Mysore and Southern Maidan

The charming, unruly city of Mysore, the former capital of the princely state, does a brisk trade in its eponymous shimmering silks, sandalwood and jasmine against a backdrop of its stunning, borderline gaudy Indo-Saracenic palace. On the outskirts of the city is the empty ruin of Srirangapatnam, the island fortress of Britain's nemesis Tipu Sultan, and the bird-crammed Ranganathittu Sanctuary.

Further on is the Chennakesava Temple of Somnathpur, a spellbinding example of Hoysala architecture. Leopards and tigers stalk the two parklands, Bandipur and Nagarhole, that spill over Karnataka's borders with neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and closer to the coast you can climb the Ghats to the tiny Kodagu district for forests of wild elephants and coffee plantations nursed by a warrior people. Also in Kodagu lies Sera, the university at the centre of one of India's biggest Tibetan Buddhist refugee settlements.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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