In case you feel like some culture burst of South Indian heritage in your next vacation, remember to put Mysore at the top of that itinerary. One is instantly taken back into time in this royal city in Karnataka. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947, and has today retained much of its opulent glory. It is also one of the cleanest places in India.

Start by visiting Chamundi Hills, the holy grail of Mysore and sacred land for the the people of Mysore and Hindus in general. Situated on the top of the hills is Sri Chamundeshwari Temple – a temple that holds great religious significance. But even if you are not religious at heart, make sure you visit here for the way the temple is built. The idol of  the fierce Goddess Durga is awe-inspiring, depicting tales of good over evil.

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When in Mysore, what’s a trip without indulging in silk, incense, yoga, and Ayurveda. From the finest silk sarees to gorgeous Ayurvedic treatments at Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre that leave you feeling like a million buck, the city has it all covered for you.

Also, Mysore market is the most organised market you’ll ever see in India. The vegetables are piled in perfect squares, the flowers  all in one place and the walkways, huge. This is where you can buy all your perfumes, incense, and sandalwood oil. Don’t miss out on seeing the Mysore artisans hiding out in the alleys making all the goodies. Your camera could come in handy at such a time.

This could potentially be the first thing you do in Mysore; visit Mysore Palace, which is also known as the Ambavilas Palace. This royal residence is known for its Indo-Saracenic architecture to its imperial interiors, everything is a reminder of why the city is popular as the City of Palaces.

And what’s a trip to Mysore without harping about the South Indian fare. Way different from the South Indian food people eat in the north, you’ll come back with fond memories of tamarind rice, ending each meal with curd rice, and eat your thalis on banana leafs. The best breakfast items are dosas with sambar and chutney and some Mysore pak for dessert after very meal.