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Face-to-face with history

india Updated: Jan 26, 2010 19:50 IST

Just when you think you’re entering yet another crammed city centre, Mysore’s crowds part enough to give you a glimpse of the beautiful Maharaja’s Palace. Once home to Mysore’s Wodeyar kings, the palace is a living symbol of the opulence of India’s royal past. There are a number of places one should not miss when in Mysore. Here’s a tour of the city.

Temple town
Just a few kilometres off the state highway, large green signs announce the entrance to ‘the historic city of Srirangapatnam’. Once the capital of Mysore state during Tipu Sultan’s rule, it was a city within a fortress. Some of the buttresses and ramparts can still be spotted amidst the profusion of 21st-century dwellings. Home to the impressive Dariya Daulat Palace and the ancient Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangapatnam is a wonderful day-trip to the past.

Old tracks
A visit to the Rail Museum will take you down memory lane. Set up in 1979, the museum has beautiful engines dating back to the British Raj line the lawns. But the pièce de resistance in this museum has to be the Maharani’s teak-lined saloon carriage, which has a pretty dining car, bedroom, a kitchen and more.

Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace is a three-storey stone structure, with marble domes and a 145 feet five-storied tower. The entrance is through the gombe thotti or the Doll’s Pavilion, an unusual gallery of traditional dolls from the 19th and early 20th Centuries. There are many unique rooms throughout the palace.

Fairy tale cathedral
Another bit of stunning architecture in Mysore is the Saint Philomena Cathedral, that was built in 1956 and is one of the largest churches in India. It houses a relic of the third-century Saint Philomena in a beautiful catacomb under the alter. The best time to walk into this structure is in the evening.