Mysore: The Cultural Capital of Karnataka
Mysore: The Cultural Capital of Karnataka

Mysore: The Cultural Capital of Karnataka

Mysore or officially Mysuru is a city at the foothills of Chamundi Hills in the southernmost part of Karnataka state. The city’s atmosphere is a blend of royalty, heritage, and tranquillity, thus making Mysore the cultural capital of Karnataka. Located at 770m above sea level, fairly flat yet slightly undulating land experiences a favourable climate almost throughout the year.

Brief History

  • The Mysore Palace located in the Wodeyar family dominated Puragere village.
  • Previously, Mysore was a vassal state under the Vijayanagara kingdom but attained independence after Vijayanagara’s decline.
  • Mysore kingdom was a sovereign state expanding its territory under the Wodeyar kings. However, the dynasty’s legacies lasted until a conflict broke out.
  • Marathas, Nizam as well as the British, empires with the sole motive of expansion of power ignited the conflict.
  • Following the four Anglo-Mysore wars, the princely state came under the British Empire.
  • Post-independence, Mysuru city became a part of Mysore state, which later came to be known as Karnataka.
  • The king became the appointed governor of the state.
  • Although history has been tough, Mysore has been a peaceful city regardless of the disputes over the Kaveri river.
  • This rich and interest-provoking history of the city makes it one of the greatest tourism hubs in the country.

State/District/Capital

Mysore is a land in the south Indian state of Karnataka expanding over 286.42 square kilometres. It is located in the Mysuru district of Mysore administrative division. Mysuru state was under the Union of India between 1947-56 with its capital as Mysore city. But now, this city is located in Karnataka, whose capital is Bengaluru.

How to reach Mysore?

Speaking transportation wise, Mysore is a quite easily accessible city by air, rail as well as road.

By Air

  • Located in the southern part of the city is the Mysore domestic airport near Mandakalli village.
  • The airport has a historical value. The kings of Mysore constructed it in the earlier part of the 20th century.
  • Currently, the Mysuru airport connects the city to other domestic cities in southern India like Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bengaluru.
  • The present runway is cannot handle larger flights. Thus expansion is on the cards aiming to turn the airport into an international one.
  • As of now, the nearest international airport is Kannur International airport.

By Rail

  • Mysore railway network has three different lines namely Bengaluru, Mangalore, and Chamarajanagar.
  • Many cities in India are connected to Mysore via railway which is an affordable means of transportation for commoners.
  • Shatabdi Express, one of the fastest trains in India serves Mysore and connects it to Chennai and Bengaluru.

By Road

  • The Mysore city is well connected with National Highway NH-212 and State Highway SH-17.
  • The private agencies and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) are responsible for the bus routes connecting the city to other cities.
  • Along with buses, cheap transportation in the form of autos and tongas is quite common in the city.
  • This ashtanga city has a partially UN-funded Public Bicycle Sharing or PBS system called Trin Trin. This service encourages the use of bicycles over motorized vehicles.

When to visit Mysore?

  • Mysore, being a tropical climate city enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year.
  • However, the summer season between March to May renders this place to be slightly undesirable.
  • The best time to experience the true beauty of Mysore would be sometime between October to February.

Official language

The official language of Karnataka state is Kannada. Specifically, the Kannada spoken in Mysore is one of the most significant languages in the Dravidian group. Besides, the other languages spoken are Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam.

Weather

The cultural capital of Karnataka experiences varied temperatures but not usually too extreme compared to other cities in India.

  • Summer season: April to June
  • Average temperature: 30° C to 39° C
  • Monsoon season: June to August
  • Average temperature: 20ºC to 30 °C
  • Winter season: December to February
  • Average Temperature: 17° C to 27° C

Fairs and Festivals

People from different walks of life, religions, and beliefs boost the cultural diversity of the city. Festivals are celebrated with zeal, passion, fun, and frolic. Also, fairs and festivals are the times when people come together to embrace the culture.

Dussera

Dussera is a ten-day grand festival celebrated in the month of September and October. The illuminated Mysore palace and the atmosphere enjoys the rhythms of the performances by talented musicians and dancers. The celebration ends with an amazing procession which includes police bands, mounted guards, army police, and units. Besides, several religious ceremonies take place at numerous temples over the city. It is one of the best fairs in Mysore.

Ugadi

This early April festival is celebrated with great pomp because it marks the New Year Day called Kannadiga. Also, the festival marks the birth of the spring season when the beautiful and fresh nature is full of life. The people of Mysore believe that this festival paints the city with a bright landscape and spreads happiness.

Vairamudi

Vairamudi is the most celebrated festival in Mysore. On the sixth day of Brahmotsavam, this festival also known as ‘diamond crown’ is celebrated beautifully with genuine dedication.

Transportation/Stay to prefer

Transportation

The road network in Mysore is designed based on a hub and spoke mechanism. Cars and public transport vehicles like auto-rickshaws, buses, and tongas are commonly used. However, tongas are becoming rare and have almost been rendered extinct in urbanized areas.

Stay to prefer

It is always better to plan two or three days stay in Mysore. This stay duration will be enough to visit almost all the significant landmarks in the city. Some nice hotels are located near the railway station waiting for travellers. Based on the tourist’s lifestyle, five-star hotels and small cosy lounges are available at affordable rates.

Places to visit in Mysore

Heritage

Rail Museum

Established in 1979, is a charming place. It shows the system of train travel which dates back to the older times of the kings.

Folklore Museum

A wholesome collection of more than 6000 exhibits. It portrays different south Indian traditions.

Amba Vilas Palace

A prime location, the royal palace of kings attracts maximum tourists in Mysore.

Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery

Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery is a place of immense cultural value as it holds the collection of royal paintings and articles.

Spiritual

Chamundi Hills and Temple

Goddess Chamundeshwari’s temple on the peak of Chamundi Hills is an inseparable part of Mysore’s identity. It is incomplete without the statue of demon Mahisura and Nandi. The Nandi is believed to be carved out of stone.

St Philomena’s Church

Constructed in the shades of dark grey, St Philomena’s Church is unique as its gothic style.

St. Bartholomew’s Church

Located a little away from the city, stands this small yet peaceful landmark. It’s an old monument from 1832.

Natural

Mysore Zoo

This Zoo is the oldest and largest zoos in the country. undoubtedly, a lovely place for families and friends.

Brindavan Gardens

A breathtaking and amazing garden with wonderful fountains. It used to be a great location for filming Bollywood movie songs.

Cuisines to taste in Mysore

  • Udupi cuisine is popularly claimed to be the cuisine of Mysore. The main ingredient in many delicacies in Mysore is rice. Every recipe proves to be a treat for your palate. As expected, Idli and dosa, the two famous south Indian preparations are a major part of Mysore’s cuisine.
  • Mysore masala dosa with the delicious flavours of chutney, potato filling, and sambar is a speciality. Therefore, tourists try this at least once before leaving the city.
  • Other famous types of dosas are Rava dosa, onion dosa, and set dosa.
  • Different recipes of idli like Mallige idli, thatte idli, and Rava idli.
  • A normal day in Mysore begins with breakfast items like uppittu, shavige bath, and oggarane avalakki. The other breakfast dishes are puri Palya, Pongal, vada sambar, and Kesari bath.
  • The most loved sweets is the Mysore Pak, which is enjoyed by across the country.

Things to do in Mysore

  • The first thing to do in Mysore after settling down in the hotel is having a delicious meal with coffee.
  • Speaking of different landmarks to visit, the Mysore Palace should be the first one on cards. It is a symbol of royalty that is a part of Mysore’s rich heritage identity. An individual who has not visited the palace might not know the city of palaces in its true sense. Tourists are allowed in places where they can take a look at wonderous antique artefacts, art, and the interior.
  • At least one evening in Mysore should be dedicated to the mind-blowing Brindavan Garden. Watching an amazing colourful waterfall show might be the perfect way to conclude the evening.
  • Besides the royal heritage, the city is known for its Mysore Cauvery Silk and Handicrafts Emporium. One can shop for beautiful silk sarees here.
  • Mysore’s Melody Wax museum is one of a kind. The museum has the largest collection of musical instruments with real life-size statues of musicians playing them.
  • Devraja Market where people do local shopping to remind them of their trip to Mysore is located near the palace.
  • The cultural capital of Karnataka is always lively where every street is quite alive. It may be hard to take a walk on sunny days. One can ride in an open rickshaw and breathe Mysore’s exotic air.

Souvenirs to buy in Mysore

Here are a few things a tourist in Mysore would want to buy. These souvenirs would be permanent reminders of this particular trip to Mysore.

Mysore Pak

It is something that would melt in the mouth after the first bite. It’s a special sweet and people going to Mysore don’t usually return home without buying this Pak.

Sandalwood souvenirs

The refreshing aroma mixes with the breath once it enters the nostrils. Besides, sandalwood has some valuable medicinal properties.

Wooden toys

The Channapatna toys are attractive wooden artefacts made by the skilled craftsmen and artisans. During Tipu Sultan’s reign, some talented Persian artists taught these villagers the art of making these toys. Besides, rosewood chess pieces are famous too.

Coffee

Fresh brewed coffee of Mysore attracts a lot of traders, retailers, wholesalers, and most importantly the tourists. As a result of its proximity to Coorg, Mysore’s coffee business has spiked.

Incense Sticks

Bamboo sticks coated with a paste that is a blend of different spices, fragrant oils derived from flowers. They create a heart-warming aroma when burnt.

Mysore paintings

The traditional paintings in Mysuru are a symbolic representation of the Ajanta era in the seventh century B.C. Having a souvenir with art that dates back to the seventh century is quite special.

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About Pranoti Abhyankar

A creative writer turned blogger, always open to new learning opportunities. Loves to pen down every event experienced.

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