One of the most visited places in Mysore by locals and by tourists is the famous Brindavan Gardens. Located about 19kms from the heart of Mysore these beautiful gardens are laid out below the Krishnaraja Sagar dam built across the river Cauvery. These gardens are famous for the illuminated dancing fountains that come to life after sunset. The Krishnaraja Sagar Dam (KRS) (known as Kannambadi to the locals) itself is a superb example of excellent engineering and itself is a tourist attraction in Mysore. Sir M. Vishveswariah, one of India's finest engineers, built it in 1924.
The dam is 3 kms long and is located at the confluence of the rivers -Cauvery, Hemavati and Lakshmanathritha. The lake that is formed by the dam is one of the largest in India. The dam is a multipurpose project conceived by Sir M. Vishveswariah for supplying water to the agricultural lands of Mandya and Mysore districts and for ensuring power supply to the Shivanasamudra project.
Spread over an area of 150 acres, the Brindavan Gardens is considered one of the best gardens in India. The garden not only been meticulously laid out and has beautiful lawns and shrubs, but has thousands of fountains in different shapes and sizes that are lit with colorful lamps and are set to pleasant music.
The best time to visit the gardens is after sunset when all the bright colourful fountains come alive and seem to dance with joy to the accompanying music. This is a sight worth beholding as the entire garden is transformed into a fairyland. The Brindavan gardens remain illuminated from 7.00pm to 7.55pm from Monday to Wednesday and from 7.00pm to 8.55pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Chamundi Hills
The Chamundi Hills on the outskirts of Mysore city is another famous landmark of the city. A visitor can see these hills from a distance of about 8 to 10kms while driving to this city of Palaces from any direction. The Chamundi Hills is about 3km from the city. It is at a height of 1065 meters above sea leave and about 800 feet above Mysore city. On the top of the hill is the Chamundeshwari temple that dates back to the 11th century. Goddess Chamundeshwari is an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi who took this form to destroy the demon king Mahishasura.
The city of Mysore is said to have derived its name from the demon king Mahishasura. And Goddess Chamundi is the presiding deity of the city and the Maharajas of Mysore. It is said that Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar who ruled Mysore from1659 to 1673, built the 1000 steps leading to the temple that are carved out of granite rock. He built it so that climbing the hill would be easy for the pilgrims. It is also claimed that he constructed 63 houses at the foot of the Chamundi hills and called it Devarajapura and donated it to the Brahmins caretakers of the temple.
There is a separate set of equestrian steps craved out on the hill as the Kings use horses to go to the temple. King Krishnaraja Wodeyar III added the magnificent gopuram (pyramidal temple tower) of the temple in 1825-1826. Close to the temple there is a gigantic statue of Mahishasura made of mortar and painted with bright colors. On top of the hill besides the temples there is a small palace that belongs to the Kings of Mysore called Lalithadri. Half way up the hills is a huge monolith statue of Nandi, the bull and vehicle of Lord Shiva.
The statue is 4.8 meters high. There is a temple tank called the Devikola that is used during festivals. It has a good motorable road and KSRTC (State transport) have buses that regularly ply from Mysore to the top of the hill. Taxies are available as well. Auspicious days to visit the temple are Tuesdays, Fridays and the 10 days of Dussehra. Temples is open from 7.30am to 2pm and from 3.30pm to 6pm. The tower of the temple is illuminated on festivals and on public holidays.
Lakes in Mysore
Though Mysore has developed into a modern city, the city still moves at a gentle, unhurried and leisurely pace. The city has a good green cover and has a few lakes that add to the beauty and calmness of the city. These lakes are popular picnic spots and are frequented by nature lovers as they attract a number of migratory birds. The area around these lakes is lush green and therefore a good place to relax and rest after a hectic day's work.
Karanji Lake :
This lake is located at the bottom of the Chamundi hills and is close to the center of the city. This lake is spread over 90 acres and is home to more than 90 species of resident and migratory birds. The lake also has India's largest walkthrough aviary. The lake has boating facilities that are available on all days except Tuesday. On the banks of the Karanji lake is the Regional Museum of Natural History. With the Chamundi hills as a backdrop makes the lake look picture perfect. The lake and its surroundings allow you to appreciate nature and the Regional Museum that is adjacent to the lake, will help you increase you knowledge about the natural environment in South India and will help you understand the importance of conservation of nature. The lake has a bund on which you can take refreshing walk.
This lake is in the middle of Manasagangothri, the Mysore University campus. This beautiful and placid lake is visited by a variety of migratory birds during winter. During the winters this lake attracts a lot of bird watchers, who come observe and enjoy the birds. The lake provides boating facilities at nominal rates.
Lingabudi Lake :
This lake is in Sriramapura and is about 8km from the center of the city. This picturesque lake also attracts numerous types of migratory birds. The lake has a beautiful lush green park beside it and the entire sight that is presented is one that sooths the mind and soul. There are a number of buses to this lake from the city bus stand. This place is a favourite haunt of nature lovers of the city.
Another major tourist attraction in Mysore city is the Mysore Zoo. The Mysore zoo is over a century old and has an interesting history of its own. The zoological gardens in Mysore were set up by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar who is acclaimed as one of the architects of modern Mysore. The Maharaja was a nature buff and set up a number of gardens and parks in Mysore. The Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary was established during the reign of the Maharaja to entertain important visitors to Mysore and give them the opportunity to observe the animals in their natural habitat.
The Zoological Garden was carved out of a portion of the Summer Palace also known as the Pleasure Palace, which was in the eastern part of the city. The zoo was called Palace Zoo and was inaugurated in 1892.
As the years passed the zoo became popular as Mysore Zoo. At the time this zoo was established there were very few zoos in the country. And the Mysore zoo came to be considered as the best zoo in the country.
The zoo not only had an excellent collection of animals, it has a beautiful bandstand and had a picturesque setting with the Chamundi hills as its backdrop and an artificial lake on its premises.
The Zoo Authority of Karnataka became the first autonomous body in the country to manage a zoo. A zoo has been able to breed various animals in captivity successfully. Today though the Mysore zoo is over a century old it has spacious enclosures, walk throughs, a veterinary hospital, with facility for quarantine, operation theatre, medicine rooms and wards for animals. The Mysore zoo is located at a distance of about 3 km from the City Bus Stand and 2 km from the Mysore Palace. The Mysore zoo is open from 8.30am to 5.30pm on all days except Tuesday.
There are other tourist attractions in Mysore that are not as famous as the Palaces and temples of Mysore. But these attractions are worth visiting.
Balmuri and Edmuri Waterfalls :
When you travel from Mysore to the KRS dam, 3kms off the main road are the two small beautiful waterfalls. They are Balmuri and Edmuri waterfalls. The place where the waterfalls are located is surrounded by lush greenery and is a hot spot among the locals as well. A visit to this place is calming and relaxing. There is an ancient Ganesh temple close by that you can visit. You will have to hire a taxi or an auto to get to these waterfalls.
Blue Lagoons :
About 2kms from the KRS dam there is a small enchanting island created by the backwaters of KRD dam. You can reach the place by wading through the shallow waters around the island. It is an excellent picnic spot and you can unwind on this pleasant island. You can take an auto from KRS dam to reach this island. Mysore has developed into a modern city and has all attractions of a modern developed city. There are amusement parks in Mysore that you can visit with you family and enjoy an exciting evening.
GRS Fantasy Park :
GRS Fantasy Park is an amusement cum Water Park that can rival any other amusement park in any of the modern cities of India. GRS Fantasy Park is spread over 30 acres. The park caters to the needs of all ages. There is entertainment for the young and the old. The young can take the exciting and adrenaline pumping rides available in the park while the older people can relax in the country club and there are a number of indoor games they can take part in as well. The park provides wholesome entertainment for the family and is a thrilling experience for the young in a safe environment. The park boasts of a unique ride- this ride involves a huge slide that has a height of 35 feet and a width of 135 feet. A person who takes this ride will experience both forward and backward motion from a height of 35 feet in succession and this is what makes the ride thrilling. The park is open to the public from 10.30am to 6.00pm every day.
Planet X :
Planet X is another modern entertainment center in the city. Planet X is about 5kms from the Mysore Zoo. It is the ideal place to spend with friends on a weekend or to have a birthday party. The center has Go-carting facility, a bowling alley, a mini golf course, video games, a bar cum cocktail lounge and a family restaurant where you can have a private party.
The St. Philomena's Church
The St. Philomena's Church in Mysore is one of the oldest churches in India. It is over 200 years old. Initially over 250 years ago there was a small church in its place. When the capital of Mysore state was move from Srirangapatnam to Mysore city in 1799, many British officers and soldiers came and settled down in Mysore. The Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III realized the need for a Christian church for these people. So the Maharaja gave them a small plot of land on the Mysore-Bangalore Road and a little church came up there. As the city expanded and the Christian population of the city increased there was a need for a larger church.
So plans for made to build a larger church and thus came into existence the famous St. Philomena Church of Mysore.
Mysore is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka. The city is situated at the base of Chamundi Hills. Mysore is famous for the Dussehra celebrations during which a large number of tourists visit the city.
Regaalis Hotel Regaalis Hotel is an Usha Shriram Group Hotel. It is a modern, full service, centrally air-conditioned luxury hotel in Mysore (Karnataka, India), set in three and a half verdant acres
Best Price: Rs. per day
Regaalis Hotel is an Usha Shriram Group Hotel. It is a modern, full service, centrally air-conditioned luxury hotel in Mysore (Karnataka, India), set in three and a half verdant acres
Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre is located in Mysore (Karnataka, India), a convenient 2½ hours drive from Bangalore International Airport. Mysore is well connected by rail and road. The Centre overlooks the magnificent Lalitha Mahal Palace and offers a panoramic view of the city and Chamundi Hill.
Best Price: Rs. per day
Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre is located in Mysore (Karnataka, India), a convenient 2½ hours drive from Bangalore International Airport. Mysore is well connected by rail and road. The Centre overlooks the magnificent Lalitha Mahal Palace and offers a panoramic view of the city and Chamundi Hill.
Green Hotel Green Hotel is a Heritage Hotel located at Mysore (Karnataka, India).
The Chittaranjan Palace, built for Mysore's princesses, has been lovingly restored as a small hotel. In extensive gardens, with formal lawns and shaded pergolas, and fringed by majestic trees, the hotel has been renovated and furnished using traditional Indian crafts.
Best Price: Rs. per day
Green Hotel is a Heritage Hotel located at Mysore (Karnataka, India).
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