Top 15 Things to do in Mysore city, Karnataka

Experience The Best of Mysore: Top 15 Things To Do

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Known as the Sandalwood City of India, Mysore or Mysuru is a quaint historic town in the Southern state of Karnataka. Any history buff will find themselves lost amongst the rich heritage of the palaces and temples of this place. The city has preserved its culture, and ancient vibes seem to envelop any tourist who walks through the streets of this former kingdom. Interestingly, the place is also an exotic location for people in and out of the country who try to find their spiritual selves as it is the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga.

Mysore has so much to offer and many sites to visit that one might wonder where to begin. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. With a list of the top 15 places to visit in Mysore, we’ve curated a guide using which you can have a fulfilling experience in the city. Whether it’s the festivals, the wildlife, or even functional details such as timings, fees, and more, we have it all. Without further ado, let’s dive right in. 

Top 15 Things To Do In Mysore

1. Palace Hopping

Mysore palace lit with lights

Palace hopping is one of the first things you need to do the moment you set foot into the city. Each palace exudes grandeur and has a unique aura that captivates your attention. The magnificent architecture depicts the artisans’ different influences at the time while speaking volumes about the tradition of the Wodeyar kings. You get a sense of how the elite lived during the previous era and a glimpse of their lifestyle. We also have a list of all these palaces, along with a guide that covers their opening hours, fees, and more.

2. Celebrate Dussehra

Goddess Chamundeshwari on golden howdy during the jumbo safari possession, Mysore Dussehra

Since the early 15th century, Mysore has been known for celebrating Dussehra. Millions of devotees from diverse walks of life gather on the streets to celebrate this magnanimous festival every year. The joy, carnivalesque atmosphere, and sheer energy can leave you transfixed. 

The popular state festival spanning 10 days has people lighting lamps and decorating the facades of their homes with fancy lights. Due to these festivities, the entire city comes to life and becomes vibrant every night. One of the most intriguing events is the Jumbo Savari which occurs on the 10th day. If you want to know more, you can read about the Dussehra festival and celebrate it as you have never before. 

3. Gaze Sunrise At The Chamundeshwari Temple

Chamundeshwari temple, Mysore

Besides culture and history, Mysore also offers scenic beauty for those who thrive amidst nature. Although the Chamundeshwari Temple is a religious place, its hilltop location is perfect for riders who wake up before the world does. An early morning ride on the motorable road all the way up to the temple should be on your list. You will get an entire drone view of Mysore city at a viewpoint located midway.

The deity Chamundeshwari or Durga is the slayer of demons, “Chanda,” “Munda,” and “Mahishasura” (the buffalo-headed monster). She is said to have been worshiped as the primary Goddess by Maharajas and rulers of Mysuru for several years. Today, the 1000+ years old temple attracts pilgrims from all over India, and the deity is said to be the favorite Goddess of the Maharajas or rulers of Mysuru for several years.

Free meals are served to devotees every day.

  • Timing: 7:30 AM – 2 PM, 3:30 PM – 6 PM, and 7:30 PM – 9 PM
  •  Entry Fee: Free
  • Parking Facilities: Available
  • Restroom Facilities: Neat and clean restrooms are available near the parking area
  • Guest Rooms: 20 guest rooms are available. For booking, call 0821 2590180.

Note: KSRTC buses are available every 20 minutes between the Mysuru city bus stand and Chamundeshwari temple.

4. Visit St. Philomena’s Cathedral

St. Philomena Church

St. Philomena’s Cathedral, or St. Joseph Cathedral, is a catholic church with stunning architecture. It is Asia’s second largest church, with its twin spires standing tall at the height of 175 feet and can accommodate over 800 people. The church was constructed in 1936 in a Neo-Gothic style by a French architect who drew inspiration from the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.

What’s truly intriguing is that there is an entity community living within the campus. The place is home to schools, libraries, hostels, and more. The church masses are conducted in Tamil, Kannada, and English. 

  • Timing: 5 AM – 8 PM
  •  Entry Fee: Free
  • Parking Facilities: Available
  • Restroom Facilities: Neat and clean restrooms are available

5. Tour The Mysuru Zoo

Mysuru Zoological gardens

The crowded yet well-maintained Mysuru Zoo is one of the main attractions in the city’s center. Also known as Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, the zoo is spread across 157 acres of land with a wide variety of wildlife grouped. Despite its vastness, you can easily navigate the place with the help of maps installed at different places. The place is a treat for those in love with the wildlife as the zoo houses over 1450 creatures from over 150 species and over 25 countries. 

The zoo also offers a provision to adopt animals and birds if you want to give them personal care and express your love for the animals and birds. Your adoption will involve the zoo feeding the animal for one entire year, and you can also participate in the conservation of wildlife with the Mysore Zoo officials.

  • Timing: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM, Closed on Tuesdays
  •  Entry Fee: Rs. 100 for adults, Rs. 50 for children between 5-12 years of age and free for children below 5 years. Extra charges for the camera.
  • Parking Facilities: Available
  • Restroom Facilities: Available 
  • Battery-operated vehicle services are available for Rs. 200 per adult, Rs. 100 for children between 5 – 12 years of age, and free for children below 5 years.
  • Student concessions are offered for educational institutions, provided a signed letter from the head of the institution should be submitted (mandatory).

Note: Mysuru Zoo is a plastic-free zone. All the bags are checked thoroughly upon entry, and the plastics are disposed of.

6. Relax By The Karanji Lake

Boating at Karanji lake

When you visit the zoo, you can find the Karanji Lake located nearby. However, you can get a combo ticket for the zoo and the lake and explore both places. The lake offers a serene ambiance for travelers who are tired after walking or moving around the zoo. It is home to numerous birds and trees, a nursery, a children’s park, a peacock house, and more. You can stroll to the place and encounter several viewpoints along the 2 Km stretch. In the end, you can either sit by the lake and relax or even go boating.

  • Timing: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM, Closed on Tuesdays
  •  Entry Fee: Rs. 50 per adult and Rs. 30 per child
  • Parking Facilities: Available
  • Restroom Facilities: Available

Note: Combo tickets for Mysuru zoo and Karanji Lake cost Rs. 130 for an adult and Rs. 70 for a child.

7. Shop In Style

Mysore has several thriving marketplaces for the shopaholic within you. Some of the most delightful places to explore are the Government Silk Factory or Cauvery Arts and Crafts Emporium, the Devaraja Market, and the Guru Sweet Mart

You can purchase traditional Mysore silk sarees at the Silk Factory and collect rosewood artifacts as souvenirs from the trip. For perfumes, incense sticks, and jewelry, you can go to the Devaraja Market. If you’re a foodie who wants to try something authentic, the Guru Sweet Mart offers the famous Mysore Pak, a tongue-smacking delicacy. But there’s one more place without which your shopping experience would remain incomplete: The Government Sandalwood Oil Factory, where you can purchase pure sandalwood. 

8. Play Water Sports At Varuna Lake

water sports at Varuna lake - Outback adventures

Varuna Lake boasts adventurous water sports activities, including jet skiing, lake rafting, kayaking, trampoline, speed boat, and banana ride, to name a few. You will be accompanied by professional trainers who can guide you, ensuring you have a safe experience. With a cafe inside the premises, the Varuna Lake is the perfect hangout spot for families, kids, and friends. The place is well maintained with changing rooms and lockers, so you do not have to worry about the sanity of the place. You can buy your tickets from Outback Varuna to save money.

  • Timing: 9 AM – 6 PM
  •  Entry Fee: Free. Extra for adventure sports activities.
  • Parking Facilities: Available
  • Restroom Facilities: Available
  • Locker and changing rooms: Available

9. See Water & Light Show At Brindavan Gardens

Brindavan gardens water and light show with KSR dam view

The Brindavan Gardens is another age-old tourist sightseeing place and was built way back in 1932. In fact, it took about 5 years to lay this mesmerizing place which several people flock to for Gram-worthy pictures. The Gardens is adjacent to the Krishnarajasagar Dam built over River Cauvery (Kaveri). One of the best parts about the place is that at different times of the day, you’ll get different auras from the place. 

The lush green grass and diverse flora will rejuvenate you in the morning. You can stroll along the KRS Dam at night and experience the music and light show. Amidst the terrace gardens, flowerbeds, and lawns, the fountains are majestically illuminated. The dam water is also lit well with the Indian flag, and its reflection can be seen on the Cauvery river flowing below. If you want to avoid going on the walkway, boating services are available to cross the dam. 

The Brindavan Gardens entrance is very touristy and is packed with numerous shops and street food stalls. So, go to the place and absorb everything, from the greenery to the music and light show at dusk.

  • Timing: 6:30 AM – 9 PM. The music and light show starts after 7 PM (for 5 mins) with an interval of every 15 mins.
  • Entry Fee: Rs. 50 per adult and Rs. 30 per child. 
  • Boat ride fee: Rs. 40 per person (one-way).
  • Parking Facilities: Available
  • Restroom Facilities: Available

10. Ride On A Coracle At KRS Backwaters

KSR backwaters coracle ride

If you want to get away from the touristy crowd and be by yourself or your small group, the KRS backwaters should be your next destination. You can spend a peaceful evening with pets, friends, and family and watch the sunset while riding a coracle in the backwaters. The tranquility amidst the waters is one of our favorite places. As you watch the golden orange sun’s reflection shimmering in the water, you’re engulfed with a silence that will remain long after you leave the place.

  • Timing: 5 AM – 7 PM
  •  Entry Fee: Free
  • Parking Facilities: Available
  • Restroom Facilities: Not available

11. Sri Venugopalaswamy Temple

The Venugopalaswamy Temple you see today is an incredible structure known for its intricate architecture. However, it is not the original temple. Since the KRS Dam was built, the original temple was submerged in water for about 70 years. However, you can catch glimpses of the 700-year-old temple when the water from the backwaters recedes, or the water in the reservoir diminishes. The new temple is relocated just 1 Km from the submerged one and is known for the Hoysala architectural style. The relocation and restoration began in 2002 and were completed in 2011.

  • Timing: 7 AM – 12 PM, 6 PM – 8:30 PM
  •  Entry Fee: Free
  • Parking Facilities: Available
  • Restroom Facilities: Available

12. Spot Birds At Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

A birdwatcher’s paradise, the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is home to 170 species of birds. It is said that over 40,000 birds have migrated to the place from around the world, and you can also spot over 100 crocodiles while exploring the marshy areas near the water. 

You can come to the sanctuary of 6 islets created by River Cauvery between June and November, as it is the best time to catch the most exquisite birds. Most water birds nest during the season, and you can also get guided boat tours to the islets. However, boating experiences are suspended during the monsoon season due to heavy rain. 

  • Timing: 9 AM – 6 PM
  •  Entry Fee: Rs. 50 per person. 
  • Boat ride charges: Rs. 70 per adult and Rs. 35 per child for a 30-min boat ride.
  • Parking facilities: Available
  • Restroom facilities: Available

13. Grab Good Meals At A Hanumanthu Devi Mess (Since 1930)

Hanumanthu devi mess, Mysore

The Pulav (veg and non-veg) here is served on the natural banana leaf plate. The dish oozes with flavor, and you can’t help but devour all of its taste and aroma. The place will have a wait time of about 15 to 30 minutes and is mostly crowded during the lunch and dinner hours. So plan your day accordingly if you’re going to the place. This is one place you must try for its pulav and a few other dishes, and do let us know in the comments if it was worth the hype.

14. Learn Yoga

As we mentioned earlier, Mysore is the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga, making the city one of the yoga hubs in India. Foreigners flock from different parts of the world to train and practice Ashtanga yoga at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, established in 1948. There are also a couple of other institutes that teach the same. If you’re interested in sound healing and full moon meditation, you can visit Akhilanka’s temple of singing bowls.

15. Day Trips From Mysore

Somnathpura Chennakesava temple, Mysore

Chennakesava temple – Somnathpura, Srirangapatna, Talakadu, and Shivanasamudra waterfalls of Gaganachukki and Barachukki are a few places away from the city, but each of these would take about a day. Having said that, these places are worth your time, money, and, most importantly, energy. If you’re traveling from Bengaluru (Bangalore), you will find some places en route; you can check them out.

If you have visited these places in Mysore, we’re sure you have covered most of the city. For more detailed travel guides, DIY hiking guides, travel tips, and itineraries subscribe to the newsletter and follow us on social media – Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.

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