Mysore India – Your Quick Travel Guide
In a nutshell
Mysore is known as the cultural capital of South India. That is perhaps the best way to describe the city which is known for its beautiful monuments, peaceful environment and serene landscapes.
Why go to Mysore
Situated at the base of the Chamundi hills, Mysore was home of the Wodeyar dynasty. The people here are known for their skills in weaving, sandalwood carving and bronze work.
Mysore attracts over 2.5 million tourists every year and comes alive during the festival of Dussehra. Mysore Mallige, a kind of painting, Mysore Pak, a type of sweet and Mysore silk are something everyone who comes to the city should experience.
There are many things to see and do in Mysore. The Wodeyars, its erstwhile rulers, were great builders and have erected many enchanting buildings in the city. The Mysore Palace, their residence, is perhaps the most iconic monument of Mysore, which is also known as the city of palaces. The Chamundi hills which surround Mysore are also worth visiting and the temple of Goddess Chamundeswari located in the hills is very beautiful. In fact, during dussehra, the idol of the temple is taken on a tour of the city atop an elephant and is a very sacred ritual here. Karanji Lake, Philomena Church, Brindavan gardens, Chamundeshwari temple and St. Philomena’s church are some of the other things you must see in Mysore. There are also regular walks held by different bodies in Mysore which take you on a tour of some of the fabulous places here and you can get a taste of the city through these tours. The Royal Mysore Walk is something that we recommend as it also takes you through a century old market.
When to go to Mysore
Perhaps one of the reasons why Mysore is so favoured among tourists is that it has very good weather throughout the year. The temperatures range from 20 to 29 degree Celsius for most parts of the year except in the winters when it drops slightly to 15 to 25 degrees. The best months to visit Mysore are between October to March when the Sun is not too bright and the temperatures are not too cold.
Where to stay in Mysore
Being a busy tourist destination, Mysore has a lot of accommodation options to choose from. There are a few hubs where you will find a number of hotels. The area around the station is one such area. Others include the areas north of the Mysore Palace and Jayalakshmipuram. Mangrove Suites, Green Hotel and Treebo are some of the places which offer very good staying options. Another great option in Mysore is that you can experience the royal way of life through heritage hotel stays. A lot of palaces and mansions in Mysore have been converted into hotels for this purpose. Mannar’s residency near the station, Quorum on Vinobha road and King’s courts are some of the places where you can avail this option. Being a popular centre for learning Yoga, Mysore also offers a number of homestays and hostel options where one can stay for longer periods of time.
What to eat in Mysore
Mysore has a society which is dominated by Brahmins, who are the traditional spiritual leaders. And hence, it is not a place which non-vegetarians would enjoy as most of the places serve vegetarian cuisine. But that does not take away from the fact that the food is extremely delicious here, not to mention healthy.
Mysore’s cuisine is basically Udupi cuisine and features rice as its central element. There are many varieties of rice available here like the Bisibele Bath, Chitrana, Vangibath and Pulliyoigrae. Mysore also has its own take on dosas, idlis and vadas and they mix it up with different kinds of chutneys to make for sumptuous meals. Vinayaka Mylari is perhaps the most famous place for Dosas in Mysore. There are other equally iconic places like Hotel RRR, Sapphire and Indra Café Paras where you can enjoy some finger licking Andhra food. And of course, no talk of food in Mysore will ever be over without a mention of the Mysore Pak, the famous sweet of Mysore. Made in the kitchen of Krishna Raja Wodeyar IV by his cook Madappa, it is best tasted in Guru Sweet mart on Sayaji Rao Road as they serve the original recipe.
How to get around Mysore
Travelling around Mysore is pretty easy and cheaper compared to some of the other Indian cities.
In case you want to travel around Mysore for the whole day, a private taxi is the best option and you can ask the staff at the hotel you are staying in to arrange one for you. A whole day taxi would generally cost you INR 2000.
Auto Rickshaws are another form of transport which you can avail here and they usually run by the meter. However, after 10 pm, they increase the rate by 50% as night charges.
There are also a number of buses which are operated by the government and they are a good pocket friendly option to get around Mysore. The buses are pretty frequent and fares start as low as INR 10 for short distances.
Another great option for travelling around short distances in Mysore is the Tonga, a horse driven cart, where you can get a feel of how royals used to travel in the past.
But the best part about Mysore is that it is not a very large city and the famous tourist destinations are mostly a walking distance from each other. And considering the weather here, we do recommend you to take those long, beautiful walks.
How to get to and from Mysore
Getting in and out of Mysore is not very difficult as the Bengaluru International Airport is just 170 kms away and there is also a domestic airport in Mysore itself. It would cost approximately INR 50,000 to get to Bengaluru from New York and INR 10,000 from Hong Kong. There are regular bus and cab services from Bengaluru Airport to Mysore and you can come here directly after landing in Bengaluru.
There are also regular train services which connect Mysore to the rest of India and the Mysore junction is where most of the trains come. The Shatabdi is one of the best trains and it reaches from Chennai to Mysore in just 7 hours and costs INR 1200 and upwards.
Mysore is also pretty well connected by buses through the Central Bus Stand and the City bus stand and there are plenty of options to choose from. There are AC buses, deluxe buses, Volvos and Sleepers. There is a bus to Bangalore from Mysore almost every 5 minutes and would cost INR 280 and upwards depending on the type of bus you choose. There are regular buses connecting Mysore to Bandipur National park, Somnathpur, Chennai and other places.
The roads near Mysore are in very good condition and you can also rent a self-driven car to move around. A drive from Bengaluru airport to Mysore would take about a couple of hours and though the traffic is on the heavy side, it is a fairly comfortable drive.
Is Mysore a safe place to visit?
Mysore is an absolutely fantastic city to visit. It is very safe for travellers, and a lot of solo travellers do come here, especially because of its culture of Yoga. With beautiful weather, good food, great sights and nice people, Mysore is a place you should definitely visit at least once.