Did you know this? Mysore have more than 10 museums scattered around the city dedicated for folk art to music to railways to musical instruments.
Some of them are immensely popular among the visitors while the rest slips out of the itinerary inventory.
The star attraction is obviously museum inside the Ambavilas Palace, more popularly the Mysore Palace. A great number of artefacts belonged to the palace is displayed in the many halls and rooms of the Mysore Palace.
The collections include the legendary golden throne of Mysore Maharajas, that is displayed for public view during the Mysore Dussera seasons.
Right behind the Ambavilas is the privately owned Residential Museum . This museum exhibits a great number of house hold items used by the royal folks, and also hunting trophies, photographs and arms. This is owned by the present scion of Mysore Royal family.
Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery that functions inside the Jaganmohan Palace has a large collection of massive paintings and other artefacts from the royal era. This is possible the place where one can find such a large collection of the paintings by the legendary Raja Ravi Varma. From Mysore palace/city bus stand it is a short walk to this art gallery.
The Folklore Museum is attached to the University of Mysore. Like the name says, it is essentially a museum of artefacts associated with folk arts , mostly from all over the (Karnataka) state, and also from other regions of the country.
The folklife wing have a great collection of traditional instruments like agriculture implements, cooking utensils, traditional tools used by gold smiths, fishermen, potters, etc. This functions in an erstwhile palace called the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion located in Manasagangotri campus.
Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH) is one of its kind in this part of the country. It s a 'touch & feel' museum that encourages the visitors to engage with the exhibits. There are many pavilions exhibiting concepts like evolution of life, prehistoric life on earth, bio diversity and so on. There is even a large collection of stuffed animals, birds and marine life on display.RMNH is located at Siddharth Nagar, on the fringes of the Karanji Lake.
This is a large open air museum exhibiting the railways vintage. Many kinds of wagons, engines and other rolling inventory used by the railways is on display. You can even see the inside of the royal coaches that was used by the ruling elites of Mysore kingdom. The toy train is a special attraction especially among the children. The Rail Museum is located at the end of Mysore railway station. The entry is on the Hunsur road.
Melody World is a privately owned museum. This is essentially a good collection of Indian and western musical instruments. The great thing the wax statues of the musicians that give a perspective of the orchestra. There is even a collection of tribal artefacts from Australia. Melody World is near the Jokey Quarters , east of Karanji Lake.
Viswam Museum located inside the Ganapati Sachchidananda Ashram ( Datta Peetham ) is a another well maintained private museum. Spread over three floors, you will find an astonishing array of natural stones and formations. There is a large collection of carvings on display. Next to the museum is a sprawling bonsai garden, which is the largest in the country. The ashram also contain a massive terracotta sculpture of Mulikeswara, one of the biggest in the country.
The Ashram is located on the NH212 near the foothills of Chamundi hills , a little ahead on the junction where the JLB Road joins the highway.
Like the name implies, Godly Museum located atop Chamundi hills is a divan theme museum. This is located right in front of that famous brightly painted Mahishasura statue.
National Museum of Mankind functions inside that famous heritage landmark called the "Wellington Lodge". The open court has a display of terracotta sculptures. In side the building you'll fine a good deal of tribal arts and artefacts from various parts of the country. Also there is a photo gallery. They do organize workshops for the artisans periodically. This is across the KSRTC Bus stand on the Irwin road.
In fact The Oriental Research Institute (ORI) is not a museum. This 120 plus years old institution archives ancient manuscripts, researches and translate them into modern languages. This is the place that researched and published Kautilya's Arthashastra, originally written in the 4th century BC.
Unusual for a railway station is a photo gallery. On the platform No 1 of Mysore railway station is a heritage photo gallery exhibiting many moments in the regions rail transport history.
List of museums in Mysore:
Private Residential Museum
Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery
Regional Museum of Natural History
National Museum of Mankind
Oriental Research Institute
Heritage photo gallery at the Mysore railway station.
In addition Mysore city have many seasonal exhibitions.
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.