Mysore is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka and lies about 146 km (91 mi) southwest of Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka. The name Mysore is an anglicised version of Mahishûru, which means the abode of Mahisha. Mahisha stands for Mahishasura, a demon from Hindu mythology who was vanquished by the Hindu goddess Chamundeshwari. The city is spread across an area of 128.42 km2 (50 sq mi) and is situated at the base of the Chamundi Hills.
Mysore is famous for festivities that take place during the Dasara festival when the city receives a large number of tourists. One of the most visited monuments in India, the Ambavilas Palace (also known as Mysore Palace) is the center of the Dasara festivities. Mysore was rated the second cleanest city in India in 2010 and the cleanest in Karnataka.
Mysore is a tourism hot spot within the state of Karnataka and also acts as a base for other tourist places in the vicinity of the city. The Jaganmohana Palace, the Jayalakshmi Vilas and the Lalitha Mahal are some of the other palaces in the city. Chamundeshwari Temple, atop the Chamundi Hills and St. Philomena's Church are popular religious places in Mysore.
The Mysore Zoo, established in 1892, and the Karanji and Kukkarahalli lakes are also popular spots for tourists. Museums in Mysore include the Regional Museum of Natural History, the Folk Lore Museum, the Railway Museum and the Oriental Research Institute.
The city is also a centre for yoga-related health tourism that attracts a lot of foreign visitors as well. A short distance from Mysore city is the Krishnarajasagar Dam and the adjoining Brindavan Gardens where a musical fountain show enthrals visitors in the evening.
Places of historic importance lying close to Mysore are Srirangapatna, Somanathapura and Talakad. The hills, B R Hills and Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta and the hill stations of Ooty and Madikeri are all near Mysore.Popular destinations for wildlife enthusiasts near Mysore include the National Parks at Bandipur and Nagarhole, the wildlife
sanctuaries at Melkote and B R Hills and the bird sanctuaries at Ranganathittu and Kokrebellur.
Other tourist spots near Mysore include the religious locations of Nanjanagud and Bylakuppe and the waterfalls at Shivanasamudra.