Mysore is the third largest city in the state Karnataka in South India. It is located at the foot of the Chamundi Hills, with population around 900 thousand people. Mysore has been capital of Kingdom Mysore, governed by the Wadiyar dynasty whole 6 centuries between 1399 and 1956.
Its rulers – Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan are patrons of art and culture and they have contributed about the significant cultural growth of city of Mysore, which has transformed into a cultural capital of the state Karnataka. There are 17 palaces in city of Mysore, therefore they call it the “City of the palaces”.
The city is a center for yoga, connected with the health tourism and it attracts local and foreign visitors. Mysore is most visited during the ten-day festival Desara during September-October. There are still auto-rickshas and tonga-horses as an attraction for the tourists in the city. One of the cleanest cities of India, during the last years in Mysore has also been observed growth in the industry of the information technologies. The many parks and lakes with places for rest, are one of the things, which attract in this so romantic city. The airport of Mysore is modernized, but the airline companies still meet difficulties at its servicing. One of the assumptions about the name of the city is that it is a part of the name of the demon of evil Mahisashura, which ruled the region around Mysore according to the Hindu mythology. It was killed by the goddess Chamundeshvari and in her honour has been built a temple on the top of Chamundi Hills, which is called „Mahisashura“. Thus the city has accepted the name Mahisuru, which at the British has become Mysore. In 2014 the city was renamed to Mysore.
Besides with the palaces, Mysore is famous for its sarees with own brand “Mysore“. They are elaborated of pure silk with woven golden thread.
Coming in Mysore, the tourist cannot miss to visit the Mysore palace – one of the most beautiful palaces in the world, also popular as Amba Vilas. It was designed by the British architect Henry Erwin, it was built in Indo-Arabian style between 1897 and 1912 and it is an official residence of the royal families from the Wadiyar dynasty. It occupies enormous area and it has been elaborated with such exquisiteness as if it is a fabulous creature. The palace has three floors with grey-granite walls and marble pink cupolas. Its facade has seven spacious arches and two smaller ones, which accompany the central arch, which high columns are unique. Above the central arch is raising the impressive sculpture of Gajalakshmi, an Indian goddess of the wealth, luck and abundance, and around it are shaped elephants. Observing the tradition, entering the palace the visitor should take off his/her shoes, and photographing is forbidden, so for a person there remains only the pleasure to touch this beauty.
Besides the abundant interior, in the Mysore palace there can be seen and the Arms hall. It preserves a collection of weapons, which have belonged to members of the royal family. Among them there are spears and swords from 14 century, and also weapons from the beginning of the 20 century. The collection of costumes is also interesting, but most impressive is the maharaja’s throne, which they used to put over his elephant. It is elaborated out of gold and is decorated with gems. On Saturday, Sunday and on holidays the palace Mysore is illuminated during the night by 100 thousand electric bulbs and it is very beautiful.
Festivals in the Mysore
Mysore is most visited during the festival Drasara, which continues 10 days. A center of the festivals is the Mysore palace. These festivals have been introduced by king Raja Wodeyar in 1610. The first days of the festival are accompanied by lots of dances, music, merriment, competitions in freestyle wrestling and many other attractions. On the tenth day of the festival Dasara is carried out a procession on the streets of Mysore. The idol of the goddess is put on a gilded mantle on the back of a decorated elephant, which is accompanied by music groups and other decorated elephants, camels and horses. The procession begins from the Mysore palace and continues to a specified place, where a liturgy is carried out. The festivals finish during the night by a torch parade. Indians believe that Dasara shall help them in realization of their desires.
The Jaganmohan palace initially has been a head office of the royal family. It was destroyed by a fire in 1897, and the new palace was restored in 1912. In 1915 it was transformed into an Art Gallery, which contains more than 2000 paintings. A significant part of them is of the Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma. The paintings, drawn in style “Mysore” are interesting, in which is used also golden foil at the depiction. He has studied at the Vijayngar school of arts in Mysore.
In the concert hall of the palace are organized dance performances, musical festivals and etc. cultural activities during the festival Dasara.
The church Saint Philomena is one of the biggest in India. It has been built in Gothic style, and it reminds the eminent Cologne cathedral, which with its 157 m is one of the highest cathedrals in the world. The highest part of the church Saint Philomena is 53 m. It is included in the list of UNESCO for the world cultural heritage.
Tipu Sultan’s summer palace, impressing with the architecture, the magnificent frescos and the furnishing speaks about its owner. Tipu Sultan is famous for the nickname the „Tiger of Mysore“ and is considered for one of the most educated rulers of India. He has offered fierce resistance to the British colonization in South India.
The visit of the Devaraja market, representing a colourful market-place for fruits and vegetables, is one adventure and entertainment.
The Brindavan park, which is located at 15 km from Mysore, is a gorgeous place for a walk and rest. Established in 1932, it is one beautiful jewel together with the lake and the musical fountain, which is the main attraction of the park. It is visited by 2 million tourists annually, although the admission is paid.
Mysore – the city with abundant heritage of myths, romantic stories and clean nature deserves to be visited.