The City of Palaces is a great place for culture and history. The city is full of magnificent palaces, ancient temples and heritage buildings. Quite often it’s difficult to think of anything beyond the palaces and temples in the city. But there is more to Mysore than just royalty and old buildings. If you’ve had your fill of all the touristy things that the city has to offer, it’s time to go off the beaten path. There are several amazing off-beat things to do in Mysore that will make your holiday that much more interesting.
Mysuru has something to offer for everyone. From connoisseurs of fine arts to great food, soul searchers to adrenaline junkies, there’s something for everyone. There are things to do and places to see in Mysore that are off the beaten track. These places are equally fun and interesting as the usual touristy places. It’s time to explore fun things to do in Mysore beyond the usual touristy things.
Also Read: 20 wonderful places to visit in Mysore
Let’s Go Off The Beaten Path And Find Some Unusual Things To Do In Mysore
1. Shukavana: Where Exotic Birds Come To Roost In Mysore
For those of you who are into birding, especially parrots, Shukavana is the perfect place for you. Shukavana, on the outskirts of Mysore city, is a rehabilitation centre for birds. This hidden gem is not very well-known but should be on your list. The aviary is situated inside the sprawling Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Ashrama. Parrots, parakeets, lorikeets, macaws, cockatoos and several other exotic species of birds call this one-and-half-acre aviary home.
The aviary started with a few rescued birds, but now it is home to over 2,000 species of birds. The birds are quite friendly and you will find them happily perched on the visitors’ shoulders, arms and heads munching on treats. The star resident, however, is Kali, a multi-lingual grey parrot. The talking parrot entertains visitors with ‘Good morning’, ‘How are you’ and ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. The parrot also speaks a few sentences in Kannada and Telugu as well. If you want to get up close and personal with some exotic species of birds from across the world, a visit to Shukavana is a must.
The parrot park is the best thing to do in Mysore for bird lovers. The aviary is open on all days of the week except Wednesday. People can visit Shukavana from 9.30 AM-12.30 PM and 3.30-5.30 PM. Shukavana charges an entry fee of INR 20 per visitor and INR 100 for a picture with the birds.
2. Karanji Kere: The Perfect Place For Picnics And Long Walks
Karanji Kere (Karanji Lake) is another bird watcher’s paradise in the city of Mysore. The 90-hectare lake, which is surrounded by a nature park, was once a part of the Mysore Zoo. The nature park is made up of a butterfly park, the Regional Museum of Natural History and a walk-through aviary.
The aviary, which is considered to be one of the largest aviaries in India, is home to several species of birds. Peafowl, wild geese and even the 6-feet-tall Sarus Cranes call this aviary home along with over 147 other species of birds. The butterfly park, which has over four dozen species of butterflies, is another great attraction. It is situated on a small island in the lake. Visitors can even hire pedal boats or a boat with a boatman to go boating on the Karanji Lake. The lake is open from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM every day except Tuesday. Visitors can enjoy the serene and tranquil surroundings of the lake for the minimal price of INR 10 per person.
3. Kishkinda Moolika Bonsai Garden: A Zen Garden In Mysore
A day spent amid nature with only exotic plants and deer for company, sounds wonderful, right? The Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Ashrama on Nanjangud Road is home to another wonder, the Kishkinda Moolika Bonsai Garden. Spread over four acres, the garden houses over 100 varieties of Bonsai plants. The plants are arranged according to Swami Ganapathy Sachchidananda’s spiritual beliefs.
The miniature plants are arranged in different groups and each group reflects a different Indian tradition. The bonsai plants in the Rashi Vana group apparently have a connection to the Indian Zodiac system. The Raga Vana has plants that represent Indian classical music and the plants in Nakshatra Vana represent the 27 stars in Indian astrology. The Panchayatana Vana is made up of five closely linked gardens, the plants here are representative of the Mother goddess. The last one is the Saptarishi Vana, the seven plants here represent the seven sages in Indian mythology.
The beautifully manicured bonsai garden with water bodies interspersed in between will leave you feeling zen. The deer park nearby is equally beautiful. A day in the company of these gentle animals and beautiful gardens will leave you refreshed. The entrance fee for the Bonsai garden is INR 20 per person and timings are from 9 AM to 12 PM and 4-6 PM.
4. Melody World Wax Museum: Mysore’s Own Wax Museum
The Melody World Wax Museum is located a mere three kilometres from Mysore Palace. The museum, which has the largest collection of musical instruments in Karnataka, is set inside a 90-year-old heritage building. The collection includes over 300 kinds of musical instruments from different ages and from various parts of the country. Several indigenous musical instruments from various tribal communities are also displayed here.
The wax museum displays 110 life-size wax statues clothed in traditional attire. The musical instruments and statues are displayed to represent various bands and dance groups. The most popular ones are representations of Indian Classical music, Punjabi Bhangra, Middle East, Chinese, Tribal, Jazz and Hip Hop among others. The life-size statue of Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore is one of the most popular attractions here. The museum is open from 9.30 AM to 7 PM throughout the week. The museum charges INR 30 per person and an extra INR 10 for a still camera.
Also Read: Explore Mysore’s world of Carnatic music
5. Chamundi Hill: Sunset And Night View Of Mysore Palace
Normally, the word ‘nightlife’ conjures up images of nightclubs, parties and dancing, but nightlife in Mysore is quite different. The viewpoint from the Chamundi hills nearby offers great panoramic views of the city below and the surrounding countryside. Head there in the evenings for an unforgettable sunset. The sight of the bright yellow sun dipping low on the horizon will leave you spellbound.
As darkness sets in, the glittering lights of the city below come on. This is a magical sight that you should not miss. The vista of the beautifully lit palace from the hilltop makes it even more magical. This is one of the best things to do in Mysore that won’t hurt your pocket at all.
6. Mysore Silk factory: Home Of Royal Silk
How can you leave Mysuru without buying one of the famous Mysore Silk sarees? The saree is woven with pure silk threads and gold and silver threads. This makes it one of the most exquisite and expensive sarees in India. A visit to the Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation (KSIC) factory is a must to see how the thread is brought to life and woven into cloth.
A tour of the factory will show you everything from the unspooling of silk threads, which is then spun into silk fibres and loaded on to a loom to weave the silk. The silk fabric is then dyed into jewel-bright colours to produce the exquisite Mysore Silk fabric. You can then shop for some Mysore Silk sarees and scarves and other silk fabrics at the KSIC outlet. The factory is open on all days except Sunday from 7.30 AM to 4.30 PM and you can tour the factory for free.
7. Sandalwood Oil Factory: The Century-Old Manufacturer Of Sandalwood Oil
If you’re a fan of perfumes and fragrances, a visit to Sandalwood Oil Factory is one of the best things to do in Mysore. The Government Sandalwood Oil Factory was established over a century ago by the Maharaja of Mysore. The iconic soap from Mysore, the Mysore Sandal soap is made at this sandalwood oil factory. A guide will take you through the factory and explain how the oil is extracted and made into a variety of products.
The process of powdering the sandalwood, boiling, distilling, condensing and extracting the oil is laborious. The whole process is worthy of appreciation. The factory has a shop where you can buy yourself some authentic Mysore sandalwood oil, perfumes and cosmetics. The tour of the factory is free and the factory is open from 9.30 AM to 6.30 PM from Monday to Saturday.
8. GRS Fantasy Park: A Cool Respite From Mysuru’s Hot Weather
If the hot Mysore weather has got to you, a day at the amusement park and water park sounds like fun, right? The best place in Mysore to cool off from the heat is GRS Fantasy Park, just outside the city. The amusement and water park is spread over 34 acres of land on the KRS road. The park has several wet and dry rides, but the Wave Pool and the Lazy River are its most popular rides.
A vigorous artificial waterfall called the Red India Falls, along with the Dragon’s Den, Pendulum Slide and Telecombat are also popular. The amusement park also has a fascinating 5D virtual tour and a Raindance floor. GRS Fantasy Park is sure to enthral both adults and kids. They charge INR 749 per person for adults and INR 649 per child. The amusement park is open from 10.30 AM to 6 PM on all days.
Also Read: Best adventure activities to enjoy in Mysore
Mysore Has Something For Everyone
Mysore has many things to offer the visitor. From mutton pulao for breakfast to feeding fruits and conversing with exotic birds, there’s something for everyone. All you need to do is make some time for these fun things to do in Mysore. Something to keep in mind before planning your vacation or a trip to Mysore are the restrictions in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Be a responsible tourist and make sure to follow the rules in place at these places in Mysore to ensure your safety and those of others’ as well.