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Mysore officially renamed as Mysuru, is the third largest city in terms of population in the state of Karnataka, India, which served as the capital city of Mysore Princely Kingdom (Kingdom of Mysore) for nearly six centuries, from 1399 until 1947. Located at the base of the Chamundi Hills about 146 km (91 mi) southwest of the state capital Bangalore, it is spread across an area of 128.42 km2 (50 sq mi). According to the provisional results of the 2011 national census of India, the population of Mysore is 887,446. Mysore City Corporation is responsible for the civic administration of the city, which is also the headquarters of the Mysore district and the Mysore division. Mysore is the cleanest city of India.

The Kingdom of Mysore was ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty, except for a brief period in the late 18th century when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were in power. Patrons of art and culture, the Wodeyars contributed significantly to the cultural growth of the city. The cultural ambience and achievements of Mysore earned it the sobriquet Cultural capital of South Karnataka. Mysore is noted for its palaces, including the Mysore Palace, and for the festivities that take place during the Dasara festival when the city receives a large number of tourists. It lends its name to the Mysore style of painting, the sweet dish Mysore Pak, the Mysore Peta (a traditional silk turban) and the garment known as the Mysore silk saree. Tourism is the major industry, while information technology has emerged as a major employer alongside the traditional industries. Mysore depends mainly on rail and bus transport for inter-city connections. It also has an Airport serving the city, also known as Mandakalli Airport. The city was the location of the first private radio station in India. Mysore houses Mysore University, which has produced several notable authors, particularly in the field of Kannada literature. Cricket is the most popular sport in the city; however, it has many other sport facilities.

Etymology

The name Mysore is an anglicised version of Mahishuru, which means the abode of Mahisha in the local Kannada language . Though in Sanskrit Mahisha means buffalo, 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. Mahishuru later became Mahisuru (a name which, even now, the royal family uses) and finally came to be called Maisuru, 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. This has been approved by the Government of India, but as of 2011 the formalities necessary to incorporate the name change were yet to be completed. Center government have approved this request in October 2014 and Mysore is renamed (along with other 12 cities) to "Mysuru" on November 1, 2014.

History

The site where Mysore Palace now stands was occupied by a village named Puragere at the beginning of the 16th century.  :281 The Mahishuru Fort was constructed in 1524 by Chamaraja Wodeyar III (1513–1553), :257 who passed on the dominion of Puragere to his son Chamaraja Wodeyar IV (1572–1576). Since the 16th century, the name of Mahishuru has commonly been used to denote the city. :31 The Mysore Kingdom, governed by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire. With the decline of the Vijayanagara Empire after the Battle of Talikota in 1565, the Mysore Kingdom gradually achieved independence,and by the time of King Narasaraja Wodeyar (1637) it had become a sovereign state. :228 Seringapatam (modern-day Srirangapatna), near Mysore, was the capital of the kingdom from 1610.:257 The 17th century saw a steady expansion of its territory and, under Narasaraja Wodeyar I and Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar, the kingdom annexed large expanses of what is now southern Karnataka and parts of Tamil Nadu, to become a powerful state in the southern Deccan.

The kingdom reached the height of its military power and dominion in the latter half of the 18th century under the de facto rulers Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. The latter demolished parts of Mysore to remove legacies of the Wodeyar dynasty. :257 During this time, Mysore kingdom came into conflict with the Marathas, the British and the Nizam of Golconda, leading to the four Anglo-Mysore wars, success in the first two of which was followed by defeat in the third and fourth. After Tipu Sultan's death in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799, the capital of the kingdom was moved back to Mysore from Seringapatam,:249 and the kingdom was distributed by the British to their allies of the Fourth Mysore war. The landlocked interior of the previous Mysore Kingdom was turned into a princely state under the suzerainty of the British Crown. The former Wodeyar rulers were reinstated as puppet monarchs, now styled Maharajas. The British administration was assisted locally by Diwan (chief minister) Purnaiah. Purnaiah is credited with improving Mysore's public works. :249 Mysore lost its status as the administrative centre of the kingdom in 1831, when the British commissioner moved the capital to Bangalore. :251 It regained that status in 1881 :254 and remained the capital of the Princely State of Mysore within the British Indian Empire until India became independent in 1947.

The Mysore municipality was established in 1888 and the city was divided into eight wards.:283 In 1897 an outbreak of bubonic plague killed nearly half of the population of the city. With the establishment of the City Improvement Trust Board (CITB) in 1903, Mysore became one of the first cities in Asia to undertake planned development of the city. Public demonstrations and meetings were held there during the Quit India movement and other phases of the Indian independence movement.

After Indian independence, Mysore city remained as part of the Mysore State, now known as Karnataka. Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, then king of Mysore, was allowed to retain his titles and was nominated as the Rajapramukh (appointed governor) of the state. He died in September 1974 and was cremated in Mysore city. Over the years, Mysore became well known as a centre for tourism; the city remained largely peaceful, except for occasional riots related to the Kaveri river water dispute. Among the events that took place in Mysore and made national headlines were a fire at a television studio that claimed 62 lives in 1989, and the sudden deaths of many animals at the Mysore Zoo.

Administration and utilities

The civic administration of the city is managed by the Mysore City Corporation, which was established as a municipality in 1888 and converted into a corporation in 1977. Overseeing engineering works, health, sanitation, water supply, administration and taxation, the corporation is headed by a mayor, who is assisted by commissioners and council members.:43 The city is divided into 65 wards. Urban growth and expansion is managed by the Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA), which is headed by a commissioner. It is designated as the cleanest city in India by ministry of urban development,government of India. Drinking water for Mysore is sourced from the Kaveri and Kabini rivers.The citizens of Mysore elect four representatives to the Legislative assembly of Karnataka through the constituencies of Chamaraja, Krishnaraja, Narasimharaja and Chamundeshwari. Mysore city, being part of the larger Mysore Lok Sabha constituency, also elects one member to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament.

Demographics

Chamundeshwari Temple atop the Chamundi Hills

According to the provisional results of the 2011 census of India, Mysore had a population of 8,87,000. The total Population of Urban Agglomeration(U/A) is 9,20,550. The gender ratio of the city is 1000 females to every 1000 males and the population density is 6,910.5 per square kilometre (17,898/sq mi). As of 2011, the literacy rate of the city is 86.84 per cent, which is higher than the state's average of 75.6 per cent. Kannada is the most widely spoken language in the city.The residents of the city are known as Mysoreans in English and Mysoorinavaru in Kannada.

Economy

Multiplex in the Infosys campus at Mysore

Tourism is the major industry in Mysore. The city attracted about 3.15 million tourists in 2010.[26] Mysore has traditionally been home to industries such as weaving, sandalwood carving, bronze work and the production of lime and salt. The planned industrial growth of the city and the state was first envisaged at the Mysore economic conference in 1911. This led to the establishment of industries such as the Mysore Sandalwood Oil Factory in 1917 and the Sri Krishnarajendra Mills in 1920. :270, 278

For the industrial development of the city, the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) has established four industrial areas in and around Mysore, in the Belagola, Belawadi, Hebbal and Hootagalli areas.

The growth of the information technology industry in the first decade of the 21st century has resulted in the city emerging as the second largest software exporter in Karnataka, next to Bangalore. The city contributed Rs. 1363 crore (US$275 million) to Karnataka's IT exports.

Education

Crawford Hall, the administrative headquarters of the University of Mysore

Before the advent of the European system of education in Mysore, agraharas (Brahmin quarters) provided Vedic education to Hindus, and madrassas provided schooling for Muslims.[29]:459 Modern education began in Mysore when a free English school was established in 1833. Maharaja College was founded in 1864. A high school exclusively for girls was established in 1881 and later converted into the Maharani's Women's College. The Industrial School, the first institute for technical education in the city, was established in 1892; this was followed by the Chamarajendra Technical Institute in 1913. 601 While the modern system of education was making inroads, colleges such as the Mysore Sanskrit college, established in 1876, continued to provide Vedic education.[29]:595 Vivekananda Institute, Mysore is an international organization giving training to Indians and foreigners in development management.

The education system was enhanced by the establishment of the University of Mysore in 1916, making it the first outside the British administration in India. Other important institutes are CFTRI, MYRA School of Business (founded in 2011) and Mysore Medical College.

Culture

Referred to as the cultural capital of South Karnataka, Mysore is well known for the festivities that take place during the period of Dasara, the state festival of Karnataka. The Dasara festivities, which are celebrated over a ten-day period, were first introduced by King Raja Wodeyar I in 1610. On the ninth day of Dasara, called Mahanavami, the royal sword is worshipped and is taken on a procession of decorated elephants, camels and horses. On the tenth day, called Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession (locally known as Jumboo Savari) is held on the streets of Mysore which usually falls in the month of September or October.. the Idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a golden mantapa on the back of a decorated elephant and taken on a procession, accompanied by tabla, dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses and camels. The procession starts from the Mysore Palace and culminates at a place called Bannimantapa, where the banni tree (Prosopis spicigera) is worshipped. The Dasara festivities culminate on the night of Vijayadashami with a torchlight parade, known locally as Panjina Kavayatthu.

Mysore is called the City of Palaces because of several ornate examples in the city. Among the most notable are Amba Vilas, popularly known as Mysore Palace; Jaganmohana Palace, which also serves as an art gallery; Rajendra Vilas, also known as the summer palace; Lalitha Mahal, which has been converted into a hotel; and Jayalakshmi Vilas. :87–88 The main palace of Mysore was burned down in 1897, and the present-day structure was built on the same site. Amba Vilas palace exhibits an Indo-Saracenic style of architecture on the outside, but a distinctly Hoysala style in the interior.:82 Even though the Government of Karnataka maintains the Mysore palace, a small portion has been allocated for the erstwhile Royal family to live in. The Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion was constructed by Sri Chamaraja Wodeyar for his daughter Jayalakshammanni. It is now a museum dedicated to folk culture and artifacts of the royal family.

The ex-prince of Mysore Kingdom, who continued to use the title of Prince and traditions of the royal family.

The Mysore painting style is an offshoot of the Vijayanagar school of painting, and King Raja Wodeyar (1578–1617 CE) is credited with having been its patron. :1 The distinctive feature of these paintings is the gesso work, to which gold foil is applied. :3 Mysore is known for rosewood inlay work; around 4,000 craftsmen were estimated to be involved in this art in 2002. The city lends its name to the Mysore silk saree, a women's garment made with pure silk and gold zari (thread). Mysore Peta, the traditional indigenous turban worn by the erstwhile rulers of Mysore, is worn by men in some traditional ceremonies. A notable local dessert that traces its history to the kitchen in the Mysore palace is Mysore pak.

Mysore is the location of the International Ganjifa Research Centre, which researches the ancient card game Ganjifa and the art associated with it.  The Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA) offers education in visual art forms such as painting, graphics, sculpture, applied art, photography, photojournalism and art history. The Rangayana repertory company performs plays and offers certificate courses in subjects related to theatre. Kannada writers Kuvempu, Gopalakrishna Adiga and U. R. Ananthamurthy were educated in Mysore and served as professors at the Mysore University. R. K. Narayan, a popular English-language novelist and creator of the fictional town of Malgudi, and his cartoonist brother R. K. Laxman spent much of their life in Mysore.

Geography

Mysore is located at 12.30°N 74.65°E and has an average altitude of 770 metres (2,526 ft).  It is spread across an area of 128.42 km2 (50 sq mi) :4 at the base of the Chamundi Hills in the southern region of Karnataka. Mysore is the southern-most city of Karnataka, and is a neighboring city of the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the south, flanked by the state cities Mercara, Chamarajanagara, and Mandya. People in and around Mysore extensively use Kannada as medium of language.Mysore has several lakes, such as the Kukkarahalli, the Karanji, and the Lingambudhi lakes. In 2001, total land area usage in Mysore city was 39.9% residential, 16.1% roads, 13.74% parks and open spaces, 13.48% industrial, 8.96% public property, 3.02% commercial, 2.27% agriculture and 2.02 water. :35 The city is located between two rivers: the Kaveri River that flows through the north of the city and the Kabini River, a tributary of the Kaveri, that lies to the south.

Transport

Road

Mysore has one of the best city transportation systems in India

Mysore is connected by National Highway NH-212 to the state border town of Gundlupet, where the road forks into the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. :1State Highway 17, which connects Mysore to Bangalore, was upgraded to a four-lane highway in 2006, reducing travel time between the two cities. A project was planned in 1994 to construct a new expressway to connect Bangalore and Mysore. After numerous legal hurdles, it remains unfinished as of 2012. State Highways 33 and 88 which connect Mysore to H D Kote and Madikeri respectively. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and other private agencies operate buses both within the city and between cities. A new division of KSRTC called Mysore City Transport Corporation (MCTC) has been proposed. Within the city, buses are cheap and popular means of transport, auto-rickshaws are also available and tongas (horse-drawn carriages) are popular. Mysore also has a 42.5-kilometre (26.4 mi) long ring road that is being upgraded to six lanes by the MUDA.

Rail

Mysore Railway Station

Mysore railway station has three lines, connecting it to Bangalore, Hassan and Chamarajanagar. The first railway line established in the city was the Bangalore–Mysore Junction metre gauge line, which was commissioned in 1882. All railway lines that serve the city are single track at some points and the rest of the stretch is Double track , impeding faster connections to the city. All trains that connect to Mysore are operated by South Western Railway Zone, Hubli of Indian Railways. The fastest train to serve the city is the Shatabdi Express.

Air

Mysore Airport was modernised and reopened to passenger service in 2010. Three airlines - Kingfisher Airlines, SpiceJet, and Alliance Air - all attempted flights to Mysore but none were successful. As of 2015 the airport is without commercial service.

Media

Newspaper publishing in Mysore started in 1859 when Bhashyam Bhashyacharya began publishing a weekly newspaper in Kannada called the Mysooru Vrittanta Bodhini, the first of a number of weekly newspapers published in the following three decades. A well-known Mysore publisher during Wodeyar rule was M. Venkatakrishnaiah, known as the father of Kannada journalism, who started several news magazines. Many local newspapers are published in Mysore and carry news mostly related to the city and its surroundings, and national and regional dailies in English and Kannada are available, as in the other parts of the state. Sudharma, the only Indian daily newspaper in Sanskrit, is published in Mysore.

Mysore was the location of the first private radio broadcasting station in India when Akashavani (voice from the sky) was established in the city on 10 September 1935 by M.V. Gopalaswamy, a professor of psychology, at his house in the Vontikoppal area of Mysore, using a 50-watt transmitter. The station was taken over by the princely state of Mysore in 1941 and was moved to Bangalore in 1955. In 1957, Akashvani was chosen as the official name of All India Radio (AIR), the radio broadcaster of the Government of India. The AIR station at Mysore broadcasts an FM radio channel at 100.6 MHz, and Gyan Vani broadcasts on 105.2. BIG FM and Red FM are the two private FM channels operating in the city.

Mysore started receiving television broadcasts in the early 1980s, when Doordarshan (public service broadcaster of the Indian government) started broadcasting its national channel all over India. This was the only channel available to Mysoreans until Star TV started satellite channels in 1991. Direct-to-home channels are now available in Mysore.

Sports

Race Club from Chamundi Hills

Jayprakash Nagar Library and Stadium, Mysore

The Wodeyar kings of Mysore were patrons of games and sports. King Krishnaraja Wodeyar III had a passion for indoor games. He invented new board games and popularised the ganjifa card game. Malla-yuddha (traditional wrestling) has a history in Mysore dating back to the 16th century. The wrestling competition held in Mysore during the Dasara celebrations attracts wrestlers from all over India. An annual sports meeting is organised there during the Dasara season too.

In 1997 Mysore and Bangalore co-hosted the city's biggest sports event ever, the National Games of India. Mysore was the venue for six sports: archery, gymnastics, equestrianism, handball, table tennis and wrestling. Cricket is by far the most popular sport in Mysore. The city has four established cricket grounds, but is yet to host an international cricket match. Javagal Srinath, who represented India for several years as its frontline fast bowler, comes from Mysore. Other prominent sportsmen from the city are Prahlad Srinath, who has represented India in Davis Cup tennis tournaments; Reeth Abraham, a national champion in the heptathlon and a long jump record holder; Sagar Kashyap, the youngest Indian to officiate at the Wimbledon Championships; and Rahul Ganapathy, a national amateur golf champion. The Mysore race course hosts a racing season each year from August through October. India's first youth hostel was formed in the Maharaja's College Hostel in 1949.

Tourism

  • Mysore Palace
  •  Mysore ZOO
  • Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens
  • A photo of the St. Philomena's Church
  • St. Philomena's Church
  • Wesley Cathedral, Mysore

Mysore is a major tourist destination in its own right and serves as a base for other tourist attractions in the vicinity. The city receives large number of tourists during the 10-day Dasara festival. One of the most visited monuments in India, the Amba Vilas Palace, or Mysore Palace, is the centre of the Dasara festivities. The Jaganmohana Palace, The Sand Sculpture Museum the Jayalakshmi Vilas and the Lalitha Mahal are other palaces in the city. Chamundeshwari Temple, atop the Chamundi Hills, and St. Philomena's Church, Wesley's Cathedral are notable religious places in Mysore.

The Mysore Zoo, established in 1892, the Karanji and Kukkarahalli lakes are popular recreational destinations. Mysore has the Regional Museum of Natural History, the Folk Lore Museum, the Railway Museum and the Oriental Research Institute. The city is a centre for yoga-related health tourism that attracts domestic and foreign visitors, particularly those who, for years, came to study with the late ashtanga yoga guru K. Pattabhi Jois.

A short distance from Mysore city is the Krishnarajasagar Dam and the adjoining Brindavan Gardens, where a musical fountain show is held every evening. Places of historic importance close to Mysore are Srirangapatna, Somanathapura and Talakad. B R Hills, Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta hill and the hill stations of Ooty, Sultan Battery and Madikeri are close to Mysore. Popular destinations for wildlife enthusiasts near Mysore include the Nagarhole National Park, the wildlife sanctuaries at Melkote and B R Hills and the bird sanctuaries at Ranganathittu and Kokrebellur. Bandipur National Park and Mudumalai National Park, which are sanctuaries for gaur, chital, elephants, tigers, Indian leopards and other threatened species, lie between 40 and 60 mi (64 and 97 km) to the south. Other tourist spots near Mysore include the religious locations of Nanjanagud and Bylakuppe and the waterfalls at Shivanasamudra.

Places to visit in Mysore

Mysore Known as the 'Sandalwood City of India', the city of Mysore presents a host of spectacular tourists attractions that can be visited by the tourists during their vacation in the old city of the state of Karnataka. Once the administrative capital of the Wodeyar dynasty,  the city of Mysore still retains the old world charm in the shadowed alleys and thoroughfares. The temples, magnificent palaces and luxuriant gardens are the chief Mysore tourist attractions that are frequently visited by the tourists.

The Mysore Palace

The Mysore Palace is an exponent of the Indo Saracenic style of architecture. Once the residence of the royal family of the Wodayars, the palace still retains the regal air with which the royal family reigned in the Durbar Hall, Kalyana Mantap and the Golden Royal Elephant Throne. The Jaganmohan Palace is another royal palace in Mysore that has been converted into an art gallery and house the paintings and the miniatures of the 19th century.

The Brindavan Gardens

The Brindavan Gardens is situated at a distance of 19 kilometers from the center of the city. The garden is elaborated with fountains that dance to the sound of music in the evenings. The garden is placed close to the famous KRS Dam that was designed and engineered by Sir M. Vishvesvariah.

Chamundi Hills

Three kilometers to the south east of the fort in Mysore, lays the Chamundi Hills that rises to a height of 1050 meters above sea level. Atop the hill is the temple dedicated to the ancestral Goddess of the Mysore royal family, Goddess Kali who is also referred to as the Goddess Chamundi. The Mahabaleswara temple stands close to the Chamundi Temple atop the hill. The Mahabaleswara temple is believed to be the oldest temple of the region constructed in the 13th century.

Datta Peetham

Spread over a total area of 35 acre, Datta Peetham is a religious and spiritual dwelling of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda. One of the revered religious gurus of Mysore, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda is known for unique concept of treating patients with serious ailments through the harmonious blend of music and meditation.

Jaganmohan Art Gallery

Upholding the traditional heritage and old grandeur of Mysore, the Jaganmohan Art Gallery is a vast reserve of exquisite paintings and artifacts of the bygone golden era. Situated within the luxuriant Mysore Palace, the Jaganmohan Art Gallery bears testimony to the enriched traditional art and craft of the ancient times.

Jayalakshmi Vilas

Constructed by the mighty ruler of Mysore, Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar for the royal comforts of his eldest daughter, Jayalakshmi Vilas reflects the rich architectural splendor of the ancient times. The magnificent building of Jayalakshmi Vilas was erected in the year of 1905 at a huge price of rupees seven lakhs that portrays the parental affection of a father towards his daughter.

Karanji Lake

There are a number of interesting tourist destinations in and around the Indian city of Mysore and the Karanji Lake is definitely one of them. The Karanji Lake is located at the foot hills of the Chamundi mountains which is just behind the Mysore Zoo. The Karanji Lake is very near to the center of the Mysore city and therefore visited by tourists and locals alike.

Krishna Raja Sagara

Located at a distance of about 12 Kilometers from Mysore, the Krishna Raja Sagara dam was built in the year 1932. This marathon project was conceptualized and designed by Sir Mokshagundam Vishweswaraiah and the construction work took place during the times of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. The Krishna Raja Sagara dam is about 130 feet in height and 8600 feet long. The Krishna Raja Sagara dam is an excellent example of hi- tech engineering, in fact it is the first dam in the world to use sluice gates which work automatically.

Kukkarahali Lake

Mysore is one of the most beautiful cities of India and in dotted with a number of Lakes and Park and the Kukkarahali Lake is one of them. The Kukkaranahali Lake is located within the Manasa Gangothri which is the campus of the Mysore University. A home to a number of birds, the Kukkarahali Lake is also a retreat for many migratory birds who fly in from the different parts of the world.

Lalitha Mahal

The regal mysticism of the city of Mysore lies in the majestic Lalitha Mahal that stands at the summit point of the city presenting a spectacular and panoramic view of the city that lies beneath. The Lalitha Mahal at Mysore was once the residence of the guests who visited the royal family of the Wodeyars in Mysore. It is presently one of the most reputed five star hotels of the city that still retains the heritage and the royalty of the yesteryears.

Namma Mysore

Representing the rich traditional art and craft of the ancient times, Namma Mysore is a plethora of cultural programmes that are presented by the members of the charitable trust of Divya Deepa. Formed on the lines of social service and with a noble aim in mind, the charitable trust offers the underprivileged children with education, monetary help and selfless love and attention.

St. Philomena's Church

Built in the gothic form of architecture, St. Philomena's Church is one of the largest churches of the continent of Asia. The church stands on the grounds where the older church built by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III stood. The new church was constructed in the year 1933 by the grandson of the earlier king, Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. The church retains the heritage that is more than 200 years old.

Mysore Zoo

Mysore Zoo was established in the year of 1892 by Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar. He is considered to be one of the architects of the modern Mysore city as well. To honor the famed founder the zoo was named after him as 'Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens'.