Mysore is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka, India. It is the headquarters of the Mysore district and the Mysore division and lies about 140 km (87 mi) southwest of Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka. The name Mysore is an anglicised version of Mahishu-ru, which means the abode of Mahisha. Mahisha stands for Mahishasura, a demon from the Hindu mythology. The city is spread across an area of 128.42 km˛ (50 sq mi) and is situated at the base of the Chamundi Hills.
Until 1947, Mysore was the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore which was ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty, except for a brief period in the late 18th century when Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan usurped power. The Wodeyars were patrons of art and culture and have contributed significantly to the cultural growth of the city, which has led to Mysore earning the sobriquet Cultural capital of Karnataka. Mysore is famous for the festivities that take place during the Dasara festival when the city receives a large number of tourists. Mysore also lends its name to the Mysore style of painting, the sweet dish Mysore Pak and the garment, Mysore silk saree.
While tourism is the major industry in Mysore, the growth of information technology related industry in the first decade of the 21st century, has resulted in the city emerging as the second largest software exporter in the state of Karnataka, next to Bangalore. Though lacking an airport, Mysore is connected to other parts of India by railways and road transport. Mysore is also the location of Mysore University, whose alumni include Kuvempu, Gopalakrishna Adiga, S. L. Bhyrappa, U. R. Ananthamurthy and N.R. Narayana Murthy. The All India Radio, the premier radio broadcasting arm of the Government of India had its beginnings here.
According to Hindu mythology, the area around Mysore was known as Mahishu-ru and
was ruled by a demon, Mahishasura. The demon was killed
by the Goddess Chamundeshwari, whose temple is situated
atop the Chamundi Hills. Mahishu-ru later became Mahisu-ru
and finally came to be called Maisu-ru, its present name
in the Kannada language. The anglicised form of the name
is Mysore. In December 2005, the Government of Karnataka
announced its intention to change the English name of the
city to Mysuru. This has been approved by the Government
of India but the necessary formalities to incorporate the
name change are yet to be completed
The region where Mysore city stands now was known as Puragere
till the 15th century.The Mahishu-ru Fort was constructed
in 1524 by Chamaraja Wodeyar III (1513–1553), who later
passed on the dominion of Puragere to his son Chamaraja
Wodeyar IV (1572–1576). Since the 16th century, the name
of Mahishu-ru (later Mysore) has been commonly used to denote
the city. During the rule of the Vijayanagara Empire, the
Mysore Kingdom under Wodeyars, served as a feudatory. Mysore
was the center of the Wodeyar administration till 1610 when
Raja Wodeyar ousted the Vijayanagara governor at nearby
Srirangapatna and made it his capital. With the demise of
the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565, the Mysore Kingdom gradually
achieved independence and became a sovereign state by the
time of King Narasaraja Wodeyar (1637). When the kingdom
came under the rule of Tipu Sultan, he demolished much of
Mysore town to remove any traces of the Wodeyar rule. After
Tipu Sultan's death in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799,
the capital of the kingdom was moved back to Mysore. The
administration was looked after by Diwan Purnaiah, since
the Wodeyar king Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar was a minor.
Purnaiah is credited to have been responsible for many improvements
in the Mysore city, mainly in relation to public works.
In 1831, Mysore lost its status as the administrative centre
of the kingdom when Mark Cubbon, the British commissioner,
moved the capital to Bangalore. However it regained this
status in 1881, when the British handed the power back to
the Wodeyars. The city remained the capital of the Wodeyars
till 1947 with Mysore Palace as the centre of administration
The Mysore municipality was established in 1888 and the
city was divided into 8 wards. In 1897, an outbreak of bubonic
plague killed nearly half of the population of the city.
With the establishment of the City Improvement Trust Board
(CITB) in 1903, Mysore became one of the first cities in
Asia to undertake a planned development of the city. When
the Quit India Movement was launched in the early 1940s,
Mysore city also played a part in it. Leaders of the independence
movement like H. C. Dasappa and Sahukar Channayya were at
the forefront during the agitations. The Maharaja's College
hostel was the nerve centre from where the movement was
controlled in the Mysore district and the Subbarayana Kere
ground was an important location for public demonstrations.
After the Indian independence, Mysore city remained as a part of the Mysore State under India. Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, the then king of Mysore, was allowed to retain his titles and was nominated as the Rajapramukh of the state. He expired in September 1974 and was cremated in Mysore city. Over the years, Mysore has become well known as a centre for tourism and the city has remained largely peaceful, except for occasional riots related to the Kaveri river water dispute. Some of the events that took place in Mysore and made national headlines were the fire at Premier Studios that claimed the lives of many people, the sudden deaths of many animals at the Mysore Zoo and the National Anthem controversy that happened on the campus at Infosys.