In a city that was named after a powerful demon, is a massive gold and red palace wherein lives a king, who holds a festival once a year to meet his people. This is not a fairy tale, but the true story of the city of Mysore in Karnataka.
Mysore is the anglicised version of the name Mahishooru, which means the abode of the demon Mahishasur. Legend says that the demon was slain by the Goddess Chamundeshwari here, which is why a visit to the city is incomplete without a visit to the Chamundi Hills. This is where you can see the huge Chamundi Temple and a statue of the demon battling a snake.
Until 1947, Mysore was the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore and was ruled by the Wodeyar Dynasty except for a 40-year period in the 18th Century when Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan were the de facto rulers of the province. The Wodeyar Dynasty contributed significantly to the cultural growth of the city and it was during its rule that Mysore earned the title of the cultural capital of Karnataka.
Mysore is also home to the Mysore Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the world. Another must-see attraction here is the Mysore Palace, which is lit up on weekends with 96,000 lights. This is also where the Mysore Dasara festival is held every year. The palace itself is heavily decorated and is full of royal artefacts from ancient times. If you have a little more time, then head to the Brindavan Gardens that will enthrall you not only with their flowers, but also with their famous fountains.
As for me, every visit to Mysore means getting my hands on the scrumptious Mysore Pak, which the town is known for. Made of ghee, sugar and chickpea flour, this is one sweet that melts in your mouth and leaves you wanting lots more. If stories of demons and kings are not enough to make you want to visit Mysore, a taste of the Mysore Pak will make you want to stay there forever.
FOUR FAMOUS MUSEUMS IN MYSORE
Regional Museum of Natural History:
Has exhibits related to the biological diversity, ecology and geology of Southern India.
Has over 6,500 folk art and crafts exhibits from all over the state of Karnataka.
Exhibits ancient locomotives and carriages some of which are still in working condition.
Oriental Research Institute:
Formerly known as the Oriental Library, this museum was established in 1891 and contains over 33,000 palm leaf manuscripts