Which city has the following things named after itself? A bathing soap, a type of south Indian fast food with stuffing, a variety of silk, a soft and porous sweet dish with a lot of ghee and an erstwhile State Bank subsidiary. The names are: Mysore sandal soap, Mysore masala dosa, Mysore silk, Mysore Pak and State Bank of Mysore. Nestled at the foot of Chamundi hills and watched over by Chamundi Devi or the Mahishasuramardhini, the city of Mysuru is one of the most beautiful, ecologically most balanced and tourism-wise most abundant locations in India. During India 360, Mysuru was one of our most enjoyed cities in India. This was enhanced by the fact that we were at Mysuru right during Navratri and Dassera, when the city is a potpourri of funfairs, performances, flower and food fests.
A short history of Mysuru
The name Mysuru comes from Mahishasuramardhini which means the slayer of the buffalo demon. There is a popular Hindu mythology that says that Mysuru was tormented by Mahishasura (Mahisha Asura) or the buffalo demon. The grand way in which Mysuru celebrates its Navratri and Dassera, revering godess Shakti, stands testimony to this story and etimology.
Mysuru was ruled by the Wodeyar rulers for 6 centuries from 1399 until the time that India became a republic. During the late 1700s, Mysore was briefly seized by the Sultanate from across the river, when Tipu Sultan held Srirangapattana as his capital until his death in 1799. The modern day Mysuru was envisioned by King Chamarajendra Wodeyar the 10th, who set up the Mysore Zoo, the present municipal office, several colleges, schools and industrial training centres, many dedicated to the sandalwood industry. The Wodeyar family still lives in Mysuru palace today. But they are no longer rulers after the treaty of 1950, when Mysuru ceased to be a kingdom. Mysuru was the headquarters of the Mysore presidency for a while. Then the formation of Karnataka state and the shifting of headquarters to the cantonment city of Bengaluru turned Mysuru from an administrative heaquarters to Karnataka's cultural hub.
During the British rule, the spelling of the city was anglicised to Mysore, as it is still unofficially referred to today. In 2014, the official name was restored to Mysuru, an exact representation of the Kannada spelling. This is when the Karnataka government went on a renaming spree in October 2014, changing the English names of 12 cities to match the Kannada spellings, some of them including Belagavi (Belgaum), Hubballi (Hubli), Vijayapura (Bijapur), Mangaluru (Mangalore) and Shivamogga (Shimoga).
Geography of Mysuru
Mysuru is at the foot of Chamundi hills and is on the southern bank of the Cauvery river. The Krishna Raja Sagara dam holds the river in Mandya district, about 16 km from Mysuru city. To the south of Mysuru, beoynd Chamundi Hill, is the Eastern Ghat mountain range. These are mountains ranging from 1500 to 2000 metres in altitude with an evergreen tropical forest. The forests are famous for sandalwood and several medicinal herbs. To the west of Mysuru is the coffee growing district of Coorg, which lies on the Western Ghats.The Eastern Ghats meet the Western Ghats near Ooty in Tamil Nadu, about 160 km away. Mysuru is about 100 km from both the Kerala and Tamil Nadu borders. It is about 150 km south-west of the state capital, Bengaluru.
Let us take a tour of the best places to see in Mysuru.