich cultural history, these destinations enthral travellers from all over the world. Luckily for us, we needn’t travel far to witness their brilliance. They’re a short flight or road trip away; and a long weekend is all we need to see the treasures hidden in these two destinations.
Here are all the places in Mysore and Srirangapatna that you can cover in a short span of three to four days:
The heritage hub of Karnataka, officially known as Mysuru; is a traveller’s paradise. Rich with history, culture, religion and food; Mysore never fails to impress!
1. The Maharaja’s Palace: also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, was home to the Wodeyar Maharaja of Mysore. It is also one of the largest palaces in India. Originally built from wood, a fierce fire destroyed much of the palace structure in 1897, which was rebuilt in stone in 1912, in its present day form. Tourists can also catch the enjoyable light and sound show over the weekends, here.
2. Chamundi Hills: Towering over 1000m above sea level, are the Chamundi Hills that house the famous Chamundeshwari Temple - dedicated to the Chamundi avatar of goddess Durga. According to the legend, Dussehra, marks the day Chamundi vanquished the evil Mahisasura for disrupting peace on heaven and earth . A series of 1008 stone steps lead devotees to the temple that houses Chamundi’s sculpture, which is considered as one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas representing the hair of Sati (Goddess Durga’s avatar). There are many attractions around the hills as well like the statue of Bull Nandi.
3. St Philomena’s Church: One of India’s oldest and Asia’s second largest Churches, the St Philomena, originally known as St John Chavez, was built in 1840 under Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. The church was renovated to its present day magnificent form in 1933. The cathedral floor resembles a cross and its crypt houses a statue of St Philomena, specially brought in from France. This architectural marvel is a must visit when in Mysore.
4. Lalitha Mahal: Converted into a hotel in 1974, this beautiful palace was built in 1921 under Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV as a home for the then Viceroy of India. The white palace is built in Renaissance style architecture and is said to be inspired by the St. Paul’s Cathedral London. The Sapphire restaurant at the palace, can be booked in advance for a meal too!
5. Brindavan Gardens: The beautiful terrace garden, spread over 60 acres was created between 1927 and 1932. Built near the complex of the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam, the gardens take inspiration from the Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir. It is specially known for the illumination of the fountains, which takes place daily, but the timings vary according to the month. Tourists are advised to check in advance and make an effort to see the beautifully lit garden in all its glory.
6. Mysore Zoo: Spread over 157acres of land, the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens is home to 168 species of exotic animals! The beautiful zoo is over 125years old and incorporates the Karanji lake as well, where tourists can opt for boating activities. There are also electric and battery operated vehicles for those who cannot walk.
A world in itself, Srirangapatna, may be small but has so much to offer its guests! From ancient temples to nature's most beautiful creations- this small town has it all…
7. The Ranganathan Swamy Temple: Devoted to lord Vishnu’s manifestation as Ranganathan, this beautiful temple is located on the banks of the Kaveri river and comes under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India. One of the most important temples in Vaishnavism, it is one of the Pancharanga Kshetras (one of the five important temples of lord Vishnu). The temple receives many devotees from all over the world, especially during Makar Sankranti.
8. Daria Daulat Bagh: Built by Tipu Sultan in 1784, Daria Daulat Bagh translates literally to the Garden of the Sea of Wealth. The palace is made of teakwood , follows the Saracenic style of architecture and is surrounded by stunningly landscaped gardens. The beautiful frescoes on the walls, painted in the Mysore style of art depicts Tipu Sultan’s army going into battle and is a must see for every photographer and history enthusiast out there.
9. Balmuri Water falls: A stunning man-made waterfall, on the Kaveri river, the Balmuri waterfalls is a popular location for picnics and film shoots! The waterfalls are amazing for a swim, and for those interested, we recommend the warmer months from March to August, during which the water is of a perfect temperature. Tourists are advised to carry their own food for a fun picnic here. Just remember to clean up before you leave!
Both Mysore and Srirangapatnam are treasure troves of sightseeing delights. A special mention for the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Srirangapatna that houses over 170 species of birds! Additionally, Gumbaz-in Srirangapatna, one of India’s largest dome structures and the mausoleum of Tipu Sultan is also worth a visit.
Whilst visiting these Southern India jewels, do remember that they are also gastronomical paradises! So sample as many delicious foods from the local cuisine, as possible.