General Information about Mysore
770m above sea level and
140 kms from Bangalore, this iperial city was the erstwhile capital
of the Wodeyars. so known as the City of Palaces, Mysore retains a
quaint iarm that never fails to enchant.
Mysore is the erstwhile capital of Wodeyars, the rulers of Mysore
State. The Wodeyar family ruled Mysore since 14th century except for
a short period of 40 years when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were the
rulers. Today Mysore is one of the major cities of Karnataka. Mysore
has emerged as a thriving market for exotic sandalwood & incense,
the Mysore silk sarees and stone-carved sculptures.
Mysore is certainly a charming, old-fashioned and undaunting town
dominated by the spectacular Maharaja's Palace, around which the
boulevards of the city radiate. Nearby is the city centre with the
colourful and frenetic Devaraja Market is inviting a stroll.
On the outskirts of Mysore, Srirangapatnam still harbours
architectural gems from the days of the great Indian hero, Tipu
Sultan, and the magnificent Hoysala temple of Somnathpur lies little
more than an hour's drive away.
In the tenth century Mysore was known as "Mahishur", the town where
the buffalo-demon Mahishashur was slain by the goddess Durga. The
word Mysore expands to "Mahishasurana Ooru", which means the town of
Mahishasura. It is believed that during one of the wars between
devils and demons on the one hand and gods and goddesses on the
other, the demon Mahishasur (Mahishur) overpowered the gods.
The goddess on seeing this, incarnated as the fireceful Chamundi or
Chamundeshwari and consequently, Mahishasura was killed by Her atop
the Chamundi Hill near Mysore. Ever since, the Mysore royal family
has worshipped Chamundeshwari as the palace deity. Hills dedicated
to Her stand at the eastern end of Mysore town to this day.
Sandalwood, its products and silk are Mysore's specialities, sold in
Government-owned emporia at fixed prices. The Government Silk
Factory offers silks straight off the loom.
The Dasara celebrations in Mysore bring back the glory and grandeur
of a bygone era. During Oct-Nov., the entire city rejoices with
colour and gaiety. The 10-day festivity culminates in a grand
procession on the last day- Vijayadashami.
famous for Mysore Pak - a sweet rich in ghee. Other delicacies
include spicy rice preparations, idii, dosai and vada.
spots around Mysore City are well- connected bv road.
Mysore Palace is one of the most magnificent buildings. It is a
sight not to be missed when it is illuminated on Sundays and festive
occasions. The interior of the Palace is equally worth a visit, for
its spacious halls, called Mantaps, paintings and architectural
beauty. The palace is an excellent combination of Indo-Saracenic
architecture. The domes and the outside construction are of Muslim
architecture. But the interior of the Palace is a fine example of
Hindu architecture. Together, it is an aesthetic blend of Hindu and
Muslim architecture. Though the present Palace is little over a
century old, there is clear evidence to show that there existed a
royal structure even when the two Yadu dynasty princes, Yaduraya and
Krishnaraya, came to Mysore in 1399 A.D
The Mysore chieftain had his residential building here. Mysore
remained the capital of the Yadu or Wodeyar dynasty till 1610 when
Raja Wodeyar shifted his headquarters from Mysore to Srirangapatna,
after defeating the Vijayanagar representative. Till this period, as
the Mysore rulers continued to rule their province from Mysore,
there must have existed a building appropriate to their stature and
needs. We find a clear description of the Mysore Palace as it
existed during the period of Kanteerava Narasaraja Wodeyar (1638)
and Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar (1673-1704), the earliest description of
the Mysore available on record. This clearly indicates that a royal
structure existed in Mysore even prior to them.
Kanteerava Narasaraja Wodeyar is credited to have rebuilt the old
structure and the fort around it and strengthened it by placing
around it eleven powerful guns, each bearing a name. The Palace,
probably, did not receive due care after Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar,
because of political instability in their kingdom. Historical
evidence goes to show that the Palace and the buildings located
around it within the fortwalls suffered further when Tipu Sultan
embarked upon a project to shift the town to Nazarbad, a distance of
about 1.5 kms from the present Palace. There was no building worth
the name in Mysore for the coronation of the five-year-old
Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, after Tipu died in the battle against the
British in 1799. The capital was shifted back to Mysore from
Srirangapatna and the ancestral Palace was rebuilt on the same site
in the same form as it existed earlier. The model and paintings of
this Palace, built chiefly out of wood and mud in Hindu style, can
be seen even today. The Maharaja and his family moved to the Palace
in 1801. As fate would have it even this hastily built wood and mud
structure met with a catastrophe. During the wedding of
Jayalakshammanni, the eldest daughter of Chamaraja Wodeyar, in
February 1897, a sudden fire destroyed the entire front wing of the
wooden Palace. Again the construction of a new palace, a bigger one
than that existed, but on the same model and on the same site, was
taken up in that year alone and was completed in 1912. During this
period, the royal family temporarily lived in the Jaganmohan Palace,
which now houses an art gallery. The new palace cost about Rs. 42
lakhs. However, the old portion of the palace was retained and can
be seen even now behind the front portion of the new structure.