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Mysuru

Mysore is about 140 Kms from Bangalore, lies the abode of untold grandeur and glory. Mysore, the capital city of the Wodeyars has always enchanted its admirers with its quaint charm, rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples. There is an old world charm about the city that reaches out and leaves no one untouched.

Mysore, formally known as Mysuru is a place rich in heritage and is amongst the best cities that Karnataka has to offer.

In ancient mythological times, Mysore was ruled by the demon-king Mahishasura, who was a buffalo-headed demon. Hence, in that ancient era, Mysore came to be known by the name of Mahishuru, abode of the demon king Mahisha. Mahishasura was battled and killed by the Goddess Chamundeshwari, whose temple is situated atop the Chamundi Hill, famously known as the Chamundeshwari temple. In honor of the battle that ensued, a 10 day festival (observed during the months of September-October) by the name of Dussehra (or dasara) is organized on a yearly basis to celebrate this victory of good over evil.

There is an inscription on Chamundi Hill that was done in 950AD during the reign of the Gangas. This inscription is the oldest inscription found in Mysore.

The Wodeyar’s were amongst the most notable rulers of Mysore, which was once a capital city. Through the Wodeyars, Mysore was embellished with rich craftsmanship observed with the variety of crafts and arts which are even seen today. This played a major part in contributing to the culture that Mysore is famous for today.

The Vijayanagara Empire disintegrated in 1565. The power vacuum created soon after was exploited by Raja Wadiyar (ruled 1578–1617). He expanded the borders of the Mysore kingdom and in 1610 changed the capital city from Mysore to Srirangapatna; a rare island formed by the river Kaveri, which provided natural protection against military attacks.

From 1760 to 1799, the rule of the dynasty was essentially nominal, with real power in the hands of the dalwai, or commanders-in-chief, Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, who expanded the kingdom aggressively, but clashed with the British East India Company. After Tipu Sultan was killed by the British in the Battle of Srirangapatna in 1799, the Wadiyars were restored to a reduced kingdom.

Serving as the living quarters to the Wodeyars, the palace where they once recided in, now known as the Old Palace or the Wooden Palace, was burnt into ashes during the 1896 Dasara festivities. Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and his mother Maharani Kempananjammanni Devi, commissioned the British architect Lord Henry Irwin to build a new palace which was completed in 1912.

The palace was further expanded in around 1930 (including the addition of the present Public Durbar Hall wing) during the reign of Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar. Although the construction was completed in 1912, the fort continued to be beautified and its inhabitants were slowly moved to the newer extensions built off the palace.

Click here to learn about the places of interest in Mysore.