Mysore the Sandalwood city of India.

 

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The name Mysore is often used to refer Mysore district, Mysore sub-district, Mysore city and in historic contest the Mysore kingdom that spanned most of the present day Karnataka state.

Mysore is one of the top tourism destinations in India. This city itself is a major attraction with numerous popular sites like the Mysore Palace, St. Philomena’s Church, Chamundi Hill, Mysore Zoo, Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, Rail Museum and so on. There are close to 200 structures in the city with a heritage tag.
In  addition Mysore city serves is an ideal gateway/ base for exploring the numerous places around Mysore which are popular tourism destinations. For example the historic Srirangapatna, Somnathpur known for the Hoysala era temple, the Brindavan Gardens at KRS, the ancient Jain center of Shravanabelagola, Bandipur National Park, the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, the Tibetan center of Bylakuppe , the Coorg district etc are some of the attractions that can be easily accessed from Mysore city.

MYSORE, India — The most spectacular of the many palaces in this southern Indian city is the former Maharajah of Mysore’s home, built in 1911 to replace an all-wood building that had burned.

Some say it was inspired by Buckingham Palace, but the intricacies of its Hindu-Muslim detail far surpass the relative simplicity of Queen Elizabeth’s London home.

Mysore is a clean and orderly city of broad boulevards lined with shade trees, well-kept buildings and gardens and parks offering the aroma of jasmine and roses. The pace is leisurely, particularly when compared to the usual bustle associated with large Indian cities.

The city is known for its handicrafts, including magnificent wood carvings inlayed with sandalwood, teak and rosewood. Every well-dressed Indian woman dreams of wearing a Mysore silk sari.

A thriving cottage industry of sandalwood incense sticks, used throughout the country, gives Mysore its nickname of “Sandalwood City.”

If the visit to the Mysore palace has exhausted you or you would love to have a more romantic getaway, the Brindavan Gardens is the right place for you. These world famous gardens would be familiar to many viewers of Bollywood, Tollywood films where the hero and heroine would croon sweet nothings. Built in 1932 during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV on the terraces of the Krishnaraja Sagar dam its a meticoulosy planned garden. While the dam was built by Vishweswarayya the gardens were designed by Sir Mirza Ismail. The massive dam was conceived as a multi purpose project by Shri Viswesarayya,for satisfying the water needs of the agricultural lands in Mandya, Mysore and ensuring power supply to Sivasamudram project. The gardens contain a number of fountains in all shapes and sizes and in the evenings they are tastefully illuminated giving the entire gardens a fairy tale look.

 

The Chamundi hills which dominate the landscape of Mysore contains the 12th century temple of Chamundeswari Devi, the patron god of the Wodeyar Dynasty. The 16 ft high Nandi statue carved out of a single rock is one of the most magnificent sculptures and the second of its kind in India (the other one in Lepakshi, AP). The Chamarajendra Art Gallery contains the famous Mysore paintings and invaluable paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. There is a vast collection of art objects like the drama clock from England, Japanese carvings, Roman carvings etc.The Mysore Zoo established in 1892 is regarded as one of the finest zoos in India. The zoo has a collection of white tigers and there are 2000 animals, 85 species of plants in the campus. The St. Philomena’s Church is one of the oldest churches in India. Built in 1840, this is patterned on the lines of the Cologne Church in Germany. The cathedral rise to a height of 165 ft and has beautiful glass stained interiors which depict the story of Christ.

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And any visit to Mysore would be incomplete without a visit to Srirangapatna, the summer capital of Tippu Sultan. Now a small dusty town, its name is derived from the massive Ranganatha Temple dedicated to Lord Ranganatha and one of the 3 temples to contain Vishnu in a sleeping pose (Srirangam in Trichy and Anantapadmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum are the others). The most famous sight is Dariya Bagh the summer palace of Tippu Sultan which he built in 1784. He named it as Dariya Daulat Bagh which means wealth of the sea. The walls of the palace contains paintings of the battles fought against the British and the various belongings of Tipu are also exhibited, including his famous sword. The Gumbaz at the other end of the town contains the tomb of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.

Apart from that Mysore is also the starting point to many other famous tourist spots like the wildlife sanctuaries of Bandipur, Nagarhole and Ranganathittu, the hill stations of Coorg and Ooty, historic places like Halebid, Shravanabelagola. Mysore is also a major center of fine arts and culture in India. The famous Mysore paintings originate here. The prestigious Fine Arts college imparts teaching in Music, drama and dance. The sandalwood crafts made her are world famous while the silk saris are the most sought after by Indian ladies. The rich culture of Mysore can be seen during the Dussehra festivities when leading musicians, singers, dancers exhibit their talents here. Mysore is also one of India’s leading educational centers in India. The Central Food Technological Research Institution, DRDL, are prominent among them. The Mysore University is one of the oldest ones in India. The National Institute of Engineering is one of the most prominent engineering colleges in India. It also has the famous Mysore Medical College and a number of professional institutions.

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