September 23, 2009

Mysore - Part 1

This is going to be a long post with loads of Pictures so I have split it into few series. Click on any image to enlarge

Mysore, city of palace's, Cultural Capital of State of Karnataka also happens to be my home tome, this is where i was born and brought up so this place holds a special place in my heart :)

History : 

Before the rise of the Gangas in the 10th century there is little historical evidence relating to Mysore. The Gangas established their supremacy in the 2nd century and they ruled over a large part of Mysore till about 1004 AD. There is an inscription on Chamundi Hills that was done in 950AD during the reign of the Gangas. This inscription is the oldest inscription found in Mysore. 

The Cholas ruled Mysore for over a century after the Gangas. The Chalukyas followed the Cholas and then came the Hoysalas in the 12th century. Hoysala are known for the beautiful temples they built during their reign. It is said that they built or expanded the existing temples in Mysore and on the Chamundi Hills. 

After the Hoysalas came the Vijayanagar Kings and then the Mysore Yadu dynasty came to power in 1399A.D. This dynasty also contributed to temple building in Mysore. Bettada Chamaraja Wodeyar, the raja of Mysore rebuilt the fort of Mysore and made his headquarters and called the city 'Mahishura Nagara' meaning the city of Mahishur. 

Its during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III the town of Mysore expanded and moved beyond the walls of the fort. Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV developed Mysore into a beautiful city with excellent planning. Under his reign Mysore became famous for its wide roads, magnificent building and elegant parks. Today Mysore is a modern city that has managed to retain its old world charm. Today Mysore in famous in the world for its sandalwood and rosewood artifacts, stone sculptures, incense sticks, inlay work with ivory and not to forget its exquisite silk sarees.

Mysore Palace

The word Mysore is a corrupted version of "mysooru", which is derived from the word "mahishur" or "Mahishasurana Ooru", which means the town of Mahishasura in Kannada which is the local language. 

According to Hindu mythology a demon named Mahishasura, earned the favor of Lord Shiva after a long and hard penance. Lord Shiva, impressed with his devotion, blessed him that no man or deity would be able to kill him and that only a woman can kill him. 

Gigantic statue of Mahishasura on top of Chamundi Hill (very famous landmark of Mysore)

Mahishasur was very pleased with this boon as he thought that a woman can never defeat him. Arrogant Mahishasura started his reign of terror over the Universe and people were killed mercilessly. He even attacked the abode of the gods and conquered the heavens and became their leader. 

When his cruelty became unbearable, Chamundeshwari (Durga) was called to slay the demon. Chamundeshwari and killed the monster on top of the Chamundi hill near Mysore. Hence the hill and the city have the names Chamundi Hill and Mysore respectively. The fight between Chamundeshwari and Mahishasura lasted for nine days and nights. These nine days came to be called Navaratri or Dasara. 

Chamundeshwari Temple on top of the hill which dates back to 11th Century (period of the Hoysala's)


Dasara is the most extravagant festival of Mysore. This festival has been celebrated in Mysore with great pomp and show since centuries and the Dasara festivities have become an integral part of the culture and life in Mysore. 

During the 10 day festivities the normally clam, slow, peaceful city erupts into life and every street and street corner is bustling with activity. House, shops and important buildings in the city are decorated and illuminated for the period of the celebrations. 

Today Dasara in Mysore has become the state festival of Karnataka. As part of the celebrations renowned musicians of Karnataka and from outside perform in front of the Palace. The State Government arranges music, dance, and folk dance performances, doll shows. Wrestling and sports competitions are also held. 

The ninth day is also the day of the Ayudha Puja. After the slaying of Mahishasura and other demons by Chamundeswari, there was no more use for her weapons. So the weapons were kept aside and worshipped. This Ayudha puja is being celebrated since ancient times. The Ayudha Puja is a worship of whatever implements one may use in one's livelihood. On the preceding evening, it is traditional to place these implements on an altar to the Divine. 

The high point of the Dasra celebrations is the Vijayadashami procession held on the tenth day. The main attraction of the procession is the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari kept in the golden howdah on top of a decorated elephant. The procession begins at the Mysore Palace and ends at the Banni Mantapa grounds, traveling a distance of about 2.5 miles. The procession is followed by a breath taking torch light parade in the evening and a stunning display of fireworks.

To be Continued....... 

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  1. So far your photos are awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  2. You have a beautiful hometown. Your pictures are impressive and I really like the cultural and historical information that you posted.

  3. Amazing pictures!!! i have learned a lot!
    The temple is really beautiful and majestic!

  4. Your world is beautiful :)
    Fantastic post !!!
    Thanks for sharing ...

  5. I fully appreciate the historical information you have presented here in combination with the photos. To have buildings from the 11th century still standing is a cultural boon.