The magical charm of Mysuru

We rediscover the quaint beauty of this royal city with a heritage retreat and some comforting café food over a monsoon weekend…
Be it the city’s grand palaces echoing the grandeur of the Wadiyar dynasty or visitors flocking the royal city to witness the ever-so-famous Dasara processions.
Be it the city’s grand palaces echoing the grandeur of the Wadiyar dynasty or visitors flocking the royal city to witness the ever-so-famous Dasara processions.Photo | Express

Mysuru, often celebrated for its rich cultural heritage, vibrant traditions and a harmonious blend of historical and contemporary attractions, offers a captivating glimpse into Karnataka’s royal past. Be it the city’s grand palaces echoing the grandeur of the Wadiyar dynasty or visitors flocking the royal city to witness the ever-so-famous Dasara processions. However, for those seeking a simple and serene weekend getaway that embraces the city’s charm without the hustle of tourist attractions, you may steal our monsoon itinerary promising a holistic and enriching experience enhanced by lush gardens and delectable cuisine in weather that is pleasant, fresh and cool. The beauty of this escapade lies in its flexibility, perfect even for those with just a day to relax and unwind and the cooler temperatures — something Mysuru isn’t otherwise known for. These misty monsoonal skies sprinkling occasional drizzles on the verdant city makes this season the best time to visit the ancient Mahishura Nagara or Mahishura Uru aka Mysuru.

Since our journey began from Bengaluru, we opted for a delightful ride on the Vande Bharat Express, traversing diverse landscapes, including serene rivers like the Kaveri and Kapila and the rugged terrains of Ramanagara, famously known as the backdrop for the 1975 action-adventure film Sholay. Upon arrival from your respective cities, a mere fifteen minute’s auto ride away from the railway station and Mysuru airport is a 108-year-old heritage boutique home smeared in pastel yellow and royal white sure to make you experience love at first sight. Nestled in the tranquil residential area of Laxmipuram, your sanctuary for the weekend is Laika Heritage Stay — surrounded by a beautifully shaded private garden, providing an abundance of peace and calm — making it an ideal spot to enjoy a cup of coffee amidst blooming flowers, with the delightful company of wandering cats, visiting birds and fluttering butterflies. But what’s so special about this sojourn you ask? This fully renovated century-old bungalow exuding timeless charm sits in close proximity to popular destinations like Kukkarahalli Lake, Chamundi Hill, Mysore Palace, RK Narayan’s House and the Mysuru Zoo — should you be tempted to explore the attractions.

The spacious house opens onto a verandah featuring a cosy writer’s or reader’s nook overlooking the garden, complete with a rocking chair, perfect for moments of solitude or shared companionship. Stepping inside, the living room boasts high ceilings with baked clay tiles and glass panes, inviting natural light to flood the space. The house is tastefully furnished with simple cane furniture adorned with white and yellow cushions, complemented by glass bottles and mud pots housing money plants. With three bedrooms, this heritage house offers a peaceful retreat for families, friends or creative minds seeking artistic inspiration. Our favourite spot, undoubtedly, was the dining room attached to a well-equipped kitchen, where we spent leisurely hours playing cards and Uno. While this charming stay allows you to slow down and savour the city’s quiet elegance, making it a perfect escape from the bustling city life you can elevate your holiday by visiting a couple of cafés to indulge in some fresh bakes, local delicacies with twist and sinful chocolates.

The spacious house opens onto a verandah featuring a cosy writer’s or reader’s nook overlooking the garden, complete with a rocking chair, perfect for moments of solitude or shared companionship.
The spacious house opens onto a verandah featuring a cosy writer’s or reader’s nook overlooking the garden, complete with a rocking chair, perfect for moments of solitude or shared companionship. Photo | Express

Enjoy a lazy brunch at Dina Weber’s Sapa Bakery & Café, renowned for its artisanal sourdough bread, fine pastries and comforting coffee. We know you would love to pick out your own coffee and desserts so we shall recommend only the starters and mains such as the Beetroot Orange Walnut Salad, the Sapa Grilled Cheese Sandwich, the Gnocchi in Rosé Sauce, the Goat’s Cheese Stuffed Bajji Chilli and their Coffee Orange Umami Brew Kombucha — all of which are a must-try.

The rest of your day can be tailored to your preferences, but for dinner, we suggest ordering pizzas from The Old House. Then, step out for a late-night dessert at Naviluna Artisan Chocolate, conveniently within walking distance to help complete your step count for the day. Located in a palatial ancestral property — at least 150 years old — adorned with gothic stained-glass windows, Naviluna has garnered acclaim for its exquisite chocolate bars. While these make perfect souvenirs, our focus was on trying their delectable offerings. Indulge in the Naviluna Hot Chocolate, accompanied by a Naviluna Single Origin Chocolate Brownie served with a side of lavender-infused fresh cream and a scrumptious Raisin & Sultana Carrot Cake. This combination is a true delight for the senses.

Although we only had a Sunday to spare, our swift staycation left us thoroughly content. Soul and stomach satisfied, we promised ourselves to return for a longer, more leisurely getaway soon. For those with more time, extending your stay to explore other hidden gems around the city is always a splendid idea.

`6,000 for the whole property, per night. Nearest railhead and airport: is Mysuru.

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