Mysuru Heritage Drive

Mysuru Heritage Drive

An amalgamation of Princely and democratic kingdom; exploring into the city and follow the heart in it.

Mysore Palace
With the excitement to explore the city of palaces, kings and thrones, we started our journey before the sun started to glow. Mysore-Bangalore highway being one of the heavenly places for foodies to explore local flavors. The journey took a slow ride when Maddur arrived when we needed to fill our fuels with yummy Special Maddur vadas and Mini tiffin combo at Maddur Tiffanys. A place where must try are Maddur vadas. The excitement increased as we crossed the bridges over Kaveri River. The journey continues following the google maps we took the diversion into the Ring Road.
Special Maddur Vada of Maddur Tiffanys
Our first destination was Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion and Folk Lore Museum. When we reached the Museum, we got to know some movie shooting was happening and it was closed for the public. We were a little disappointed. The Palace Jayalakshmi Vilas is inside the Manasa-gangothri Karnataka university campus. The campus is shaded with trees and heritage.
Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion and Folk Lore Museum
Next on our list was the Jaganmohan palace art gallery. It was a short and pleasant drive with wide and clean roads and handful of road traffic, covered with trees. No wonder why The Swachh Bharat rankings released by the Union Urban Development Ministry rated Mysore as the cleanest city in India.

Jaganmohan Palace constructed in 1861, is a Hindu style palace with a grandeur facade which is a later addition to the structure having a wall behind it. Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery located inside the Jaganmohan Palace. The gallery houses the Murals, paintings, and Carnatic instruments used by the court musicians along with the articles and daily holds of the Royal family. The paintings subjected to depict the lineage of the royal throne heirs of Wodeyars. The most prominent paintings displayed here include the “Glow of Hope” or “Lady with the lamp” by S L Haldankar.  Paintings of celebrated royal bloodline painters Raja Ravi Varma and Raja Rama Verma are a highlight of the Art Gallery. Miniature paintings by Gunoy were also eye catching. The paintings of Sri M Ramanarasaiah in typical style of Mysore paintings are also displayed here, his most popular painting of Sri Jayachamaraja Wadeyar’s durbar is placed on the ground floor of the Gallery, and it is also the largest painting of the Gallery. The French clock at the ground floor is also a highlight of the Museum. On the second floor is the collection of musical instruments, once used by the Royal family. An aesthete could easily spend 2-3 hours in gazing the beauty, while others can spend quality time of at least an hour to peep through the gallery. There are more than 2000 paintings and antics displayed here; apart from the prominent ones others can be skipped. One can find Arts And Crafts shops Inside the Palace campus.
Jaganmohan Palace & Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery
Art work on top of the tall doorways of Jaganmohan Palace
With the glory of the royal family in our eyes we moved on for our lunch at Aramane café. Aramane café served us the delicious food which houses at the heart of the city on the Sayyaji Rao road. 

The tired souls needed some relaxation and we moved to Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel to check in. The Lalitha Mahal Palace transformed into a heritage hotel is being maintained by Ashok group of hotels. The Palace was built in 1921 and is strategically located on the outskirts of Mysore overlooking the Chamundi Hills, surrounded by greenery. 
Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel
The central dome and the double-column supporting structure are an outstanding feature of the Palace exteriors, while the interiors feature the Italian marble staircase and Belgian crystal chandeliers. There were paintings displayed at every corner of the Palace, turning it to be on Heritage side. The hours we spent in the hotel gave us a royal treatment with a feel of being in royal court.
Huge Mirror welcomes the guest through the Italian marble staircase
The Royal Stairways through the main entrance
The glass dome at the center, turns black during night and colorful during day time
After our relaxed pool bathe, we started enjoying the beauty of the palace with lighting into the stars and dark sky. The grandeur made us aphonic.
Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel lighted at night
We had our breakfast in the royal dining room “Sapphire” which was an amazing experience to feel like a king. The ballroom or todays Sapphire Restaurant is the most beautiful part of the Palace, with a wooden flooring and a high ceiling with domed skylights made of Belgian glass.
Experience the Royal Dining at the Sapphire Restaurant
High ceiling with domed skylights made of Belgian glass at Sapphire
We started our journey to Chamundi hills, on our way we had a stopover at the Sand Sculpture Museum. This is the first sand sculpture museum in India made by artist Gowri M N. The main attractions were Mysore Dasara Ambari , Goddess Chamundi and others were made out of sand.
Marine Life sculptured on sand
Mysore dasara Ambari
(Clockwise From Left)A Romantic Scene, Sri kanta dutta Narasimha raja wodeyar seated on the throne during navarathri, Islam Culture depicting the culture of middle east and a warrior scene
Our journey to Chamundi Hills continued with halts at viewpoints. The panoramic view of Mysore city can be experienced at various viewpoints. We got the blessings of Goddess Chamundi and we started heading back to Mysore city. The halt point in the mid journey was at Nandi- A big bull which is made of single stone. There are a lot of street shops near the Chamundi temple and Nandi, who sell hand carved stone structures of Nandi, Shivalinga, and Buddha. The road conditions are good to Chamundi temple, while the road to Nandi was manageable.
350 years old Giant Nandi statue atop the Chamundi hills, about 16 feet in height & 24 feet long
We had a stopover near the Mysore Zoo for our late lunch at Mysore Refreshments, they serve delicious Paper Masala Dosa and one of the best filter coffee.
At 7pm during listed government holidays and weekends we find the Mysore Palace Illuminated. And we were lucky to catch the timings at right moment. The lighting started exactly at 7pm and lasted for thirty minutes. Near to hundred thousand incandescent bulbs lit the structure is one of the main attractions in India round the year. 
Illuminated Mysore Palace as seen from Chamaraja Circle, statue of Chamaraja Wodeyar in the foreground
Mysore Palace lit, a sight not to be missed
The day ended with our dinner at Nalpak Restaurant near Vontikoppal.

The third day was the most awaited moment for us to watch the main attraction Mysore Aramane (Palace). The day started with our breakfast at Hotel Mylari (not the Original Hotel Mylari). Over here the delicious Benne (butter) masala dosa are one of the best with every bite just melted in the palate and their filter coffee was refreshing. Later we visited St. Philomena Church. A neo catholic style church built by the Wodeyar who promoted all kind of religion in their kingdom. Photography is prohibited inside the Church.
St. Philomena's Church, constructed in 1936 in a Neo Gothic style architecture
By 11am in the morning we reached the Mysore Palace south gate. We entered through Varaha gate or the south gate.

The most spectacular rooms/halls inside the palace are the Amba vilasa or the private durbar, the public durbar Hall, Gombe Thotti or the Doll’s Pavilion, and the Kalyana Mantapa.

As we entered the Palace we passed by Gombe thotti, where the dolls which are used by the royal family during Dasara festival is been displayed. It also contains ceremonial things and other Indo European dolls. The golden howdah or the Ambari (Golden Throne) which is been used now during Dasara to carry Goddess Chamundeshwari is also displayed at Gombe Thotti. The howdah is covered with 80 kilograms of pure gold. We continued seeing the paintings of the wall which depicts the Mysore Dasara darbar.
The Amba Vilasa room is used by the highness for their private audience. The entry is through an elegantly carved rosewood doorway with Ganesh idol carved in and inlaid with ivory art. The central nave of the hall has ornately gilded columns, stained glass ceilings, decorative steel grills, and chandeliers with fine floral motifs, mirrored in the pietra dura mosaic floor embellished with semi-precious stones.
The Kalyana Mantapa is a grand, octagonal-shaped pavilion with a multi-hued stained glass ceiling with peacock motifs arranged in geometrical patterns. The entire structure was wrought in Glasgow, Scotland. The floor also displays a peacock mosaic, designed with tiles from England. Oil paintings illustrating the royal procession and Dasara celebrations of bygone years are displayed on the walls. The main purpose of the hall was for celebrating royal weddings, birthdays & ceremonial functions.
The Public Durbar was meant for the king to host major ceremonial gatherings and also where the general population could meet the king at scheduled times to submit petitions. The public durbar hall has a painted roof and stretching through the breadth of the eastern face of the Palace with columns supporting the structure only at the ends, resulting in a large column-less open gallery. There are seating arrangements at various levels dedicated to different class of people.
One of the interesting features of the palace architecture is the façade, which has seven wide arches and two smaller ones adjoining the central arch supported by tall pillars.

Taking Photographs inside Mysore Palace is strictly prohibited, one have to deposit their cameras at a safe locker located at the south entrance gate.
We continued to their residential housing of the Royal Family located behind the main Palace, now the Wodeyar residence held the households as displays. The journey ended with a memory of heritage notions..
Beautiful scenes of Kaveri river during sunset
We had our lunch at the Kamat Restaurant near Bannimantap road. The journey to Bangalore was set up. We stopped at Channapatna to shop wooden toys. An evening coffee at Kamath Lokaruchi kept us fresh till Bangalore.

If you have more time to visit I would recommend some more places as listed below.

Top 10 Places to visit in Mysore City:
  1. Mysore Maharaja Palace
  2. Jaganmohan Palace and Art Gallery
  3. Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, Mysore Zoo
  4. Chamundi Hills
  5. Lalitha Mahal Palace
  6. Saint Philomena Church
  7. Karanji Lake
  8. Railway Museum Mysore
  9. Jayalakshmi Vilas Folklore Museum
  10. Kukkarahalli Kere

Do visit the Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum which is on the foot hills of Chamundi Hills.

Top 10 Places to visit near Mysore (Within 35km from Mysore City bus stand):
  1. Keshava Temple Somanathapura (34km)
  2. KRS Dam and Brindavan Gardens (19km)
  3. Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary (16km)
  4. Daria Daulat Palace, Srirangapatna (17km)
  5. Nanjanagudu Srikanteshwara Temple (24km)
  6. Gumbaz, Srirangapatna (18km)
  7. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple(16km)
  8. Balmuri Falls(16km)
  9. Sri Nimishambha Temple(18km)
  10. Sangam, Srirangapatna (20km)

Must try restaurants for the authentic Mysore foods:
  • Hotel Mylari - Benne Masala Dosa and Filter Coffee
  • Mysore Refreshments - Paper Masala Dosa and Filter Coffee

For a good night’s stay:
Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Fortune JP Palace, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Hotel Regaalis, Green Hotel, Hotel Sandesh The Prince, Pai Vista, Ginger, Hotel Le Ruchi The Prince, and Hotel Siddharta

Timings of Popular attractions in and around Mysore:
  • Himad Gopalswamy Betta: 8.30am-4pm
  • Mysore Palace: 10am-5.30pm,
  • Mysore Palace Illumination: 7pm-7.45pm (holiday/sun)
  • Jaganmohan Palace: 8.30am-5.30pm
  • Zoo: 8.30am-5.30pm
  • Saint Philomena Church: 5 am - 6 pm
  • Chamundi Hills temple - 7.30 am - 2 pm, 3.30 pm - 6 pm, 7.30 pm -9 pm
  • KRS Dam-6am-8pm, musical fountain-6.30 pm - 7.30 pm
  • Jayalakshmi Vilas Folklore Museum - 10 am - 1 pm, 3 pm - 5 pm
  • Karanji Lake - 8.30 am - 05.30 pm

Related Posts:
Weekend drive to Mysore
Somnathpur Keshava Temple


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