Mysore

Mahisha statue at Chamundi Hills, Mysore
The holy bull Nandi at the Bull Temple
For other places with the same name, see Mysore (disambiguation).

Mysore, officially known as Mysuru, is Karnataka's second biggest city, situated in Southern India. It was the erstwhile capital of the Wodeyar dynasty and is considered the cultural capital of the state. Mysore is the second-cleanest city in India and one of the best planned ones. The people of Mysore are famous for their peaceful attitude and helpful nature.

Understand

The city has recorded history dating back a thousand years and a mythical history which explains the origin of the name - it is said that this was the place where the demon Mahishasura was slain by the Goddess Chamundi. You will find a statue of the demon on Chamundi hill, which commemorates this event.

In recorded times, the city rose to prominence when it became the capital of a breakaway feudatory of the Vijayanagara empire named Chamaraja Wodeyar in 1584. In 1610, he shifted the capital to nearby Srirangapatna. Hyder Ali, who was a commander in the army, usurped power in the late 18th century. Hyder Ali was succeeded by his son Tippu Sultan, who fought and lost a war with the British, dying in battle in 1799.

The British restored the Wodeyars as their puppet rulers and shifted the capital back to Mysore. The Wodeyars had substantial internal autonomy and the princely state of Mysore (which comprised a large portion of present-day Karnataka) was probably the best administered in India. After independence, the state was merged into the Indian Union and the capital of Mysore state was shifted to nearby Bangalore where the British maintained their army. The name of the state too was eventually changed to the more accurate "Karnataka" in 1973.

The dynasty is still well loved and the people of Mysore are still nostalgic for the grandeur of the earlier times. The palaces built by the Wodeyars and the yearly celebrations of Dusshera are holdovers of that period.

Mysore has evolved from being a quiet and sleepy city to one that is touted as the most important in the state after Bangalore. With apartment complexes, supermarkets, a couple of proposed malls, new and improved roads, the advent of IT and BPO firms and a growing young and dynamic workforce, this regal city is trying to strike a balance between the good old days and modernity, resulting in a city that is old, yet new. A modern-day paradox in the making, anyone who lives in Mysore for long enough can't help falling in love with this place.

Mysore is also well known for its yoga centres like Ashtanga yoga, which originated here. There are many Ashtanga yoga centres in Mysore. The Gokulam suburb contains the most renowned yoga schools (such as S.K. Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute).

Get in

By plane

The nearest international airport is Bangalore airport near Devanahalli (170km from Mysore) .

Mysore Airport (MYQ) Mysore has a small airport but at the moment it has no flights because of the proximity of the Bangalore airport.

Mysore Railway Station

By train

Mysore Junction is the city's main station, and there are daily trains plying the route to Bangalore.

The fastest and possibly the most comfortable way to travel between Mysore and Chennai is by the Shatabdi Express, which covers the Mysore-Bangalore leg of the journey in 2 hours and the Mysore-Chennai section in 7 hours. Although more expensive than other trains, all the Shatabdi's coaches are air-conditioned and meals, snacks and a bottle of mineral water are included in the cost of the fare.

There are many trains available from Mysore to Bangalore and vice versa. Tippu Express being the most popular one which covers the distance of 140 km in about 2.5 hours. Tippu Express leaves Mysore at 11AM and reaches Bangalore by 1:30PM and leaves Bangalore at 3PM and reaches Mysore at 5:30PM. Chamundi Express and Yeshvantapur-Mysore Express (17303/04) are other daily trains between the cities

Apart from above Mysore is connected to Delhi through Weekly Swarnajayanthi(12781/82), Mumbai through Weekly Sharavati, Chennai by Kaveri Express(Daily)(16221/22) & Shatabdi Express(Except Wednesday)(12007/08), Trichy/Tanjore through Daily Express(16231/32, Madurai through Daily Express(6731/32), Tirupati by Fast passenger(56213/14)Daily, Ajmer through Bi-weekly Express(16201/02), Jaipur through Bi-weekly Express(12975/76), Mangalore Daily by Express(16517/18).Apart from Sharavati and Swarna Jayanti all other trains as above pass via Bangalore city.

Trains to Mysore depart from 1 station in Mangalore: Mangalore Jn (MAJN) No Train Departure Arrival Duration Running Days from Mangalore 1 Yesvantpur Exp(16518) 07:57PM(Mangalore Jn) 04:15AM(Mysore Jn) 8h 18m All Days from Mysore 16517 Kannur Express Mysore Jn 23:45 Mangalore 08:35

The track between Bangalore and Mysore is in process of Doubling. Work has already completed for about 60km of the stretch. The entire completion of the work can reduce the running time of trains by about 15-30 minutes

By bus

Buses run every 5 minutes from Bangalore. There is a choice of air-conditioned and ordinary vehicles. During the weekends, these buses can fill up, but most do not allow you to purchase your tickets in advance. However, buses to Mysore board constantly so finding a bus with seats is never a problem. The KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) buses are very comfortable, especially the Volvo (Luxury) buses. A one-way ticket from Bangalore to Mysore costs ₹250. One can get a bus for Mysore from the main city bus stand (Majestic) or the satellite bus terminus on Mysore road.

Mysore has two major bus stands. All KSRTC buses arrive and depart from the Central bus stand (aka suburb bus stand), while local buses use the City bus stand.

By car

Mysore is approximately 140 km from Bangalore, and there is a 4-lane highway (2 lanes in each direction) connecting the 2 cities. The traffic is fairly heavy but the drive is extremely comfortable if you discount the unmarked speed bumps that show up at random intervals. Recently (as of July 15th 2011) there are approximately 25-30 speed bumps, which shall make you reach Mysore in 3 and 1/2 hours by car. Some speed bumps are not even marked by zebra crossing or no symbols to indicate the speed bumps. Probably a much easier and more comfortable way to travel to Mysore is by train (especially the Shatabdi Express - 2:15hrs). You drive through in SH-17 via Ramnagar-Mandya and take about 2 hrs to leave Bangalore and 2 more hours on the highway.

You don't really need a car and driver to drive you from Bangalore or other destinations in India, as all the tourist sites are walking distance or a cheap ride by rickshaw. Alternatively if you must have a car and driver while there, it is very easy to arrange once you arrive.

By bicycle

Around 140 km drive for fitness freaks... Bangalore—50—> Ramnagaram—30—> Maddur—20—> Mandya—22—> Srirangapatna—13—>Mysore

Get around

Princess Road

Getting around in Mysore is cheaper than most Indian cities.

By bus

Bus stop at the Mysore Railway Station

City buses originate from a separate City Bus Station 2 k.m. from the Railway Station. Frequent bus service is available to all major tourist and residential areas of the city. Volvo air-conditioned buses are available to Chamundi Hills, KRS-Brindavan Garden, Zoo, Infosys, and to some major residential areas.

By car

Tourist Cabs are the best choice if you want to tour the city all day or visit nearby places like Srirangapatna. Costs about ₹ 9 or ₹ 10 per km.

There are many car rental companies available.

By auto-rickshaw

They have meters, but drivers politely refuse to turn down the meters especially at railway stations, bus stations etc. The more your attire and luggage announce that you are a tourist the less the chances of drivers going by the meter. Price is ₹11.00 per km, with a minimum fare of ₹25. Try to insist on meter usage; threatening to call the police works sometimes when the rickshaw driver pretends that the meter is broken and wants a flat fee.

At the railway station or city bus stand, go straight to the pre-paid auto-rickshaw counter and tell them your destination (you have to pay a rupee (₹1) for this service). They will give you a slip with the fare printed, along with the destination and auto rickshaw registration number. When you arrive at the destination you just pay what is printed on the slip.

You can always take the help of a traffic police to negotiate with the auto driver. They are really helpful.

See

Brindavan Gardens, Mysore
Jagan Mohan Palace Art Gallery
Mysore Palace at night
The Mysore Zoo gate
St. Philomena's Church

Museums

Rail Museum

Do

Devaraja Market near Urs road

Learn

Mysore is a significant educational hub, the foundations for which were laid by King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV during his enlightened rule. Today, the city can boast of 7 Engineering and 2 Medical Colleges. Engineering education started in Mysore with the establishment of the National Institute of Engineering in 1946, the Second Oldest engineering college in the state (After UVCE Bangalore). Medical education started in 1930 when the Mysore Medical College was transferred from Bangalore to Mysore. Mysore is also well known for its provess in Sanskrit, the mother language of many Indian languages. Some people refer to Mysore as the Sanskrit capital of India. A Sanskrit newspaper called 'Sudharma' is published from Mysore for a nominal price of ₹1.

University of Mysore

Buy

Mysore is famous for silk sarees (Mysore Silk), sandalwood carvings and the many varieties of perfumed incense sticks. Mysore's market places can be a good place to start, like Ashoka Road, Sayyaji Rao Road and for a mix of Western and Indian traditional shopping head to Devaraj Urs Road . To experience one of India's best markets head to Devaraja Market where tourists and locals alike shop for daily fruit and vegetables as well as the rows and rows of flowers and various spices. Devaraja market is on Dhanwanthri Road.

On the east row of the Devaraja Market there is an oil shop with two brothers, Azam and Adil, who always pull in tourists for a nice conversation and maybe some chai. They have some good recommendations for food and things around the city so give them a visit. Their shop has a row of the watercolor powder, about 1/3rd from the north end.

Be warned however. There are quite a lot of perfume sellers that sell inferior goods, don't be tempted by nice boxes and free gifts. As a rule, if it looks like a bargain, the perfume is poor quality. The real stuff is normally found further from the centre, but is mostly for export.

Eat

Dosha or Dosai is the favorite food of the Mysoreans

Mysore is famous for its most famous traditional sweet, the Mysore Pak. Mysore Pak is a sweet dish generally cut into rectangular pieces and is made out of Gram Flour, Sugar (or Jaggery) and lots of Ghee (clarified butter). You can find it all over the city although arguably the best Mysore Pak is sold at Guru Sweets near the small clock tower.

South Indian breakfast favourites like idlis, sambars, masala dosas are widely available and quite good. It is not clear if the Mysore Masala Dosa (a fermented crepe made from rice batter, black lentils, potato and onions) actually origininated in Mysore, but you can try asking. You can find some of Karnataka's speciality dishes like:

Restaurants

Temple Office near Jagmohan Palace

Non-Vegetarian Restaurants

Drink

Entrance to Mysore Railway Station

Mysore is part of Karnataka state where the liquor laws are one of the most liberal in the sub continent. Most international brands are readily available. The city is lined with bars and other restaurants serving liquor, there are Around 10 pubs in the city. Some of the recommended places include:

Night life

There is no night life in Mysore and no one understands the phrase 'night life'. Shops and restaurants down their shutters before 10 p.m. The people of Mysore are a homely and contented lot. Restaurants do not open early in the morning, shops take three-hour lunch breaks, and even buses are fewer between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. because the drivers and conductors are having their lunch. This laid back lifestyle tends to irritate you only for the first two days, then you also feel this is something to admire about. Only Mysoreans live in such luxury, people of Bangalore, just 150 km away, do not live like this.

Sleep

The Town Hall at Mysore

Scam Alert! - If you arrive by bus or train, you will most likely be approached by a number of young boys who tend to speak fantastic English who will try to lead you to their relative's hotel. The hotel is most often of poor quality. These children are very chatty and good salesmen and you may like them, but they should be in school instead.

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under ₹ 750
Mid-range ₹750-3,000
Splurge Over ₹ 3,000

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel

Spa hotels

Connect

General Post Office

Stay safe

Mysore is generally known to be a safe city. But, if you are planning to take a late night stroll, it is recommended that you keep watch, since a few incidents of Chain/Purse snatching are reported every month. It is advised to be watchful when taking an Auto-Rickshaw during late nights if you are alone. It also advised to be careful in dealing the amount of money paid to the Auto-Rickshaw drivers as they try to tout and overcharge and refuse to use the meters in certain areas and at certain hours. Hired taxi services also available now in Mysore.

The police are generally friendly and ready to help. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. You can reach the police control room by dialing 100 from a landline telephone booth or by dialing 108 if you have access to a cell phone.

People in Mysore are generally hospitable, peace loving and ready to help. Mysore is one of the places in India where foreigners can stay and move around with relative ease and not be swarmed by people offering various services as it happens in other cities.

Cope

A steam engine on display at the Mysore railway station

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 07, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.