Here is a list of must see top attractions in Mysore. There are over a dozen prime attractions in Mysore City. While a day's whirlwind tour is possible to see the major attractions of the city, a 2 day itinerary will do better justice to your Mysore tour, a day more the merrier.
Mysore Palace : The star attraction of the city is always the Ambavilas Palace very popularly called the Mysore Palace , located in the heart of Mysore city. Arguably this is the most recognizable palaces in India, and a monument that is most visited, outnumbering even the Taj Mahal in Agra. See how to tour Mysore Palace
Mysore Zoo: This century old zoo is the next sought after attraction in Mysuru, after the palace. Over 3 million tourists visit this zoo an year. Mysore Zoo is bang in the heart of the city, a short ride from the main palace. You can easily spend half a day in the zoo. Tour involves considerable walk (about 4 km) to cover all the areas. There is also a battery operated buggy serving that takes to the main sites inside the zoo. If you are traveling with kids, never miss Mysore Zoo. This is one of the best kept zoos in the country. See the photo gallery of animals in Mysore Zoo
Chamundi Hill : This hill overlooks the Mysore City and occupy almost a quarter of the city's landscape. There are many attractions in Chamundi Hills. The most important is the hilltop shrine of the goddess Chamundeshwari. Midway up the hill is the iconic Nandi (Bull) image. The best kept secret of Chamundi hill tourist trail is the massive temple tank called Devikere.
Your Mysore tour is not conclusive unless you share a selfie taken with the brightly painted Mahishasura, after whom the city is named.
St. Philomena's Church : The church's plan resembles that of a cross (check in Google map!) . With 175 feet (53 meter) tall twin spire, the St. Philomena's Church is one of the tallest in the country. The church was designed similar to the much taller (516 feet) Cologne Cathedral in Germany.
The relic of Saint Philomena is preserved in a catacomb (underground) below the main altar, accessible through a narrow passage. See more on St. Philomena's Church
Jagmohan Palace and Art Gallery : Jaganmohan Palace is not as grandiose as the Ambavilas palace. But never miss this if you are an art enthusiast. Original paintings of Nikolai Roerich, Svetoslav Roerich , Rabindranath Tagore, Raja Ravi Varma are on display. The collection is quite impressive. S.L.Haldankar's photorealistic oil painting ‘Glow of Hope’ ( popularly called 'Lady with the lamp') is displayed in a relatively darker room. Jaganmohan Palace is a short walk from the Mysore Palace and the city bus stand.
Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion: This is a hidden gem in Mysore. Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion, is one of the 7 palaces in Mysore city. However this is off the main tourist circuit, through a 15 minutes ride from the city center. A fabulous Folklore Museum is housed in this palace. Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion is inside the leafy Mysore University campus called the Manasagangothri.
Lalit Mahal Palace Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore commissioned this for the exclusive stay of the then stay of the then Viceroy of India. This is the second biggest palace after the Ambavilas Palace. Now it works as 5 star hotel. With period furniture, four poster beds, deep velvet covered arm chairs, gilded Belgian mirrors bathrooms with original Scotland plumbing fixtures, the grandiose Viceroy Suite tariff is about Rs 40,000 (USD 615) a day! You can see Lalit Mahal Palace as you climb up the Chamundi hill, as a white gleaming structure protruding out from the otherwise green foothills.
Rail Museum : Open on 365 days a year (true to the spirit of the railways!) , the Rail Museum houses a huge number of rolling stocks, both from a Indian Railways heritage as well as the Mysore Royal heritage standpoint. The coaches (Maharani Coaches) used by the royals to travel are on display. There's also a toy train inside. It's a 'touch and feel' type museum, especially for those giant rolling stocks and the steam engines on display.
Karanji Kere Originally this nature park and lake was contiguous to the Mysore Zoo. This is a fantastic picnic point within the city. The lake, boating, birdwatching, aviary, butterfly park...all put in a many acres of shaded park is good location so spend a relaxed day.
Brindavan Gardens Located at the base of the Krishnaraja Sagara Dam (KRS), Brindavan Gardens is a popular daytrip location from Mysore city.
Srirangapatna This island in the Kaveri River is located on the way to Bangalore from Mysore. Srirangapatna was the capital of Tipu Sultan, who once ruled a substantial part of south India. Some of the significant events that changed the course of India's history happened in this tiny island. The Ranganathaswamy temple, after which the island is named is a popular religious center. So is the Nimishamba Temple by the riverside. Do a half day excursion to Srirangapatna.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary This bird sanctuary stands between KRS and Srirangapatna along the course of Kaveri River. Visit Ranganathittu during the season. You can spot a huge number of migratory birds that nests in this rocky island.
While many of these are located in Mysore city, a few are best done as excursions from Mysore city. If you are on a many day's visit to this region , you may want to cover Mysore as well as the neighbouring places like Coorg, Wayanad or even Ooty. For the sake of simplicity and ease of planing your Mysore itinerary, let’s divide your Mysore tour plan into three groups based on the distance from Mysore city.
It's ideal to work on all the three itineraries separately and combine as a master tour plan. The following details would help you to plan your tour of the Mysore region.
Attractions in Mysore City: Thanks to being a heritage city, Mysore city has over a dozen popular attractions.
A day's whirlwind style tour is possible, however if you have time keep at least two days for the city, before you set out for the excursions outside the city.
Attractions Near Mysore :There are quite a few attractions scattered around Mysore city. These make ideal excursion points by keeping you base at Mysore City. For example Srirangapatna, about 15km north of Mysore is a historic site.
Brindavan Gardens is another sought after excursion point from Mysore. Between Srirangapatna and Brindavan is the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. All the three are along the Kaveri River trail.
Towards south of Mysore City is Nanjangud, the popular religious site on the banks of Kapila River. Towards west is Talakadu and Somnathpur, again ancient sites worth a visit. See the comprehensive list of attractions around Mysore City and the details to plan the excursion strategy from Mysore. You may also wants to check out the distance to those places from Mysore.
Places around Mysore: Mysore sits in the middle of a tourism hotspot in south India. Be it the coastal belt of Karnataka to the far west of Mysore, the Western Ghats located west and southwest of Mysore or the fertile and culturally significant Kavery River that make a broad arch around the northwest fringes of the district, the region is rich in Nature,heritage and religious attractions.
You can practically get connections to any of these regions attractions from Mysore. Being Bangalore just 150km away, Mysore is the ideal gateway to the region's tourism scenes.
Moreover Mysore shares border with both the Wayanad region of Kerala and Nilgiris of Tamilnadu, both are matured tourism destinations of its own league. It's much easy to travel to the hilly Coorg district from Mysore.
So is the Hoysala arc centered around Hassan, north of Mysore. The delta of Kaveri River and its trail offer another plethora of attractions.
If you stretch further Hampi is well connected from Mysore. So is Goa. Both are very distinct, but highly sought after destinations in south of India.
If you include the east coast in your itinerary, Mysore is connected to Chennai by overnight and day trains.
And of course Bangalore, the gateway city for Karnataka is about 3 hours travel from Mysore.
Wildlife Resorts in Kabini
Most of the safari lodges and wildlife resorts resorts are around the edges of the Kabini backwater and closer to the Nagarhole National Park.