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Friday, August 15, 2008

Mysore

Mysore has once been the capital of Karnataka and still its palaces and culture reflect the clean, light, serene and easygoing old worldly charm. Its distinctive aromas attract people to the place again and again. It is said that Mysore was originally known as 'Mahishasurana Ooru' or the town of Mahishasura, as it was here that Goddess Chamundeshwari, the patron deity of the royalty of the region, killed the mighty demon Mahishasura atop the Chamundi. Still, one can see the temples of the Goddess atop these hills at the eastern end of Mysore town.
The imposing and magnificent palaces and buildings of Mysore are a part of architectural heritage of the city and have retained its old-world charm. The city boasts of well-planned gardens, fabulous temples and broad shady avenues. The Wodeyar dynasty of Kings ruled Mysore ever since 14th century except for the time in the late 18th century, when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were the rulers of the city for 40 years. The city has been planned well and the benevolent Wodeyar rulers gave it the identity of a 'native' princely state and encouraged traditional music, dance, art and literature along with scholarship and time-honored crafts.


Mysore's Prime Attractions


Chamundi Hills: Chamundi Hills is 1,100-feet-high and the Chamundeshwari temple atop them is quite fabulous. Goddess Chamundeshwari is patron deity of the erstwhile royalty and it takes 13 km drive or climbing up the 1,000 stone steps to reach the temple. The giant statue of Mahishasura nearby, who was believed to be the demon killed by the Goddess here is a chief attraction here along with the the 300-year old monolithic statue of Nandi Bull, which is 4.8 m high, placed halfway up the stairs. Nandi Bull is the chosen mount of Lord Shiva and is notable because of its size and ornamentation.
Srirangapatnam: The summer palace of Tipu Sultan at Srirangapatnam, 15 km from Mysore, was built in 1784. It boasts of Indo-Saracenic architecture and has a small museum with a rich collection of Tipu's personal possessions such as his gold-embroidered tunic, old paintings and a coin collection. Other places woth seeing at Srirangapatnam are the Gumbaz, the mausoleum of Tipu Sultan and his father, Hyder Ali and Jami Masjid with its slender minarets that make the mosque recognizable from several kilometers.
Brindavan Gardens: 30 minutes from Mysore, the terrace gardens of Brindavan boast of beautiful watercourses, musical fountains that are fitted with soft colored lights and look quite beautiful in the night. It is a popular picnic spot of the city.
Lalitha Mahal Palace: Lalitha Mahal was the guesthouse of Wodeyar rulers and was built in 1930s. It is snow-white in color and its Italian marble staircase that branches off from a landing to reach the first floor hall looks quite fascinating. There are delightful lawns and tall trees surrounding the palace.


Mysore Palace: Mysore Palace was built in 897 AD using Saracenic style of architecture. It presents a fusion of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. The old palace was burnt down in 1897 and the new one designed by an English architect was completed in 1912. Gray granite was used to construct the main palace building while a gilded dome was placed atop a tower in the palace. It has huge rooms and floor tiles are of beautiful colors and hues such as turquoise blue, magenta, golden yellow and leaf green. The central hall once used for marriages and other major gatherings is perhaps the most beautiful part of the palace and is richly ornamented. The royal courtyard is the venue from where the Dussehra procession starts every year in the month of October. There is a museum too that presents a collection of musical instruments, children's toys, lots of paintings, royal costumes and weaponry and armor that belonged to the Maharaja's family.

Mysore City Facts



Location: Situated in Karnataka, India.
Climate: Mysore boasts of warm summers and cool winters and a pleasant season throughout the year.


How to Reach:


By Air: The nearest airport to Mysore is Bangalore Airport, 140 km away from here that has domestic flights throughout India.
By Train: Mysore is linked by regular trains to Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai.
By Road: Good roads link Mysore to almost all the important cities of the region.




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