Though bustling and cosmopolitan, Bangalore is the capital of Karnataka, the much smaller city of Mysore was once the centre of the Mysore Kingdom, which ruled a large part of South India for over 500 years.

Today, Mysore’s royal legacy lives on its many majestic palaces and heritage buildings. This is a popular tourist destination, not only thanks to its splendid architecture but also because of its pleasant tree lined streets, relaxed pace and Old World charm.

The Kingdom was ruled by the Wodeyars almost without interruption from the 13th century until India’s independence in 1947. Thanks to the royal family. Mysore is a planned city with wide avenues and a modern sewage system. English-language education was introduced there in the early1800s. The Mysore kingdom was also the first region on the subcontinent to get electricity.

The Wodeyars were also patrons of the arts and as a result, Mysore is Karnataka’s cultural capital. Its also an important centre for yoga owing to the presence of the late K.Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute which draws foriegn students in large numbers.

Mysore’s marquee event is the annual 10-day Dasara Festival which takes place in September or October.

Amba Vias Palace is Mysore’s top attraction and remains the royal family’s home. Built in the Indo-Saracenic style, which blends elements of the Hindu and Mogul architecture with European gothis touches. Its one of India’s most visited sites. A total of 98,260 light bulbs illuminate the palace on Sundays, public holidays and during the Dasara festival.

Thanks to its wide roads and well-maintained pavements, the best way to see Mysore is on foot. Royal Mysore Walks, run by a team of locals who are passionate about the city’s heritage., offers a variety of city walking tours. These take visitors not only to the city’s many key monuments and heritage buildings, but also off the tourist trail, where it is possible to get a glimpse of the many different facets of lcal life. From the colourful stalls of 125-year-old Devaraja Market to the city’s fading art deco cinemas, there’s much to explore.

Happy Visiting, Best places to stay in Karnataka.