Mysore is the third most populous and also the third largest city in the state of Karnataka, India. Located 140 Kms from the state capital Bangalore– Mysore is the erstwhile capital of Wodeyars, the rulers of Mysore state. The Wodeyar family ruled Mysore since 14th century except for a short period of 40 years when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were the rulers. Mysore is also known as the City of Palaces as there are number of palaces situated in the city. The palace blends Hindu, Islamic, Gothic and Rajput styles. Mysore is also home to the centuries-old Devaraja Market, filled with spices, silk and sandalwood.
The name Mysore is an anglicised version of Mahishūru, which means the abode of Mahisha in the local Kannada language. here Mahisha refers to Mahishasura, a mythological demon who could assume the form of both human and buffalo. According to Hindu mythology, the area was ruled by the demon Mahishasura.The demon was killed by the Goddess Chamundeshwari, whose temple is situated atop the Chamundi Hills. Mahishūru later became Mahisūru (a name which, even now, the royal family uses) and finally came to be called Maisūru, its present name in the Kannada language. In December 2005, the Government of Karnataka announced its intention to change the English name of the city to Mysuru.
Dasara festival which represents the triumph of good over the evil and the worship of Devi Chamundeswari is celebrated with solemnity and fervor as a State festival. There are many things about Mysore that sets them apart from other spots. With the magnificent Mysore Palace, the imperial mansions, community buildings, gardens, water bodies and well designed markets, the city exhibits an ineffaceable notion of the visualization of the Maharajas, their Dewans and other talented dignitaries on the City Municipality prior to 1862. Beautiful buildings, sites, lakes, parks and open spaces of Mysore and the picturesque view of the Chamundi hill add an aura to the beautiful place. Although there are many facts about Mysore like the place is considered as a hub of IT industry.
Attraction of Mysore :
Mysore Palace :
Mysore’s proud possession and one of India’s most visited attractions, Mysore Palace is an incredible man-made edifice. Built during 1897-1912, the Mysore Palace dominates the skyline of the district. It was designed by the English architect, Henry Irwin. The Mysore Palace is a three storied structure constructed in the Indo Saracenic style. The architecture is a blend of Hindu, Islam, Gothic and Rajput styles. It was the official residence of the Wodeyars, the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, which had reigned over the princely state of Mysore for more than seven centuries. It is characterised by marble domes, a 145 ft high tower and a beautiful sculpture of the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Gajalakshmi. It is surrounded by well-maintained lawns and gardens. The Mysore Palace is now a famous museum which holds a large number of priceless antiques and artefacts and is visited by thousands of people every year.
Jaganmohan Palace :
The Jaganmohan Palace in Mysore is one of the seven palaces in the city and is considered to be one of the most beautiful contributions of the Wodeyar kings to the city. The palace was completed in 1861 and was initially used by the Wodeyar royal family as residence. Jaganmohan Palace Art Gallery is a must-visit attraction for art lovers. 150 years old Jaganmohan Palace in Mysore is one of the oldest buildings. The palace is a beautiful and ornamental building which was built by the Kings of Mysore. Before the main Mysore palace was built, the Jaganmohan palace was the house of the royal family. The palace is witness to many cultural activities and conferences as it is located in the heart of the city. It is now converted into an art gallery and a function hall. The collections exhibited here include paintings from the famous Indian painter, Raja Ravi Varma, the Russian painter Svetoslav Roerich, and many paintings of the Mysore painting style.
Brindavan Gardens :
Located at a distance of 19 kms from Mysore City Center are the Brindavan Gardens of Mysore. Sprawling over a large area of about 150 acres, Brindavan Gardens are considered to be the best in Mysore. The gardens are built across river Cauvery and below Krishnaraja Sagar Dam. The garden is decorated with huge lawns and various kaleidoscopical courses of flowers. The main attractive feature of the garden is the ‘dancing fountain’. Various biological research departments are housed here. There is a guest house for tourists as well. Sunset is the best time of the day to visit this garden and enjoy the sight of water (from fountains) dancing to the tunes of pleasant music. The area of the garden that is covered with shrubs, grass and trees looks like a well-manicured lawn.
Chamundi Hills :
The Chamundi Hills are situated close to the Mysore Palace and are one of the eight most sacred hills in South India. which lie 3,489 ft. above ground. Atop the hill is a temple dedicated to the ancestral goddess of the Mysore royal family Goddess Kali, who is also referred to as Goddess Chamundi. The Chamundeshwari temple on top of the hill belongs to 11th century. Thousands of Devotee’s every year visit to pray and feel the divine aura of the deity of the temple’s goddess. Situated half way through the Chamundi Hills, one can spot a sacred bull. It was a gift given by Doda Deva Raja and is considered as a recumbent colossal Nandi or the Vehicle of Lord Shiva. The eyes of the bull are half shut. It is 25 feet long and 16 feet high and is covered with with ropes, chains, bells and jewels of stone.
Mysore Zoo :
Mysore Zoo, or Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden, was established in 1892. Mysore Zoo is situated very close to the Mysore Palace. One of the main tourist attraction is the Mysore Zoo. The zoo has an excellent collection of animals, a beautiful outdoor stage and a colorful setting with the Chamundi Hills as its background and a contrived lake on its premises. The various animals that are exhibited in the zoological gardens of Mysore are provided with large, spacious and open enclosures. It might interest you to know that the zoo not only contains animals of our country but it also houses animals from around the world. World Environment Day is celebrated in the zoo. Different programs are organized on this occasion. There are also many training sessions arranged by the zoo committee. Summer camps for school goers are also organized here.
St Philomena’s Church :
St. Philomena’s Church is one of the largest churches in India. This landmark can be spotted from a distance due to its 175 feet long twin spires. The St Philomena’s Church was constructed in 1936 in neo-Gothic style modelled on the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The church is dedicated to St Philomena who was a Latin Catholic saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church. She was a young Greek princess who was martyred in the 4th century. The St. Philomena’s Church of Mysore is adorned with stained glass windows that were specially brought from France. The spires of the church rising to a height of 175 feet imitate those of the Cathedral at Cologne in Germany and the St. Patrick’s Church of New York. Masses are held regularly in the St. Philomena’s Church which is open for the tourists from 8 A.M to 6 P.M. The Holy Mass performed here regularly in various languages including English, Kannada and Tamil, must not be missed.
Karanji Lake :
Karanji Lake, also known as Karanjikere Lake, is a beautiful place to visit. Apart from its natural beauty, this picturesque lake is noted for being home to a wide variety of indigenous and migratory birds. Karanji Lake is situated at the foot of the famous Chamundi Hills. King of Mysore constructed the lake. The 90-acre water body is amongst the biggest lakes in the state of Karnataka. The Karanji Lake offers boating facilities and its a pleasure to row down the beautiful waters surrounded by the marvels of nature. On one hand, the foreshore area covers about 35 hectares waterspread area is about 55 hectares, the foreshore area measures about 35 hectares. Karanji lake is owned by the Mysore Zoo Authority. A stroll in the butterfly park, located on an island in the lake, is a must while you are here. Brimming with plenty of natural treasures, this picturesque site is definitely a must-visit for every tourist coming to Mysore.
Railway Museum :
Established in 1979, the Railway Museum in Mysore is one of the oldest museums of its kind in the country. Interestingly, it is the second largest railway museum after the National Railway Museum in Delhi, Located on Krishnaraja Sagar Road. The Railway Museum has a number of galleries which depict the development and growth of railway systems in India. These can be noticed from the locomotives, photographs and painting depicted in these galleries. One can view the lights and signals which were initially used and even the mini railway which operated on battery. The Chamundi Gallery showcases some great paintings related to Indian Railways. Steam engines including the first steam engine and signaling accessories from the beginning of the railways in India are interesting in their own right. A particular section of the museum, named Sri Ranga Pavilion, displays two royal coaches that belonged to the Maharaja of Mysore. A working model of the steam locomotive designed by technicians from Mechanical Department can be seen here. The museum includes mini rides on trains and a small kids’ play park.
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