February 28, 2010

The pride of India - Mysore Palace, India

I have visited a lot of palaces across India. But, I have never seen such an impressive and magnificent palace like the one located at Mysore city of South India. This palace can be arguably considered as the most beautiful palace in India. This monument is not only the pride of Wodeyar kings; it is  the pride of entire nation.

Mysore Palace is the best tourist attraction of Mysore, the heritage city of India. The palace is situated at the city center. The Mysore Palace has an interesting history. It was built by the royal family of Mysore city, Wodeyars during the 14th century CE. In 1638 CE, the palace was destroyed by lightning and was reconstructed by the King Kantirava Narasa Raja Wodeyar (1638 - 1659 CE). Tipu Sultan destroyed the palace in 1793 CE. After Tipu's death, the Wodeyar dynasty came to power again. The palace was rebuilt in 1803 CE. It seems the Mysore palace always had a bad fate. It got destroyed again in fire in 1897 CE. The current structure of Mysore palace, which was designed by the British architect Henry Irwin was constructed in 1912 CE. This palace is a masterpiece in Indo-Saracenic architecture, which can be considered equivalent to the great Mughal residences of the North and the stately colonial public buildings of the South.


The palace complex is very huge. It houses various buildings and twelve temples. The main building, the new palace, is an impressive five floor building with a glided dome by a single golden flag. The palace is located amid well laid gardens and parks with beautiful arches and pillars. The interior of the palace is also too beautiful with a lot of halls and rooms. Amba Vilasa, the room used by the king for the private audience, is one of the most spectacular rooms in the palace. The Doll's Pavilion houses a lot of old dolls, gifts and prize materials. Kalyana Mandap hall is full of beautiful oil paintings depicting the epics of India. The hall is a grand octagonal-shaped pavilion with glass ceiling with peacock motifs arranged in geometrical patterns. The public Durbar Hall is looking majestic and it also houses various paintings.

The Palace has a lot of rooms and halls apart from what I mentioned above. It even houses some rare original paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. You can also find old photographs and paintings of various family members of royal family. The durbar halls and some rooms in the palace have attractive and decorative pillars and colorful ceilings. The huge silver doors located at a room are incredibly beautiful.

There is a wrestling ground below the new palace. At a short distance from the new palace, the old palace is located, which houses weapons, paintings and royal dress materials. The old palace is simple and clean compared to the new palace.

The palace complex houses twelve temples and some of the temples are very ancient such as Balkrishna temple, Shweta Varaha temple and Lakshmi Ramana temple. You can also take camel rides or elephant rides in the palace complex.


The evenings are the best time to spend in the palace complex, as the main palace building is illuminated with thousands of bulbs which is extremely attractive and unbelievable. It is indeed a spectacular view to find the entire palace lit up with the dark background in the evening.

The Mysore Palace is open all days of the week, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The palace is illuminated on Sundays, national holidays and state festivals from 7:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. The palace is illuminated between 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. only during the Dussera festival.

One main disadvantage of this place is it is highly crowded. If Government can organize properly and control the crowd, it would be really helpful.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Mysore Palace
Site Type: Palace
Location: Mysore, Karnataka state, India
Highlight: One of the best palaces of India; Dussera festival celebration; Evening illumination
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
Climate: Warm and cool throughout the year
Local Transport: Well connected by buses, private taxis, and auto rickshaws; (even you can find tongos (horse driven carts)
Hotel: A lot of hotels - budget as well as high class - throughout the city
Restaurants: Mysore's cuisine is rice-based; Idlis and dosas are also famous; You can find a lot of restaurants both vegetarian and non-vegetarian throughout the city


View Larger Map

February 25, 2010

One of the oldest and beautiful zoos - Mysore Zoo, India

When you think about Mysore, the heritage city of India, you cannot avoid thinking about two great places – Mysore Zoo and Mysore Palace. Mysore zoo is one of the oldest and most beautiful zoos in India.



The King of Mysore, Chamaraja Wodeyar established Mysore zoo in his Summer Palace aka Pleasure Palace, in the year of 1892. In the beginning the zoo was established with just 10 acres. The King kept on increasing the area of the zoo later and also opened it for public. Whenever he travelled to other countries or other parts of India, he used to bring rare animals to this zoo. After independence, the Indian Government took control of this zoo and extended the area further.

The century old zoo, which is officially called as Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, has a lot of rare animals even today. Giraffe, chimpanzee, African elephant, and various colorful birds are some of the highlights of the zoo. You can find almost all the animals and birds such as tiger, elephant, monkey, deer, bear, leopard, lion, peacock, snakes, crocodiles, etc. in this zoo. The zoo is well maintained and also organized properly so that you won’t miss any animal/bird. There are many cafeterias, small parks, and rest rooms all over the zoo, which make you to visit the zoo completely without getting tired.

The zoo is located hardly at a distance of about 3 km from the city bus stand and railway station, thus making it easily reachable. The zoo is very near even to the famous Mysore Palace. The Mysore zoo is open from 8.30am to 5.30pm on all days except Tuesday. Don't ever miss this place even if you visited many other zoos.


Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Mysore Zoo
Site Type: Zoological park
Location: Mysore, Karnataka state, India
Highlight: One of the oldest zoos of India
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
Climate: Warm and cool throughout the year
Local Transport: Well connected by buses, private taxis, and auto rickshaws; (even you can find tongos (horse driven carts)
Hotel: A lot of hotels - budget as well as high class - throughout the city
Restaurants: Mysore's cuisine is rice-based; Idlis and dosas are also famous; You can find a lot of restaurants both vegetarian and non-vegetarian throughout the city

View Larger Map

February 24, 2010

A 10th century Hoysala marvel in ruins - Kirti Narayana Temple, Talakad, Near Mysore, India

Talakad a.k.a. Talakadu, a small town near Mysore city of Karnataka state in India is famous for Cauvery river, ancient temples buried under the sand and Panchalinga Darshan. To know more about Talakad town, visit my post on Talakad.



Talakad has three temples of Lord Shiva and one temple for Lord Vishnu. The temples of Shiva - Vaidyanatheswara temple, Pataleswar temple and Maleswara temple belong to Pancha Linga sites. The temple of Lord Vishnu is considered as one of the five Vishnu temples (called as Pancha Narayana) established by the great Vaishnavite saint Ramanuja in the 10th century CE. It is also believed that this temple of Lord Vishnu, called as Kirti Narayana temple was constructed by the Hoysalas to commemorate their victory over the Cholas. This is the only Hoysala architecture found in Talakad today.


The magnificent temple of Kirti Narayana is intricately carved and stunningly beautiful due to its architecture. Unfortunately, the temple is in the ruins now. The archaeological department has been excavating various stones and statues of this temple and trying to reconstruct the temple as it was originally present. The current temple has just one shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu - a tall idol of about 8 feet which is stunningly beautiful. You can find two small idols - consorts of Vishnu, Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi, on his either sides.

You can also find a big Nandi idol and few excavated idols in the temple surroundings. This temple is definitely something which you shouldn't miss when you travel to Mysore.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Kirti Narayana Temple Temple
Site Type: Hoysala architecture, temple
Location: Talakad or Talakadu town, 50 kms from Mysore, Karnataka state, India
Highlight: One of the five Pancha Narayana sites; 10th century temple; only Hoysala architecture in Talakad;
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
Local Transport: Easily reachable from Mysore; It is better to travel by car or taxi rather than depending on public transport
Hotel: It is best to stay at Mysore (50 kms from here)
Restaurants: Good restaurants are available only at Mysore

View Larger Map

February 23, 2010

A submerged temple - Maleswara Temple, Talakad, Near Mysore, India

Talakad aka Talakadu, a small town near Mysore city of Karnataka state in India is famous for Cauvery river, ancient temples buried in the sand, and Panchalinga Darshan. To know more about Talakad town, visit my post on Talakad.

Talakad has three temples of Lord Shiva and one temple for Lord Vishnu. The main temple of the town is Vaidyanatheswara temple aka Vaideeshwareswar temple. (Vaidyanatheswara is a name for Lord Shiva).

As mentioned above, Talakad town is also famous for Panchalinga Darshan (Darshan of five Shiv Lingas). The main temple, Vaidyanatheswara temple is one of the five Shivlingas (one of the Pancha lingas). From the famous Vaidyanatheswar temple, if you walk on sand for about 3 kms, you will reach the temple of Pataleswar. If you walk up for another 2 kms, you will reach the temple of Lord Maleswara, which is again another Panchalinga temple. This temple is completely buried under sand dunes. The temple comes to life when it is excavated for the Panchalinga Darshan festival held once in every twelve years. The Maleswara temple is very small. It has just one idol of Lord Shiv linga.

There are buses to Talakad from Mysore city. The best way to travel is either by car or taxi from Mysore. For hotels and good restaurants, you need to go to Mysore city.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Maleswara Temple
Site Type: Temple buried in sand
Location: Talakad or Talakadu town, 50 kms from Mysore, Karnataka state, India
Highlight: Temple buried in sand; one of the Pancha lingas;
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
Local Transport: Easily reachable from Mysore; It is better to travel by car or taxi rather than depending on public transport
Hotel: It is best to stay at Mysore (50 kms from here)
Restaurants: Good restaurants are available only at Mysore

View Larger Map

February 22, 2010

The color of the idol keeps changing - Pataleswar Temple, Talakad, Near Mysore, India

Talakad aka Talakadu, a small town near Mysore city of Karnataka state in India is famous for Cauvery river, ancient temples buried in the sand, and Panchalinga Darshan. To know more about Talakad town, visit my post on Talakad.

Talakad has three temples of Lord Shiva and one temple for Lord Vishnu. The main temple of the town is Vaidyanatheswara temple aka Vaideeshwareswar temple. (Vaidyanatheswara is a name for Lord Shiva).

As mentioned above, Talakad town is also famous for Panchalinga Darshan (Darshan of five Shiv Lingas). The main temple, Vaidyanatheswara temple is one of the five Shivlingas (one of the Pancha lingas). From the famous Vaidyanatheswar temple, if you walk on sand for about 3 kms, you will reach the temple of Pataleswar. This temple is completely buried under sand dunes. The temple comes to life when it is excavated for the Panchalinga Darshan festival held once in every twelve years. As the temple is located underground from the path, as it is completely buried under the sand, the lord got the name "Pataleswar". The word "Patal" means "under-ground".

The Pataleswar temple is very small. It has just one idol of Lord Shiv linga. The highlight of the temple is that it is believed that the idol keeps changing the color naturally. It seems the color of Shiv linga is different during sunrise, afternoon, and during sunset.

There are buses to Talakad from Mysore city. The best way to travel is either by car or taxi from Mysore. For hotels and good restaurants, you need to go to Mysore city.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Pataleswar Temple
Site Type: Temple buried in sand
Location: Talakad or Talakadu town, 50 kms from Mysore, Karnataka state, India
Highlight: Temple buried in sand; one of the Pancha lingas; the color of Linga changes naturally
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
Local Transport: Easily reachable from Mysore; It is better to travel by car or taxi rather than depending on public transport
Hotel: It is best to stay at Mysore (50 kms from here)
Restaurants: Good restaurants are available only at Mysore

View Larger Map

February 21, 2010

A 14th century temple buried in the sand - Vaidyanatheswara Temple, Talakad, Near Mysore, India

Talakad aka Talakadu, a small town near Mysore city of Karnataka state in India is famous for Cauvery river, ancient temples buried in the sand, and Panchalinga Darshan. To know more about Talakad town, visit my post on Talakad.

Talakad has three temples of Lord Shiva and one temple for Lord Vishnu. The main temple of the town is Vaidyanatheswara temple aka Vaideeshwareswar temple. (Vaidyanatheswara is a name for Lord Shiva). As per a legend, an ascetic Somadatta along with his disciples were killed by wild elephants on their way to worship Shiva at Talakad. They were reborn as wild elephants and worshipped Shiva in the form of a tree. Two hunters named Tala and Kada struck the tree with an axe and found blood coming out of the tree. Upon hearing the heavenly voice, they dressed the tree's wound with leaves and fruits. Thus the hunters healed the tree and became immortal. Since Lord Shiva healed himself through this incident, the idol of main temple in this town is named as Vaidyanatheswara. (For those who do not know, the word "Vaidya" means "healer" or modern day's "doctor".)

The main temple of Talakad, Vaidyanatheswara temple was built in granite in Dravidian style during 14th century CE by the Chola kings. The main entrance aka Navaranga is very attractive with two huge Dwarapala idols. The entrance toward east side of the main shrine is intricately carved. There is a beautiful chain of granite rings hanging from one edge of the roof on the outside without any joints, which shows the talent and imagination of the sculptors of those days. The temple has not only the religious importance, but it is architecturally beautiful too.

The main shrine has a huge Shiv linga and Shiva's face behind the linga. There are idols of Parvati, Vishnu, Alamelumanga, Shivlinga with multiple rudraksha, Kalikambal and Ganesha around the main shrine. The prakara, the big corridor surrounding the temple has a lot of shrines with Shiv lingas in various names. It also has the shrines of Shanmukha, Vinayak, Pancha lingams, Chamundeswari, Chandikeswara and Manonmani. Manonmani is the main goddess of the temple. There is a small shrine where the idol of big Nandi is placed on top of the shrine.

There are buses to Talakad from Mysore city. The best way to travel is either by car or taxi from Mysore. For hotels and good restaurants, you need to go to Mysore city.

Overall, you will get a spiritual as well as historic experience when you visit Vaidyanatheswara temple of Talakad town.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Vaidyanatheswar Temple aka Vaidheeswareshwar Temple
Site Type: Architecture, Temple
Location: Talakad or Talakadu town, 50 kms from Mysore, Karnataka state, India
Highlight: An architecturally beautiful 14th century temple by Cholas buried in sand
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
Local Transport: Easily reachable from Mysore; It is better to travel by car or taxi rather than depending on public transport
Hotel: It is best to stay at Mysore (50 kms from here)
Restaurants: Good restaurants are available only at Mysore

View Larger Map

February 20, 2010

A historic town buried under sand - Talakad, Near Mysore, India

Talakad a.k.a Talakadu is a small town on the banks of the river Cauvery (Kaveri) located at a distance of about 45 kms from Mysore, the heritage city of Karnataka state in South India. Talakad once had around 30 temples, which are buried under sand today. Only 4-5 ancient temples are remaining now.

Talakad is a historic site. It was ruled by various dynasties such as Gangas, Cholas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagara Kings. Talakad, famous for its sand dunes resembling deserts, ancient temples, Panchalinga Darshana sites and the river, has interesting legends. As per a legend, one of the Wodeyar kings conquered and captured Srirangapattinam from the king named Srirangaraya. Srirangaraya, after losing his kingdom, settled down in Talakad along with his two wives. He subsequently died due to some ailment. One of his wives named Alamelamma, a staunch devotee of the Goddess Ranganayaki of Srirangapattinam Temple, used to provide her big pearl studded nose ring to the idol on every Tuesdays and Fridays. The jewelry was in the safe custody of Alamelamma otherwise. The Wodeyar king wanted to bring the jewelry under the custody of the temple by force. Alamellamma uttered the historic curse which caused Talakad to turn into a barren expanse of sand. Also, due to her curse, the Kings of Mysore never had children, it is said. She jumped into the river along with her jewels and died.
As per another legend, an ascetic Somadatta along with his disciples were killed by wild elephants on their way to worship Talakad Shiva. They were reborn as wild elephants and worshipped Shiva in the form of a tree. Two hunters named Tala and Kada struck the tree with an axe and found blood coming out of the tree. Upon hearing the heavenly voice, they dressed the tree's wound with leaves and fruits. Thus the hunters healed the tree and became immortal. Since Lord Shiva healed himself through this incident, the idol of main temple in this town is named as Vaidyanatheswara.

Talakad town is famous for Panchalinga Darshan (Darshan of five Shiv Lingas). The main temple Vaidyanatheswara temple is completely buried under sand dunes during certain period depending on the water level in the river Cauvery. The temple comes to life when it is excavated for the Panchalinga Darshan festival held once in every twelve years. Out of five Shiva temples, three temples namely Vaidyanatheswara, Pataleswara, and Maruleshwara are loacated at Talakad. Arkeshwara temple is located in a nearby town named Vijapura and Mallikarjuna temple is located at a nearby place called Mudukuthore. Talakad town also has an ancient temple for Lord Vishnu - Kirti Narayana temple.

There are buses to Talakad from Mysore city. The best way to travel is either by car or taxi from Mysore. For hotels and good restaurants, you need to go to Mysore city.

Overall, you will get a spiritual as well as historic feel when you visit Talakad town.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Talakad or Talakadu
Site Type: Architecture, Temple, River, Sand dune
Location: 50 kms from Mysore, Karnataka state, India
Highlight: Ancient temples buried in sand, Panchalinga Darshan which happens once in every 12 years
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
Local Transport: Easily reachable from Mysore; It is better to travel by car or taxi rather than depending on public transport
Hotel: It is best to stay at Mysore (50 kms from here)
Restaurants: Good restaurants are available only at Mysore

View Larger Map

February 15, 2010

A 13th century Hoysala architectural marvel - Somnathpur Keshava Temple, Near Mysore, India

Somnathpur is a small village located at a distance of around 35 kms from Mysore, the heritage city of Karnataka state of South India. The Keshava temple in Somnathpur is incredibly beautiful due to its architecturally marvelous structure belonging to the 13th century CE.


Hoysala dynasty was one of the strongest dynasties in South India similar to that of Pandya and Chola dynasties. After the collapse of Ganga dynasty, Hoysala dynasty was founded in 1006 CE and the Hoysalas ruled the regions belonging to today's Karnataka state for about 350 years. The earlier Hoysala kings were Jains. The Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana embraced Vaishnavism due to Ramanuja, the great Vaishnavite reformer. The later kings of Hoysala even embraced Shaivism. The Hoysala architecture is very popular in Karnataka state. You can find the best examples of Hoysala architecture in famous places such as Belur and Halebid. Somnathpur Keshava temple is another finest example for Hoysala architecture, even though it is not as popular as the other two sites.


Somnathpur is a small village located near Mysore. Even though you find buses to this place from Mysore, it is advisable to travel by taxi or car from Mysore. The only attraction in Somnathpur village is Keshava temple. The army general of the Hoysala king Narasimha III (1254 - 1291 CE) named Somnath founded this village on the banks of the river Cauvery. Hence, the village got the name Somnathpur. Somnath, after getting permission and resources from the king, built the temple of Keshava based on Hoysala architecture in 1268 CE. This is an interesting thing to know that the temple was built not by a king, but by a general. Another interesting factor of this temple is that all the sculptors have put their signs on their work. Due to this, we come to know even the names of the sculptors such as Mallitamma, Ballayya, Chaudayya, etc.

Keshava temple of Somnathpur is unique in design and perfect in symmetry. The temple is enclosed in a walled courtyard that has a gate and a porch. The temple is built on an elevated star shaped platform. The sides of the raised platform are decorated with rich carvings, portraying rows of cavalry, elephants and scenes from the epics and Puranas. The rows above have sculptures of Gods mainly Vishnu in various forms. There are three shrines inside the temple. The temple has three intricately carved pinnacles and a common Navranga. The northern shrine has the idol of Lord Janardhana and the southern shrine has the idol of Lord Venugopala. The main hall has beautifully carved pillars and ceiling panels. The middle shrine is dedicated to Lord Keshava. Keshava, Janardhana and Venugopala are all different forms and names of Lord Krishna.

The temple was attacked by Muslim rulers in the past and hence a lot of idols in the temples are in broken form. Even the three main idols Keshava, Venugopala, and Janardhana were broken. The idol of Keshava was missing, and hence a replica idol has been placed nowadays instead of the original idol. As the idols of the deities were broken, there is no religious pooja or prayer happens today in this temple. It is under the control of archaeological department of India.

The intricacy found in the architecture is something, which is difficult to describe in words. The temple has a lot of idols mostly related to Vaishnavism or different forms of Vishnu. The dancing Saraswati and the dancing Lakshmi are rare idols. Matsya - the fish incarnation of Vishnu - is found with fish face, which is a rare form. There are some carvings representing Kama Sutra. Even though you can find innumerable carvings of cavalry and elephants, each and every carving/idol is unique. Nowhere, you can find two similar figures. The figures of mythological animal, the Hans bird feeding its baby, Narasimha killing demon and Indra on elephant are some of the marvellous examples of architecture found in the temple surroundings.

The windows look star shaped from outside and square shaped from inside. The roofs have fine carvings and the roof of each shrine is different from that of other. The pillars inside the temple represent the unique style of Hoysala architecture. The three main idols inside the shrines are extremely beautiful. Overall, it is very difficult to express in words the beauty of this marvel. Go, visit this place and experience yourself.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Keshava Temple
Site Type: Architecture, Temple, Hoysola architecuture, ancient temple
Location: 35 kms from Mysore at Somnathpur, Karnataka state, India
Highlight: A 13th century architectural marvel from Hoysala
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore
Nearest Airport: Bangalore (around 170 kms)
Local Transport: Easily reachable from Mysore; It is better to travel by car or taxi rather than depending on public transport
Hotel: It is best to stay at Mysore (35 kms from here)
Restaurants: Good restaurants are available only at Mysore


View Larger Map

February 14, 2010

One of the best terrace gardens - Brindavan Gardens, Mysore, India

When you think of Mysore city of South India, you cannot restrict yourself from thinking about Brindavan Gardens. Brindavan Gardens is considered as one of the most beautiful laid out terrace gardens in the world. It is very popular for its extraordinary beauty and grandeur. Brindavan Gardens is located in Mandya district at a distance of around 24 km from Mysore.


Brindavan Gardens is basically a terrace garden laid out behind the Krishnaraja Sagar dam. The garden, which is famous for its symmetric design, extends over an area of 60 acres. It is laid out in three terraces. You can find a lot of ornamental plants in the slopes. The garden, which is visited by around 2 million people every year, has innumerable fountains decorated with colored lighting. The evenings are the best in Brindavan Gardens. The illuminated running waters and fountains with changing colors of lights is a beautiful event that the tourists watch every evening.

The musical fountain, that is located on the northern side of the garden is a major attraction within the garden during the evenings. Between the main garden and the musical fountain, there is a lake, which you can cross either by enjoying a boat ride or walking through the nearby pathway.

The Department of Horticulture started the work of laying out this garden in 1927 AD. For many decades, it remains as one of the main attractions for school children across India.

Brindavan Gardens is easily accessible. You can reach Brindavan Gardens easily by government and private buses. When you happen to go to Mysore, don't miss this place.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Brindavan Gardens
Site Type: Park, Garden, Musical fountain
Location: 24 kms from Mysore at Mandya district, Karnataka state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore
Nearest Airport: Bangalore (around 170 kms)
Local Transport: Easily reachable from Mysore; there are lot of private and government buses
Hotel: It is best to stay at Mysore (24 kms from here)
Restaurants: Good restaurants are available only at Mysore


View Larger Map

February 13, 2010

The heritage city of Karnataka - Mysore, India

Mysore, located at a distance of around 150 kms from Bangalore city (the Silicon Valley of India), has been one of the greatest tourist attractions in South India for many decades. Mysore is located in Karnataka state of South India. The city is famous for its extraordinary palace, Mysore silk sarees, Mysore paintings, and Dussera (Dasara) festival. Especially, the Dasara function (a Hindu festival) in Mysore is world famous.

The word "Mysore" is basically an anglicised version of "Mahisuru", which means the adobe of Mahisasur, a demon as per Hindu mythology. The city was recently renamed as "Mysuru". However, a lot of people around the world still know this city by the name of "Mysore".

The city was under the Wodeyar kings for many centuries. For a brief period, the city was ruled the famous king Tipu Sultan. The main attraction of the city, Mysore Palace, was built by Wodeyar kings.

The city, which is always crowded by thousands of tourists throughout the year, remains as a main excursion option for school children of various schools across India for many decades. Mysore Palace, Mysore Zoo, Chamundi Hills, St. Philomena's Church, Brindavan Gardens, Somnathpur, and Srirangapattinam are some of the popular tourist attractions in and around Mysore city.

Mysore, as a city, is well connected internally by local buses and auto rickshaws. Mysore is well connected with other parts of South India by train and road. The nearest airport is at Bangalore city at a distance of around 150 kms. The best time to visit Mysore is between September and March.



Let me take you for a virtual tour to various destinations in and around Mysore through my next few posts.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

City Name: Mysore
Official Name: Mysuru
Location: Located at a distance of around 150 kms from Bangalore city, Karnataka state, India
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore
Climate: Warm and cool throughout the year
Local Transport: Well connected by buses, private taxis, and auto rickshaws; (even you can find tongos (horse driven carts)
Hotel: A lot of hotels - budget as well as high class - throughout the city
Restaurants: Mysore's cuisine is rice-based; Idlis and dosas are also famous; You can find a lot of restaurants both vegetarian and non-vegetarian throughout the city


View Larger Map

February 11, 2010

The Queen's Necklace - Marine Drive, Mumbai, India

When my Mumbai friend asked me what was the beautiful site in Mumbai, I replied him - "Juhu beach".

After he took me to a heavenly place named Marine Drive, I can no more reply "Juhu beach....it's definitely Marine drive....that is the best place in Mumbai...at least as far as I know."

Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra state, is the commercial capital of India, and also one of the most happening cities of India. Marine Drive is an upturned 'C'-shaped six lane concrete road, which runs upto 3 kms distance along the coastline, which is a part of Arabian Sea. This avenue connects Nariman Point with Malabar Hills. The most striking part of the avenue is the esplanade next to the road, where people come to view sunset and enjoy sea breeze.

It is picturesque view to find palm trees lined up along the road. It also has a nice walkway to take a stroll or jogging. You can also enjoy the view of some higher end hotels on the other side of the road. For most of the people from other coastal cities of India, it would be a different experience to watch tall buildings on the other side of the sea (due to C-shaped roads).

No one can forget the 26/11 attack on Oberoi and Taj hotels of Mumbai which hapenned on 26th November 2008. Oberoi hotel is the tall building that you see in this picture, which is located in Marine Driver road. It was one of the targets for terrorists during 26/11 Mumbai attack.

Chowpatty beach, which lies at the norther end of the road, is famous for local foods. At nights, Marine Drive looks stunningly illuminated, with lights and if seen from some elevated point beside the road, it resembles a necklace, and hence this place got the name "Queen's necklace".

Marine Drive is easily reachable either by public transport or on your own vehicle.
If you leave Mumbai without visiting this place, you definitely regret for that.

Happy travelling.


View Larger Map

February 10, 2010

A lovely place in Mumbai - Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India

Mumbai, formerly called as Bombay, the capital city of Maharashtra state, is one of the most popular cities of India. This is the place where Indian cinemas (Bollywood/Hindi cinemas) are made. Juhu is a popular area in Western Mumbai, and the most popular site in Juhu area is the beautiful Juhu beach. Juhu beach is the most beautiful and important beach in Mumbai.


The distance from VT railway station to Juhu beach is approximately 22 kms. You can easily reach Juhu beach either on your own vehicle or by public transport.

Juhu beach is highly crowded during week ends and evenings. It is always pleasure to watch sun rise or sun set in Juhu. Also, if you want to taste the local food of Mumbai, Juhu beach is the best destination for the same. Juhu beach is clean, neat and comparitively well maintained beach.

Your visit to Mumbai is incomplete if you don’t go to Juhu beach. Ensure that you visit this place when you visit Mumbai.

Happy travelling.


View Larger Map

Gateway of India, Mumbai, India

Gateway of India - Most travellers start their Mumbai tour from this place and anyone's tour to Mumbai is incomplete without a visit to this place. (Mumbai aka Bombay is the commercial capital of India). This architectural marvel is the landmark symbol of Mumbai and this is the site in Mumbai having maximum number of travellers.

The Gateway of India is an arch with an altitude of 26m from the ground. It was built in Indo-Saracenic architectural style, with some elements derived from the Muslim architectural styles of the 16th century Gujarat. This architectural marvel was built in order to commemorate the visit of British King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai (then it was called as Bombay) in December 1911. However, the construction was completed and made open to the public only in December 1924.

The Gateway of India, which is situated on the waterfront has a majestic look. The large expanse of the Arabian Sea visible from the monument enhances the beauty of the site. At the back of the monument, you can find motor boats which will take you on a ride to Elephanta Islands, another attraction of Mumbai.

Opposite to the Gateway of India, you can find Taj hotels, which was attacked by terrorists on 26th November 2008 (26/11 Mumbai terror attack).

You can easily reach this place either by public transport or on your own. This place doesn't require any introduction in Mumbai.

Happy travelling.


View Larger Map

February 8, 2010

Mahalakshmi Temple, Mumbai, India

The commercial capital of India, Mumbai city has a popular temple dedicated to wealth Goddess Mahalakshmi. The famous temple of Mahalakshmi is located on B. Desai Road at Breach Candy area in Mumbai. Mahalakshmi is the wife of Lord Vishnu and Goddess for wealth as per Hinduism. The temple is always crowded and is one of the most important sites of Mumbai.

The temple’s main shrine has idols of three goddesses – Mahalakshmi in the middle; on either sides of Lakshmi, the idols of Kali and Saraswati are found. On the backside of the temple, you can find sea shore. There is a shrine for Hanuman and another for Lord Ganesha.

Even though the temple is very small, it is always crowded with a large number of devotees. The site is located at a distance of around 8 kms from Victoria Terminus (VT) railway station. You can easily locate and reach this place either by public transportation or on your own.

As per the legend, due to violent tides, the engineers were not able to join the Mahalakshmi area with Worli by constructing Breach Candy. On one fortunate day, Mahalakshmi appeared in the dream of the Chief Engineer of the project and asked him to make her shrine at the current place. Consequently the temple was built somewhere around 1785. After it, the Breach Candy was successfully built.

As photography is not allowed in this site, I am unable to place any photographs along with this post.

Happy travelling.


View Larger Map

February 7, 2010

Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Mumbai, India


Siddhi Vinayak temple is the most famous temple of Mumbai city (aka Bombay) in Maharashtra state of India. The original temple was built in 1801, and it was completely renovated in 1900s. The temple is located in Prabhadevi area at a distance of around 12 kms from Victoria Terminus (VT) railway station of Mumbai. The temple is one of the well known landmarks of Mumbai, and you can easily locate and reach the site either on your own vehicle or on public transportation.

The temple is small. However, there will always be a huge queue standing in front of the temple. You can find a lot of celebrities among the devotees of this popular temple of Mumbai.

The temple doesn't have many shrines. The main shrine enshrines Lord Ganesha. The speciality is that Ganesha has trunk on his right side, which is found only in few other temples of India. Lord Ganesha idol has four arms. Ganesha's consorts Riddhi (Buddhi) and Siddhi are present on either sides of Lord Ganesha. Those idols appear as if they are peeping out from the behind. There are also small idols of Lord Shiva and another Ganesha in the main shrine. Even though Siddhi Vinayak's idol is made of black stone, it always appears as orange in color. There is a separate shrine in this temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The roof and the tower of Siddhi Vinayak's shrine are gold coated.

If you visit Mumbai, this is one site which you should never miss. As photography is banned in this temple, I couldn't share any photography of this site.

Happy travelling.



View Larger Map

February 6, 2010

Mumbai aka Bombay - the commercial capital of India

Mumbai, formerly called as Bombay, is the capital city of Maharashtra state of India. Even though New Delhi is the capital city of India, Mumbai is considered as the commercial capital of India.

Mumbai was originally under various kingdoms and later under Muslim and Mughal rulers. The city got significance during the Portuguese settlement. The city was started to be refereed as Bombay when the British took over the control of the city. In the 18th century CE, Bombay became a commercially important city. In the 19th and 20th centuries CE, due to lot of commercial establishments and Indian freedom movement, Bombay became one of the most powerful cities of India.

As Marathi and Gujarati speaking people used to call the city as Mumbai, it is believed that the name of the city originated from the Goddess of the city "Mumba Devi". Then, somehow it became Bombay. Nevertheless, it is officially called as "Mumbai" now and no more as Bombay.

Mumbai aka Bombay is the home for Indian cine industry (Bollywood), and this is the city where the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) is located. Almost all the MNC (multi national companies) have their branch in Mumbai city.

Mumbai is well connected and easily reachable by train, bus, and air. There are domestic as well as international airports in Mumbai.

Mumbai has a lot of sight seeing options within the city as well as around the city. Gateway of India, Marine Drive, Chowpatty beach, Juhu beach, Maha Lakshmi temple and Siddhi Vinayak temple are some of the worth visiting places of Mumbai. Let me explore these places in detail in the forthcoming posts.

Till then....Happy travelling.


View Larger Map