Mysore is a great place to visit, more so during Dussehra

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Mysore Palace
 

Visited Mysore for Dussehra in 2017. Awesome and enriching are apt words to describe the five day experience.

 

I usually take low cost airlines. This time decided to check out the Air India site. Ticket for Mumbai Bangalore both ways was Rs 4,600/. It was cheaper than every private airline. The best part is when you book AI online they do not charge convenience fee.

 

Reached Bangalore about 8 am. Karnataka State Transport run a premium bus service from the airport to Mysore. Cost some Rs 750/. Had played safe and booked tickets online. We left at about 8.45 am to reach Mysuru by 1 ish. There is a police approved auto stand in the bus stand. Take that or you would end paying more e.g. bus stand to Karnataka Tourism Hotel was Rs 28/. Autos ask for Rs 50/ onwards.

 

Had lunch and walked down to the famous Mysore Palace. Keep about two hours to see it well. The Marriage and Durbar Halls are awesome. Since it was Dussehra time the golden throne was on display.

 

I wanted permission to click pictures of the palace from inside. Was at the Deputy Directors office for nearly four hours (he was very busy with Dussehra preparations). Whilst waiting for me clicked pictures of the fully lit palace. By the time all permissions were in place it was 11.30 am the next morning.

 

Due to Dussehra too much crowd inside palace but made the best of the permission I got. End of article is link to Mysore Palace Inside photos.

 

Post lunch took a bus to Somnathpur to see the Keshava Temple i.e. about 35 kms away. The bus took me to a point from where take share a taxi. The temple is worth visiting and sculptures awesome. Dedicated to Sri Krishna. It was built (around AD 1268) under Somnatha (a general in the army of Narasimha III) of the Hoysala dynasty. For a good guide call Ramakrishna 91 99456 45237, 87222 34980.

 

Returned by 7 pm ish. Was exhausted so returned to the hotel.

 

Next morning left at 6 am for Chamundi Hills. Local bus stand (i.e. for city transport, is different from the Central bus stand for inter-town travel) was a ten minute walk. The first bus comes at 6.30 am. Reached Chamundi Hills in about 25 minutes. Lovely drive. Had early morning darshan. Took a Rs 100/ ticket for quick darshan. Lots of devotees due to Dussehra, somehow managed to get in. Post darshan devotees were distributing prasad (rice and shira) outside. Visited two temples that are close to main temple.  

 

What I missed seeing at Chamdundi Hills? Mysore Viewing Point, Bala Tripura Sundari Temple and Shri Chamunderashwari Temple (large Nandi). Not sure if state transport buses go these temples so you might need to hire a vehicle.

 

Took a bus to Mysuru. Enroute got off at Sand Museum. Opens at 8.30 am. Super work. Gauri, a sculptor, made images based on numerous themes like Ganesha, Dussehra, Wildlife, Islam, Water life, Ancient world etc. Must see. Photo links at end of article.

Close to the Sand Museum is the Folk Arts Museum that I missed seeing. Got so engrossed in Sand Museum that forgot about it. Is supposed to be very good, do see.

 

Next took a bus to the Flower Show i.e. near Mysore Palace. Very creative. Made of flowers was a temple, Eifel Tower, Team Umashankar did a stupendous job. His number is 91 99641 92105. Pictures part of album on sand museum.

 

Had a Karnataka Tourism Hotel Mayura booking for two days only (cost Rs 975/ for a double room). Clean and nice place. Thereafter shifted to Gayatri Hotel ie close to the station.

 

Mysuru is a very clean city. Very helpful people. Lots of places to eat, both restaurants and street food, including chat shops. Had lovely pani puri. For North Indian food visit Indra Cafe (Paras restaurant) i.e. 5 minutes walk from palace entrance gate.

 

One day before Dussehra the present Maharaja has a private puja in Mysore Palace, held at about 11 am. Entry is restricted.

 

Post lunch on Friday walked through the Devaraja market and visited the Jagmohan Palace Art Gallery. It has impressive Mysore Paintings. Saw the private residential museum. Overall could be better maintained. Missed visiting the Railway Museum where you can see Maharaja's saloon.

 

On days before and after Dussehra Mysore Palace is as crowded as it can get. Tourists just stand and gaze at the magnificent structure more so when it is lit. "Throughout Dasara, the Mysore Palace is illuminated by nearly 100,000 light bulbs. Visiting hours are limited to two hours (7–9pm) for the first eight days and then for three hours (7–10pm) on the final Vijayadashami Day."

 

Missed visiting city temples. You can visit Laksmimirassa temple ie dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is amongst the oldest shrines. Also visit Varashaswamy temple i.e. dedicated to Varaha,  Prasanna Krishnaswamy Temple and Prasana Krishnaswamy temple.

 

On Dussehra day i.e. Saturday is the function that everyone looks forward to. Reached the palace by 8.30 am. Wanted permission to click pictures of functions inside the palace. Just when I was about to give up met Suresh Gowda who gave me an idea on how to get a entry pass. By 10.30 ish was inside the palace.

 

In palace courtyard saw wrestling. If blood came out from a wrestler then he is said to have lost. After the match the present Maharaja comes out into the courtyard and then sits in the horse driven carrier. He proceeds towards Chamundareshwari Temple ie inside the temple complex. After offering prayers he returns to the palace.

 

Post lunch the Dussehra function starts. "A dazzling procession of richly costumed elephants, garlanded idols, liveried retainers and cavalry kicks off around 1pm, marching through the streets to the rhythms of clanging brass bands, all the way from the palace to the Bannimantap parade ground".

 

Saw performances by Karnataka folk artists for nearly two hours. Enjoyed every minute. You can book tickets on Bookmyshow to sit inside palace and watch proceedings. The artists first perform in the palace grounds and then on the streets for atleast 4 kms ending at the Bannimantap ground. Photo links of festivities at end of article.

 

Once performances are over elephant Arjuna appears with Ma Chamundareswari ka moorthi. Devotees go ballistic. Procession of elephants and artists reached the playground by about 7.30 pm after which are daredevil stunts. I was too tired to walk to the ground.

 

All along the 4 km odd procession are thousands of people enjoying the proceedings. All roads, buildings and traffic circles are lit up giving the town a festive look. It is like the whole city is involved in Dussehra celebrations.

 

I missed visiting Brindavan Gardens and the Zoo.

 

All in all a wonderful experience. The crowds were well behaved and police did a very good job in managing them.

 

Where to stay - Mysore has numerous hotels catering to various price points. Rates during Dussehra are usually higher as compared to other times of the year. Karnataka Tourism Hotel Mayura rooms are Rs 1-2000/ per day. Book online or call 0821 2423492. Two hotels in the Rs 600-1000/ range are Gayatri Hotel 0821 2425654 and Agrawal Hotel 0821 2422545. Both hotels are near the station and about ten minutes walk from the palace. Lots of home stays also available - check online.

 

The morning after Dussehra left for Sravanabelgola for darshan of Bahubali. By bus it is about 3.5 hours one way. Left at 6 am and back by 4.30 ish. Am so happy I went there. To see pictures see links at end of article.

 

Mysore is a base to take conducted tours to Coorg and Western Ghats. Take a 2 day trip to Cauvery Nisargadhama, Golden Temple Bylukuppe, Nagarahole National Park, Talacauvery and Bhagamandala.

 

To know about Tours from Mysuru organised by government owned KSTDC https://kstdc.co/tour-categories/packages-mysuru/

 

Also see pictures of

1. Mysore Dussehra 

2. Mysore Palace Inside

3. Somnathpur Temple Mysore 

4. Sand Museum Mysuru

5. Close to Mysuru is Tibetan settlement Bylakuppe 

6. Bahubali Gomateshwara Sravanabelagola