Mysore City Guide
I was, when I first arrived in Mysore, a little disappointed and frustrated. I thought that it was like all the other Indian cities I had been to, overcrowded, dirty, smelly and stressful. My first impression however, soon turned out to be wrong.
I soon came to the understanding that Mysore is not just another big city, it actually has heart and charm of a small village. The gentle people, and the incredibly quite and peaceful atmosphere did not at all tie in with the fact that it was, another big Indian city.
The city is located in Karnataka, in the south of India and is recognised as the cultural centre of the state. It is home to a great selection of gardens and palaces making a very popular destination for tourists. The history and tradition of this place shines through everywhere you go, blending in with the modernity of city life in India.
Things to do and see
In no particluar order.........
1.) Explore!. The city is a great place to explore, around every corner you will find another little gem.
2.) Go sightseeing . Everywhere you go there are things to see and do so I have listed some of the best and most important. Follow the link.
3.) Visit the markets. Even if don't wish to buy anything, the markets a great opportunity to have some fun and see what's on offer. Definitely a must!
4.) Do some shopping. Amongst other things, Mysore is probably one of the best places to pick up some quality silk products. Here is a list of all the best places to do some shopping so follow this link.
5.) Mysore palace is another must when visiting this place. Even if you don't choose to go inside it's worth the view and it's important that you visit in the dark to see it when it's all lit up.
6.) Visit the 19th Century Zoo. Quite a popular place amongst tourist who visit the area. It is also home to some very rare species.
Apart from the magestic palaces, ancient temples and royal buildings, the city is famous for its markets and handicrafts. It's a great place to do some shopping. The sandalwood carvings, folk art, paintings and most importantly the ethnic silks which Mysore is so famous for.
If you are keen enough like I wasn't, you can wake up at 5 and stroll down to the opening of the fish market. The food markets here are the most impressive I have ever seen in any country. All sorts of weird and wonderful produce most of which I didn't recognise! Keep walking and you'll find the meat market where you can buy a basket of chicken claws and heads or watch whole goats being diced up by expert knives men. It's possible to spend the majority of the day wandering round various parts of the markets, get you penknife sharpened, try on some wigs, taste some amazing food and take some fantastic photos.
Getting there and away
There isn't actually an airport close to the city, the nearest is in Bangalore, 139km away. From Bangalore you can fly to almost anywhere in India including Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Cochin.
The easiest way to get to here is by road because it is so central in south India. 139Km (3 Hours) south is Bangalore and there are loads of day and night buses running between. It takes about three hours. There is no need to go private when you are in Karnataka as the bus system is so good. There is a huge bus station with buses leaving to pretty much everywhere you need to go in south India. There is also a very helpful ticket office. Take a look on the map below to see where about it is.
The main station here is a very major junction linking to pretty much anywhere in India. The Hatabdi Express which connects Mysore to Chennai daily and there are loads of trains from Bangalore to Mysore for example the Tuticorin express.
When to Go
Mysore has incredibly attractive climate as the summers do not reach to great a temperature and the winters are cool and crisp. The only time that is not recommended is during the monsoon season between the months June and October.
A great time to visit is during the Dussehra festival which is held for ten days in early October. The whole city appears to light up and colourful costumes and cultural shows turn up everywhere.
Weather wise, the best time to visit is between the months of October and March. If you are there through late December to January it can get a bit chilly during the night but during the day it is fine.
Mysore Palace at night