Mysore in One Day – South India Travel Guide
I have got accustomed to making plans at a whim and arranging accommodations and commute options at the last moment.
Having stayed in Bangalore for some time, I had heard a lot about the city of palaces from friends. Mysore had been in my "must-visit" list for a long time, but somehow I never made a deliberate plan to visit it.
I was in Hyderabad when at an impulse, I decided to do a South India tour before I returned home. I planned Mysore to be the first city that I'll visit as part of the "official" tour.
I spent two days in Mysore but toured the city for effectively one day. So, here's a complete personalized guide to help you plan your trip to the "City of Palaces", Mysore.
PS: Visit the Mysore city during Dussehra(Dasera) festival - the whole city is lit up and there are many ceremonies and festivities that happen during this time.
How to reach Mysore?
I took an overnight bus from Hyderabad to Mysore, and it took around 13 hours to reach the city.
From Bangalore, it takes 3 hours to reach Mysore, so you need not solely rely on the overnight bus. There are several buses which commute between the two cities throughout the day as well. Check RedBus, or official KSRTC websites for more information.
If you are coming from a more distant city, or another country, you can take a flight to Mysore. You can also fly till Bangalore, and then take a bus from Bangalore to Mysore.
Where to stay in Mysore?
There are many accommodation options in Mysore, including hostels, hotels, BnBs, and homestays.
I had plans to stay in a hostel in Mysore, but unfortunately, it got changed at the last moment. Luckily, I got in touch with Mr. Manu from Skyway Tours, and he helped me arrange accommodation at Kings Kourt hotel.
The hotel was conveniently located near the city center and major tourist sites.
The room that I got was quite spacious and faced the main road. Although the property seemed a little old, given the dismal lobby and restaurant, I was quite impressed by my brightly lit room. It was clean and nicely kept that I didn't really mind the shabby lobby.
As for the food, I ate basic meals like Dal with Rice and/or Chapati, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I'd recommend the hotel if you are looking for a comfortable stay near the city center and a very cordial and assisting staff.
PS: I forgot my WiFi dongle in my room, that they kept safely until I returned to pick it up.
Places to See in Mysore
Shuka Vana is home to around 465 different varieties of parrots. Here the injured parrots are tended to and taken care of. The place is for a good cause, and if you enjoy learning about different species of birds, it's the right place for you.
One thing that bothered me though was, the birds were caged. Reasons simply being, keeping them secure, but this is one thing that bothered me, and which is why I was not able to enjoy the place as much.
Just beside the Shuka Vana, is the Bonsai Garden, and a temple that you can visit on your way back.
Mysore Palace or the Amber Vilas Palace is the main highlight of the Mysore city. The royal families of Mysore ruled from this palace, and it still is their official residence.
The palace has morning and evening hours. In the morning, you are allowed inside the palace and the residential quarters. And in the evening, the entrance is restricted to the palace grounds only, from where you can see the light and sound show.
There are separate tickets for the palace entry(INR 70 for Indians), and residential quarters tour(INR 50 for Indians) in the morning, and for the light and sound show in the evening (INR 90 for Indians).
The palace architecture is royal and magnificent, and once you enter it, you'll be impressed by the little detailing done on every corner it.
The light and sound show was very average, and I would not recommend it. Although, when the palace lights up after the show, the visual is worth it.
The light and sound show runs in Kannada from Monday to Wednesday, and in English from Thursday to Saturday. On Sunday nights, however, all of the palace is lit up, and you are allowed to enter for free.
Situated just next to Mysore Zoo, Karanji Lake is a good spot for a leisure walk. The lake was a little dried up when I visited, but the surrounding greens were home to a large number of varieties of birds. There is also an aviary, with many peacocks inside the park premises.
Although the walk around the lake was pleasant, I'd only visit it if I extra time in the city.
Chamundi Hill - Chamundeshwari Temple and Viewpoint
Known for the Chamundeshwari Temple that sits atop the hill, Chamundi hills also gives the most splendid views of the Mysore city. You can either drive up the hill or take a 1000 step staircase. On your way, you can also stop at the Nandi temple.
The myth goes like, goddess Chamundeshwari killed the asura Mahishasura and freed the city of Mysore. The entry queue for the temple was long, so I didn't go inside, although there is a concept of priority entry for an additional fee.
As for the viewpoint, the Chamundi Hill viewpoint is quite famous amongst tourists. To skip the crowds, take the trail that goes beside the viewpoint, and enjoy the panoramic view of the city in quiet from here.
Ideated by MN Gowri, the Sand Museum is a real piece of marvel. The museum displays sculptures made in sand and water and based on different themes. Look closely, and you'll realize the art that had gone into creating the intricacies in each of these sculptures.
The sculptures are created based on different themes, which makes them all the more interesting.
St. Philomena's Church
Known to be Asia's second tallest Church, St. Philomena's church is a piece of architectural excellence. Apart from the prayer room, there is also a basement, where you can see the names of all the people who contributed to the making of the church inscribed on the walls.
PS: Photography is not allowed inside the church.
Apart from all the touristy spots, you can spend time walking around the city and explore the local hidden spots and food corners.