Known as the City of Palaces, Mysore, or Mysuru, the second biggest city in Karnataka, is replete with the history of its royal heritage, elaborate Dasara festival celebration (Dussehra), intricate architecture, famed silk sarees, sandalwood and of course, the beloved Mysore Pak. Situated at a distance of around 140 kms from Bangalore, Mysore happens to be a popular tourist destination, with Mysore Palace being one of the most visited tourist attractions, after the Taj Mahal, in India.
After having braved Bangalore traffic over the weekdays, I sought an escape from the hustle and bustle before catching my flight back to Delhi. With just one day at my disposal, Mysore, just 3 hours away by road from Bangalore, came to my rescue, and oh, how I loved the 24 hours that I spent in this beautiful city. I worked out an itinerary, that covers most of the legendary eateries in Mysore, along with a few touristy places to catch the essence of this city.
Stop 1: St.Philomena’s Church
My solo trip to Mysore began with St.Philomena’s Church located on Ashoka Road. Touted as the second largest church in Asia, the Neo-Gothic or Victorian style of architecture of this grey-hued church is awe-inspiring. The church was built by the ruler of Mysore for the European residents, which happens to be a testimony to the religious harmony that existed in the city.
Stop 2: Walked around 1 km from St Philomena’s Church to reach Hotel Hanumanthu Original 1930
Opening its doors at 7 in the morning, Hanumanthu is a no-frills restaurant, offering a limited, non-vegetarian only menu, featuring mutton and chicken pulav, mutton chops, chicken kebabs and mutton leg soup. Known especially for its mutton pulav, I dared myself to gorge on to some mutton pulav at 9 in the morning. Taken aback by the humongous quantity of rice, I opted for half a portion of their mutton pulav, which, too, was rather generous. Flavorful, fluffy rice with morsels of tender mutton, served over pattal(plate made of dried leaves). A squeeze of lemon and the tomato, onion raita alongside, made it a winner.
Stop 3: Took an auto from Hanumanthu to reach Gayathri Tiffin Room on time
An institution for when it comes to Dosas, GTR was on top of my list of places to eat in Mysore. Over 50 years old, the self-service restaurant, opens at 7 in the morning, operates till 11 am, then reopens at 3 and functions till 8 PM. The famed masala dosa, golden and crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, stuffed with a simple potato palya(potato masala), served with coconut chutney, was demolished on sight. I wasn’t willing to let go of GTR so easily, hence, in pure greed, got myself a portion of their idlies, pineapple rava kesari and filter coffee. Saying it was blissful would be an understatement. After having eaten a lot, a knew that I’d be covering most of Mysore on foot.
Stop 4: Walked for around 15 mins from GTR to arrive at Mahesh Prasad
Another restaurant that the locals in Mysore frequent, Mahesh Prasad is open throughout the day and offers a varied menu, which also includes a couple of North Indian and Chinese options. Oddly enough, the place was crowded and I had to wait for around 15 mins to get a place to sit. Since the servers didn’t offer a menu and decided to speak out whatever they said, I somehow got hassled and opted for a khara bath and masala dosa. The masala dosa, though good, could not match up to GTR standard. The khara bath, however, was a great pick. Carrots, beans, onions, tomatoes and curry leaves. Went beautifully with the coriander, chilli, coconut chutney.
Stop 5: After having eaten a lot, I walked to reach the majestic Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace also known as Amba Vilas Palace is located at the heart of Mysore city. It is the most prominent tourist destination of Mysore that attracts millions of visitors around the year, who come to catch a glimpse of what royalty is all about. The palatial building comprises of two durbar halls, a number of colossal courtyards, buildings, and strikingly beautiful manicured gardens, that are perfumed with the full-bloomed flowers. Rest, I’ll let the pictures do the talking: