Mysore is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka, India. It is the headquarters of the Mysore district and the Mysore division and lies about 146 km (91 mi) southwest of Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka. The name Mysore is an anglicised version of Mahishuru, which means the abode of Mahisha. Mahisha stands for Mahishasura, a demon from the Hindu mythology. The city is spread across an area of 128.42 km2 (50 sq mi) and is situated at the base of the Chamundi Hills.
Mysore is famous for the festivities that take place during the Dasara festival when the city receives a large number of tourists. Mysore also lends its name to the Mysore style of painting, the sweet dish Mysore Pak, Mysore Peta (traditional silk turban) and the garment called the Mysore silk saree.
Until 1947, Mysore was the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore which was ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty, except for a brief period in the late 18th century when Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan took power. The Wodeyars were patrons of art and culture and have contributed significantly to the cultural growth of the city, which has led to Mysore earning the sobriquet Cultural capital of Karnataka.
According to Hindu mythology, the area around Mysore was known as Mahishuru and was ruled by a demon, Mahishasura. The demon was killed by the Goddess Chamundeshwari, whose temple is situated atop the Chamundi Hills. Mahishuru later became Mahisuru and finally came to be called Maisuru, its present name in the Kannada language. The anglicised form of the name is Mysore. In December 2005, the Government of Karnataka announced its intention to change the English name of the city to Mysuru. This has been approved by the Government of India but the necessary formalities to incorporate the name change are yet to be completed.
Entrance to the Ambavilas Palace, commonly known as Mysore Palace. The Mysore municipality was established in 1888 and the city was divided into 8 wards. In 1897, an outbreak of bubonic plague killed nearly half of the population of the city. With the establishment of the City Improvement Trust Board (CITB) in 1903, Mysore became one of the first cities in Asia to undertake a planned development of the city.When the Quit India Movement was launched in the early 1940s, Mysore city also played a part in it. Leaders of the independence movement like H. C. Dasappa and Sahukar Channayya were at the forefront during the agitations.The Maharaja's College hostel was the nerve center from where the movement was controlled in the Mysore district and the Subbarayana Kere ground was an important location for public demonstrations
After the Indian independence, Mysore city remained as a part of the Mysore State under India. Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, the then king of Mysore, was allowed to retain his titles and was nominated as the Rajapramukh of the state. He died in September 1974 and was cremated in Mysore city.Over the years, Mysore has become well known as a Centrex for tourism and the city has remained largely peaceful, except for occasional riots related to the Kaveri river water dispute.
Art and culture
Known as the cultural capital of Karnataka, Mysore is well known for the festivities that take place during the period of Dasara, the state festival of Karnataka. The Dasara festivities, which are celebrated over a ten-day period, were first introduced by King Raja Wodeyar I in 1610.On the ninth day of Dasara, called Mahanavami, the royal sword is worshipped and is taken on a procession comprising decorated elephants, camels and horses.On the tenth day, called Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession (locally known as Jumboo Savari) is held on the streets of Mysore city. An image of the Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a golden mantapa on the back of a decorated elephant and taken on a procession, accompanied by tableaux, dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses and camels.The procession starts from the Mysore Palace and culminates at a place called Bannimantapa where the banni tree (Prosopis spicigera) is worshipped. The Dasara festivities culminate on the night of Vijayadashami with a torchlight parade (locally known as Panjina Kavayatthu).
Hindu God Ganesha depicted in this Mysore style of painting. Mysore is called the City of Palaces because of the number of palaces situated in the city, including Amba Vilas popularly known as Mysore Palace, Jaganmohana Palace which has now been converted into an art gallery, Rajendra Vilas also known as the summer palace, situated in the Chamundi Hills, Lalitha Mahal which has now been converted into a hotel and Jayalakshmi Vilas, which is now on the University of Mysore premises.The main palace of Mysore burned down in 1897, and the present-day structure was built on the same site. Externally, Amba Vilas palace exhibits an Indo-Saracenic architecture style though the interior is distinctly Hoysala style of architecture in nature.Even though the Government of Karnataka now maintains the Mysore palace, a small portion of the palace has been allocated for the erstwhile Royal family to live in. The Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion was constructed by Sri Chamaraja Wodeyar for his daughter Jayalakshammanni. It is now a museum dedicated to folk culture. A new gallery is being added for artifacts and collections of the Wodeyars of Mysore.
The Mysore painting style is an offshoot of the Vijayanagar school of painting. King Raja Wodeyar (1578-1617 CE) is credited with having been the patron for this style of painting. The distinctive feature of these paintings is the gesso work in which gold foils are pasted appropriately on the painting.
Nandi in Chamundi hills, Mysore is the location of the International Ganjifa Research Centre, which is involved in the research of the ancient card game Ganjifa and the art associated with it.Mysore is known for rosewood inlay work, with an estimated 4,000 craftsmen involved in this art. The city lends its name to the Mysore silk saree, a ladies' garment, made with pure silk and gold zari. Mysore has institutes such as the Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA), which offers education in visual art forms like painting, graphics, sculpture, applied art, photography, photo-journalism and art history. The theatre repertory Rangayana conducts plays and offers certificate courses on subjects related to theatre.Notable Kannada littérateurs Kuvempu, Gopalakrishna Adiga and U. R. Ananthamurthy have had a long association with Mysore, partly because they had their education there and also served as professors at the Mysore University. The famous English novelist and creator of Malgudi, R. K. Narayan and his brother and cartoonist R. K. Laxman spent much of their life in Mysore.
Business and economy
Multiplex in the Infosys campus at MysoreWhile tourism is the major industry in Mysore, the growth of information technology related industry in the first decade of the 21st century has resulted in the city emerging as the third largest software exporter in the state of Karnataka, next to Bangalore and mangalore. Although lacking an airport, Mysore is connected to other parts of India by railways and road transport. Mysore is also the location of Mysore University, whose alumni include Kuvempu, Gopalakrishna Adiga, S. L. Bhyrappa, U. R. Ananthamurthy and N.R. Narayana Murthy. The All India Radio, the premier radio broadcasting arm of the Government of India had its beginnings here.
Traditionally, Mysore has been home to industries such as weaving, sandalwood carving, bronzework, and the production of lime and salt. The planned industrial growth of the city and the state was first envisaged in the Mysore economic conference, held in 1911.This led to the establishment of industries such as the Mysore Sandalwood Oil Factory in 1917 and the Sri Krishnarajendra Mills in 1920.
In a survey conducted in 2001 by Business Today, the business arm of India Today, Mysore was ranked the 5th best city in India in which to conduct business. Mysore has emerged as the hub of the tourism industry in Karnataka, attracting about 2.5 million tourists in 2006.
For the industrial development of the city, the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) has established four industrial areas in and around Mysore and are located in Belagola, Belawadi, Hebbal (Electronic City) and Hootagalli areas. The major industries in Mysore include BEML, J. K. Tyres, Wipro, SPI, Falcon Tyres, L & T and Infosys.
Since 2003, information technology companies have been creating bases in Mysore, with the city contributing Rs. 1100 crores (US$220 million) to Karnataka's IT exports in the financial year 2007-2008.Infosys has established one of the largest technical training centres in the world and Wipro has established its Global Service Management Center (GSMC) at Mysore.Non-IT related services have been outsourced from other countries to companies in Mysore.
The industrial sector in the city experienced setbacks when the automobile manufacturer Ideal Jawa and the Sri Krishnarajendra Mills closed their operations.Revival efforts, such as the takeover of the Krishnarajendra Mills by the Atlantic Spinning and Weaving Mills Ltd. have been made, but these attempts have run into other problems.
How to reach Mysore?
BY AIR - The nearest airport from Mysore is 140 km away in Bangalore, from where one can take flights for most of the important cities in India.
BY RAIL - Mysore is connected with most of the metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai through regular trains.
BY ROAD - There is a good network of roads that connects Mysore to other important cities of the region.