The fairy-tale city of Mysore

Mysore is one of the most important tourist centers in Karnataka. The rich legacy of the former Maharajas of Mysore is a major draw for numerous Indian and foreign visitors. The 1062-meter Chamundi Hill, crowned by the Sri Chamundeswari Temple, is around three kilometers from the town center. An important pilgrimage center dating back to the 12th century, the temple is dominated by a seven-story, 40-meter gopuram that was only added around 300 years ago. Around 1,000 steps lead up to the temple, which is dedicated to Durga or Chamundeswari. A five meter high monolithic statue of Shiva’s vehicle, the bull Nandi, stands about halfway up. The sculpture, which was carved out of the native rock in 1659, is the largest of its kind in India. A statue of the demon Mahishasura is also nearby.

The palace, which was built in 1861, lies to the west of Amba Vilas Palace. Today it is the home of the Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, featuring portraits of former rulers, miniature painting, furniture and musical instruments.

A number of smaller palaces are scattered around Mysore – Lalita Mahal Palace at Chamundi Hill, originally built for guests of the Maharaja, and Rajendra Vilas Palace are particularly noteworthy. Imposing colonial buildings also abound, such as the City Hall, Rangacharlu Memorial Hall, and the clock tower that was inaugurated in 1927 in honor of the Maharaja’s silver jubilee. The market – one of the largest and most beautiful in southern India – is renowned for spices and Indian perfumes, and is well worth a visit.

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