Mysore, or Mysooru as it has been
called for centuries in considered as the cultural capital of the state
Karnataka in India. The kingdom of Mysore has played prominent role in history
since the 15th century.
Mysore started as a vassal state
to the famed Vijayanagar empire in the 14th century. With the eventual collapse
of the Empire, Mysore declared independence and was ruled by the Wodeyars till
India got independence, except for a few decades in the later parts of 18th
century when it was ruled by Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan.
The region was well irrigated
with Kaveri river and its tributaries and had great access to ports on the
western as well as eastern coasts of India. In the beginning of 19th century,
Mysore accepted British suzerainty and had peaceful and cordial relationship
with the colonial power. This economic and political stability lead to
prosperity of the kingdom and it was considered a Model state during the
The prosperity and the good
intentions of the royal family led to cultural, social and educational progress
in the state. Culturally, it was the de facto successor of the erstwhile
Vijayanagara empire. And it has lived up to the name.
Culture of Mysore is a fine
combination of the historic heritage and the contemporary achievements of the
city. The continuous patronage and support of the Kings in every field led to
the evolution of a distinct style known as the "Mysore Style" in the
all the fields like painting, architecture, music, poetry etc.
In a period of time as this culture
spread far and wide it was prefixed with the word "Mysore" to
identify the unique cultural heritage. To this day in Karnataka the best
quality jasmine flowers are referred to as Mysuru Maligae (Mysore Jasmine).
Mysore has also lent its name to popular dishes like Mysore Masala Dosa and
Mysore Pak. Mysore is also the origin of the popular silk sarees called as
Mysore silk sarees and has also given rise to a popular form of painting called
as Mysore painting.
The Wodeyars and Vijayanagar kingdom were known to have spread the message of
brotherhood and allowed the peaceful co-habitation of multi-religious people in
Mysore. The Kings of Mysore have laid a strong foundation for communal harmony
by making generous contributions towards religious centers of all religions.
Mysore has been a city where all religions have co-existed in harmony for many
Over the years Mysore has become a cosmopolitan city with people from different
walks of life living together peacefully. One finds people from different parts
of the country, speaking different languages, celebrating different festivals
all co-existing peacefully. Though Mysore has become a modern city it has not
lost touch with its tradition and culture.
The festivals of Mysore are a fascinating indicator of the cultural unity of
the place. Inhabited by people of different faiths and beliefs Mysore becomes a
common cultural canopy under which the various social festivals are celebrated
by one and all. Dasara is one such major festival followed by the people of
Mysore with enough mirth and enthusiasm.