Mysore is home to one of the longest established empires in Indian history; for almost six centuries, save a brief period of interruption in the 18th century, the Wodeyars have ruled from their base at the foot of the Chamundi Hills. The current maharaja still resides in the opulently-decorated city palace, rebuilt in 1897 after a fire, a fantasy of eclectic styles. One of the largest in India it is an imposing centrepiece at the heart of the city, especially on Sundays and public holidays when the exterior is lit by nearly 100,000 light bulbs.
On the outskirts of town atop a 1200m high hill is the royal family's temple to Sri Chamundeswari. Reached via more than 1000 steps there are commanding views over the surrounding area. Part way up the hill is one of India’s largest Nandi Bulls, the mythical transport for Lord Shiva. The monolithic granite sculpture anointed over centuries by gallons of ghee and marigolds sits impassively as pilgrims puff by on their climb to the temple. A road offers an alternative route for less devout visitors.
Slightly further afield on an island in the Cauvery River, are the remains of Sri Rangapatna , the seat of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. The various monuments are well worth discovering, particularly Tipu's beautifully decorated summer palace which the Tiger of Mysore used until his death during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War. Three kilometres upstream the Rangatihittu Bird Sanctuary is best explored by boat to view storks, egrets, spoonbills and cormorants.
With its variety of interesting sites, markets and smattering of colonial buildings Mysore retains its old-world feel and its pleasant climate makes it a great place to include during a tour of South India. Get in touch and we'll be delighted to help you plan and book your trip.