7 Things to Do in Mysore | A Complete Mysore Guide

After spending about 10 days exploring this city with a tour guide, I sure as hell better be able to give you some kind of Mysore guide! If goMowgli taught me anything, it’s that even 10 days isn’t long enough to see this “royal” city and learn about it’s past. Actually, I’ve learned so much if I don’t share it all with you, my head might explode. Here are my top 7 things to do in Mysore you do NOT want to miss!

As of 2018, goMowgli who I toured with, are no longer operational. Instead, you can book on Viator to be connected with a local tour. They have this tour listed for Mysore. I’m trying to update all the goMowgli posts on this blog, but if you are interested in tours in India like this, check out my article on 18 epic adventure tours in India and consider booking one of those.

Don’t miss my full e-book for India, which you can buy here.

Why Visit Mysore

Sometimes called, Mysuru, Mysore is in Karnataka, India and was the capital city from 1399 – 1956 under the Kingdom of Mysore. This makes it a sort of royal city in India and its architecture and culture is one of the nicest in the country.

7 Things to Do in Mysore Not to Miss

1. Chamundi Hills

The holy grail of Mysore — you CANNOT visit the city without stopping here. It would almost be sacrilegious. This is sacred land for Mysorians and Hindus in general. Why might you ask? Well, that’s a story for another day… but let’s just say Parvati got 10 arms and defeated a monster = Dashara and Chumundi hills being a huge deal. Here is the full story of Chamundi Hills.

chumundi hills guide to mysore

chumundi hills guide to mysore

chumundi hills guide to mysore

2. Ayurveda at IVAC

Although for Indians, Mysore is known for being royal, it is also known for four things to tourists: silk, incense, yoga, and Ayurveda. Although there are many places to get your Ayurveda on, I decided to spend 3 nights and 4 days at the famous Indus Valley Ayurvedic Center. I didn’t have the cash dollas to do all the treatments recommended, but if you are rolling in the money there is no better place to spend it than with oil or ghee dripping on you at IVAC.

3. Market Tour & Artisan Tour

Mysore market is the most organized market I’ve ever been through in India. The veggies were piled in perfect squares, the flowers were all in one place and the walkways were huge.

Mysore Shopping GuideThis is where you can buy all your perfumes (like Calvin Klein did and bottled it up!), incense, sandalwood oil, and yes… even silk! Be ready to spend a pretty penny.

mysore art incense making

mysore art sculptorsSave time to see the Msyore artisans that are hiding out in the alleys making all the goodies. I couldn’t have found them without goMowgli and am so thankful to them for sharing the information with me!

4. Try South Indian Food

Eating in Mysore is going to take up a lot of your time. South Indian food is way different from the north where many tourists hang out, and it’s a far cry from Goan food. You’ll get to try tamarind rice, end each meal with curd rice (not my fave), and eat your thalis on banana leafs.

best food in mysore Anima Madhva BhavanThere are some cafes in Mysore that serve western food, but it’s not as sophisticated as other more touristy cities, so it’s best to stick to South Indian fare in Mysore. Dosas with sambar and chutney for breakfast and some Mysore pak for a snack in the market… wash it all down with almond milk! (for more on food, check out the best restaurants in Mysore).

kabini river jungle lodge

5. Mysore Palace

This should be the first thing you do in Mysore, unless it’s a weekend in which case do anything OTHER than the palace tour. Saturday was packed full, especially because it was a holiday while I was there. Mysore was a place of royals and up until a month of so ago had a king of it’s own (but he’s passed away with no heir thanks to the Mysore Cure in Talakad.

guide to mysore palace

guide to mysore palaceall these people pictured have been caught pick-pocketing at the Palace

The Brits kind of changed everything up when they came to Mysore. The palace was stunning though. I did the audio guide, but actually goMowgli had taught me so much already over coffee and travels that I didn’t need the guide.

guide to mysore palace

6. Folklore museum

This tiny little museum was very cute to talk through. In an old palace, it has the most random items from stethoscopes, to boats, and puppets. Strange, but more exciting than most museums. I couldn’t take photos in here and actually you’ll need to leave your camera and camera phone at the main desk or don’t bring it at all.

7. Brunch at Green Hotel

guide to mysore, green hotel mysore

green hotel mysore, guide to mysore

I stayed at the Green Hotel (which was once a palace built for 3 princesses) because it came highly recommended. People come here for lunch and to just hang and meet friends in the gardens. They’ve had farmers markets and vendor booths set up. A great place to spend the afternoon and the food was super. Read my review here or book your own stay here

If the Green Hotel is out of your price ranger or booked up, check here to see more options in Mysore

For more travel in Karnataka

For general India travel tips and advice, check out this post on planning your trip to India and this post on how to dress in India. Plus, you can join my India travel Facebook group!

Don’t Forget These 10 India Journey Essentials

Pin for later!


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Sonja Riemenschneider April 27, 2015 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Very cool guide, Rachel! And on a totally unrelated note, I LOVE your skirt in those photos! Please tell me it’s from the US and I can go out and buy it immediately!

  2. Sarah Lynn April 27, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    I love reading about your travels through India. I know so little about the country and sadly, the media doesn’t always portray it in the most beautiful light. It’s great to have you giving a more authentic interpretation of the country. Great stuff Rachel!

  3. Rachel April 27, 2015 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    That food looks delicious, I am completely obsessed with southern Indian food: thali on a banana leaf? Hell yeah!

    I’m really annoyed that I didn’t get further south than Mumbai, I really must go back because there is so much I want to see, oh yeah and so much I want to eat!

  4. Alexandria April 28, 2015 at 1:14 am - Reply

    I love following your travels, it looks like you had a great time. The food particularly looks good.

  5. Susanne April 28, 2015 at 10:40 am - Reply

    Yummy, that thali looks delicious! I love Indian food, but now that I try to eat gluten free I’m a bit worried about breakfast. Did you see gluten free options anywhere? Beside fruit salad?

    • Rachel Jones April 29, 2015 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      sadly, there’s hardly ever gluten free options :( I notice it because my brother is on a gluten free diet.

      • Susanne April 30, 2015 at 9:02 pm - Reply

        Yep, that’s what I expected. But somehow it always works out – it helps to realize how lucky we are to be able to choose what we want to eat.

  6. De'Jav April 28, 2015 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Love reading your post on India especially the undiscovered places with the ups and downs of the location.

  7. Hiranmay Ghosh March 3, 2017 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    “South Indian Food” does not mean vegetarian fare only. There are exclusive South Indian Non-Veg cuisine, quite different from North Indian or Mughlai food. Try Mutton Fry and Biryani ant Nasheman (opposite St. Philomena Church). There are quite a few other joints too. Also, South Indian (veg or non-veg) cuisine varies from region to region. Hyderabadi Biryani is quite different from its Mysorean counterpart. Coorgi non-veg items like Pandhi (pork) curry is quite distinct.

  8. Terry Poole May 19, 2018 at 12:29 am - Reply

    Thanks very much for all your posts on India, Rachel. I’m heading there next month for a 4-week holiday; my 4th trip to India. I’ll be visiting Hyderabad, Mysore, Madurai, Chettinad, Tanjore, Pondicherry, Chennai, Jodhpur and finally, Delhi. It’s gonna be great. And hot! Your blogposts are really great. Thanks again.

Like the Article? Leave a Reply