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Around Mysore  

Is small town 15 km northeast of Mysore. The island fortress of the legendary Tiger of Mysore - Tipu Sultan, takes you through the pages of history. Every stone, every Temple, every Palace and every Mosque in here has a story to tell.

Srirangapatna, renowned for its seemingly impregnable fort, associated with the great ruler Tipu Sultan, is situated at the western end of an oval shaped island formed by the two branches of the Cauvery. It is the island fortress of Tipu Sultan, the legendary Tiger of Mysore who put up a valiant fight against British domination. The high stonewalls and moats enclose palaces, with its beautiful frescoes, Wellesley Bridge and the celebrated Sri Ranganatha Temple are other monuments from its chequered past.


An imposing structure where the mortal remains of Hyder Ali, his wife and Tipu Sultan were confined.

Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace
The summer Palace of Tipu Sultan, built fully by wood is today a museum devoted to Tipu Sultan.

Sri Ranganatha Temple
Temple of Lord Vishnu in the sleeping posture on the Great Snake Anantha, is one of the Largest temples in the State. It is a beautiful example for both Vijayanagara and Hoysala Styles of Architecture.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
5 kms from Srirangapatna, lush green islands on the river Cauvery, are home for an astonishing variety of migratory birds from as far away as Siberia - Spoon bills, Open Bill Stork, White Ibis, Little Egret, Darter, Pond Heron, Cattle Egret, Cormorant, Wild Duck, Peafowl. A little boat takes you close to the islands where the trees are covered with birds of different species. The only sounds are the cries of birds, swoosh of wings and the ripple of water. Ideal for picnicking and bird watching. The best time to visit is between June to October.

The Sanctuary here is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Ranganathittu is loaded with surprises all around. Crocodiles basking under the sun, otters running free, flocks of birds gathered on tiny islands. Ranganathittu is indeed a visual delight. Birds coming from Siberia, Australia and even North America can be spotted here.

While taking a ride on the cane boats just be ready for a fluttering surprise. It may be the Open-Bill Stork, The White Ibis, Egret, Heron, Partridge or even the Cormorant trying to say hello.

Location : Near Mysore, Karnataka
Area : 67 sq kms

Wildlife : Bird life includes the little cormorant, large cormorant, shag, darter, white ibis, spoonbill, open-billed stork, painted stork, egret, heron, river tern, great stone plover, kingfisher, Indian cliff swallow and the lesser whistling teal. The flying fox, bonnet macaque, common otter, common mongoose, palm civet and the marsh crocodile are some of the mammals and reptiles which are found here.
Best Season : June - November

Boats are available at the Sanctuary to take tourists for a ride along the river and the islets, where they can witness trees full of beautiful birds of myriad varieties. Most of the oarsmen are also excellent guides and can provide tourists the exact location as to where the birds may be spotted. The Cauvery riverbank also offers excellent spots for picnics.
Bandipur National Park
Bandipur, 80 Kms from Mysore

Far from the din of the city, lies a calm, peaceful land all by itself. Nesting some very rare animals and birds.The Bandipur National Park is one of the most fascinating wild-life centers. Established in 1931 by the Mysore Maharajas, this park is nested in the foothills of the Nilgiris.As you penetrate deep into the forests through the well laid-out roads, you can almost hear the mute conversations between the animals and the trees. They say that the flora and fauna here exist in perfect harmony. and it is because of this that the spot here was chosen as a centre for the din of the city, lies a calm, peaceful land all by itself. Nesting some very rare animals and birds.

Bandipur is about 220 km from Bangalore and only 80 km from Mysore. Gundelpet is the closest town.

There are three cottage resorts at the boundary of the park. One is inside the park and is run by the Forest Department, another is a Karnataka Tourism Department hotel at the boundary of the park, and the third is privately managed. It is advisable to make weekend reservations beforehand. Gundelpet is about 20 km from the park and has more hotels and inns.

Bandipur forest office runs forest safaris of 45 minutes duration in well guarded buses. Deer, antelope, elephants and peacocks can be easily seen. Tigers and elephants may be occasionally sighted.
Nagarahole (Rajiv Gandhi National Park)
Nagarhole, 80 Kms from Mysore

Hunsur Wildlife Division
Hunsur - 571105, Mysore District, Karnataka (India)

Located in the Kodagu and Mysore districts is a fresh, green world rich in forests, little streams, undulating valleys and facintanig waterfalls.The Nagahole National Park. A perfect get-away for nature-lovers. Deriving its name from Kannada,’Naga’ meaning snake and ‘hole’ Referring to streams, Nagarahole is truly a delightful spot, bubbling with the activity of some of the most magnificent animals and trees. Rosewood, teak, Sandal, silver oak the deep, fresh aroma of these trees mingling with the sounds of the wildlife –ah! A perfect holiday treat. No wonder this was also an exclusive hunting preserve of the erstwhile rulers of Mysore.

Renamed as the "Rajiv Gandhi National Park", Nagarhole National Park, 643.30 sq. km, is part of the 5500 sq km Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It is located in the districts of Kodagu & Mysore. This is easily the best habitat for the Asian Elephant. Tigers & leopards roam in this forest. Over 250 species of birds have been identified in this park which lies at the foothills of the towering Western Ghats Mountain Range.

Department vehicles are available for wildlife viewing. The park generally has a moderate climate with three seasons : Summer Monsoon and Winter. However, monsoons are often severe and the ideal time to visit the park between September and May.

The village of Belur, is located on the banks of the river Yagachi. Once the capital of the Hoysala empire, it still draws hordes of visitors, who cannot get enough of its fascinating temples. The construction of the Somanathapura (Chennakeshava) Temple was started by Somanatha, a high officer under Hoysala King Narasimha III (1254-1291 AD.). It is a splendid example of Hoysala style of architecture. It stands on a raised platform in the center of a spacious enclosure having sixty four (64) cells (or chambers). The central temple is actually a three celled (tricutachala) structure consisting of three Garbha Grihas, three Antaralas, and a Navarang (prayer hall). It has a Mahadwara (main entrance) standing on the eastern side. The images of the divinities Venugopala, Kevasa, and Janardhana are installed in the cells which are surmounted by elegantly carved Sikharas (towers).
Outside, on the vimana (outer sanctum wall), the Hoysala sculptors have surpassed themselves - unending rows of nearly 650 elephants, horses, lions, birds and warriors. The larger panels of the wall, sport scenes depicting the great epics - Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The base of the outer foundation is highly ornamented with carvings of elephants (strength). Scrolls, epic and puranic scenes, small images with intervening turrets and columns with figures in between, a number of gods and goddesses and their attendants adorn the walls. The lathe turned pilliars and delicately carved ceilings (sixteen different types) are the characteristic feature of the Hoysala art. The names of a number of sculptors, i.e. Mallithamna, Masanathamna, Chemeya, Bhameya, etc. are carved on the pedestals of the images. It is observed that Mallithamna has not only carved the maximum number of images but also carved the northern Sikhara, that of the Janardhana cell.
The main entrance to the shrine is guarded by twin statues of a youth slaying a tiger. What is remarkable about this shrine is its compact structure, and perfect proportions. The wealth of sculptured images is simply unbelievable, since from the base to the projected eaves, every inch of available wall surface is covered with the most exquisitely sculptured images. But the Hoysala sculpture reaches its apogee in sculptures of celestial maidens, carved with a marvellous plasticity of modelling, and imbued with the most accomplished grace and elegance.
Inscriptions engraved on a huge slab standing in the Mahadwara and on the beams of the Navaranga ranging in date from 1269-1550 AD. give the details of the construction of the temple and several grants for the upkeep of the temple. Pillars in the Navranga Hall are lathe-turned, ingeniously carved and remarkably smooth. No two pillars look alike. The hall is diamond-shaped. The ceiling has concentric rings, ornamented with figures. At the center of the hall, is a polished stone platform, on which the queen is believed to have danced, in praise of Lord Chennakeshava.
B. R. Hills

90 Kms from Mysore & 230 Kms from Bangalore, the Biligirirangana range of hills are picturesquely situated between the Cauvery & Kapila rivers. At a height of 5,091 feet above sea level, this hill stretches from north to south for about 16 Kms. All round are deciduous trees. And roaming amidst the long grass and tall trees are animals. Plenty of them! So if you're looking for a cool time with a little bit of wild excitement thrown in, welcome to B.R.Hills. Wake up to the chirping of birds & humming of bees. Breathe in fresh, clean air. Take a stroll through the sylvan surroundings. And let the cool breeze blow your cares away.

Did you know that, wild elephants in a certain place get so annoyed with white milestones that they literally deracinate them and fling them around like a Frisbee? Well if you didn't know this, let me tell that this happens in B.R. Hills. It is for this reason that here the milestones are painted in yellow and green. Camp under a canopy of stars that shine brighter here. This is one place where you can shrug off your worries, fill your lungs with pure fresh mountain air and rejuvenate your soul. You are irresistibly drawn to the enchanting forest. This is home to many species of wild animals like Gaurs, Chitals, Sambhars, Bears, Elephants, Panthers and Tigers. Marvel at the splendour of nature. Get richer with the little nuggets that naturalists are always passing on. Climb over 150 steps or drive amidst spectacular settings to get to the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple.

Situated at a height of 2,882 feet above sea level, Kunti Betta is historically associated with the rule of 18th Century warrior king Tipu Sultan. The French troops had camped in the region during Tipu's reign for strategic reasons. From the summit of Kunti Betta, the visitors have a panoramic view of the backwaters of Tonnur Kere.

Tonnur Kere: Popularly known as "Moti Talab'' or the Lake of Pearls, Tonnur Kere is formed by an embankment carried across a gap between two rocky hills, which stem the water of the Yadavanadi and other mountain torrents.

The tank is not only used for cultivation of surrounding land, but is also a fisherman's favourite haunt for the variety of fishes. Over the last few years, several picnickers have been frequenting the lake for the experience of boating in country-made boats (Theppas) as well. The locals from nearby villagers are more than willing to take the visitors around the lake in their country-made Theppas for a price.

Gosai Ghat: Gosai Ghat, on the banks of the Cauvery, in Srirangapatna is located upstream of Sangama in Srirangapatna, where the two tributaries of the Cauvery meet. Gosai Ghat is not only a preferred locale for shooting song and dance sequences of regional films, but is also a favourite picnic spot for urban dwellers. Gosai Ghat can be approached from a deviation to the right taken along the route to the tomb of Tipu Sultan in Gumbaz from Srirangapata town.

Sagarkatte: Another place of lesser-known tourist importance is Sagarkatte, situated on the backwaters of the Krishna Raja Sagar reservoir. The approach to Sagarkatte is through a road, which weaves through an undulating and fertile terrain, affording scenic glimpses of the breath-taking countryside.

Nestled amidst the Karapur Forest lies a pristine piece of land that abounds with nature. Beckoning you to explore it for a wild and exciting holiday. Playful Tigers
Playful Tigers
Kabini, a scenic delight was once the hunting lodge of the erstwhile Mysore Maharajahs. The steep valleys with rich forests, spectacular pools and rapids provide an ideal opportunity to revive your adventurous spirits.

A view from the Kabini River Lodge proves to be absolutely breathtaking. Patches of bright blue pools hidden between the trees, the sun peeping through the thick forest and animals roaming free. Breathe in the refreshing air, whistle with the wind and carry home timeless memories. Elephants playing catch, Leopards on the prowl, Antelopes jumping across the bushes, Or maybe even a tigress with her cubs. These are indeed pictures that you'll treasure for a lifetime. And no one can offer it better than Kabini.
Talakad is a town known for its sand dunes, located near Mysore in Karnataka. A historic site, Talakad once had over 30 temples. It stands at a sharp bend of the Kaveri river eastwards from a southerly course. Sand dunes are formed here persistently, extending over a mile, burying a large number of monuments. Talakad houses the imposing temple to Vaidyeshwara - Shiva.

Talakad was patronized by the Western Gangas in the first millennium CE, and then by the Tamil Cholas from the 11th through the 12th centuries. Talakad came under the Hoysala in the 12th century. It was then patronized by the Vijayanagar rulers and the Maharajas of Mysore.
Around 60 kilometers north -east of Mysore city in the state of Karnataka is to be found on a hilly tract comprising some of the oldest rock formations on the earth's crust. Nestling in the heart of these hills lies the temple town of Melkote. The origins of the towns are lost in antiquity, but it rose to cultural and religious importance in the 12th century AD when the great South Indian philosopher and teacher, Sri Ramanuja lived in the town for twelve years.

Today life in Melkote revolves around the Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple within the township and the Yoganarasimhaswamy temple on the hill overlooking Melkote. These temples are repositories of Melkote's living tradition as well as storehouses of academic knowledge of our culture. Thus, as part of the temple precincts is the oldest sanskrit Pathasala in India, dating back to 1853, imparting regular instruction in Sanskrit and Indian philosophy.

One of the best - preserved towns, Melkote is unique in that it has retained its traditional character over the centuries. Historical studies have shown relatively little change in the plan of the town, the type and character of the dwellings and its cultural practice. In this sense, a visit to Melkote or Tirunarayanapuram (as it is also called ) is a unique experience of our own cultural heritage in its living form.

The essence of Indian philosophical as well as religious thought comes alive in the temples of Melkote where the temple rituals and festivals involve many , if not most of the towns population. Some of the more important annual festivals such as the vairamudi Utsava, Teppotsava and the birthday or Tirunakshatram celebrations of important saints are occasions which bring all the people of the town together. Indeed, Melkote is unique in that certain folk festivals such as the Angamani festival have been integrated into the temple rituals, thus making them meaningful to the common man.
Shivanasamudra Falls
Walking up to the Bharachukki waterfall takes your breath away. In this case, it is not only the splendour of the scene but also the stench around the place that does the "trick". Mounds of garbage surround Bharachukki and its equally impressive twin, Gaganachukki. Bharachukki, in fact, is dirtier. It is considered holy by some and a community has even settled in the area adjacent to the waterfall. So, apart from discarded plastic wrappers and soft drink bottles, there are also piles of household rubbish. To make matters worse, the smell of cow dung mingles with the stink from the nearby toilets. Most visitors use the open ground rather than brave the toilets.

The waterfalls themselves are pristine because visitors find the approach to them too steep and rocky. But hardy Kannada and Tamil film crews clamber up the jagged rocks to use the falls as a backdrop for romantic songs.

Nanjangud 25Km from Mysore, a holy place, described as Garalapuri, is famous because of the huge Nanjundeswara or Srikanteswara temple. It is believed that sage Gauthama stayed here for some time and installed a Linga, the idol form of Shiva. Nanjangud is also known as 'Dakshina Kashi' or Varanasi of the South.

Nanjangud is situated on the right bank of the river Kapila or Kabini, one of the tributaries of the Cauvery River. Nearby the town is the Sangam, where the Kapila and the Gundlu rivers join. The spot is called "Parashurama Kshetra". It is here that Parashurama said to have had himself expiated for the sin of beheading his mother. A stream called Churnavati, over-flowing from the tank, joins the Gundlu or Kaundinya River here. There is a Parashurama temple of the Mysore style, now renovated fully and in the sanctum Lord Parashurama is worshipped. This quiet place has shrines of Maruthi and a newly built Basaveshvara temple.
Belur / Halebid / Shravanabelagola

Belur is 149 Kms from Mysore, 222 Kms from Bangalore and 34 Kms from Hassan. This place is famous for its exquisite temples. Belur is known as Dakshina Varanasi or South Banaras for its temples. The serenity of Belur is attributed to the celebrated temple of Channakeshava, built by the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana in 117 A. D. to commemorate his conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism.

The great city flourished as a Capital of the Hoysala Empire during the 12th & 13th centuries. During the reign of Veeraballala II, the grandson of Vishnuvardhana, it reached the greatness of its zenith. Veeraballala II extended his empire from sea to sea between the Cauvery & Krishna rivers.

Wedged between two star rocky hills is this legendary pilgrim center and shrine of the Jains. The monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara, a Jain saint and an object of worship for centuries, standing atop one of the hills (Indragiri) is 18 meters high and is said to be the tallest monolithic statue in the world.

The symmetry in stone was created around 983 AD by Chavundaraya, a general and minister of the Ganga King Rachamatta. The Mahamastakabhisheka festival, an elaborate ritual, held here once every 12 years, attracts devotees from all over the World.



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