Locals of Mysore enthusiastically trumpet the brilliance of Brindavan Gardens. So much so, that a visit to the popular site in the southern state of Karnataka, should be on every tourist’s must do list. Just 19 kms from Mysore city, the Brindavan Gardens are considered the most beautiful terrace gardens in India.
Construction of the gardens began in 1927 as a beautification phase after the completion of the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam (KRS). The dam (known as Kannambadi to the locals) is a stunning engineering feat. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Cauvery, Hemavati and Lakshmanathritha. Built of a mixture of limestone and brick powder (rather than customary cement), the dam was a multipurpose project designed to supply water for nearby agricultural lands as well as to supply hydroelectric power. The lake which formed behind the dam is one of the largest in India. And it also supplies the numerous fountains located throughout the gardens.
Modeled on the design of the Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir in the Mughal style, the garden is enriched with a number of terraces, parterres, fountains, running and cascading waterchannels, water chutes, lush green lawns, flower beds, shrubs and trees. The River Cauvery below the giant dam divides the garden into two parts which are then divided into 4 areas.
Nearly 2 million people visit this area of the garden complex annually. Sixty (60) acres of meticulously laid out landscaped lawns intertwine with thousands of fountains in different shapes and size, each lit with colorful lamps and set to music. Everyone from couples, families, groups of friends and lots of tourists both foreign and local, come together in the early evening to watch the lighting of the gardens.
Entrance is through the Main Gate area off the enormous parking lot. Public toilets are stationed before the ticket booth. A model of India Gate, Delhi, welcomes visitors into this part of the gardens. From here, food and other refreshments can be purchased before wandering into the other garden areas. This is a very popular spot for locals to meet their friends as well as a perfect opportunity for those with a strong stomach to try some favorite street foods of India.
Visitors move toward the area of the garden near the Cauvery Statue known as South Brindavan. Distinct styles of terrace gardens can be seen here. Bougainvillea and allamanda plants are grown on the slopes of the terraces. A lawn is maintained in the terrace garden with annual and perennial flower beds, ornamental hedges in the periphery, dwarf statues and multiple fountains. Water is continuously sprinkling water due to the water pressure of the dam in its full capacity.
This is the most photographed and most enjoyed area of the gardens. Four extensive terraces graduate to the top of a ridge. From here, visitors have a birds eye view of the gardens.
Located beside the South Brindavan towards the right is the Children’s Park. Kids can play on a slide, concrete animals, birds and aquatic species and other structures.
Government Fruit Orchard
A fruit orchard spanning 75 acres near the North bank of the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam is also open to the public. Crops grown in the orchard include: Mango, Guava, Sapota, Litchi, Roseapple, Bilimbi, Aonla, Avacado, Malayan apple, Arecanut, and Coconut.
Naguvana Horticulture Farm
Various types of fruit plants and coconut trees are grown here within the 30 acres devoted to this area established in in the early 1970’s. Every year a 10-month Horticulture training program is organized for the rural youth of the nearby district.
Chandravana Horticulture Farm
Coconut and mango are grown in this 5 acre island farm located in the center of the Cauvery River.
Bridavan Gardens opens at 6 AM daily, however the crowds don’t appear until 6 PM. It is best to arrive early, around 5 P.M., to avoid the hassles of finding parking and waiting for the long queue to cycle past the ticket booth.
Garden lighting: Monday-Friday: 7:00 – 7:55 PM. Saturday and Sunday: 7:00 – 8:55 PM.
Entry Fee: Adult Rs 20 Child Rs 15 Camera* Rs 50. *Camera tickets are checked multiple times throughout the garden by plain clothed attendants. Keep your ticket handy.
Accommodation: Royal Orchid Brindavan Garden Hotel sits atop the highest point of the park with stellar views of the terrace gardens below. The Elephant Bar is a terrific place to grab a drink before the lighting begins. And the on-site restaurant serves delicious meals beginning at 6 PM. The upscale atmosphere doesn’t come cheap.