As the year comes to an end, we leave you with some free things to do in this magnificent city of Mysore. There are many things that one can do here – the museums, the grand Mysore Palace and the art galleries are paradise in Mysore. But who does not like a little treat? Especially when you are backpacking across a country on a shoe string budget, every single penny counts. And these are the times when a small treat here and there matter the most. There are multiple free things that you can do in Mysore. But here are our five most favorite ones:
1) HIKE THE CHAMUNDI HILLS – This hill has the temple of Chamundeshwari and is one of Mysore’s favourite – the locals as well as the visitors love it. This is one unique place which is adored by the fitness freak and the God fearing alike – reason being the 1000 steps. These steps can provide a good workout for the hikers and something arduous for the God fearing that helps them attain salvation. Just reach the foothills in the morning and begin your ascend. As you ascend, turn back to enjoy the sight of the city in the background. Halt! Take your time and take it all in as you climb the steps. Meet the famous Nandi, the Bull, on your way up. Once you reach the top, enjoy the fresh air. The colours and chatter of people outside the temple, the quiet just a few steps away behind the temple are marvelous – this are some occasions when you just soak in the culture.
If you are not a morning person, head to the hills in the evening to enjoy the view of the lit-up city.
2) WALK AROUND KUKKARAHALLI LAKE – One of the lung spaces in the heart of the city situated in the campus of Manasa Gangothri (Mysore University), this lake is a delight of the locals. It is brimming with people early in the mornings and in the evenings before sunset. It is a perfect place for spotting some unique birds. Swimming was allowed here in the 1960s until someone spotted a crocodile here. This secret muse has inspired many poets and artists of Mysore. Author RK Narayan described a scene at this place as a “perfect sunset”. Arrive here in the evening before the sun has gone down and take a stroll around the lake. Wait until sunset and watch the bats fly around looking for their hunt. Though this place does not feature in the guide books, it is a must free to do thing in Mysore.
3) The Great Indian Bazaar – Mysore has one of the most fantastic markets that India can offer. An assault on all five senses, the 100 year old Devaraja Market will provide you with an experience like none other. Take a stroll around the Devaraja Market in the evening. But before you set your foot inside the market, wait! Because “What is this life, full of care, We have no time stand and stare”. Take some time, stand at the market square and look around – the spectacle begins here. And when you enter the Devaraja Market, there are colours, flowers, perfumes, bananas, fruits in abundance. The market also is a place where you can feel the local vibe very closely. One of the travel bloggers, Anna from Global Gallivanting visited the Devaraja Market with us and here are the reasons why she thinks one should visit this place.
Devaraja Market overflows with flowers in the evenings. An obvious thing that people did with the flower abundantly available here was to extract the flower oils and make perfumes. In the market, there are stores selling the flower oil extract. And not just the scent of the flower, you can find the base oil of your most favourite branded perfume for a fraction of the price. If perfume is your thing, this is where you have to be. And the shopkeepers are kind enough to let you sniff into almost everything they have – all for free.
Apart from the flowers, there are many unique things around – a shop selling antiques, another sharpening the knives. Spot the huge yellow blocks and guess what this is. A free to do thing here would be to taste a piece from these blocks.
4) Sit around and watch the world pass by – The market square outside Devaraja Market is a spectacle in itself. The view around is like a beautifully shot scene from a movie with a heritage building in the background. Every person goes about their own business – some standing, some walking around and some sketching and painting. Some great artists who have drawn inspiration from this market are R.K. LAXMAN, the famous cartoonist and T.S. SATYAN, a well-known photojournalist. Grab a bench at the market square, sit around and watch the world pass by. Or carry a book along and read or go trigger happy – this is probably one of the most beautiful places in the city where a scenery and experience is a free to do activity at any time of the day.
And if you think you can load yourself with some calories, head to the iconic Guru sweets. Buy some bright yellow Indian sweet, the famous Mysore Pak. Relish this along with the scenery around.
Another place where you can sit around and do nothing is the Palace. Yes, you can enter the Palace till the view point without buying a ticket. So enter, head right ahead – towards the front of the Palace. Find a shady spot and sit there. Here you can read, update your journal or just sit and look around at the grandeur of the Palace. Visit the temples around the Palace – they are free too. And well! If you happen to be in Mysore on a Sunday or on a public holiday, make sure you are at the Palace at half past six in the evening – the lit-up Palace will leave you breathless.
5) How about some free food – They said there was nothing like a free lunch. But sure there are some free evening snacks. Gear up for some authentic road side evening snack on a walking tour that we have at goMowgli every evening from 6:00pm till 8:00pm – a must free to do thing if you are in the city.
“I’ll do anything for free stuff”, said Sandra Bullock. And why should one not do it when the free things are some of the best that you will find in Mysore. So go ahead and enjoy these free things to do in Mysore.
Going around Mysore is not difficult. However, travel gets better when you observe the details and understand the way of living of the people in a locality. This is where we at goMowgli can help you. Not just places, we tell you the whats and answer your whys. May be these are the stories that gives the travellers a different perspective. May be these stories help them understand a bit of this vast country.
If you are planning a trip to Mysore, you can spend a day with us (you can book the tour here). We take you to the offbeat locations without compromising on the must-visits.
And if you have been to Mysore and have some suggestions that we have missed, do leave a comment. .