Mysuru or better known as Mysore is a city with an extravagant history and royal heritage. As soon as someone mentions Mysore, the first thing that comes to our mind is the majestic Palace of Mysore. Art and culture is something deeply rooted in the city and doubles during Dasara. The name derives itself from the demon god Mahishasura who ruled the ancient kingdom of Mysore according to Hindu mythology.
The city lies on the foothills of Chamundi Hill and makes a great place for weekend getaways. Being the cultural capital of Karnataka, Mysore attracts millions of tourists worldwide. Apart from the majestic palaces and buildings, Mysore is also widely known for yoga, delicious food, amazing sarees and sandalwood craft.
This city was long on my mother’s bucket list and so we had to make it happen! Spending 12 hours was not enough to explore a city as rich and diverse as Mysore. However, we only had one day to spend in the ‘cultural capital of Karnataka’ and this is what we did.
10:00 am – Chamundi Hills
Fresh breeze and a misty view of the city is how we started our day. Chamundeshwari Temple was our first stop for the day, which lies atop the Chamundi hills. The hill resides 13 km east of Mysore and is an abode of flora and fauna. After a climb of 100 stairs, we reached the main temple complex. The temple complex is huge and chaotic. You’ll find hawkers selling flowers, coconut and holy threads that people offer to the deity. The temple entry is free but there is always a long queue waiting for you. If you are short on time then you can skip the line by buying an express entry ticket worth 100 INR from the counter next to the temple gate. Before heading to the next spot, we quickly took selfies with the gigantic Mahishasura statue that stands behind the main temple. We took a short break to have fresh coconut water from the stall right next to the pond
Our next stop was the Nandi statue that resides on the 700th step of the Chamundi hill. It is said that there are total 1008 steps from the bottom to the hilltop (main temple). However, before reaching there, we took a pit stop at the viewpoint from where we saw the entire city of Mysore. Nandi statue is one of the iconic places in Mysore. The statue is more than 350 years old and third largest Nandi statue in India.
12:30pm – Mysore Zoo
Our next stop was a place where we were spending the next two hours amongst the mighty creatures. Mysore Zoo one of the oldest and most loved zoos in India. Built across 157 acres of land and next to the Karanji Lake, the zoo is a house of 1450 animals & birds. What I love the most about this zoo are their conservation and adoption programs that they run for the betterment of the wildlife.
The first thing that you’ll see is the beautiful birds from all over the world. From Indian exotic birds to majestic peacocks to African parrots. A further bit down on your left you can catch a glimpse of the Tiger Prithvi wandering around the compound. The 4 km walkway takes you around the entire zoo with animals on both sides. Some actively wandering around and some just being lazy.
2:30 pm – Lunch
The market next to the zoo has ample local eateries serving delicious south Indian food. We had the famous Masala Dosa of Mysore served hot with spicy Sambar. There were also north Indian and Chinese restaurants in the area to pick!
3:15 pm – Mysore Palace
We finally arrived at Mysore Palace, the main attraction of the city. The official residence of Wadiyar dynasty definitely transports you to a different era. It’s fascinating to see the old architecture and traditions when you walk down the hallways.
The original palace was burned in 1896 during Dasara festival. Later the king of Mysore Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV rebuilt the palace. The grandness of this place is a feast to the eyes. From gleaming hallways to breathtaking murals and wooden doors to stunning gold sculptures, everything so extraordinary. Mysore palace is the second most visited monument in India after Taj Mahal and we can see why…
6:00 pm – Brindavan Gardens
A perfect place for the evening! The Brindavan garden is a terrace garden adjacent to the Krishnarajasagara dam built across the Kaveri River. We walked around the lush green pathways, explored the horticulture farms and enjoyed boating on the River Kaveri. The showstopper was the splendid musical fountain show.
10:00 pm – Dinner
Instead of picking a restaurant, we choose to gorge on street food served at the market outside the Brindavan garden. The freshly roasted Katla (fish), potato & green chilli fritters served with hot tea tasted delectable.
What a day it was! We managed to see so much with just 12 hours in our hands. Let us know in the comments below what you’ll do if you have 12 hours to spend in Mysore!