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Sightseeing in Mysore

Sightseeing in Mysore is all about visiting its various museums, art galleries, City Palace and temples among other things.

The City Palace, popularly known as Mysore Palace, is one of the must visit place in Mysore. On Sundays and during Dussehra the entire palace comes alight, framed with 50,000 light bulbs. Towering columns, glistening marble floors, ornate arches, light filtering in through stained glass panels and ivory inlaid doors make this a really royal treat.

Don’t miss the bejewelled golden throne and the quirky howdah (in which the Raja would sit atop his elephant) with red and green lights to tell the mahout to Stop or Go! A part of the Maharaja’s Residence has been turned into a museum with displays of old costumes and weaponry. The Lalitha Mahal Palace, turned heritage hotel, is the second largest palace in Mysore and a must-see.

Mysore has many interesting museums and art galleries. The Railway Museum has a 19th century specimen that the queen used, complete with a western style commode. The Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery has a fabulous collection of Raja Ravi Varmas, opulent paintings of royalty and scenes from the myths, as well as some Nicholas Roerich pieces. The Folklore Museum has an interesting collection of folk toys and weapons and the Art and Archaeology Museum has some precious antiques.

The Mysore Zoo is said to be among the best maintained in India. In the mornings the tigers are let out of their cages to roam in the comparatively more natural habitat of the enclosure. The overwhelming neo-Gothic St. Philomena’s Cathedral is one of the largest in India. The Devaraja Fruit and Vegetable Market comes alive on the other side of your camera. Heaps of crimson red chillies and yellows and greens mingle with local colour to become a photographer’s dream.

On Chamundi Hills is a temple to Goddess Chamundi, a form of the Female Power ‘Shakti’. It commemorates the goddess'' victory over the demon bull Mahishasura after whom Mysore is named. Coming down the hill is the largest Nandi Bull (the vehicle of Shiva) in the country. Towering at a massive 5 meters, carved from a single rock in 1659 this sculpture is really a must-see.

The Brindavan Gardens (19 km from the city) are famous for their musical fountains. Coloured footlights light up the shooting sprays that dance to accompanying music! It actually is part of a huge dam, the Krishnarajasagar that forms a 130 sq km lake and fuels a power station.

The 800-year-old Hoysala temple, Sri Mahalingeshwara (12 km) has been restored to glory by the local villagers under the guidance of Architectural Survey of India and is worth a visit.

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