Here’s a list of things a yoga traveler can discover in Mysore.
1. Yoga: Mysore has a very important position in the world Yoga Map. It is the birthplace of Astanga Yoga where Guru Pattabhi Jois was teaching. Mysore is home for ‘Krishnamacharya’ widely regarded as ‘The Father of Modern Yoga’ which makes it much more authentic and attractive for many Yoga practitioners. In fact, it is the birth place of Yoga where great teachers like Guruji BKS Iyengar, Sri Pattabhi Jois and Madam Indira Devi, Sri TK Deshikachar learnt from the Great Krisnamacharya. This is one of the major centres of Yoga learning and training for people from across the world. There are many yoga studios in this scenic, small city of the state of Karnataka in South India. Most Yoga Studios are located in a place called ‘Gokulam’ where one finds many westerners living, learning and teaching Yoga. This is one of the places you may not want to miss if you are inclined towards Yoga and want to experience where it all began.
2. Mysore Palace: Adding to the historical charm of this old city, Mysore palace is an important attraction for leisure travelers and Yogis alike. This magnificent palace displays an architectural perfection that cannot be matched by modern monuments. Though visitors are allowed during the day, an awe-inspiring view one gets to enjoy when the palace is lighted on Saturday and Sunday evenings. There are guides available to explain the details of each location of the palace and explain the history behind them.
3. Chamundi Hills: It’s a hill situated very close to the city of Mysore at an average elevation of 1000 meters with a temple of goddess Chamundeswari. The journey uphill offers panoramic views of the city of Mysore. The steep road has many hair pin bends with forest and rocky walls which were once used as marbles for structures in Mysore. One another attraction of this sacred place is the 1001 steps from a few hundred meters down the hill to the temple territory. Walking up these 1001 steps is a common ritual practiced by religious people and it’s a refreshing hike for travellers. Very knowledgeable guides are available who can fill the history while you climb up the hill. A big statue of Nandi, said to be built from a single rock, welcomes the visitors where the 1001 steps start.
4. Shopping in Mysore: Mysore silk is a famous product of Mysore. These are available from a state owned shop where travellers can buy them without hesitation or fear of being cheated with fake price tag. These shops have many Indian ethnic outfits for men and women at fair prices. Mysore also has a local clothing market where one finds a large variety of clothing both Indian and Western, most of these shops sell their merchandise cheap and nowadays not much of a bargain happens contrary to the popular belief that street vendors take travelers for a ride.
5. Eateries: Mysore has many excellent restaurants and cafes including international chains. Many serve food and alcohol in the same place. Mysore is also home to many of the state’s famous food chains that serve Karnataka cuisines. A sweet dish named after the city is Mysore Pak, prepared with ghee, sugar, grand flour and often cardamom.
6. Other activities: Though nightlife is not so active in the city, there are many bars across the city where a group can hangout. Mysore Zoo and a number of small parks add to the glitter of the city. There are other places nearby like Srirangapatna, hill stations such as Ooty, Wayanad etc, nearby.