In search of a perfect one-day getaway from Bangalore that combines history, architecture, and a comfortable drive? Look no further than the stunning St. Philomena Church in Mysore, an architectural masterpiece that beckons history enthusiasts and spiritual seekers alike. With the recently constructed Mysore-Bangalore Expressway, the journey is quick and comfortable, leaving you with ample time to explore the church, savor a delicious lunch, and visit the iconic Mysore Palace and/or the Brindavana Gardens.
A Smooth Ride on the Mysore-Bangalore Expressway
The recently inaugurated Mysore-Bangalore Expressway has transformed the journey between these two cities. With a well-maintained road surface, efficient toll booths, and well-marked lanes, the expressway offers a smooth and comfortable drive. Covering a distance of approximately 150 kilometers, you can now reach Mysore from Bangalore in just under a couple of hours. The highway is almost access controlled, making you maintain an average of over 80-100 kph.
St. Philomena Church: A Neo-Gothic Marvel
Upon reaching Mysore, your first stop should undoubtedly be the breathtaking St. Philomena Church. This Neo-Gothic architectural wonder was constructed in 1936 in honor of St. Philomena. Its design, inspired by the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, boasts two towering spires that rise to an impressive height of 175 feet. The church's interior is adorned with vibrant stained glass windows depicting scenes from the birth of Christ. It's not just a place of worship but a historical and architectural gem.
You can park inside the church itself it's free and mostly available. So no need to worry about were to leave your vehicle.
A Glimpse into History
The history of St. Philomena Church dates back to 1936, a remarkable 11 years before India gained its independence. However, the story of this sacred place begins even earlier, in 1843, when the then Maharaja of the Wodeyar dynasty established a church on the same site. The real significance, though, came in 1933 when the Maharaja of Mysore laid the foundation stone of the present-day St. Philomena Church. This decision was prompted by the discovery of a relic of Saint Philomena, which is now preserved beneath the church's main altar. You can enter the main altar which is underneath the church. The exit from the altar is through a short tunnel to the back of the church, which was quite interesting as well.
The architectural marvel of St. Philomena Church is a true testament to human creativity and ingenuity. Designed by a French architect and constructed in the Neo-Gothic style, the church draws inspiration from the iconic Cologne Cathedral in Germany. Upon entering, visitors are greeted by a floor plan in the shape of a cross, a symbol deeply embedded in Christian tradition.
Two towering spires, each standing at a majestic height of 175 feet, grace the church's facade. These spires not only add to the church's grandeur but also bear a striking resemblance to the Cologne Cathedral and St. Patrick's Church in New York. One of the most captivating features of St. Philomena Church is its intricately painted stained glass windows, depicting scenes from the birth of Christ. These vibrant artworks illuminate the church's interior, creating a serene and ethereal atmosphere.
Notably, St. Philomena Church is considered the second-largest church in Asia, a testament to its sheer size and architectural significance. Its unique Neo-Gothic architecture sets St. Philomena Church apart from other historical landmarks of its era. Visiting this church is like stepping into a foreign land, as its design stands out amidst the traditional Indian architecture that adorns Mysore. Even though it is located in the heart of the bustling city, the church is surrounded by ample open space, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in its tranquility.
After visiting the church you could also visit the Mysore palace, the best time to enter is just before sunset, and also enjoy the light show afterward. The palace is hardly 10 minutes away but parking can get tricky, especially on the weekends or holidays. Mysore Palace is the grand palace of the Wadyars! and it's magnificent and huge!
There are many restaurants and cafes in Mysore for lunch or dinner.
With the new Bengaluru - Mysuru expressway, the drive is very comfortable to Mysuru and makes it a perfect one-day or weekend getaway from Bengaluru.
Tips to note:
- Start early from Bengaluru or after 11am, to avoid traffic congestion entering the expressway!
- The Church looks splendid around 4pm just as the sun starts going down from it's peak.
- Grab lunch on the highway like at Poojari Fish Land, to avoid the rush inside Mysuru and easy parking.
- Also, best to take a break before entering the expressway, as you wouldn't want to exit it until Bengaluru.