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Mysore, erstwhile capital of the Mysore maharajas, is the cultural capital and second biggest city of India's Karnataka state. Mysore is one of the top places to experience Karnataka tourism and also one of the famous tourist destinations in all of India. Mysore still retains its old world charm with its palaces, heritage buildings, traditions and temples.
Mysore Palace is amongst the grandest royal buildings in India, and the city boasts a number of other impressive attractions, including palaces, museums, temples, and gardens. Chamundi Hill Temple, Lalitha Mahal Palace, Jagan Mohan Palace, St. Philomena’s Cathedral, Mysore Zoo and Brindavan Gardensare are among the most famous places to visit in Mysore. Here are my top five:
The official residence of the former royal family of Mysore is the city's top attraction and amongst the largest royal palaces in India. It's a culmination of Dravidian, European and Roman architectural styles. The Kalyana Mantapa (Marriage Hall), with its chandeliers and stained Belgian glass ceiling arranged in peacock designs is a major attraction. The palace is illuminated with more than 97,000 lights in night during Sundays, holidays and Dussera.This is the venue for famous Mysore Dussera.
Jagan Mohan Palace
A magnificent palace built in 1861, it was initially used by the Wodeyars kings as their home after the old palace was burnt down in a fire. Jagan Mohan Palace is one of the seven palaces of the royal city of Mysore, and also houses the prestigious collection of paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. Weapons of war, musical instruments, sculptures, brassware, antiques coins and currencies are the other popular exhibits here.
Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, popularly called as Mysore Zoo, is one of the oldest and one of the best zoo parks in South India. It was established in 1892 CE by Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar and designed by German landscaper and horticulturist G.H. Krumbeigal. It is home to a large number of species like lions, tigers, hyena, deer, elephants, rhinos, king cobras, and many species of birds. The highlights of the zoo are giraffes, jaguars, African elephants, and wallabies.
Chamundi Hill Temple
A famous Hindu temple located on the top of Chamundi Hill, it's dedicated to the goddess Chamundeswari, an incarnation of the goddess Parvathi who took this form to destroy Mahishasura. She is the tutelary deity of the Mysore Maharajas and the presiding deity of Mysore. The Chamundeshwari Temple is one among the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas. It's a fine example of Dravidian temple architecture and it possesses a lot of Nandi images. There is also a colorful image of the Mahishasura situated on the summit of the Chamundi Hill.
A famous and beautiful garden laid out below the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam it was completed in 1932 and is one of the places to visit in Mysore. It was designed by Sir Mirza Ismail, Diwan of Mysore based on Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir in the Mughal style. Considered one of the best gardens in India, the Brindavan Garden is laid out in three terraces, and ends in a horseshoe shape. The musical and "dancing" fountain is the main attraction of the garden. Boating is also available.