How do I get to Mysore?
By road - The drive from Bangalore to Mysore is comfortable and scenic. You will come across the Indian countryside, and drive past river Kaveri. The fastest route via NH 275 will take you about 3.5 hours. However, if you like well maintained, long, straight roads with minimum traffic and great views, take the NICE Ring Road (NICE Bangalore-Mysore Expressway). It will add about half an hour to your journey, but it'll be worth it.
By bus - There are several day and overnight buses that ply between Bangalore and Mysore. You can choose between private or government, AC or non-AC buses to travel by (rates will differ based on luxury and ownership). KSRTC is the most convenient and comfortable. The Mysore KSRTC Bus Stand, and Mysore City Bus Stand are popular bus stands. If your destination within Mysore comes close to the bus route, you can inform the bus driver about it before the journey starts, and stop at the convenient location.
By train - Because of the 2 cities' proximity, there are many trains that ply from Bangalore to Mysore regularly. The trains stop at 2 railway stations in Mysore - Mysore City, and Ashokapuram. There are both day trains and late night trains; the latter reach shortly after midnight. Train journeys last about 3 hours.
By air - There are a few flights connecting Goa, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Chennai to Mandakalli airport, which is a small domestic airport in Mysore. However, the closest international airport to Mysore is in Bangalore.
How do I get around Mysore?
Mysore is a small city, so you won't get stuck in traffic jams. You can hire self-drive rental cars, or use autorickshaws and the Nano Taxi service to get around town. You can also use buses, although they might not be too frequent.
When is the best time to visit?
Mysore is pleasant to visit at any time of the year - October to February being the best. Mysore Dasara is the grandest festival celebrated in region and lasts for 10 days. It falls on different days every year between October and September. There is a grand parade where the famous Peacock Throne is put on display on an elephant. At night, the entire Mysore Palace is lit up with thousands of lightbulbs. It is a sight which cannot be missed!
What are the main attractions?
There are plenty of historic sights in and around Mysore. History buffs will hit the jackpot on this trip!
The must-do tourist attraction in Mysore is the magnificent Mysore Palace. It is till date the official residence of the Wodeyars, the rulers of Mysore. A section of the palace is open for tourism. Walk through the same halls as the Mysore royalty did centuries ago.
Jaganmohan Palace was the alternate retreat of the Wodeyar family. Today, it is an art gallery which holds one of the largest collections of artefacts in South India. The painting collection include art by Raja Ravi Varma, Rabindranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore, Nikolai Roerich, Svetoslav Roerich, and the famous Lady With The Lamp by Haldankar. Other exhibits at the palace include weapons of war, musical instruments, sculptures, antique coins and currencies, and more.
Kukkarahalli Lake and Karanji Lake are the 2 large water bodies in Mysore. With lush greenery and a large bird population, tourists visit these separate lakes to experience a peaceful and quiet walk around the water. Karanji Lake houses a butterfly park, and is known as the biggest "walk-through aviary" in India. You can even enjoy the serene ecosystem by taking a boat into the water.
Built in 1956, St. Philomena's Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in South Asia. Inspired by Gothic architecture, the cathedral boasts tall twin spires, ornately crafted exteriors, and beautiful stained glass windows.
Sri Chamundeshwari Temple sits atop Chamundi Hill in Mysore. This temple is a shrine for Goddess Durga, and is known for its Dravidian-style architecture, and the giant Nandi carved out of granite. There is a long climb to get to the shrine, but the view of Mysore from the top is breathtaking.
The Mysore Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in India. It is home to about 170 species of animals, birds, and reptiles. The zoo is well kept and is worth a visit.
About an hour away from Mysore is the Brindavan Gardens. It is a terrace garden and is laid out immediately behind the Krishnaraja Sagar dam (KRS) site. The garden also has a lake where you can go boating. Apart from the variety of trees and plants found here, the garden is also famous for the fountains in the area. At night, these fountains are lit up, and it's a wonderful sight! You can also enjoy a musical fountain show!
The Krishnaraja Sagar dam is built across river Kaveri. It provides water for irrigation and drinking to Mandya, Mysore and Bangalore. The ginormous structure is known for the fact that is was built using surkhi mortar - not cement. The area surrounding KRS dam makes for a scenic picnic spot.
If you're visiting Mysore with children, you must spend a day at the GRS Fantasy Park. This water park is a popular destination among tourists.
Srirangapatna is an island fortress city that was the capital of Mysore state during Tipu Sultan's reign.You will drive through the city on your Bangalore-Mysore journey. The region is of great historical, cultural, and religious significance. Here, you can see the remains of the fortress, dungeons and more. The famous Ranganathaswamy Temple is an architectural marvel with mixed architectural style, owing to the many dynasties that ruled the region. The Gumbaz is Tipu Sultan's mausoleum. Nimishamba Temple, Dariya Daulat Bagh, Jama Masjid, are other popular sites.
What to eat, and where?
Mysore is known for its authentic south Indian and traditional kannadiga food. Mysore Masala Dosa, Idly, Vada, Bonda and Bajji are favorites among locals, so you'll like it too! Don't forget to finish up with Kesari Bath, and a hot cup of filter coffee! The city has no shortage of yummy snacks and sweets that most visitors can't leave without buying for family back home. All over Mysore, you'll find shops with people frying fresh potato chips. Go in and taste the variety of fresh chips and snacks, and buy whatever you like! Among sweets, Mysore Pak and Chakkuli are great take-aways! While in Mysore, you must stop at a roadside "churumuri" stall, which also sell chaats and paani puri!
However, if you're suddenly craving seafood, Mysore offers restaurants like Oyster Bay, Fish Land, By the Way, Coastal Garden Mangalore style family restaurant, and more!
Nanking is a popular restaurant for Chinese food. Mezzaluna, Olive Garden, and Jungle The Restaurant are good multi-cuisine restaurants.
What to take back?
Mysore is famous for its silk production. You can buy authentic Mysore silk sarees from Government Silk Factory and KR Circle.
The aforementioned snacks and sweets like Mysore Pak and chakkuli are must-buys.
Handicrafts in Mysore are well known in India. Incense sticks, stone sculptures, and Sandalwood and Rosewood art pieces ranging from miniature figurines, to furniture are great buys! The Cauvery Handicrafts Emporium on Sayyaji Rao Road is where you can pick up knick-knacks from.