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Knowledge Mysore 

About Mysore

The city of Mysore,139 km. from Bangalore, is aptly called the "Sandalwood City". As the visitor enters this city of gardens and avenues of flowering trees, he is greeted by aromas of sandalwood, rose, jasmine and other fragrance. It stands by a hill named after the Goddess Chamundi.

Mysore is quiet and placid unlike the industrial and cosmopolitan capital city of Bangalore. The aura of grandeur and royalty is still there in Mysore,the official capital of the erstwhile Maharajas. Wherever you are in Mysore, you find the reflection of the lavish ways of the former royal rulers. Every edifice stands with a palatial touch - be it the city railway station or a government office or any institution. Buildings with vaulting archways and majestic domes are a common sight in Mysore.

Sandalwood oil, agarbathis and incenses manufactured in Mysore are exported all over the world. There are innumerable craft centers dealing in a wide range of ivory, sandalwood, rosewood and teak carvings and furniture.

Tourist Attractions: Must See Places   Water Falls   Temples   Other Places

 

 

The best time to visit Mysore is during Dasara (September-October). The Dasara time is one of great splendor and magnificence. The entire city wears a bright new look for 10 days, bathed in light, joy and colour. On the tenth day (Vijaya Dashami),the former Maharaja leads a procession through the streets of the city, seated in a golden howda on an elephant, headed by camels and accompanied by caparisoned elephants, horses, palanquins, silvercoaches and standard-bearers with silken banners. After sunset, a review is held at the Bannimantap Maidan amidst a blaze of lights. For Mysoreans Dasara is both a royal as well as a religious festival.

History

Mysore city derives its name from Mahishasura, the monster killed by the reigning deity of the city, Goddess Chamundeshwari. The earliest reference to Mysore is a copper plate inscription dated 862 A.D.

     An enchanting place that still retains its old-world charm, the "City Royale" is a pretty picture of oriental romance. The alluring images of a bygone era represented by the rule of dynasties blend with the fascinating concepts of the contemporary typified by science and technology. For, in Mysore, the past does not get the ancient blends with the modern.

     Located 140 km. south of Bangalore, the Garden city of Mysore has been enriched by both history and geography. If the unending saga and the march of dynasties such as the Gangas the Hoysalas and the emperors of Vijayanagar, Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and the Wadiyars through the ages have resulted in a fascinating history, the meandering rivers such as the Cauvery and the Kabini, the rich forests teeming with wildlife, the wide variety of flora and fauna are examples of nature's bounty.    

Dasara

DASARAs, in Mysore is celebrated during the month of October. Dasara celebrations depict the triumph of good over evil. Karnataka has close association with the Vijayanagar rulers and later with the Wodeyars, erstwhile Mysore Maharajas.

This festival usually falls in the months of September/October every year and comprises nine days of worship and celebration, called Navaratri. The tenth and concluding day is called Vijayadasami, signifying the slaying of the demon Mahishasura by Mahishasuramardini, the Goddess Chamundeswari or Durga, the principal deity of the Mysore Maharajas.

In September 1805, the Maharajas started holding a special durbar ('Royal Assembly', after the fashion of the Mughal emperors) for important citizens, members of the royal family, Europeans, palace officials, royal priests, and the intelligentsia. Commoners also participated in the durbar. The festival has become a tradition of the royal household and reached its zenith during the rule of Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1902-1940).

The venue for most of the festivities of the Mysore Dasara always has been the Amba Vilas Palace, which is also known as the Diwan-e-Khas. Murals vividly capture the Royal Dasara procession of caparisoned elephants, royal horses, courtiers, nobles and soldiers, as it passes through the Palace's Main Gate and winds its way through the city with the backdrop of the Chamundi hills.

On the first day, the King, after a ceremonial bath, worships the family deity in the palace and enters the durbar to the accompaniment of sacred chants and music. He worships the navagrahas (nine sacred deities) and the sacred `kalasa'. Then he ascends the throne at an auspicious moment after going around it three times. The palace lights are lit and a 21-gun salute is given as the royal insignia and sword are presented to him.

According to legend, Dharmaraja, the Pandava king, used the Mysore Royal throne, which is made of gold. Kampilaraya brought it from Hastinapura to Penugonda, where it lay buried. It was rediscovered by Vidyaranya, the royal priest of the Vijayanagar Empire and subsequently presented to Raja Wodeyar in 1609. Another story is that the Moghul Emperor Aurangazeb gifted the throne to Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar in 1700. The third legend says that it belonged to the mythological King Vikramaditya.

The King sits on this throne and receives royal guests. He accepts offerings from various temples and religious centers, which are blessed by royal priests chanting Vedic verses and sprinkling holy water. In the olden days vassals, dewans, army chiefs and other royal staff would line up to offer their respects to the throne. An ensemble of musical instruments accompanied by dance begins and the blowing of conches and trumpets announces the beginning of a parade of uniformed soldiers and others.

The decorated royal elephant arrives and showers rose petals on the assembled guests. The royal horse, equally well decorated, bends its knees in salutation to the throne. While the assembly leaves the court after bowing to the King, the queen and other royal ladies would come to pay obeisance to the King. The queen mother and senior ladies bless him with good health. The King leaves the durbar hall after praying to the Goddess once again and partakes of a lunch with the royal guests.

This ceremony is repeated on all the Navaratri days, accompanied by acrobatic feats, wrestling bouts by champion wrestlers, fireworks display and other forms of entertainments, which are open to the public as well.

The King worships the Goddess Saraswathi on the seventh day and Mahisasuramardini on the eighth. On Mahanavami, the royal sword is worshipped ceremoniously and all the weapons are taken out in a procession of the army, elephants, horses, camels and the royal retinue. Ceremonies are held on the Chamundi Hill.

Navaratri culminates in Grand Vijayadasami celebrations, also known as Jambu Savari. The grandeur and magnificence of this event has popularised the Mysore Dasara world over. On this day, the King worships the royal sword, places it on a palanquin and offers an ash gourd smeared with vermilion as sacrifice to it. He heads the grand procession, seated in the historically famous golden howdah bedecked with rare gems and pearls, which is over 750-kgs, and is carried by the royal elephant.

Now the ceremonies are largely a private affair of the royal family, witnessed by a select audience. Clad in royal attire and traditional headgear, His Highness Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, the scion of the royal family, ascends the seven steps to the golden throne - which is assembled according to religious instructions - at a preordained hour and receives obeisance from the public. Court musicians then play the signature tune composed to commemorate the assumption of power by the Wodeyars.

But the most significant change in the present day’s Dasara celebrations is that, the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari has replaced the King in the procession. Also absent is the royal procession comprising soldiers.

Today, Dasara is marked by daily musical performances by world-renowned musicians at the Amba Vilas Palace, the exhibition at Doddakere Maidan and the colourful Vijayadasami parade.


Must see Places


Maharaja Palace

It was the seat of the Maharaja's of Mysore. Built during 1911-12 in the Indo-Saracenic style at a cost of Rs. 42 lakhs, the palace dominates the city's skyline. It's an edifice beautified by ornate domes, archways, turrets, colonnades and sculptures. The palace has a magnificent Durbar Hall with a 200 kg. gold throne inlaid with precious stones. It is an extravaganza of stained glass ceiling, mirrors reflecting images from all sides, mosaic floors and wooden doors with beautiful carvings. There are wall paintings of the Dasara procession. The Royal Gallery is open to visitors. On public holidays, National Festivals, Saturdays and Sunday's the Palace is richly illuminated. (7.00pm to 8.00pm)

Chamundi Hill

10 km from Mysore by road and about 4km. if one climbs up the hill. Atop this hill (altitude 3,489ft.), there is a temple dedicated to Chamundeshwari, the consort of Lord Siva. The temple has a jewel Nakshatra-malike, donated by Mumdi Krishnarajendra Wodeyar with 30 Sanskrit slokas inscribed on it. There is an awesome figure of the demon Mahishasura whom the Goddess Chamundeshwari is said to have vanquished. The hilltop reached by a tree-lined motorable road. It can also be stands a giant image of a Nandi (Siva's bull), 16ft. high and 25 ft. long, carved out of a single rock.

Immediately after Dasara, the Theppotsava (float festival) of Goddess Chamundeshwari takes place. Temple visiting hours:9a.m. to 12 noon and 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. There are regular buses to the Hill from the Mysore Central Bus Stand.  

Brindavan Gardens 

19 km from Mysore City. The Brindavan Gardens are situated at the base of the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam built across the river Cauvery. The dam, 2.4 km long and forming a 130-sq-km. lake, is one of the biggest in India. It has been built in stone without cement and comprises parapets and a grotto for the river-Godess Cauvery. The terraced Brindavan Gardens, with swirling fountains and illuminated by a myriad colorful lights, look like a fairy land. Illumination timings: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on week days and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on holidays. Boating facilities are also available. 

Chamarajendra Art Gallery

Also known as Jagan Mohan Art Gallery, it has a vast collection of paintings by renowned artists like Ravi Varma and Nicholas Roerich. Also on display here are curios in ceramics, sandalwood, ivory, metal and stone, ancient musical instruments and antique furniture. Timings: 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 2.30 p.m. to 6p.m.

Jagan Mohan Art Gallery

This palace is in two parts. The main building lying to the west and a spacious pavilion to the east. This pavilion was used for marriages and other purposes when the old palace was burnt and till the completion of sajja in the new place in the year 1910 A.D.

The western, older building is a treasury of pictures and models, illustrating Mysore history and personalities. The ground floor contains number of paintings giving the genealogy of the Mysore Kings and other articles of great interest. An annexe to the south has a number of articles which were the personal property of the Maharajas. Dasavataras carved on one rice are displayed in the western hall.

The second floor adorns the paintings of great painters from different countries of the world. One of the most attractive paintings is 'Lady with the lamp'. In one of the rooms are displayed the dumbbells and clubs which belonged to and to have been used by the great warrior Kantivrava Narasaraja Wodeyar.

On the third storey, the Rung Mahal or picture hall, has many quaint and interesting mural paintings. One room here contains the pictures of the modern school, Calcutta and some examples of the lovely work of Mysorean, Mr. K.Venkatappa. One big hall is dedicated to the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma.

Zoological Gardens

This garden stands to the east of the fort at a kilometer. It owes its origin to his Highness Sri Chamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur, but it has been greatly enlarged and improved recently. The very extensive grounds are beautifully laid out, and kept in excellent order. All the animals in the Zoo are well fed, well kept and generally healthy. Arrangements are made for some of the animals, especially for lions and tigers, to roam about in liberty. There is a fine collection of animals, birds and snakes, which include Lions, Tigers, Rhinos, Kangaroos, Hyena, Deer, Elephants, Peacocks, Swans, Pythons, King Cobras, etc., Recently they have added a snake park. There are a few artificial lakes in the Zoo. A visit to these gardens is extremely thrilling.

This century-old zoo houses nearly 2,000 animals. It has the distinction of breeding wild animals in captivity. the venomous king Cobra is also bred here.
Timings:8.30 A.M. to 5.30 P.M. (Tuesday's Holiday)
Entrance Fee:Rs.15/-

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Water Falls


Shivanasamudram Falls 

Discover nature's handwork in the form of this tiny island-town 65 km east of Mysore. Forested hills and lush green valleys cradle a small hamlet and two fine temples. Together, they provide a startlingly calm setting for the Cauvery river as it plummets from a height of 75 m into deep, rocky gorge with a deafening roar to form two picturesque falls, Barachukki and Gaganachukki. Downstream from the falls is Asia's first hydroelectric project, established at the behest of Sir M.Visvesvaraya in 1902. 

Abbey Falls 

Tucked away between private coffee and spice estates, Abbey Falls(11 km from Madikeri) offers a splendid backdrop for picnics. As you make your way past coffee bushes and tall trees entwined, the falls make a sudden and dramatic appearance as they cascade their way down steps into limpid pools to join the Cauvery river. 

Iruppu Falls 

Nestling beside the Rajiv Gandhi National Park (Nagarhole), Iruppu Falls is a stunning sight during the monsoon. From their humble origins in the Brahmagiri Range, the falls plunge 170 ft in two stages. They come down leads from these falls to the Brahmagiri Peak in Southern Kodagu. En route to the falls, the Rameshwara Temple attracts a large number of pilgrims during the festival of Shivaratri.

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Other Places


Govt. Silk Factory, Sandalwood Oil Factory, Sri Chamarajendra TechnicalInstitute, Cauvery Arts and Crafts Emporium, Rail Museum, Maanasa Gangothri (Mysore University Campus).

Railway Museum 

Behind City Railway Station is an interesting museum pertaining to Railways. Admission by tickets.   

Lalitha Mahal Palace 

The beautiful palace stands to the east of the city which was named as Summer Palace. It stands at the highest point commanding a magnificient panoramic view of the city. At present, it serves as a Five Star Hotel.   

Saint Philomena's Church

One of the most beautiful and tallest building to the north of the City. A beautiful image of Philomeana placed in an undergropund chamber is worth paying a visit.

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Temples of the City


Ranganatha Swamy Temple

The city has number of temples, the earlist of which probably dates from 15th century A.D.

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