A centre of sandalwood-carving, silk and incense production, Mysore, officially renamed Mysuru in 2014, is one of south India’s more appealing cities. Nearly 160km southwest of Bengaluru, the city is Karnataka’s most popular tourist destination by a long shot, attracting about 2.5 million visitors each year. Nevertheless, it remains a charming, old-fashioned and undaunting town, changed by neither an IT boom nor its new-found status as a top international yoga destination. That said, the erstwhile capital of the Wadiyar rajas can be a little disappointing at first blush: upon stumbling off a bus or train you’re not so much embraced by the scent of jasmine blossoms or gentle wafts of sandalwood as smacked by a cacophony of tooting, careering buses, bullock carts, motorbikes and tongas. Still, give it a few days and Mysore will cast a spell on you.

In addition to its established tourist attractions, chief among them the Mysore Palace, Mysuru is a great city simply to stroll around. The evocative, if dilapidated, pre-Independence buildings lining market areas such as Ashoka Road and Sayaji Rao Road lend an air of faded grandeur to a busy centre that teems with vibrant street life.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook