Mysore (now officially: Mysuru) finds a mention on every page of the history of India. It’s located in the southern state of Karnataka. It is called as The Heritage City, the City of Palaces, the Cultural capital of Karnataka or even the sandalwood city of India. Mysore’s past is so profound; it actually defines its present. One cannot just casually talk about the history because the referencing overlaps ONE ERA TO ANOTHER. Inexhaustible material is available to understand the essence of Mysore city.
The Mysore pak, Mysore masala dosa and many more things with the word Mysore as a mnemonic should remind us non- Mysoreans of the royal connection that we are dealing with. These south Indian delicacies found their way out of their hometown due to the efforts of chain hotel owners who introduced them in their menu and then right into the heart of every other state. The Mysore silk production flourished during the reign of Tipu Sultan and it has come a long way since then. In fact, Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation has received the GI certificate for Mysore silk. Only sarees woven in Karnataka will be Mysore Silk sarees, thus patenting it. GI tag has also been received for Mysore Paintings, Mysore beetel leaf, Mysore Sandalwood oil, Mysore Sandal soap, Mysore Agarbatti , Mysore Mallige,Mysore Rosewood Inlays and Ganjifa cards.
Mysore is the seat of Maharajas, having been ruled by the Wadiyar(Wodeyar) dynasty since 1399. It is believed that a curse was cast on the Wodeyar family by Alamelamma – the widow of King Tirumalaraja ”May Talakad turn into (a barren expanse of) sand, may Malangi turn into a whirlpool, may the Rajas of Mysore not have children (for all time to come)” The Wodeyars never had a natural legal heir. It emerged that no natural heir to the throne born to a king (adopted or otherwise) could beget children, whereas one who became king by virtue of adoption or other indirect inheritance was blessed with a legal heir. That brings us to the 27th and current custodian of the royal house of mysore – Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodeyar. Yaduveer was 22 years old, when he was adopted by Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, following the death of her husband Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar.
The tales of the royal family are plenty. A visit to Mysore palace is a must for every Indian. The pride felt when standing in front of the Palace validates the pages of history and makes you a part of it.
I have travelled the Bangalore – Mysore- Ooty-Coorg circuit with my family. Yes, I know, but I still cannot bring myself to call Coorg as Kodagu. Our stay in Mysore city was a very memorable one. The Mysore palace was the highlight of the trip. The palace is managed by the Government of Karnataka. The Royal Family currently resides here in a part of it. The entire palace is not open to tourists. One can visit the Museum that is within the Palace. The encapsulating Light and sound show towards the evening (except Sunday) portrays the history and tradition of the Wodeyars in a visual manner. There are in all 7 palaces in Mysore. The main being the Ambavilas palace or the Mysore Palace. This was day 1 @Mysore and we unwound at our hotel after our visit to Mysore Palace. We had just landed here from Bangalore in the morning and we needed to start early the next day.
Our itinerary read Chamundeshwari Temple. It is at a distance of 10 kms from Mysuru. Chamundi or Durga is the slayer of demon. Goddess Chamundeshwari is the deity of the royal kings of Mysore from time immemorable. The temple is located atop the Chamundi hills. The view of Mysore city from here is breathtaking. The temple architecture is a sight to behold. Usually, Friday is the most visited day to take the blessings of the deity. One can wait in the queue for the darshan or there is a paid darshan too. We took the paid one as the queue would run into an hour and we, as tourists, were eager to move on to the next highlight of our star city.
After taking the blessing of the powerful Goddess, we left for Chamarajendran zoo also called as Mysuru zoo. It is spread over several acres of land. It’s very well maintained with all kinds of animals – hyenas, leopards, black bucks, magpies, several kinds of parrots. Basically, many species of birds, monkeys, wild animals and all species of deer. It has excellent litter control methods which are taken care of at the very entrance of zoo. The entry fees are quite reasonable too. The zoo is highly maintained. The zoo management is also in process of building a huge library/database area. There is also a small/ immaterial canteen. There are cream stalls located at several corners to help you take a break. Minimum 3 hours are required to cover the entire zoo. Rest depends on your ability to move up faster. I loved every bit of this zoo which was at par with international zoo standards.
For the lunch breaks, we loved eating at a small joint run by the Mylari family. Its location is in a small lane, but the food is 5 star quality. The food business is probably passed over from generations to generations. This is quite inevitable in the taste of the dosas they serve. The lip smacking, finger licking dosas last on your taste buds long after you have eaten it. We MYLARIED every day we were at Mysore.
Last on the itinerary was the Brindavan Gardens. It is built on several acres of land. And has a unique blend of many types of flower plants, ferns, shrubs and show plants…It’s a huge garden interspersed with different types of fountains. People of all age groups visit here and enjoy a beautiful evening with their loved ones. As we sat on the grass in the garden, we felt happy breathing the Mysore air without a hair of worry. At 7 pm, tourists eagerly await the dancing fountain show. To reach this part of Brindavan gardens, one can either walk up the huge stretch or take a ferry at Rs. 50 per person. We walked it up to see the show but took the ferry while returning.
We ended our Mysore trip with this, though there is much more which needs a tourist’s attention. We would be heading towards Ooty via the Mudumalai – Bandipur pass. Another super exciting journey…