Mysore is a major tourist destination in its own right and serves as a base for other tourist attractions in the vicinity. The city receives large number of tourists during the 10-day Dasara festival. One of the most visited monuments in India, the Amba Vilas Palace, or Mysore Palace, is the centre of the Dasara festivities. The Jaganmohana Palace, the Jayalakshmi Vilas and the Lalitha Mahal are other palaces in the city. Chamundeshwari Temple, atop the Chamundi Hills, and St. Philomena's Church are notable religious places in Mysore.
The Mysore Zoo, established in 1892, and the Karanji and Kukkarahalli lakes are popular recreational destinations. Mysore has the Regional Museum of Natural History, the Folk Lore Museum, the Railway Museum and the Oriental Research Institute. The city is a centre for yoga-related health tourism that attracts domestic and foreign visitors. Melody World is a museum showcasing wax statues and musical instruments.
A short distance from Mysore city is the Krishnarajasagar Dam and the adjoining Brindavan Gardens, where a musical fountain show is held every evening. Places of historic importance close to Mysore are Srirangapatna, Somanathapura and Talakad. B R Hills, Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta hill and the hill stations of Ooty, Sultan Battery and Madikeri are close to Mysore. Popular destinations for wildlife enthusiasts near Mysore include the Nagarhole National Park, the wildlife sanctuaries at Melkote and B R Hills and the bird sanctuaries at Ranganathittu and Kokrebellur. Bandipur National Park and Mudumalai National Park, which are sanctuaries for gaur, chital, elephants, tigers, Indian leopards and other threatened species, lie between 40 mi (64 km) and 60 mi (97 km) to the south. Other tourist spots near Mysore include the religious locations of Nanjanagud and Bylakuppe and the waterfalls at Shivanasamudra.
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