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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history and culture of Mysore?

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The city has a long rich history which is aptly reflected in its culture. The cultural capital of Karnataka, it is also the second largest city of the state and has been a home to various religions that have co-existed in harmony for many years.


  • According to Hindu Mythology
    The name of the city Mysore comes from the word "mysooru", which is derived from the word "mahishur" or "Mahishasurana Ooru", meaning the town of Mahishasura in Kannada, the local language. The city finds its mention in the Puranas and is associated with the legend of King Mahishasura, a buffalo-headed monster and Goddess Chamundeshwari. According to the Puranic story, in order to get rid of the demon, Gods and Goddesses prayed to Goddess Parvati, who then took birth as Chamundeshwari and killed the monster on top of the Chamundi hill near Mysore. Thus the name of the city and the hills come from the Puranas.


  • Till 12th Century
    The Ganga Dynasty ruled Mysore from 2nd century till 950 AD followed by the Cholas, who ruled for over a century and left their mark on the pages of the history of Mysore. Then came the the Chalukyas and the Hoysalas, the latter drove the Cholas from the remaining part of the region in the 12th century. Hoysalas were responsible for building the beautiful temples or expanding them, including the temple on Chamundi Hills.

  • 14th to 18th Century
    The Vijayanagar Kings took the control of the Mysore region from the Hoysalas, followed by Yadu Dynasty in 1399 AD. The Yadu Dynasty contributed significantly to the development of Mysore. The raja of Mysore, Bettada Chamaraja Wodeyar, rebuilt the fort of Mysore and named the city 'Mahishura Nagara', which means the city of Mahishur. The Raja changed the capital of the region from Mysore to Srirangapatna, but in 1799, after the death of Tipu Sultan, Mysore was again made the capital city.

  • British Rule
    During the British Rule, minor Prince Krishnaraja Wodeyar was placed on the throne of Mysore and the city started to grow since then. Under the rule of Krishna Raja Wodeyar III, Mysore town expanded and moved beyond the walls of the fort. Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (ruled from 1895-1940), eldest son Mummadi Krishna Raja Wodeyar, developed Mysore into a beautiful and majestic city with excellent planning, so much so that the city became famous for its magnificent buildings, wide roads and elegant parks.

After India got independence, Mysore continued as a sovereign state under the Maharaja H.H. Jaya Chamaraja Wodeyar along with a Government of the state, headed by Mr. K.C. Reddy as the Chief Minister. Even though Mysore merged with the Republic of India in 1950, Maharaja Continued as the Rajpramukh of the State.

Today, this modern city has managed to retain its quaint old world charm. The steady patronage from Kings have led to the evolution of a distinct style in the city (in the field of painting, architecture, music, and poetry) known as the "Mysore Style". Travel through the fascinating places to visit in Mysore and know more about its fantastic history and culture.

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