Mysore

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Mysore Palace also known as Amba Vilas Palace. The Hindu: In the evening, all roads led to the palace where 96,000 bulbs bathed the monument in a golden hue.

Mysore (or Mysuru) ( i/maɪˈsɔər/; Kannada: ಮೈಸೂರು) is the third-largest city 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). The Kingdom of Mysore was ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty, except for a brief and illustrious period in the late 18th century when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were the distinguished rulers. Patrons of art and culture, the Wodeyars contributed significantly to the cultural growth of the city. The cultural ambiance and achievements of Mysore earned it the sobriquet Cultural capital of 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.

Quotes[edit]

A statue of Mahishasura in Chamundi Hills, Mysore.
G.N.Ramu:... After the reign of Krishna Raja Wodeyar III, his descendants consolidated their hold over the kingdom of Mysore. Their rule ended in 1947, when India achieved independence from Britain.
A.V. Narasimha Murthy: The last king of Mysore, Jayachamaraja Wodeyar (1919-1974), was, [for example], a renowned scholar in philosophy, a versatile music composer and a writer and humanist. And like many others in the Wodeyar clan before him, a great patron of the arts and culture.
  • The site was mentioned in the epic Mahabharata as Mahishmati (Mahismati); it was known as Purigere in the Mauryan era (3rd century B.C.) and later became Mahishapura. It was the administrative capital of the princely state of Mysore.
  • -...the buffalo headed demon king of Hindu mythology, Mahishasura, whom once lived here and was vanquished in battle by the goddess Chamundeshwari. The goddess is worshipped even today, atop the Chamundi Hills where she is said to reside.
  • Mysore was the capital of Mysore state from about 1800 to 1973. After India re-organized the states, Mysore state was expanded to include Kannada-speaking districts that were part of neighbouring states. It was renamed Karnataka, and the capital was transferred to Bangalore
    • G.N.Ramu, in "Brothers and Sisters in India: A Study of Urban Adult Siblings", p. 42
  • The history of Mysore city is part of the broader regional history of kings and kingdoms beginning with the Ganga dynasty of the fourth century. The Cholas, Hoysalas, the rulers of Vijayanagar, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan all held control over this region at various times between the fourth and seventeenth centuries. After the reign of Krishna Raja Wodeyar III, his descendants consolidated their hold over the kingdom of Mysore. Their rule ended in 1947, when India achieved independence from Britain.
    • G.N.Ramu, in "Brothers and Sisters in India: A Study of Urban Adult Siblings", p. 42
  • Mysore is also known as the “Garden City” or the “City of Palaces” and has also earned the nickname “Ashtanga City" for the proliferation of wonderful yoga teachers who reside here.
    • Rosemary Vargas, in "Ashtanga City - The Westerner's Guide to Mysore", p. 9
  • The old city of Mysore was built around the main palace of the Wodeyar dynasty. Many mansions and smaller palaces were built for close relatives of the rulers in urban districts such as Nazarbad, and Lakshipuram. By contrast the agraharas (residential areas) consisted of mall houses, in these lived the palace cooks and clerks, who were mainly Brahmins.
    • G.N.Ramu, in "Brothers and Sisters in India: A Study of Urban Adult Siblings", p. 42
  • Mysore has evolved into an industrial boom town and a magnet for capital and technical workers.
    • G.N.Ramu, in "Brothers and Sisters in India: A Study of Urban Adult Siblings", p. 42
  • What makes Mysore interesting is the blend of the old and the new. Some of the magnificent palaces have been turned into art galleries, restaurant’s, or five-star hotels; the parks and boulevards that once were reserved for the nobility are now in the public domain. As a result, Mysore is now one of the most beautiful cities in India.
    • G.N.Ramu, in "Brothers and Sisters in India: A Study of Urban Adult Siblings", p. 42
  • Mysore has emerged from its feudal past as an important urban centre with a notably cosmopolitan way of life.
    • G.N.Ramu, in "Brothers and Sisters in India: A Study of Urban Adult Siblings", p. 44
  • Mysore is the second-largest city in Karnataka,...and a district and divisional capital. It is also one of the fastest growing cities in southern India, with new manufacturing and software industries establishing production facilities.
    • G.N.Ramu, in "Brothers and Sisters in India: A Study of Urban Adult Siblings", p. 41
  • Once the capital of Wodeyars, this enchanting city still retains its old world charm, that never fails to bewitch.

Mysore Palace[edit]

Aya Ikegame: Mysore palace, which is certainly a good example of Indo-Sarcenic style of architecture.
  • Mysore, the famous “city of incense”...is home to some 17 palaces, of which Amba Vilas is arguably is India’s most opulent.
  • After the old palace was partially destroyed by fire in 1897, the new Mysore Palace was built of granite on the old foundation. The palace has a gilded dome tower and is surrounded by a large courtyard. The architecture inside the palace is amazing. Stained glass, intricately decorated domes, murals, beautiful door, carved figures and freezes are only a few of the captivating details. One of the most prized possessions of the palace is the royal throne made of figwood, ivory, gold and silver that is only displayed during the Dasara celebrations
    • Rosemary Vargas, in "Ashtanga City - The Westerner's Guide to Mysore", p. 73
  • An ancient fort, rebuilt along European lines in the 18th century, stands in the centre of Mysore. The fort area comprises the Maharaja’s Palace (1897) with its ivory and gold throne.
  • The palace and open space around it are surrounded by walls and still give a sense that it was once a fort. In the fort, we find several Hindu temples, each of which belongs to different sect…The usual composition of the temples within the Mysore fort compound gIves the impression of a spatial configuration in which the king is at the centre of a religious domain as the protector of his people and dharma (the moral order) within his kingdom.
    • Aya Ikegame, in "Princely India Re-imagined: A Historical Anthropology of Mysore from 1799 to ...", P.120
  • During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, however, the fort changed its form from a residential town into a modern garden or empty space where only the palace and temple remained...This spatial transformation of the ort was a crucial part of a city improvement project in Mysore, which tried to beautify the capital at the same time as endeavuoring to meet modern demands of sanitation and hygiene…In this process, the modern Western idea of improvement and the traditional kingly role as a protector of dharma were somehow reconciled ad mutually strengthened.
    • Aya Ikegame, in "Princely India Re-imagined: A Historical Anthropology of Mysore from 1799 to ...", P.120

Lalitha Mahal Palace[edit]

David Cannadine:with an income in excess of two million pounds a year, some of which was spent on the construction of the Lalit Mahal Palace, an extraordinary architectural fantasy, just outside Mysore city, modeled on St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
David Cannadine:Every year during the Dasara Durbar, the city of Mysore put itself on show, with a formal gathering and homage at the Amba Vilas Palace, followed by a magnificent procession, complete with flags, arches, bands, troops, standards, palanquins and caparisoned elephants
  • Mysore, which the British looked on [w]as one of the ‘model states’ of princely India, responsibly run on progressive lines. By the inter-war years the maharajas of Mysore were second only to the nizams of Hyderabad terms of wealth, with an income in excess of two million pounds a year, some of which was spent on the construction of the Lalit Mahal Palace, an extraordinary architectural fantasy, just outside Mysore city, modeled on St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Dasara[edit]

  • Every year during the Dasara Durbar, the city of Mysore put itself on show, with a formal gathering and homage at the Amba Vilas Palace, followed by a magnificent procession, complete with flags, arches, bands, troops, standards, palanquins and caparisoned elephants.
    • David Cannadine, in "Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire", p. 55
  • The dasara celebrations, on the lavish scales now maintained, date from the beginning of the 17th century, when Raja Wodeyar came to the throne of Mysore after Sri Rangaraja, as descendent of the Vijayanagar Princes. With his ascent also dates the use of the famous throne by the Maharaja, during the festival. Raja Wodeyar who became the king of Mysore at the beginning of the 17th century, celebrated the dasara festival on a royal scale, and after him, year after year the Dasarz has gained in splendor, entertainment and attractiveness.
  • In Mysore, Dasara is a 10-day royal celebration. While most part of India celebrate Dussehra in commemoration of Lord Rama’s victory over the demon king w:Ravana:Ravana, Karnataka celebrates in honour of Goddess Chamundeshwari, who killed the demon Mahishasura. Chamundeshwari is the family deity of the royal house of Mysore and during Dasara her idol is taken in procession in a howdah wrought in solid gold. Pageants, parades, and music create a kaleidoscope of colour and gaiety. On the last day, a colourful procession of soldiers in ceremonial dress, cavalry, infantry, caparisoned elephants and colourful tableaux wend their way from the palace gates to Bani Mantap, where the torchlight parade and a magnificent display of horsemanship mark the grand finale.
  • The importance of the festival in the cultural psyche of the people of the State could be gauged by the fact that both Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan allowed its continuance, even during the Interregnum period when they usurped Mysore from the Wodeyars. The titular Wodeyar was permitted to carry out the rituals in a low-key fashion.
  • Post-Independence, the Government of Karnataka too has adopted Dasara as a naada habba or a State festival. But apart from the Palace festivities, true to the edict of the Bhavishya Purana, Dasara has always been a people’s festival, one that resonates with their aspirations and beliefs.
    • Vikram Sampath, in "When all of Mysore is aglow".
  • Especially for some of us who grew up in the erstwhile Royal Mysore, this time of the year is very nostalgic. It would have been nice if Mysore Dasara was what it used to be.
    • Vasudev, in "When the Maharaja’s son failed an examination".

Mysore Silk[edit]

  • All these innovations are being done without in any way tampering with the purity and uncompromising quality that has characterised Mysore silk fabrics - including saris — for decades.
  • Well, we realised that we have to move with the times, adapt to change. Also, this is a way of capturing a larger segment of the market. The new designs will mean more takers among the younger age groups, who look for trendy designs, and new looks. The older age group will now have something different-looking to add to their existing classic-design collection. Altogether for the customer it is a wider choice now
    • P. Vijayan, on the innovative design of both kasuthi-embroidery sarees and rich pallus, in "Modern MYSURU".
  • This is one element I always missed in a Mysore silk saree. So, I had to go for Kancheepuram, Peddapuram [saris] or Banaras when I needed to wear a very heavy-looking sari. Now, I have bought one and even gifted another to my sister-in-law as part of her wedding trousseau.
    • Nandana Roy, on kasuti-embroidery fusion of Mysore, quoted in "Modern MYSURU".

Mysore painting[edit]

Mysore painting depicting Krishna with his eight principal wives.
  • The successors of Raja Wodeyar continued to patronize the art of painting by commissioning the temples and palaces to be painted with mythological scenes. However none of these paintings have survived due to Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan’s ascendance to power and the consequent ravages of war between them and the British.
  • After the death of Tippu Sultan in 1799 AD the state was restored to it’s original royal family of Mysore and it’s ruler Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1799-1868 A.D.) ushered in a new era by reviving the ancient traditions of Mysore and extending patronage to music, sculpture, painting, dancing and literature. Most of the traditional paintings of the Mysore School, which have survived until today, belong to this reign. On the walls of Jagan Mohan Palace, Mysore
    • In "Mysore Painting".

Wood Inlay[edit]

Pushpa Chari... With their "wondrous and unparalleled" skills of inlaying finely etched ivory motifs on rosewood surfaces, they literally captured a panorama of India, its festivals, flora and fauna.
  • British Gazetters of the Raj era, those marvellously accurate records of the minutiae of Indian life, mention the presence of "thousands of rosewood inlay workers" in Mysore during the 19th Century. With their "wondrous and unparalleled" skills of inlaying finely etched ivory motifs on rosewood surfaces, they literally captured a panorama of India, its festivals, flora and fauna.
  • Teamwork is at the core of this craft, with the process comprising seven stages: designing and drawing, carpentry, handcutting and shaping of motifs, scooping the exact pattern on the rosewood surface, fixing and inlaying followed by sand papering, polishing, engraving the details and the final finish.
    • Pushpa Chari, in "Intricate patterns".
  • Seven or eight of us work on one piece. I do the inlay work and polishing while Chandrasekhar works as an engraver and does the detailing. We make everything as a team, whether it is a furniture piece or icons of gods.
    • Arif, one of the craftsmen, quoted in "Intricate patterns".
  • Earlier, we used to work with ivory and deer horn but now we do inlay work with plastic and different naturally coloured wood, which makes the piece very colourful.
    • Arif one of the craftsman quoted in "Intricate patterns".

Social aspects[edit]

Mahatma Gandhi:Mysore has been rightly considered one of the most progressive of States in India and, in several respects, far in advance of conditions obtaining in British India. There is progress in all directions.
  • Nature has favoured the State with a variety of rich gifts, and they are trying successfully to deserve them. The tidiness of the houses and the cleanliness of the road are in themselves a proof of the refined habits of the people. This could never be enforced from above but was a result of the people’s own culture.
  • I came to Mysore State in order to regain my health that I had lost during the tour which I was conducting at that time. And naturally I have the most pleasant recollections of my stay in Mysore. From His Highness the Maharaja Saheb, and his Dewan and other officials to the subjects of His Highness the Maharaja Saheb, I experienced nothing but the warmest affection. You can, therefore, understand more fully probably than before how much joy it must have given me to have come in your midst again. You have added to the joy and pleasure by asking me to perform the ceremony of unveiling a portrait of the late Sjt. Venkatakrishnayya, the Grand Old Man of Mysore. I congratulate the artist upon his effort, because it is a faithful representation of the figure which was quite familiar to me.

External links[edit]

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