Various arts and crafts thrived under the king's patronage, leading to the city earning the sobriquet of the cultural capital of Karnataka. Mysore receives a large number of tourists most of whom visit the city during the 10-day celebrations that goon during the Dasara festival. Mysore is also known as the city of palaces due to the large number of palaces that are present in the city.
Mysore is famous for sandalwood, silks, ivory, rose & teak wood carved furniture, sandalwood oil, agarbathis, etc.
Mysore, the sandalwood city is situated at an altitude of 77m about 14 km from Bangalore, near the Chamundi hills. This imperial city was the capital of the Wodeyars. The Wodeyars were the rulers of Mysore since the 14th century, until the independence from the British except for the 40 years of rule of Hyder Ali & Tippu Sultan. It is a beautiful city of palaces, gardens & temples. The ten days and nine nights of the Dussera festival around October/November is the best time to visit Mysore. The city is full of color, lights, music &festivities. On the final day, on Vijayadasami, there is a procession of camels, horses, elephants all finely decorated, palanquins, coaches, led by the former Maharaja in a golden howdah on a decorated elephant.
Mysore was originally known as Mahisuru, for the demon king Mahishasuran was vanquished here by Goddess Chamundeswari. There is a shrine for Goddess Chamundeswari atop the Chamundi Hills. Culture of Mysore - Mysore, also known as the cultural capital of Karnataka, is well known for the festivities that take place during the period of Dasara, the state festival of Karnataka. The Dasara festivities which go on for 10 days were first started by king Raja Wodeyar 1(1578-1617 CE) in the year 1610.
On the ninth day of Dasara called Mahanavami, the royal sword is worshiped and is taken on a procession involving elephants, camels, and horses. On the tenth day called Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession (locally known as Jumbo Savari) is held on the streets of Mysore city. An idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a golden mantapa on the top of a decorated elephant and is taken around in the procession, accompanied by tableaux, dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses, and camels. The procession starts from the Mysore Palace and culminates at a place called Bannirnantap where the banni tree (Prosopis spicigera) is worshipped. The Dasara festivities culminate on the night of Vijayadashami with a torch-light parade (locally known as Panjina Kavayatthu).
Mysore is famous for rosewood inlay work, with an estimated 4000 craftsmen in Mysore involved in this activity. Mysore also lends its name to the Mysore silk saree, feminine wear, made using pure silk and gold zari.
FAMOUS TOURIST PLACES OF MYSORE
Brindavan Gardens is one of the most beautiful gardens in Mysore and a center of tourist attraction. This garden was constructed during the period of Krishnaraja Wodeyar. It is built across the Cauvery river and below the Krishnarajasagar 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'. The lighting of the garden during Dussehra is done every day and on other days from 7 pm to 8.45 pm.
The Chamundeswari Temple is situated on a hill in the neighborhood of Mysore. Krishnaraja III during the latter part of the 18th century built this temple tower. He gifted the Nakshatramalika jewel which has Sanskrit poesies engraved on it. The temple is adorned with various epitomes of Nandi. The colossal Nandi is 15 feet wide and 24 feet long and was made during the reign of Dodda Devaraja. It also has a seven-floor 'gopuram'. The idol of the Goddess is made of gold and the entrance with shining silver. The dumbfounding construction appeals to the visitors' aesthetic senses.
Enroute visit Somnathpur Temple
Somnathpur temples in Karnataka are the windows to the rich historical past of Karnataka. As soon as you lay eyes on these temples you will notice that there is an exceptional kind of stillness in these temples making them eternal. Somnathpur is one of the most ancient villages of Karnataka thus earning it the name of heritage destination. At a distance of 40 km from Mysore and 180 km from Bangalore, the rural town is famous for its splendid and grand Keshava temple that has been built in the Hoysala style.
A tour of Somnathpur is suggested to all those who want to have a personal experience with the history of Karnataka.
Excursion to Bandipur National Park
Situated at a distance of about 80 km from the south of Mysore by road on the Mysore-Ooty road, at an altitude of about 1025 meters above sea level. It has a rich variety of wildlife, such as elephant, bison, sambhar, spotted deer, panthers, tigers, bears, peacocks, leopards, etc. Artificial salt licks are maintained at various places in the sanctuary where it is possible to watch the animals. Government stations riding elephants and trucks here for use of visitors to go round the sanctuary.
Excursion to Nagarhole National Park
Nagarhole national park (NNP), the enchanting 247 square-mile parks in Karnataka has an astonishing abundance of wildlife including large mammals such as tiger, leopard, wild elephant, dhole (Indian wild dog), and gaur (Indian bison). Other species present are chital spotted deer, muntjac (barking deer), mouse deer, four-horned antelope, wild boar, sloth bear, hyena, mongoose, civet, otter, and more. The landscape is one of the gentle slopes and shallow valleys. Dry deciduous forest trees are leafless in the summer rather than in the winter. There are grassy swamps where the soil is clayey, perennially moist, and which support a luxuriant growth of green grass all year. The change in terrain throughout the park in refreshing and the river system provides a unique wildlife viewing experience.
Excursion to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a unique wildlife sanctuary that is located in Karnataka, India. The total area of this tiny wildlife park is about 67 square kilometers.
This wildlife park and bird sanctuary are situated quite close to the Vrindavan gardens in Mysore, India. This unique bird sanctuary is set on the banks of the River Kaveri and has a group of six islets. These islets are infested with aquatic organisms and insects during the monsoon season that invites exotic birds to come and nest at the Ranganathittu wildlife park and bird sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh, India.
This bird sanctuary is perfect for those who like to go on short wildlife tours and bird watching tours. The area has an extreme climate that is it is extremely cold in the winters and quite hot in the summers. This area is also prone to slight floods during the monsoon season.
The Ranganathittu bird sanctuary in Karnataka, India is a perfect place to go bird watching as this wildlife park and sanctuary happens to be the nesting and breeding ground for several species of migratory birds.
Some birds that are known to have made the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary their breeding ground are darters, white Ibis, spoonbills, cormorants, open bill storks, egret, river tern, heron, stone plougher, partridge, snakebird and a hoard of other exotic birds from Siberia and other countries visit the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary. Local birds like peacocks and kingfishers are commonly visible.
During your wildlife tours to this bird sanctuary you can hire boats that take you around the islets that offer a picturesque view of the region with a myriad variety of birds flocking on the trees on the banks of the river.
Excursion to Sravanbelagola
Sravanabelagola, a great center for Jain culture is situated at a distance of about 100 km from Mysore and is famous for its colossal statue of Gomateshwara who is also referred to as Lord Bahubali. Carved out of monolithic stone, the imposing 17 meters high statue of Gomata towers stands in majestic splendor and is visible even from a distance of 20 km. Starkly simple, the beautifully chiseled features of the statue embody serenity. His perfect lips are turned out at the corners with a hint of a smile, viewing the world with detachment.
Sravanabelagola means 'the monk on the top of the hill' and hermits, mystics and ascetics have journeyed and lived there since at least the third century BC. In those early times the hill was thickly wooded and hermits could feed themselves from the forest. In the mid-tenth century, AD temples began to be built and the site grew to be one of the most important pilgrimage sites of the Jain religion.
The hill of Sravanabelagola, (also called Vindhyagiri or Per-kalbappu), looms majestically at 3347 feet above sea level. From the base a flight of 614 steps, finely carved from the granite of the mountain, leads to the summit, where a great statue of Sri Gomatheswar stands. At 58 feet 8 inches high, it is the tallest freestanding statue in the world. You must climb barefoot, which poses a problem when the granite heats up, so get there early.
Excursion to Srirangapatnam
Srirangapatnam was the capital of the Mysore State under Tippu Sultan. As a result there are a number of historical monuments related to the life and times of Tippu Sultan. After the death of Tippu Sultan in 1799AD the British shifted the capital back to Mysore.
The Daria Daulat Palace, the Palace of Tippu Sultan in Srirangapatnam is a beautiful Palace built mainly of teakwood. The walls of the Palace are covered with colorful frescoes that represent the reign of Tippu Sultan and the different battles that he fought. Tippu built the Masjid-e-Ala or the Juma Majid at Srirangapatna as well. This mosque has tall lofty minarets that dominate the skyline of Srirangapatna. The Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangapatnam is very famous. It has the idol of Lord Vishnu as Ranganatha reclining on the serpent Ade Shesha.
The tombs of Tippu Sultan, his father Hyder Ali, and mother Fathima Begum are laid out in the Gumbaz. The Gumbaz is a major tourist attraction because of its architecture and craftsmanship. It has an enormous ebony door inlaid with ivory. The dungeons of Srirangapatna where the British soldiers were held captive also attract tourists. One should visit Tippu's Fort, where he launched his attack on the British and died there fighting them.
Lalitha Mahal Palace
Built-in 1921 by Maharaja Krishna Raja Wodeyar Bahaddur IV, this palace initially housed royal guests. Designed by EW Fritchley, an English architect, the palace is today a five-star hotel. Now a popular venue for local film shoots and other social gatherings, a visit to the palace may help you understand the mystique of royal Mysore.
The Maharaja's palace in Mysore is the epitome of grandeur and extravagance that was during the British Raj. Domes, parapet balconies, verandahs, minarets, cupolas, and arches combine harmoniously to make the structure a veritable masterpiece of lasting beauty. Built-in the Indo-Saracenic style on the exterior, but retaining the native Dravidian style, it was designed by the British architect Henry Irwin. The palace is illuminated from 7 pm to 8 pm on Sundays including public holidays and also during all the ten days of the Dussehra celebrations.
Palace of the Maharaja (Mysore Palace)
Maharaj Palace, once a seat of the government, the Maharaja's palace in Mysore is the epitome of grandeur and extravagance that was during the British Raj. In 1897 the old wooden palace was completely burnt down in a fire mishap during the princess's marriage. So a new palace had to be built to match the royal stature of the Wodeyars of Mysore who had succeeded in making Mysore state, the model state of British India.
Domes, parapet balconies, verandahs, minarets, cupolas, and arches combine harmoniously to make the structure a veritable masterpiece of lasting beauty. Built-in the Indo-Saracenic style on the exterior, but retaining the native Dravidian style, it was designed by the British architect Henry Irwin. This three-storeyed structure has beautifully designed square towers at various cardinal points covered by domes and the gold-plated dome at the center rises 145 feet above the ground.
Shopping in Mysore
Mysore is famous for its hand-woven silk garments and saris. The quality of the silk is good and the price is competitive. The other buys from Mysore are Karnataka's vast traditional handicrafts such as rosewood, sandalwood, copperware, stone and brass, wooden furniture, sandalwood powder and perfumes, lacquerware, etc. Mysore is also a place for health tourism, mainly related to Yoga, and receives a lot of visitors from outside India who come here to perform Yoga under masters like Pattabhi Jois. GRS Fantasy Park and Planet-X are theme parks that also receive a good number of people. Mysore has a number of lakes and among them, the Karanji Lake and Kukkarahalli Lake are visited by many people.
According to Hindu mythology, the area around Mysore city was once the domain of the demon king Mahishasura, who grew almost invincible and wreaked havoc on the world. Goddess Chamundeshwari vanquished the demon after an intense ten-day struggle. Therefore Goddess Chamundeshwari got the name Mahishasura Mardhini (Slayer of Mahisha). The battle and the victory are commemorated by the annual nine-day Navarathri festival to this day.
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