The Ultimate Food and Travel Information Guide to Mysore, Karnataka, India
Known as the City of Palaces, Mysore or Mysuru is a legendary city inside the Karnataka, India. Located at the foothills of the Chamundi Hills, Mysore was once the capital of Mysuru Kingdom for nearly six centuries. Mysore has tons of History and an attractive destination for travellers around the world. Mysuru offers historic sightseeing destinations, world-famous cuisine and cleanest ambience. Mysore is also the cleanest city in India.
Weather, Seasons & Best Time to Visit
Mysore is around 140 kilometres from Bangalore and sits at 2,427 feet above sea level. Due to its geographical location, Mysore experiences Moderate temperature similar to Bangalore throughout the year. Mysore has the lowest temperature of 16º Celsius and goes up to a maximum of 32º Celsius. The perfect time to visit Mysore would be from around June to the end of February. The Peak season, however, doesn't depend on the weather because of its moderate temperature.
Cost of Living
Even though Mysore is a touristy place and a big city, the Cost of Living is not expensive. You can find affordable yet classy places to stay in Mysore. The food is also very cheap and even the local rides. You can do eat three meals, book a room for a day and even do a little sightseeing for just $100/ ₹7000.
Best Area to Stay
Mysore is the best, and I cannot pinpoint a location to say it as best. You can stay in any areas of Mysore, and the city is super safe. There are a higher number of hotels around the Palace area. There are a couple of resorts as well, but all are located distant from the central Mysore region. It is easy to navigate around, therefore, you can stay anywhere in Mysore.
Choosing the Best Hotel
Mysore has all kinds of Hotels like from 1-star to 5-star properties. Staying in Mysore is very cheap because you can stay at a 5-star property for maybe ₹10,000 or less. You can get a decent stay for as less as ₹2000 in Mysore. I do recommend you to check a couple of reviews before you book any property in Mysore. If you are willing to spend a little extra then, stay at the historic Lalit mahal aka Lalitha Mahal. The Lalitha Mahal Palace is the second largest palace in Mysore located close to Chamundi Hills.
Important Sightseeing Destinations
Mysore has tons of Sightseeing destinations, however, because the Kingdom of Mysore was enormous, the Sightseeing places are at the outskirts. Inside Mysore, there is, of course, the Mysore Palace. Other than the Palace, you can visit Mysore Zoo, Chamundi temple and Nandi on Chamundi Hills, St. Philomena's Cathedral, Jaganmohan Palace, and of course, most of the government building architectures are wonderful.
North West of Mysore
Mysore outskirts also have many sightseeing destinations. If you travel towards North of Mysore you can check out Brindavan Gardens, Balamuri Falls, KRS Backwaters, and the newest attraction Sri Venugopala Swamy Temple. This temple was once upon a time under Cauvery Water, but recently it was excavated.
North East of Mysore
Travelling towards North East of Mysore welcomes you to two prominent places; Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and the historic Srirangapatna. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is the world-famous Bird Sanctuary visited by thousands of Bird watchers and enthusiasts. Ranganathittu features many exotic species of birds and it is a bliss to watch them.
A small insight into Srirangapatna
The story goes that when Tippu Sultan took over the Mysore Kingdom after his father demise, he moved the capital from Mysore to Srirangapatna. Tippu Sultan had built a strong fort surrounding Srirangapatna to fight against the other kingdoms. Inside this fort, he built an Islamic style palace called the Summer Palace and a mosque named Masjid-i-Ala. The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War brought the end of Tippu Sultan and you can find his death spot and tomb in Srirangapatna. The place Srirangapatna was named after the famous Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple which was built in 817 AD. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is an architectural marvel and a must-visit sight.
What & Where to Eat?
Mysuru is known for 2 things, one is the Palace and the other is Mysore Pak. The world-famous sweet dish Mysore Pak is the first and the best thing to have in Mysore. Once upon a time, Guru Sweets was the best Mysore Pak seller but nowadays, I do not recommend it. The best place to have Mysore Pak according to me is at Bombay Tiffanys or Sri Mahalakshmi Sweets. The other dishes to die for is, of course, Hanumanthu Pulao at Hotel Hanumanthu. It is good to try once but due to its widespread promotion, Hotel Hanumanthu doesn't carry age-old traditional taste anymore. The other most famous is Mylari Dosa, Mysore Bonda, Mysore Mallige Idli, and Filter Coffee. In the evenings, just walk around streets particularly around the Temple road or Kalidasa Road to find some delicious chicken and vegetarian street food.
Where to do shopping?
Mysore doesn't have much of shopping destinations however you can walk around the famous Mysore market called Devaraja Market. If you want to buy something exotic then, Cauvery Emporium might satisfy your shopping hunger. The exclusives which you should buy from Mysore are Mysore Silk Sari from Government Silk Factory, Sandalwood Oil from Sandalwood Oil Factory and visit The Heritage for some clothes, shawls, rugs, carpets etc. There are also a couple of malls which you can visit.
Dasara & Jumbo Savari
Dasara, also called as Nadahabba is been celebrated in Mysuru from Generations. Celebrated during the Navaratri, Dasara in Mysuru is a sight to experience. The Dasara festival in Mysuru completed the 400th anniversary in the year 2010. The festival commences from special durbar (royal assembly) by the Maharaja (King) of Mysore. The main festival is on the last day, and a procession of Goddess Durga seated on a Golden Thrown carried by a large Indian elephant. This procession is called Jumbo Savari. The best time to visit Mysore would probably be the time of Dasara, and it is also the peek season.
Scams in Mysore
There are a couple of scams in Mysore but the most prominent is the Sandalwood scam. An auto-drive might tell you there is a huge discount sale on Sandalwood with no taxes. False! There is no such kind of Sandalwood sales happening anywhere, so don't go. If you truly want to buy Sandalwood, then look for government-approved Sandalwood shops or just visit the Sandalwood Oil Factory.
There are a few simple Travel Tips for you
Do not stick on to Hotel Food
Experience Street Food
Talks to the locals, most of them can manage English
Visit the recommended places
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If you are looking to spend time in a historic city which offers yummy food and pleasant atmosphere then Mysore is for you. Go visit, experience and let me know about it below.