Mysore stands the second major city in the state of Karnataka and is recognized as the cleanest city among 476 cities in India. The city is stretched across an area of 128.42 sq km and is located at the bottom of Chamundi hills. Mysore plays as a very important tourist center of state of Karnataka. The place is recognized as palace city of India and declared as a heritage city. The Amba Villas Palace (popularly known as Mysore Palace) in the city is one of the mainly visited monument in India. Major tourism spots include Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hills, Mysore Zoo, St.Philomena’s church, Rail museum, Mysore Sand sculpture Museum, Jaganmohan Palace, Karanji lake and park,Suka Vana, Kukkarahalli lake, Lalitha Mahal palace, Wax-museum-melody park, Ranganathittu birds sanctuary, Brindavan garden(KRS), Nanjungud temple, Shivanasamudra falls etc.
Jaganmohan Palace (1861): Built in 1861 by Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, in the traditional Hindu architectural style. The most striking feature of this palace is the intricate carvings that adorn the entire structure. Visitors will be mesmerized with creative excellence at the entrance of the palace itself. A beautiful masterpiece, the main door of the palace has exquisitely carvings on its both sides. The carvings are of Dashavatara, about the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Its entablatures display exquisite carvings of religious significance such as miniature temples and motifs related to Hindu religion. On the other hands, the breathtaking carvings on the walls of Jaganmohan Palace display royal history, lineage of the Mysore royal family along with murals on the Mysore Dusshera.
Chamundeswari temple is situated on the top of Chamundi hill which is about 3,489 ft. above sea level and located at a distance of 13 Kms. from Mysore. The temple is dedicated to Sri Chamundeswari, the titular deity of the Mysore Royal Family also described as ‘Mahishasura Mardini’for having killed the buffalo headed demon Mahishasura.
Krishnaraja Wodeyar III built a Gopura with gold finials, and set up statues of his and his three queens. In 1827, Krishnaraja Wodeyar III made arrangements for festivals and processions and gifted Simhavahana in 1843.
There are two other temples dedicated to Narayana Swamy and Mahabaleswara. Sri Mahabaleswara temple was built before the beginning of the Hoysala rule. Epigraphical evidences indicate this area as Mabhala or Mabbala theertha and states that Hoysala. King Vishnuvardhana has given donations to this temple in 1128 A.D.
Nandi: The colossal Nandi is one of the largest in India, 16 ft. (4.8 metres) tall at the front and 25 ft. (7.5 metres) in length. The magnificent pendent bell around its neck are exquisite Doddadevaraja was responsible for the creation of this colossal bull.
Srikanteshwara (Nanjundeswara) Temple
Nanjangud is situated on the right bank of the river Kapila or Kabini, one of the tributaries of the Cauvery River. Nanjangud , also known as Garalapuri, is famous because of the huge Nanjundeswara or Srikanteswara temple. The name Nanjunda is explained as Shiva who had taken Halahala or poison and it is this Nanjunda who became Vishakanta or Shrikanta by digesting it. Thus the deity is called Nanjundeswara and Srikanteshwara. He is also described as one who cures diseases of his devotees.
The Muslim ruler Hyder Ali Khan had strong faith in God Nanjunda and called him as ‘Hakim Nanjunda’ as his beloved elephant’s eye ailment was cured by administering the holy water (theertha) from the temple. This place is called the Dakskina Kashi or Varanasi of the South. Both Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan had close associations with this temple.
According to the Mythology, Sage Gauthama installed a Linga, the idol form of Shiva. Nearby the town is the Sangam, where the Kapila and the Gundlu rivers join, there is a spot is called “Parashurama Kshetra” where Parashurama is said to have had himself expiated for the sin of beheading his mother in a stream called Churnavati joining Gundlu or Kaundinya River. Parashurama temple, shrines of Maruthi and a newly built Basaveshvara temple are some important places to visit.
The Palace of Mysore (also known as the Amba Vilas Palace) is a historical palace in the city of Mysore in Karnataka. Designed by the English Architect, Henry Irwin, the Mysore Palace dominates the skyline of Mysore. A three storied structure in the Indo-Saracenic style built between 1897-1912, the palace has beautifully designed square towers at cardinal points, covered with domes. The Durbar Hall with its ornate ceiling and sculpted pillars and the Kalyanamantapa (marriage pavilion) with its glazed tiled flooring and stained glass, domed ceiling are worth noting.Intricately carved doors, the golden howdah (elephant seat), paintings as well as the fabulous, jewel encrusted golden throne (displayed during Dasara) are amongst the palace’s other treasures. The walled palace complex houses the Residential Museum (incorporating some of the Palace’s living quarters), temples and shrines including the Shwetha Varahaswamy temple. The palace is illuminated on Sundays, Public Holidays as well as during the Dasara Celebrations where 97,000 electric bulbs are used to illuminate it.
Mysuru Zoo (Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden)
Mysuru Zoo (Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden) was started in 1892 by Chamaraja Wodeyar X, then the King of Mysuru. Initially as a private Zoo and was named as Khas-Bangale. It was also called as Thamasha Bangale. The zoo which has now spread over an area of 250 acres was initially meant for the exclusive visit of the royal family but public entry started as early as 1920.
St Philomena’s Church
Built in 1804 in typical Gothic style, with a main hall or mane with the statue of St. Philomena, and richly crafted exterior, it is one of the grandest churches of the Country. The structure has twin spires 175 ft. (52.50 meters) in height, stained glass windows, Corinthian columns and plastered niches, which are highly ornamental.
The Kaveri river makes a sharp bend and on the left banks at this turn is Talakad, also known as Talakadu. It is 45 km from Mysore and 185 km from Bangalore in Karnataka, India. Talakad historic site and of archaeological importance. It’s not only a spiritual pilgrimage center but is a scenic beauty with vast spreads of sand.
History : The illustrious and powerful Western Gangas ruled from 350 to 1050 AD until they were overthrown by the Cholas in the 11th century. Talakad came under the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century. The Hoysala ruler built the impressive Vijayanarayana Chennakesava Temple at Belur. Subsequently, after the Hoysalas, the powerful Vijayanagara Kingdom rulers and the Maharajas of Mysore ruled the place.
Temples : The temples were submerged in sand. Among the temples of Talakad, the five Lingams believed to represent the five faces of Shiva form the Pancha Pathi are famous. They are Pathaleshwara, Maruleshwara, Arkeshwara, Vaidyanatheeshwara and Mallikarjuna temples. As a tribute to these five Shiva temples, a festival is held once every 12 years called Panchalinga Darshana, last held in 2006.
The Panchalinga Darshana is held on a new moon day in the month of Karthika when two stars conjoin, the stars of Khuha Yoga and Vishaka. On this day, tradition has it that pilgrims should first bathe in the Gokarna theertham, worship Gokarneswara and Chandikadevi, and then worship Vaidyeshwara, Arkeshwara, Pataleshwara, Maraleshwara and Mallikarjuna finally worship Kirtinarayana and conclude the pilgrimage in one day.
Kabini or Kapila River
The Kabani, also called Kabini or Kapila, is a river in southern India. It originates in the Wayanad District of Kerala state by the confluence of the Panamaram River and the Mananthavady River. It flows eastward to join the Kaveri River at Tirumakudalu Narasipura in Karnataka. The Kaveri river then irrigates Tamil Nadu and it is major drinking water source before emptying into the Bay of Bengal near kaveripoompattinam.
Close to the town of Sargur it forms the huge Kabani Reservoir. The backwaters of the Kabani reservoir are very rich in wildlife especially in summer when the water level recedes to form rich grassy meadows. The Kabani dam is 2,284 ft (696 m) in length with an original gross storage of 19.52 tmcft, but that has been reduced considerably due to silt accumulation. The Kabani Dam is situated between villages Bichanahalli and Bidarahalli having distance of 17 km (11 mi) 6 km away from Sargur town in Heggadadevana kote taluk, Mysuru district.