After having visited various wonderful destinations in the #XploreBharat blog train and having visited Mumbai yesterday, today we visit another exotic and equally fun destination, Mysuru!! 🙂
As a Tamilian and having lived close to 23 years in my homestate, it was by chance that lady luck brought us to Bangalore or Bengaluru after a long US stint. Now living in Karnataka for the past few years, we have explored the length and breadth of this great state with full gusto! India is such a great country with awesome culture that changes every few hundred kilometres.
In that sense, we have dived into Karnataka culture by visiting the various places and Mysuru or Mysore is one of them. Join me as we visit the different places in Mysuru which is located in the state of Karnataka in India!
‘Mysore’ was rechristened as ‘Mysuru’ in 2014 and is located in the southern state of Karnataka. It is only about 145 kms from Bangalore or Bengaluru but with the traffic it might take close to 5 hrs or more!
This is probably the first place that comes to mind when anybody thinks of Mysuru. Brindavan Gardens as the name suggests is a beautiful garden with wonderful water fountains. It lies close to the KRS(Krishnaraja sagar) dam in Mandya district of Karnataka. The KRS dam is built across the river Kaveri. With such beautiful scenery, Brindavan Gardens is the place for many Indian movie picturizations.
Brindavan Gardens keeps the visitors enthralled with its musical water fountains and a walk around the garden itself is mesmerizing and relaxing. The garden is huge and is spread across 60 acres. There are eye catching topiary and other plants and flora which will definitely be a botanists dream.
It is best to visit Brindavan Gardens in the early evening hours to see the garden in natural light and stay back after sunset to enjoy the musical and well lit fountains. Many hotels and resorts pepper the gardens to enjoy the view of the fountains from the room itself.
The Chamundeswari temple sits atop the Chamundi hills which is about 13 kms east of the city of Mysuru. It is situated at an elevation of 3489 ft above sea level. Goddess Chamundi or Durga of the temple is the presiding deity of the Mysore Royal family. Goddess Chamundeswari is also known as ‘Mahishasure mardini’ for having killed the demon ‘Mahishasura’. This is the event that is the backdrop for the very,very popular ‘Dasara’ festivities in the month of Sept-Oct in Mysuru. Goddess Chamundi is also supposed to be an incarnation of Goddess Parvati(consort of Lord Shiva)
Enroute to the temple, we can see a magnificent Nandi statue(which is of monolithic architecture) and a statue of ‘Mahishasura’.
The temple has its origins going back to a 1000 years. The Chamundeswari temple was a small temple initially but after the Mysuru Maharajas and the Wodeyars gained power in 1399 AD, it was developed more and it assumed greater religious prominence. We can reach the temple easily by car and buses operated by the KSRTC(Karnataka State Transport corporation)
The entire city of Mysuru can be beautifully seen from the hillock. Prayers and offerings continue for the Goddess till date everyday.
(PIC: Creative commons)
No discussion of Mysuru will be complete without talking about the ‘Tiger of Mysuru’ -‘Tipu Sultan’. Tipu Sultan was the ruler of Mysuru between 1782 to 1799. He was one of the few rulers who stood up against the British rule and waged many wars. He is known for the very popular saying “It is better to live like a lion for a day than to live like a jackal for a hundred years”.
Srirangapatna Fort was first built in 1454 in Indo-Islamic architecture. It underwent many changes first done by the Wodeyars and then by Tipu Sultan.
The walls of the remaining fort are strong and is built in double enclosure. The Srirangapatna Fort is the second toughest fort in India.
(Pic credit: Wikimedia Author: Chithra Sivakumar)
The Srirangapatna fort has bastion gates, dungeons, gun powder houses. It also housed the ‘Lal Mahal’ which used to be the house of Tipu Sultan. Unfortunately, the ‘Lal Mahal’ was razed by the British and now, only a board serves as a notice to the above.
You know the Kings and Queens that you read all your life? They come alive in Mysuru Palace. If you visit Mysuru, the Palace is one of the “must” places to see and drink in the royal architecture. It is supposedly to be one of the beautiful places to visit in India after the Taj Mahal. It is home to the Wodeyars who ruled Mysuru for close to 500 years. There were 25 kings till Mysuru joined the Indian Republic in 1947.
The Palace was built between 1897- 1912 by architect Henry Irwin. The initial cost to build the palace was 41.47 lakh rupees then! The palace has three entrances(East gate, West gate and South gate) The East gate and West gate are only opened during Dasara festivities. The palace is also surrounded by a huge garden and has three major temples housed within.
The Palace is a visual treat during Dasara time. I need a separate post to talk all about the glory of the Mysuru palace during Dasara! 🙂 In short, the palace is illuminated with 97,000 bulbs for all nine days during Dasara. The roads leading to the palace is all lit up during Dasra and it feels like a magical wonderland! (much like Christmas time in the US)
We had visited Mysuru several times before but visiting it during Dasara was a special treat and one which we would never forget. The nine days in Sept or October are known as ‘Dasara’ or ‘Navarathri’ dedicated to the Goddesses. It signifies the victory of good over evil. Mysuru celebrates this by decorating the palace and having various festivities.
On the last day of Dasara, known as ‘Vijayadasami’ ‘Jamboo savari’ is held wherein Goddess Chamundeswari is placed on a golden howdah on a decorated elephant.
Other places of interest in Mysuru are the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens and Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.
The best time to visit Mysuru might be the cooler months from July onwards. The Dasara season is a great time to visit too but there will be huge crowds which are adequately managed. The peak summer months of March, April, May will be hot for outdoor travel and viewing.
Before we leave, we should not forget to shop for Mysuru’s specialities of Mysuru silk sarees, soaps, sandal talc and of course, the sweet’Mysore pak’!! 🙂
The map below shows the various locations in Mysuru.
The next stop of this #XploreBharatBlogTrain is Varanasi with Pallavi.
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