THE CULTURAL CAPITAL OF KARNATAKA
The grandiosity, rich heritage and natural beauty of the city of Mysore will leave you spellbound
Known for its rich culture and history, Mysore, the capital city of Karnataka, is a treat for travelers who crave to explore, rather than just admire the natural beauty of a place. On reaching, we chose to hop on to local mode of transportations to experience the city up and close, like a local. Mysore has a good rail and road connectivity, too.
THE RICH HERITAGE
The first must-visit place of our trip was the Mysore Palace. Our tour guide told us interesting facts, like how the city was ruled by the Wadiyar Dynasty from 1399 to 1761, and from 1799 to 1947. The rulers patronised the art and culture of the city. They invented ganjifa (an ancient card game), brought together the modern Indian education system, where they opened new schools and started teaching English, and contributed to the architecture of Mysore, which now defines the city.
The beauty and grandiosity of the Mysore Palace is hard to capture with a DSLR camera. The entrance was surrounded by lush green gardens, which we later figured out was one of the common factors in every heritage building of the city. Elaborating more on the architecture of the place, our tour guide informed us that it is an amalgamation of Hindu, Rajput, Islamic and Gothic styles of architecture known as Indo-Saracenic. The grandiose structure has two durbar halls, where ceremonial royal court meetings were held. The palace has 12 Hindu temples in its premises, and is also home to many exquisite artefacts. Another thing that one must not miss here is the light and sound show in the garden area. The show, which entails a narrative of the history of the Wadiyar Dynasty, is held from 7pm to 7.45pm, from Monday to Saturday.
ST PHILOMENA’S CATHEDRAL
The next must-visit place in our list was the St. Philomena’s Cathedral. It’s one of the tallest churches in Asia, whose foundation was laid by the Maharaja of Mysuru in 1933. The church serves as an excellent example of secularism. An astounding sight that one can witness in the church are the statues of women in saris.
Chamundi Hills, 13km east of Mysore, is home to the temple of Sri Chamundeswari, situated at the height of 3,489ft. The temple is believed to be some 1,000 years old, and it gives you an aerial view of the Mysore city. The panoramic view of the city from the temple at night is a treat for the eyes.
The last stop was the famous Brindavan Gardens. The symmetric design gives it an amphitheatre look. Go there, and you wouldn’t want to leave.
Mysore is known for its silk saris; weaved by local artisans for centuries. For some good shopping, head to the Ashoka Road, near Mysore Palace. You can also visit Devaraja market, one of the oldest markets of the city and an integral part of the life of every Mysorean. Special items include incense sticks, rangoli colours and sandalwood. The market is open from 6am to 8.30pm.
Chamundeshwari Temple (left) and Mysore Palace
Flower sellers at Devaraja Market