Mysore: It is More than Just Palaces
By Vibhuti Jaiswal , Resource Coordinator
Coming from a family with more than half of them living in Mysore, it has been an obvious choice for numerous weekend getaways and summer holidays recreation spot. Mysore is
n easy place to be in. There's enough to do here, whether you’re looking for a cultural weekend, a spiritual retreat or a treat for the kids. It’s simple to get to, and is a big enough city so there’re plenty of places to snag rooms at. In short, it makes for the perfect lazy traveler’s easy trip.
The compulsory (almost) stop on the tourist trail is the Mysore palace and its grounds which is home to Mysore royalty (00-91-821-2421050; mysorepalace.in; Rs 25; 10am-5.30pm, closed during Dussera; audio guides are also available. Photography is prohibited; cameras must be deposited at the gate at Rs 5 deposit).a walk through the magnificent palace, while almost done at quite a fast clip because of the ever-moving line, can be an educational experience. The smaller buildings that lie about the main palace are also of interest, which you will have to pay extra for, houses the artefacts. And if you’re lucky and its festival time or a Sunday, you can catch the imposing structure at night- hundreds of light bulbs go on once darkness falls (7pm-8pm), creating the synonymous postcard image.
The Mysore z o (Indiranagar; Rs 25; 8.30am-5.3opm; Tue closed), another of this city’s crowned jewel is also worth a visit. This zoo gives a few animals; at least, some place to wander. Pick up a map at the entrance, as it is easy to miss out on some of the fascinating members of the zoo. If you’re not up for a long drive that takes you to the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary (20km from Mysore) or to the Brindavan Gardens (18km from Mysore), you can take the shorter drive that take you up to the Chamundi Hills, on which sits the Sri Chamundeshwari Temple (7am-2pm, 3.30pm-9pm). The main temple area is thronged with people who are either standing in lines for their minutes with the deity or trying to sell you something to make as offerings to her. Hawkers and monkeys join the party making it a madhouse up there. Walk up to the edges, and look out t over Mysore. You may even chance upon one of the smaller temples away from the crowd that’ll give you more spiritual satisfaction if you wander for a bit. You can also shop a bit at the Cauvery Emporium or just go down for a walk along the Sayyaji Rao Road.

Where to stay (other than my houses that belong to anybody from my family)

There are numerous lodges, inns and villas that offer places to stay in. The upscale hotels you could stay at are:

The Green Hotel: Just outside Mysore, it has won prizes for years now for its sprawling grounds and gardens. Try for rooms in the palace (00-91-821-4255000; greenhotelindia.com, thegreenhotel@airtelmail.com; Chittaranjan Road, 2270, Vinoba Road, Jayalakshmipuram; rooms in the palace Rs 3,250 onwards with breakfast).
The Windflower Resort: Close to the foothills of the Chamundi hills and a spa retreat outside the chaos of the city centre. The Windflower is perfect for cutting yourself off for some well earned rest and recreation. Check for special deals while booking (00-91-821-2522500; thewindflower.com,reservations@thewildflower.com; Maharanapratap Road, Nazarbad; Rs 4,500 onwards with breakfast).

Getting there-

Closest metro: Bangalore (140km). Mysore is a three-hour drive away.

Closest airport: Bangalore International airport
Closest railhead: Mysore junction. There are a number of trains running between Bangalore and Mysore.
Getting around: If you haven’t driven yourself down from Bangalore, there is enough public transport. Remember, though, that meters don’t function, and you need to fix on a price beforehand.
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