As you travel wide and far, you come across places that win your heart with sheer natural beauty – verdant landscapes, crystal-clear streams, snow-capped mountains, sandy beaches, lush-green hill stations and the like. And then there are places that lure you with an undeniable old-world charm and pay tribute to history through their very existence. Mysore, or Mysuru as it is called officially today, belongs to the second category, and rightly so. From palaces that talk about the glories of the bygone era and places of worship with rich cultural heritage to magnificent monuments and museums, every nook and cranny of Mysore has a story to say. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life or looking to tour South India, visiting the city will definitely be a surreal experience for the history buff in you. So, let’s take a look at some of Mysore places to visit in one day for a quick glimpse into its storied past.
Places to Visit in Mysore:
|Mysore Maharaja Palace
|Oriental Research Institute
1. Mysore Maharaja Palace (Amba Vilas)
A trip to Mysore cannot be called complete if you don’t visit the famous Mysore Maharaja Palace or simply Mysore Palace. In fact, the palace should rank top in your itinerary. Situated in the heart of the city, this iconic structure has mesmerized people from all over the world and now boasts of over 6 million annual visitors. This majestic palace used to be the royal residence of the Wodiyar dynasty and is known for its Indo-Saracenic architectural design. Stepping into this palace will make your jaw drop, both literally as well as figuratively. Such is its splendor! From the intricate designs on tall columns to the detailed roof artwork on the ceiling, the palace is a visual treat to the eyes. Plan your itinerary in such a way that you get time to watch the sound and light show in the evening to get a better understanding of the history of Mysore.
Or even better, plan your trip during the festival of Dasara which usually falls in the month of September or October. Mysore Dasara or Nada Habba is celebrated in the palace with much fanfare and joviality. The golden throne on which the great rulers of the Kingdom of Mysore sat is kept for display during this festival. You will find the palace packed with men and women dressed in festive wear. Even though you will find yourself lost in a mob of people, watching the procession and the entire festivities during this time of the year is totally worth it. Also, the Amba Vilas is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Mysore at night. You will be amazed by the grandeur of the lit-up palace, giving you a hint of its former glories.
- Entry Timings: All days of the week, 10 am to 5.30 pm
- Sound and Light Show Timings:
Monday to Saturday, 7 pm to 7.45 pm
No shows on Sundays and public holidays
- Illumination Timings:
All government holidays and Sundays, 7 pm to 8 pm
For 15 minutes at the end of the Sound and Light show, every day
All ten days during the Dasara
- Mysore Palace Entry Fee:
- Adults (Indian/ Foreign nationals) – ₹ 100 per person
- Children (below 10 years) – Free
- Children (aged between 10 and 18 years) – ₹ 50 per person
- Educational tour (students) – ₹ 10 per person
- Sound and Light Show Entry Fee:
- Adults – ₹ 120 per person
- Children (below 10 years) – ₹ 50 per person
2. Jaganmohan Palace
Jaganmohan Palace has a unique place in the list of Mysore tourist places and is one of the seven palaces of this royal city. This 19th-century Hindu-style palace was built when a fire broke out and destroyed the old Mysore Palace and served as the residence of the royal family when the new palace was being constructed. This palace consists of an art gallery and an auditorium for traditional dances and other programs. The ornate carvings of Dasavatara (the ten incarnations of Vishnu) on wood are one of the most striking features of this architectural brilliance. The art gallery housed in the palace also has a stunning collection of South Indian artifacts, including some of the famous paintings by Raja Ravi Varma.
Ever heard of the famous painting Lady with the Lamp, also known as Glow of Hope? The painting portrays an Indian woman clad in traditional attire with a lighted lamp in one hand. This work of art currently displayed in a dark room in Jagmohan Palace art gallery. The painting gives an illusion that the face of the woman is being illuminated by the glow of the lamp. Check it out and you will be amazed!
- Timings: All days of the week, 8.30 am to 5.30 pm
- Entry Fee:
- Adults – ₹ 20 per person
- Children( 5 to 10 years) – ₹ 10 per person
3. Jayalakshmi Vilas
All parents give gifts to their children, yet some kingly gifts go down in the annals of history. Believe it or not, Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion was one such gift! This stunning palace was built for Princess Jayalakshmi Ammani as a gift by her father, Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar in 1905. Today, the building houses a folklore museum and viewing all the 6500+ rare artifacts in there is going to leave you enthralled for sure. Some of the displays include ceremonial costumes, wooden puppets, stone sculptures, paintings, and a 300-year old temple cart. You will also find some of the articles used by members of the royal family on display.
Sunday to Saturday, 10.00 am to 1:00 pm, 3:00 p to 5:00 pm
Closed on Mondays
- Entry Fee:
- Adults: ₹15 per person
- Children: ₹ 5 per person
4. Chamundeshwari Temple
More often than not, places of worship form an integral part of any city’s past and this goes true for the Chamundeshwari Temple in Mysore as well. Located atop Chamundi Hills, this is one of the most famous temples in South India. The temple was constructed by the Wodeyar family as a dedication to their family deity, Goddess Durga. It is built in the Dravidian style and has an ornate seven-tier pyramidal tower at the entrance. There are two ways to reach the temple – by driving up the hill or by climbing up the 1,000 steps. If you take the steps, you will also come across troops of monkeys on either side! Many iconic landmarks in the city such as Mysore Palace, Lalitha Mahal Palace, Krishna Raja Sagar, and St. Philomena’s Church can be spotted from the hills.
- Timings: All days of the week, 7.30 am to 2 pm, 3.30 pm to 6 pm, and 7.30 pm to 9 pm
- Entry Fee:
- No entry fee
- Special darshana and sevas are chargeable
5. Philomena’s Cathedral
Another prominent edifice in Mysore, perhaps the only British structure in the city, is the St. Philomena’s Cathedral. The church, which is one of the tallest in Asia, was erected to honor St. Philomena, a Catholic saint. Before the church was constructed, there used to be a small church in the same location, which was built by Maharaja Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar for the increasing number of Europeans. The cathedral is built in the Neo-Gothic style with breathtakingly beautiful twin spires on either side, which are 175 ft. high. From captivating stained glass windows from France to the eye-catching marble altar under which the relic of St. Philomena is placed, the church will leave you enraptured.
- Timings: All days of the week, 5 am to 6 pm
- Entry Fee: No entry fee
6. Rail Museum
Has the history of locomotives ever kindled your imagination? Have you ever wondered what train travel was like during the time of the maharajas and maharanis? Well, the rail museum in the city will help you find answers to these questions and more. Established in the year 1979 by Indian Railways, it is the second of its kind in India. It exhibits a fascinating range of railway coaches, steam locomotives, carriages, and cars, some of which are over hundred years old. Some of the unusual exhibits in the museum include an Austin railway car, the Maharani Saloon Carriage, royal coaches that belonged to the Mysore Maharaja, and narrow gauge steam engines to mention a few. Step into this museum and you will feel as if you have stepped back in time. Now, isn’t that wonderful?
Sunday to Saturday, 10 am to 5.30 pm
Closed on Mondays
- Entry Fee:
- Adults – ₹15 per person
- Children – ₹10 per person
7. Oriental Research Institute
How about spending some time looking at rare manuscripts? Head to the Oriental Research Institute, an offbeat historical attraction in the city of Mysore! Established in the year 1891, the institute was formerly known as the Oriental Library and was under the patronage of Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar X. With over 45000 palm leaf manuscripts and rare editions of Ramayana, Mahabharata, and A Vedic Concordance, this treasure house of documents is indeed a good place to get a glimpse of our country’s literary past.
Monday to Saturday, 10.30 am to 5.30 pm
Closed on Sundays
- Entry Fee: No entry fee
If you are planning an itinerary of two or more days, you can also incorporate some of the tourist places near Mysore within 150 km. One such must-visit attraction is Srirangapatna, which is known for its historical relevance and has seen the rise and fall of kings. Situated 20 kilometers away from Mysore, the town was Mysore’s capital during the times of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Some places to visit while you are here include Srirangapatna Fort, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Daria Daulat Bagh, Tipu Sultan Gumbaz, Wellesley Bridge, Karighatta View Point, Garrison Cemetery, and Scott’s Bungalow.
Also Read: Places to Visit in Karnataka
Fancy visiting a temple that dates back to the 13th century? Include Somnathpur in your itinerary. Located about 40 km away from the city of Mysore, this place is best known for the Chennakesava Temple (also known as Kesava Temple) on the banks of River Kaveri. This ornate temple built in the Hoysala architectural style is indeed a treat to tourists and pilgrims alike.
They say the more we know about our past, the more and better we can be prepared for our future. We don’t know how true this is. But we know one thing for sure – even a day’s visit to these places will leave you mesmerized and make you travel back in time. Besides the above-mentioned places, Mysore has many other hidden gems for history buffs. This list is just a starter. Get a Mysore tourist places map and you will be able to spot many places that take you in the days gone by. You can get one at the railway station or airport. But, before buying the map, book a hotel in Mysore for a comfortable stay close to these popular places.
10. Brindavan Gardens
Brindavan Gardens is among the most popular and grand terraced gardens in the world. Built in the KRS Dam complex area of Mysore, the garden area is spread across a massive 60 acres of land. The complex comprises three terraced gardens that stun visitors in the evenings with their superb lighting. The area is divided into four parts—Main Gate, North Brindavan, Children’s Garden, and South Brindavan. Each area has its own unique appeal.
The highlight of the gardens is the musical fountain show wherein water bursts are synchronised with melodious music and dazzling lights. You can enjoy boat rides or stroll along the fruit orchards for a truly unforgettable experience.
- Timings: 8 am to 9 pm
- Musical Fountain show timings:
- Weekdays – 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm
- Weekends – 8:30 pm
- Entry Fee:
- Adults – ₹ 15 per head
- Children (5 to 10 yrs) – ₹ 5 per head
11. Mysore Zoo
Mysore Zoo is indubitably one of the best places to visit in Mysore. Located just 2 km from the Mysore Palace, the zoo was established by Chamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur in 1892. It is one of the oldest zoological parks in the country. If you are an animal lover or visiting Mysore with kids, this is an excellent place to catch glimpses of some exotic animals and birds that have been brought from over 40 countries.
From terrestrial birds to big and small felines and from primates to reptiles, you can find 168 species of fauna in the zoo. Also, the world’s first caesarean section was performed on an elephant at the Mysore Zoo, adding lustre to its fame.
- 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, closed on Tuesdays
- Entry Fee:
- Adults – ₹ 50 per head (weekdays), ₹ 60 per head (weekends)
- Children (5 to 12 yrs) – ₹ 20 per head (weekdays), ₹ 30 per head (weekends)
12. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
Are you an avid bird watcher? If yes, this bird sanctuary has to be on the top of your Mysore sightseeing list. The largest bird sanctuary in Karnataka, the facility comprises six small islands situated on the banks of the Kaveri river. You can go boating here to enjoy the rich avian fauna and enjoy scenic views of the surrounding landscape.
The sanctuary is home to nearly 170 bird species, and some have been brought from Australia, Siberia, and North America. The Asian Openbill Stork, Woolly-necked Stork, Painted Stork, Black-headed Ibis, and Common Spoonbill are among the star attractions of this sanctuary. You can also spot small animals such as the Indian grey mongoose, common palm civet, and monitor lizard.
- Timings: 9 am to 6 pm, every day
- Entry Fee:
- Adults – ₹ 50 per head; Children – ₹ 25 per head
- Foreign nationals – ₹ 300 per head
13. Trinesvaraswamy Temple
The Trinesvaraswamy Temple is situated within the Mysore Palace Complex facing the Mysore Fort. The beautiful temple showcases spectacular Dravidian-style architecture. It is dedicated to Trinesvara, the three-eyed Lord Shiva. The gopuram of this shrine was destroyed in the 18th century, but was renovated by the Mysore Maharajas, and now bears the legacy of their cultural glory. The temple is one of the best Mysore places to visit, especially during Shivaratri celebrations when pilgrims gather to offer special prayers.
- Timings: 6 am to 7 pm, every day
- Entry Fee: N/A
14. Kishkindha Moolika Bonsai Garden
If you are looking to spend time relaxing and unwinding your senses, a visit to the Kishkindha Moolika Bonsai Garden is a great idea. Established by Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, this garden houses over 450 different varieties of bonsai trees. It is spread across 4 acres of land wherein a small stream merrily meanders across. You can also find many majestic statues of Lord Buddha and monkeys around the park.
A bonsai convention is held here every year in December, which presents an excellent opportunity for everyone to learn more about the art of bonsai.
- Timings: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, and 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm, closed on Wednesdays
- Entry Fee: ₹ 25 per head
15. GRS Fantasy Park
GRS Fantasy Park is a water and amusement park located at a distance of 15 km from Mysore. Lots of city residents plan a quick getaway to this fantasy park for a fun-filled time with friends and family. It is set amidst a verdant landscape and offers several thrilling rides and activities.
The park includes a multipurpose play area for both kids and adults. The water park serves as a major attraction. You also have easy access to facilities such as the amphitheatre, restaurants, gift shops, locker rooms, and changing rooms.
- Timings: 10:30 am to 6 pm from Monday to Saturday; 10:30 am to 7:30 pm on Sundays
- Entry Fee (before 3:30 pm):
- Adults – ₹ 699 per head
- Children – ₹ 599 per head; Senior citizens – ₹ 449 per head
- Infants (below 3 yrs) – Free
- Entry Fee after 3:30 pm:
- Adults: ₹ 549 per head
- Children – ₹ 449 per head
16. Lalitha Mahal
Among Mysore’s tourist places, Lalitha Mahal is one place that history buffs shouldn’t miss. It is located at the foothills of the Chamundi Hills and is the second-largest palace in Mysore. The grand structure was erected in 1921 and designed by E.W. Fritchley. Many consider Lalitha Mahal a replica of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. It was originally meant to serve as a guest house for the Viceroy of India.
Lalitha Mahal was converted into a luxurious and flamboyant heritage hotel in 1974. Currently, it is maintained by the Ashok Group of Hotels under the aegis of the India Tourism Development Corporation. Visitors throng to Lalitha Mahal every day to enjoy its beauty and mesmerising architecture.
- Timings: 10 am to 6 pm, every day
- Entry Fee: N/A
17. Melody World Wax Museum
The Melody World Wax museum is the third-largest museum in the country. Located at an approximate distance of 3 km from the Mysore Palace, the museum is housed within a heritage building and popular for having the biggest collection of musical instruments in Karnataka.
However, the museum’s main attractions are the more than 100 life-size wax statues of musicians in traditional attire playing various musical instruments. The museum is divided into 19 galleries, with each gallery showcasing some of the most incredible and striking sculptures.
- Timings: 9:30 am to 7:30 pm, every day
- Entry Fee:
- Adults – ₹ 10 per head
- Children (5 to 15 yrs) – ₹ 5 per head
- Senior citizens – ₹ 5 per head
18. Karanji Lake
Karanji Lake in Mysore is the place to visit if you are in the mood for a picnic. Visitors are allowed to carry food items and enjoy them by the lakeside. The lake area is home to as many as 147 different bird species, including grey pelicans, Asian openbill storks, and herons.
Besides a waterfall perched between two water bodies, you will also find a butterfly park with some unique varieties of butterflies. The stunning Karanji Lake also boasts of a Regional Museum of Natural History on its banks. The museum provides a wealth of information on the history of conservation in south India.
- Timings: 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, closed on Tuesdays
- Entry Fee: ₹ 30 per person
19. Folklore Museum
Another important place to visit in Mysore is the Folklore Museum established in 1968. The museum houses an exquisite collection of the folk art and craft of Karnataka. There are over 6,500 archives showcasing the music, dance, literature, and other art forms prevalent in Karnataka.
The Folklore Museum is situated within the campus grounds of Mysore University. You can find extensive collections of masks, props, and puppets used in folk drama. It also houses some rare artefacts from Mysore’s rich and ancient history, making it an ideal hub for history geeks.
- Timings: 10:15 am to 1:15 pm, and 2:30 am to 5 pm, closed on Sundays
- Entry Fee: N/A
Frequently Asked Questions About Mysore:
Q: Is there an airport in Mysore?
A: Yes; however, Mysore Airport has limited connectivity with flights to Chennai, Bangalore, Goa, Hyderabad and Kochi only. A major airport close to Mysore is Bangalore's Kempegowda International Airport (185 km).
Q: Which are the popular waterfalls near Mysore that are a must-visit?
A: Mysore has many waterfalls around it, the best of all being Chunchanakatte Falls (55 km) and Shivanasamudra Falls (74.5 km). Iruppu Falls and Abbey Falls in Coorg can also be reached from Mysore in just a couple of hours.
Q: List the heritage sites in Mysore that are worth visiting.
A: The list of historical places in Mysore is quite long, but a few that you must include in your itinerary are Mysore Palace, Jaganmohan Palace, Jayalakshmi Vilas, Chamundeshwari Temple, Philomena’s Cathedral, Srirangapatna and Somnathpur.
Q: Where can I try authentic food of Mysore?
A: Head to top restaurants in Mysore such as Vinayaka Mylari, Mahesh Prasad, Anima Madhva Bhavan, Green Leaf, Hotel RRR and Tiger Trail for a taste of the authentic fare.
Q: Where to go in Mysore for a fun night out?
A: For a glimpse of the nightlife in Mysore, visit pubs like Pelican Pub, Gusto, The Road, Purple Haze, Opium, Infinit Lounge Bar and Khedda Bar.
Q: What are the timings and entry fee of Mysore Palace?
A: Mysore Palace remains open from 10 am to 5.30 pm every day. The entry fee is INR 70 for adults, INR 30 for kids above 7 years and below 12 years and free for kids below 7 years.
Q: What is Mysore most famous for?
A: The city is most famous for Mysore Dasara (Dussehra), which is celebrated with immense grandeur and is a visual treat that can rarely be witnessed in any other part of the world.
Q: What to shop for in Mysore and from where?
A: Markets in Mysore such as Ashoka Road, Sayyaji Rao Road and Devaraj Urs Road are known for Mysore silk sarees, sandalwood carvings and incense sticks.
Q: Which are the main gateways in Mysore besides the airport?
A: Mysore Junction is the main railway station in the city. Moreover, there are two major bus stands in Mysore including Central Bus Stand and City Bus Stand. The main road gateways to the city are NH 275, NH 766 and NH 150A.
Q: Suggest some weekend getaways from Mysore.
A: Popular places to visit near Mysore are Bangalore, Ooty, Kabini, Bandipur and Nagarhole national parks, Coorg, Wayanad and Bylakuppe.