The Nilgiri mountain range steps down to the Chamundi Hills, that holds under its shadow the cultural capital of Karnataka ‚ Mysore. It is the state's second largest city. The city beautiful of palaces, museums and gardens fuses seamlessly with its fast developing status of a giant IT hub. The Hoysala-style architecture stand cheek by jowl with post-modern steel and glass structures in contemporary Mysore!
The grand Mysore Dasara festival is visited by thousands from across the globe. And this is where R.K. Narayan wrote his gripping tales of small town India. Once considered the cultural capital of the South at large, today Mysore sways as much to the classical beat as it rocks to the latest Pop numbers in its pubs. The regal city has its roots in the old-world yet seamlessly blends with the modern way of life.>
Mysore is a shopping paradise if you have a fetish for cultural artifacts and silks. You can pick some genuine Mysore sandalwood incense sticks, carvings etc. from Karnataka Government run Cauvery Arts Emporium (null-2521258) on the Sayyaji Rao Road that is the main shopping area. This also stocks some antiques and other craft items like the Mysore paintings, silk saris etc. Don‚t shy away from some interesting street bargains as well.
For silk, visit the Government Silk Weaving Factory (null- 2481803), you can also see silk sari weaving here and buy some silk saris from the factory showroom or the KR Circle retail outlet. The famous Mysore Sandalwood soaps and oil are made at the Government Sandal oil factory (null- 2483651). You will need management permission to visit these factories.
Local food in Mysore is easily available and is cost effective and worth a try. However, if you are looking for a royal experience, do visit the palace hotel - Lalith Mahal Palace, run by Ashoka Group of Hotels. It serves multicuisine food to both inhouse guests as well as visitors. An advance booking on a weekend will help. Expensive but worth an experience!
Its easy to find Continental and Chinese food in Mysore. La Gardenia restaurant (null-2426426) on Vinoba road serves Orinetal, Indian and Western cuisine and is a favorite among travellers. It also serve wines and liquor. Pai Vista (null-2521111) is a theme restaurant serving Indian and Continental food at affordable prices. There is also Tiger Trail (null-425 5566) set in a green and open surrounding and The Roost restaurant (null-519364/410077/410078), 40 mintues drive from Mysore serving Indian, Chinese and Continental dishes with wines and liquor and set in a relaxing spacious setting. A must visit.
For a quick bite look out for the famous Indra Cafe or the wide network of Cafe Coffee Day outlets across the city.
Mysore is situated at the base of the Nilgiri mountain range at the altitude of 770 mts above sea level. Mysore experiences warm summers of upto 40 degree Celsius from March to June and monsoon sets in from mid June to October. Winters are pleasant from November to February and temperatures climb down to 15 degree Celsius. The best time to visit Mysore is October to March.
The rivers Kaveri and Kabini provide the source of drinking water. Mysore also had many prominent lakes like the Kukkarahalli, Karanji and Lingambudhi lakes.
The most famous tourist attraction of Mysore - the Mysore Palace is situated in the heart of the City. This is the residence of the royal family - the Wodeyars. A magnificent piece of architecture, the Palace is a blend of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic styles and houses some magnificent frescos and artefacts. The wall size paintings, more than 100 years old, look so real that you might just walk into them. There are also the three dimensional paintings and no matter where you are standing these will appear to face in your direction. The Diwan-e-Khas is the most spectacular room with a huge doorway of carved rosewood embellished with ivory, stained glass ceiling, chandeliers with fine motifs, mosaic floor and walls decorated with marble and semi precious stone and painted with gold.
Surface - KSRTC operates regular bus service from Bangalore to Mysore. There are also various private bus operators. The Bangalore Mysore Highway is very smooth and it takes you just 3 hours to reach. You can also hire private taxis at Bangalore to reach Mysore. Bangalore Airport also has taxi operators who can take you directly to Mysore without having to enter Bangalore city.
Train - Various trains from Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai connect to Mysore Junction, the city‚s main station. Shatabdi Express from Chennai via Bangalore is recommended.It is air conditioned and travelers are provided with meals and mineral water as part of the fare.
Air - The best way to reach Mysore is by first reaching Bangalore. The nearest domestic and international airport is Bangalore airport near Devanahalli (nullkm from Mysore). During Mysore Dasara, Karnataka government operates the special flights from Bangalore to Mysore as part of the Mysore Dasara festive package.
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