Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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Tourist Attractions in Mysore Karnataka

Mysore Situated among the fertile fields and wooded hills, the capital of old Wodeyar dynasty- Mysore represents a spectacular tourist attraction for those who visit there. This is also known as the Sandalwood City of India. The Wodeyar rulers were great benefactors of art and culture, which can be seen in the rich heritage of the city. The modern Mysore is the child of the grate Tipu Sultan- Mysore Tiger. Mysore is an important cultural Center, with the largest university in Karnataka. It is also distinguished for its ivory work, silk-weaving, sandalwood incense and carvings.

Mysore still retains its calm old world charm in its surroundings. Mysore is renowned for its beautiful palaces and charming gardens. Mysore has never botched to captivate the visitors with its unique charisma, royal palaces, rich legacy, grandiose buildings, elegantly laid-out gardens, sacred temple complexes and broad shady boulevard. Mysore city is also known for propinquity to several other places of interest such as Srirangapatna, Krishna Raj Sagra dam and Sivasamudram falls.

Climate of Mysore Best time to Travel to Mysore
Mysore has a moderate climate. Summer day temperatures average at 30° C though some days may be as hot as 35° C. June is the warmest month. Winter is extremely comfortable, with day temperatures for December averaging 27° C. The average night temperatures are 20° C and 17° C for summer and winter respectively. Mysore gets an average 86 centimeters of rain annually, most of it during the monsoon, which lasts from June to October.

History of Mysore

Mysore is linked with the Puranic story that originates in the Devi Bhagavatha. According to this story in the mythological Devi Purana, Mysore was ruled by the demon-king Mahishasura. He was called Mahishasura, because he was a buffalo-headed monster. Hearing to the prayers of Gods and Goddess to save them from the monster, Goddess Parvathi, wife of Lord Siva, took birth as Chamundi or Chamundeswari and killed the monster. Hence, this place came to be known as Mahishuru, the city of demon Mahisha. After killing the demon, the Goddess resided atop the Chamundi Hills where she is worshipped with reverence and devotion even today. However, the original name of the hill is 'Mahabaladri Hills' and it derived the name Chamundi Hills at a later period, after 17th century.

Till the rise of Gangas in 10th century we find very little or no evidence at all relating to Mysore. The Ganga dynasty established its reign in the 2nd century and the Ganga kings ruled over the greater part of Mysore till about 1004. One of their inscriptions has been traced in the Chamundi Hills. The inspection of 950 A.D. is the earliest inscription found in Mysore. After Gangas, Cholas rose to power and ruled for over a century. The Chalukyas followed them. Mysore was a part of Chalukya Prince Narasinga's kingdom in the 10th century. The Cholas built a few temples in Mysore. Hoysalas drove out the Cholas from Mysore region in the 12th century. Hoysalas, who are known for their famous temples, built or expanded the existing temples in Mysore and on the Chamundi Hills. The Mysore Yadu dynasty came to power in 1399 A.D. They were feudatories to the Vijayanagar kings, who followed the Hoysalas. They also contributed to the development of temples in Mysore. Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar, the raja of Mysore, rebuilt the small fort of Mysore in 1584 A.D. He made Mysore his headquarters and called the place as 'Mahishura Nagara' or the city of Mahishur. Raja Waidyar shifted the capital of his kingdom from Mysore to Srirangapatna in 1610 A.D. However, after the fall of Srirangapatna and death of Tipu Sultan in 1799, Mysore became the capital of the Wadiyars again. It was Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV who developed Mysore into a handsome city with excellent planning. He brought fame to Mysore as a city of wide roads, imposing building and amusement parks.

Some famous Tourist Attractions in Mysore

Brindavan Gardens
Brindavan Garden is one of the most admired gardens all over the country. It is located around 15km from Mysore city. This garden is a must see place in Mysore, which is famous for its musical fountain that offers a magnificent view of the garden in night. This garden is situated below the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam. The multipurpose dam is named after the Mysore Raja Krishnaraja Wodeyar who financed the dam. The best time to visit the garden is during night when the magical music fountains come to life. The captivating music and dancing waves provides you with a cherishing evening.

Mysore Palace
In the center of the city of Mysore at Mirza Road stands in the former residence of the royal family of Mysore. The Mysore Palace is one of the chief Mysore tourist attractions and is a living exponent of the Indo- Saracen style of architecture. The palace was rebuilt in the year 1912 for the twenty fourth king of the Wodeyar dynasty. This is designed by the British architect, Henry Irwin. This palace of Mysore is one of the biggest palaces of the country. This palace is also called as Amba Vilas.

The most beautiful sight about the palace is the fully illuminated view of the palace in the night. The three storied building of the palace extends across a length of 245 feet and 156 feet in breadth. The avenue footing in front of the palace is roofed with a dome that rises to a height of 145 feet and is adorned in gold. The main entrance of the palace is the royal elephant gate that is ornamented with decorations and abides the royal symbol of the double headed eagle. You can view the stained glasses, chandeliers, glazed tiles and the iron pillars gathered from different parts of the world while having a saunter down the Kalyana Mantapa or the pavilion for the royal marriages. The palace has now been converted into a museum that is a repository of the art and architecture of the Wodeyar dynasty and also houses the belongings of Tipu Sultan.

Chamundeshwari Temple
Chamundeshwari Temple located on top of the Chamundi hills is another famous destination in Mysore. This temple is dedicated to the goddess Chamundi – the family deity of Wodeyar dynasty. The original structure of the temple is dated back to 12th century. Chamundeshwari temple has a seven storey Gopuram with rich engraving in traditional Dravidian style. The golden idol of the Goddess is the main attraction and appeal of this temple, while the silver-plated doorway adds to the richness. The shrine is richly tinted with intricate carvings and astonishing statues. The artworks and sculptures of this temple provide it a graceful charm and inimitable elegance. There is a gorgeous gem called nakshatra malike which has Sanskrit mantras engraved on it.

There is a small Ganesha statue in the doorway of the temple. You can also find the footprints of the goddess and a statue of Nandi in the temple. A 16 foot colourful statue of the demon Mahishasura near the temple is an attractive feature. This is because Mahishasura was slain by Goddess Chamundeshwari to protect the areas from his atrocities. Therefore the name Chamundi also signifies the angry mood of the Goddess. In the sanctum sanctorum is the stone statue of the Goddess that is decorated everyday and is worshipped by a number of priests. During Dussera festival special prayers are given to the goddess and after Dussera a jathra followed by Theppotsava are held here. Tuesdays and Fridays are considered to be very auspicious to visit the temple. The best time of the year to pay a visit to the Goddess is during Dussera amidst the pomp and splendor of the 10 day festivities in and around Mysore.

Mysore Zoo
This is one of the finest zoological gardens in India. This was constructed by Chamarajendra Wodeyar. He is also considered to be one of the architects of the modern Mysore. This magnificent zoo was established in the year 1892. Mysore Zoo houses a diverse collection of animals including wonderful species kept in natural surroundings. In this zoo lot of emphasis is given to the healthcare of the animals. The Mysore zoo is equipped with a world class veterinary hospital, laboratory, nursing yard, pharmacy and operation theatre. They also encourage research activities. The best time to visit the zoo is during the early hours of the morning when the surrounding is calm and fresh. All the animals can also be seen during that time. This is thus the best time to take your kids out for an educational trip.

Mahabaleshwara Temple
Mahabaleshwara temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Mysore. This old temple dedicated to God Mahabaleshwara is dated back to around 10th century. It is believed that this temple was the most important temple of Mysore in the earlier times before the kings of Mysore promoted Chamundeshwari temple as their family deity. The temple is believed to be expanded by the King Vishnuwardhana and his successors of Hoysala dynasty. Nava Ranga, Ardha Mantapa to the temple is constructed during the Hoysala period. nside the temple there are attractive images of Sapta Matrikas, Nataraja, Parvathi and Bhairava, all built in the style used by the Hoysalas. The idol of Vishnu is dated back to the Ganga period. In the alcoves behind are the statues of Dakshina Murthy and Mahishamardhini, the latter statue is in the Ganga style. In the back corridor of the temple there are idols of Indra and Bhiikshatana Shiva that indicate that the temple has Chola workmanship as well. Thus this ancient temple is worth a visit to all those coming to Mysore.

Shravanabelagola, a proposed heritage centre of India, is one of the most famous pilgrimage spots for the Jain community in South India. The place represents the richness of Hoysala art. It lies in Hassan district of Karnataka, 83km from Mysore. Shravanabelagola is famous for the monolith of Bahubali or Gommateshwara. There are two stony hills called Chandragiri and Indragiri. Chandragiri is famous for the Chandragupta Basadi built by the Gangas. Indragiri is famous for the Chavendaraya Basadi and the gigantic statue of Gommateshwara. At the base of the two hills is a “Mutt” where Jain Munis reside. Also, there is a Sanskrit Pathsala where Sanskrit and Shastras are taught.

The most important tourist attraction here is the enormous statue of Bahubali or Gommateshwara. He was a King who renounced his kingdom and spent the rest of his life meditating till he attained Nirvana. The naked statue of Gommateshwara is 58 feet high and 26 feet wide and has 10 feet long feet. Opposite to Lord Gomateshwara’s statue on the top, there a beautiful pillar, this has four creepers carved on it. This pillar is named Tyagada Bhramadeva. Lord Bahubali’s statue is said to have been built from single stone of smooth fine grey granite. This monolithic idol shows Lord Bahubali standing erect over anthills and serpents with a serene expression on his face. Also, one can see creepers encircling his legs and waist. The statue is captures the Lord’s perfect features and curly hair with his head resting on massive shoulders. What one rarely notices about the perfection of the idol is that the length of the index finger of each of the hands is not same. It is said that this was deliberately done due to a belief that with a flaw like that nobody can make the statue “khandit”. About 650 steps have been cut on the Vinghyagiri hill to reach this statue. Thousands of devotees gather here once in 12 years to perform the Mahamastakabhisheka or sacred anointment, which is a grand and extravagant ceremony. Hundreds of pots of curd, milk, honey vermilion, coconut water, turmeric paste and even gold and precious jewels are poured over the statue's head by the priests. Next Mahamastakabhisheka will take place in the year 2018 AD.

Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery
Keeping the conventional heritage and old majesty of Mysore, the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery is a vast preserve of exquisite paintings and artifacts of the departed golden era. The Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery in Mysore is measured as one of the best art galleries in South India because of its exceptional collection of paintings and artifacts. The three-storied Jaganmohan Palace was converted into this art gallery in 1875. The Jayachamarajendra art gallery has a incredible collection of Rembrandt paintings. The Rembrandt collection can be found only in this gallery except in Russia. This art gallery also houses a good collection of western paintings by the masters like master like P.P. Ruben, Titan, A. Caddy and miniature paintings by Gunoy.

In this art gallery one can find the paintings of the famous Raja Ravi Verma. The walls of the third floor are richly covered with interesting and colourful paintings relating to Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. On one side, his Dussera procession is displayed. The Maharaja is seen going in procession in a chariot drawn by elephants, one of the earliest authentic visual records of the Dussera celebrations. This gallery has an excellent collection of musical instruments that is displayed on the second floor. The Maharajas especially Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV used many of these musical instruments. The gallery also houses some ornamental furniture, glass and Chinaware, sculptures and photographs.

How to Reach Mysore

Air :The nearest airport is in Bangalore and both domestic and international carriers operate from here. The nearby destinations of Mysore and the major towns of India such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai are well-linked with flights operated by many domestic carriers.

Rail : Mysore is connected to all major cities via Bangalore. Direct trains operate to Mysore from Bangalore, New Delhi, Chennai, Thanjavur, Thirupathi, Mumbai and several other destinations. Trains also operate between Mysore-Nanjangud, Arsikere and Chamarajanagar.

Road : The state transport bus services (KSRTC) and Private bus services are available to and from the nearby towns of Mysore thus making road travel very suitable and quick.

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