They’re hard to miss with their khaki traveler pants, cameras dangling around the neck and noses buried in pages of maps and guide books.
But there’s an even worse dead give-away…
A bus tour.
And in most cases, guided bus tours are overpriced and a waste of time.
However, there is one exception…
The bus tours in Mysore are exceptionally efficient, affordable and there is a high chance that you’ll be the only international tourist on the bus – giving you a chance to mingle with other Indian travelers.
History of Mysore India
Since the 14th century, the Wodeyar dynasty ruled Mysore (excluding the 40-years era when Hyder Ali and son Tipu Sultan ruled) and contributed significantly to the development of the city.
It is now thought to be one of the cleanest and most well-planned cities in India.
Mysore India Sights on a Bus Tour
The best way to explore the city’s highlights on bus tour that includes Shri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, Mysore Zoo, Chamundi Hill and Temple, Mysore Palace, St. Philomena’s Church, Ranganathaswamy Temple, and Brindavan Gardens.
Shri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery
In 1875 the Jaganmohan Palace was converted into the Shri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery and features a collection of paintings and artifacts that were once owned by the Wodeyars. The gallery also features a large collection of Rembrandt paintings, traditional gold leaf paintings, and carved statues.
Developed in 1892, the Mysore Zoo is one of the oldest and most renowned zoos in the world.
The zoo spans 245-acres and is home to rare and exotic birds and animals. Some popular exhibits feature tigers, Indian and African elephants, bears, gorillas, monkeys, lions, hippos, rhinos, and much more.
The zoo only costs a whopping $0.50 extra on the bus tour.
Chamundi Hill and Temple
Mysore, derived from “Mahishasurana Ooru,” was named from the demon Mahishasura who was killed by goddess Chamundershwari at the top of Chamundi Hill just outside Mysore.
The goddess Chamundershwari is still worshipped to this day with thousands of people visiting the Chamundi Hill to honor her. The Chamundeshwari Temple, a Hindu place of worship, is also located atop Chamundi Hill.
With over 2.7 million visitors each year, the Mysore Palace is the second most popular tourist attraction in India (after the Taj Mahal).
It was built over one thousand years ago in 897 AD and was the official residence of the Wodeyars. In 1897 the palace was destroyed by a fire and was rebuilt to the current structure you see today. Visitors can visit the inside of the palace, but photographs are forbidden. Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture can be seen through the palace.
St. Philomena’s Church
Built in 1936, the St. Philomena’s Church is one of the oldest and largest churches in India. The neo-gothic style architecture features stained-glass windows and spiral towers.
Build in the 9th century, the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple is one of the most important Hindu shrines in south India. The exceptional carvings and architecture draw large crowds to this temple daily. The temple features a statue of Lord Ranganatha (Vishnu) sleeping on Kalinga – the seven-headed serpent.
Brindavan Gardens & Krishna Raja Sagar Dam
Located 19km outside Mysore are the Brindavan Gardens and Krishna Raja Sagar Dam. Thousands of visitors flock to the gardens each year during the evenings to watch the illuminated dancing musical fountains.
When To Go
The best time to visit Mysore India is October to April when the weather is pleasant.
The annual Dusserha Festival (also called Dasara Festival) lasts for ten days and generally is celebrated between September to November. The last day of the festival is Vijayadashami – that symbolizes the day when goddess Chamundeshwari killed the demon Mahishasura.
Mysore has a generally pleasant climate year round. The hottest month is April with temperatures ranging between 70-93°F (21-34°C). The coldest month is December with temperatures ranging between 60-80°F (16-27°C). Annual rainfall is 761.9 mm.
Getting There & Around
Mysore Airport offers domestic flights and is located only 7.5 miles (12 km) from the city center. Bangalore international airport is another option, followed by a 106 miles (170 km) train ride to Mysore.
- Mid-range accommodations: $30-50
- Meals: $5-10
- Bottle of beer: $2
- One-day bus tour: $10-15
- Visit the Mysore Palace on Saturday and Sunday nights when over 40,000 light bulbs illuminate the palace.
- Do remove your shoes and dress appropriately before entering temples.
- Do try the famous Mysore Dosa – a delicious lentil crepe stuffed with potatoes, onions, and other spices.
- Eat with your left hand – traditional Indians use their left hands for hygiene purposes.
- Point with your finger – it’s a sign of disrespect.
- Shake hands with the locals if you are a women, instead opt for the traditional greeting of placing your hands together in front of your chest and saying Namaste.