One of the most popular tourist bus day trips from Bengaluru is to Mysore where Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hills and Brindavan Gardens are covered. You generally start early in the morning and return late in the evening. Given the heavy traffic in Bengaluru, we decided to make it an overnight stay at Mysore instead of a day trip.
When I was a kid, taking the tourist bus option was the most feasible and economical. This time around, we chose to travel by taxi, mainly for the flexibility. Mysore is about 4 to 5 hours from Bengaluru depending on traffic… so we started early and chose to stop for breakfast on the outskirts of Bengaluru where there are many decent, reasonably priced options on the Bengaluru-Mysore highway.
Day 1 – Travel to Mysore, Mysore Palace, Shopping
We reached Mysore around 12:30 pm. Since we had a heavy breakfast, we decided to head to the Palace first. These days, you are allowed to take your DSLR cameras (without stands) along with your mobiles and you are free to take pictures inside the palace. Unfortunately, I did not know this… so we have only pictures taken from our phone cameras.
An interesting requirement is that visitors are required to remove their shoes before entering the palace. There is a paid shoe storage rack that visitors are asked to use.
Inside the palace, you get an opportunity to see beautiful murals, ornate halls and select artefacts. When I visited as a kid, we were allowed to see the famous throne… but, these days, it is no longer on public display, which is too bad. Apparently it is brought out only during the Dussera festival.
Once you exit the palace there is a temple you can visit as well. For an additional fee, you have an opportunity to visit the residential areas as well (we were too exhausted). Afterwards you have an opportunity to visit some shops before heading out.
By the time we left the palace it was around 2pm. We were all hungry and so we headed to a small eatery to grab some lunch. Honestly, we should have searched a little harder for a decent place to eat. But, by picking hot, freshly made food, we managed to stay safe.
Afterwards, we went shopping. We did not know that recently the Government of Karnataka has opened up one of its silk weaving units to the public where you can watch the process of how silk sarees are made — missed opportunity unfortunately. Later we found out that it is a fascinating experience but majority of the sarees for sale are out-of-bounds price wise for most casual shoppers. If you can afford the time, then definitely make it part of your itinerary.
Shopping for an authentic Mysore silk saree is a fascinating experience. It may be by design, but, the authentic, gorgeous sarees on average cost Rs 10,000 and more … so, plan for the expense (upto Rs.20,000), if you are keen to own one. If you want to purchase something cheaper and want it to be one-of-a-kind, be prepared to spend lots of time going through big heaps of fabric in multiple stores.
Shopping is exhausting! After spending a couple of hours shopping, we headed to the hotel to call it a day. It was a good thing since after we checked in, it started to rain! After resting for a while, we had dinner and called it a night.
Day 2 – Philomena Church, Chamundi Hill and back to Bengaluru
After a relaxed breakfast at our hotel, we checked out and headed out for some more sightseeing. Our first stop was the Philomena Church. Seeing footwear left outside the door, we left ours as well. However, there is no requirement to do so. Visitors are not allowed inside when service is taking place. Otherwise, you are allowed to explore the inside but are not allowed to take any pictures.
After spending some time at the church, we headed towards Chamundi Hills to check out the famous Chamundi Temple. By the time we got there, it was already very, very crowded (weekend rush). We had to wait in line for 15 minutes to buy tickets to go inside (fast lane). All in all, we spent about two and a half hours exploring the temple and the complex surrounding it (where there are two more temples).
Next, on our way down, we briefly stopped at the different view points and then for a few minutes at the large Nandi Bull before reaching the base. We then headed to a little known temple called the “Jwalamukhi Tripura Sundari Temple”. It is a small temple with a truly beautiful idol.
Important note: As you travel up the Chamundi Hill, you will see a sign indicating “Turn Left to go to Jwalamukhi Tripura Sundari Temple”. Do NOT take it. It will take you back to the base of the hill on the other side and you will lose valuable time. Continue on your journey up Chamundi Hill and when you come down on the other side, you can go to the Jwalamukhi Tripura Sundari temple easily.
Another note: We were told the Jaganmohan Palace is currently closed for renovations and not accessible to the public…so we did not even try.
After the temple visits, we headed back towards Bengaluru. We did not stop at Brindavan Gardens as no one in our group was particularly interested. We were told that to truly enjoy the gardens, visiting in the evening is much better.
We stopped for lunch along the way and reached Bengaluru by evening.
Bottomline – All in all, a weekend well spent.