Mysore, the second largest city in Karnataka, is located in the Mysore division and is easily reachable from Bangalore. Located 146 km away, it lies to the south-west of the capital city, spans an area of 128.42 sq km and is located at the base of Chamundi Hills.The word Mysore is derived from “Mahishuru” which literally means the abode of Mahisha. According to a legend, the demon Mahishasura (Mahisha means buffalo and Asura, the demon) was slayed by Goddess Chamundeshwari.
The city came under the rule of the Wodeyars and remained their capital until 1947. After the British took over, the city had lost its status as an administrative centre but was restored to its former glory when Bangalore became the capital of the British.
The Mysore Palace is one of the most important places to see in Mysore. It was the official residence of the Wodeyars, the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, which had reigned over the princely state of Mysore for more than seven centuries. The palace was built by the Wodeyar kings first in the 14th century. It was demolished and constructed several times later.
The Lalitha Mahal is situated near the Chamundi Hills near Mysore. It is the second largest palace in Mysore and was built on the orders of the Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV in 1921. It was constructed for the exclusive use of the Viceroy of India. The most remarkable feature about the palace is the architectural style used to build it.It is modelled on St Paul’s Cathedral in London and is one of the major landmarks of the city of Mysore. The palace has been painted in pristine white and makes for a great sight. It was converted into a heritage hotel in 1974 and is now run by the Ashoka Group of the Indian Tourism Development Corporation under the Government of India.
It is situated very close to the Krishnarajasagara Dam which is built across the River Cauvery. The garden receives as many as 2 million tourists every year. The work on laying out of the garden began in 1927 and was completed in 1932. The garden spreads across 60 acres and contains water fountains, Ficus trees, foliage and flowering plants in great variety. It is maintained by the Cauvery Niravari Nigam, which is an enterprise under the Government of Karnataka. Adjoining the garden, there is a large fruit orchard which is spread over 75 acres.
The Chamundi Hills are situated close to the Mysore Palace and are one of the eight most sacred hills in South India. The average altitude of these hills is around 1000 metres. According to popular belief, the Goddess Chamundeshwari also called Chamundi killed the demon king of the area Mahishasura here and hence these hills are named after her to honour her. The goddess Chamundeshwari was considered to be the protective deity of the royal family. The temple dedicated to the goddess was renovated during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III and a beautiful tall tower was installed in honour of the deity.
The St Philomena’s Church was constructed in 1936 in neo-Gothic style modelled on the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The church is dedicated to St Philomena who was a Latin Catholic saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church. She was a young Greek princess who was martyred in the 4th century.A relic of St Philomena was obtained from Peter Pisani, the Apostolic Delegate of the East Indies in 1926. He handed over the relic to Father Cochet who sought help from the king in building the church. The king laid the foundation and the construction was completed under Bishop Rene Feuga’s supervision.
Founded in the year 1968, Folklore Museum is one of Mysore's most popular tourist attractions. It mainly exhibits an expansive collection of artworks and crafts that belong to different parts of the state. It is located in the imposing Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion, which stands within the Mysore University Campus. Since its inception, the university has made immense contributions towards the folklore study.