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Mysore is the most beautiful city in Karnataka and is also famous as the cultural capital of Karnataka. Mysore previously served as capital to the kings of the Wodeyar dynasty who ruled Mysore for a very long span of time. Wodeyars were patrons of music and art and the rulers of the Wodeyar dynasty have made a significant contribution to the culture of Mysore. Mysore is very popular for its art galleries, museums, festivities and palaces. Mysore is famous throughout the world because of its culture and its traditions that are immensely found in the festivals celebrated in Mysore and the tradition that is followed in Mysore. Mysore has also remained famous for its cuisine all over the world and his is also a direct result of the rich culture of Mysore. Some dishes like Mysore Pak and Masala Dosa from Mysore have got their names from the city of Mysore. Mysore silk is also very famous and this has resulted in the origin of Mysore silk sarees. Mysore painting is also a rage throughout the world.
Co-Existence of Several Religions
Mysore is a city where several religions co-exist in peace and harmony. Even when the Vijayanagara Empire and Wodeyar rulers were controlling the empire of Mysore, they encouraged every culture and every religion in the city without making any discrimination. It was the continuous support and patronage of the Mysore kings in every sphere that gave rise to a distinct and unique style called “Mysore style” in fields like as architecture, painting, poetry and music. Everything related to the rich and splendid cultural heritage of Mysore is prefixed, “Mysore” that speaks about the culture of the city. Till date, the Jasmine flowers of best quality found in Karnataka are known as Mysooru Maligae which means Mysore Jasmine.
Mysore has made great advancements in every field and it has also developed into a cosmopolitan city. Mysore consists of people belonging to different religions and cultures living peacefully. People of different faiths sty together in Mysore and they live harmoniously. This is the reason why the city has developed so fast. The people who live in Mysore participate in the celebrations and the festivals of different religions. The Mysore kings have also made a significant contribution towards communal harmony by laying the stones of different religious centers in Mysore belonging to different religions and this is a tradition that is religiously followed throughout Mysore.
Religious Communities in the City
Hindu community is one religious community in Mysore that is supposed to be the largest. Muslims are also an important religious community in Mysore along with the small population of Jains. There can be no doubt in the fact that Mysore has modernized itself to a considerable extent but the city has in no way lost its touch with its rich culture and tradition. Cultural unity in the city is ultimately expressed and witnessed during Dasara festivities in the city. This is a festival that is celebrated by the entire population of Mysore and that too with great zeal and enthusiasm. Religious ceremonies are an important part of the festivities but along with religious ceremonies people also carry out different other tasks like decorating houses, distributing sweets and displaying dolls. This festival is being celebrated in Mysore since a very long time and it has become synonymous with Mysore. During the times of the kings, the main feature of the Dasara celebration was the Maharaja’s procession on the elephant back. This was the manner in which Dasara was celebrated in Mysore since the epic times and it continued during the reign of the kings of Mysore. Even today, Dasara is illustriously celebrated with similar splendor and pomp including some small changes. At present, Goddess Chamundi’s Golden Idol is carried by Royal Elephant during the procession. The culture of Mysore represents the innate charm of the old events and traditions of Mysore and its culture stands in the form of a discrete identity.
People of Mysore
The population of Mysore is around 22, 81,653. People belonging to different cultural backgrounds are found staying in this country and living harmoniously with the people of different other religions. A certain increase in the population of Mysore has been found in the recent years because of the development of the IT industry in this city. It can be said that Mysore’s population is an assimilation of modern technologists who have gathered in Mysore for work and traditional locals who have been staying in Mysore since the times of the kings of Mysore. The most common languages that are used in Mysore are English and Kannad. Two other languages that are very popular in Mysore are Hindi and Tamil.
Hinduism is the main religion in Mysore and most of the people living in Mysore are Hindus. Christian population of Mysore is also very large. The religious life and cultural practices found in Mysore are also backed by Jainism that is still found to enjoy a very special position among the people of Mysore. Buddhist, Islamic and Sikh faiths are also followed by some sections of people in the city. It is the presence of different religions in the city that has resulted in the vibrant culture of Mysore. The fairs and the festivals in Mysore play a very significant role in the lives of the people. Mysore also consists of a large number of pilgrim sites. The locals possess traditional lifestyle that is very religious and simple. Local people belonging to Mysore follow old rituals and customs. But with changes being found in several economic activities of Mysore, the culture of the city is also changing gradually. Traditional clothes are worn by the people of Mysore. Silk and cotton saris are usually worn by women. The people living in Mysore are simple, jovial and hospitable. It is the nature of the people that has made Mysore the most convivial urban region in India.
Traditions in Mysore
Mysore possesses a very rich tradition and it is evident in the city’s possession of gardens, palaces and pilgrim sites. The city is considered to be the best investment and travel destination which has resulted in large scale growth of Mysore. This growth has brought about major changes in the lifestyle of the people of Mysore who were following the tradition that was handed over to them by their rulers. People have changed their lifestyles steadfastly and they are not found to follow the old traditions anymore. Various symbols of the rich tradition and heritage of Mysore such as Mysore Tongas, traditional wrestling and Mysore Unde Neshya have now become endangered and this is because of the changes that have taken place in the lifestyle and the habits of the people. It is urbanization that has altered the traditional look of the city.
Customs in Mysore
The name Mysore has evolved from the term mahisasurana ooru or mahisuru meaning Mahishasura village. Mythologically, it is believed that a demon named Mahishasura who was bull headed was attacked by Chamundi, an incarnated form of Parvati. Parvati lived on a hill for the protection of the city and is worshipped by the people of Mysore till date. During the Dasara celebrations in the city, the temple of the Goddess located atop Chamundi Hills, is thronged by her devotees from several parts of the world who gather there to celebrate the victory of the Goddess over evil. Historically, Mysore has remained under the rule of various dynasties of rulers such as The Cholas, The Gangas, the Hoysalas, The Chalukyas, The Wodeyars and last but not the least Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. It was after the death of Tipu Sultan that the Britishers took over of Mysore and reinstated the Wodeyars who still remain to be the Rajpramukh possessing legal authorities that have been granted to them by the Indian Constitution.
Cultural Influence in Mysore
The impact of the culture and the tradition of several dynasties that have ruled Mysore is found in the culture and the custom of Mysore at present. The architecture found in the learning centers and the temples of Mysore bear an imprint of the tower structure and carvings of the Hoysalas while British influence is found in the government buildings. The city possesses a green cover and wide roads and the credit for this development of the city goes to Raja Wodeyar III. The city claims its forte and its specialties in the form of “Mysore style” which has become a brand for the city representing the unique amalgamation of culture and custom in Mysore with great pride.
Mysore paintings depicting the scenes and epic figures from scriptures carry traditional interior work by the use of Mysore gold and they form a distinct tradition in Mysore. The literature and the music of Mysore has also blossomed with activities like Vaishnavism and Veerashaivism and The Champu which is a composition revitalizing Jainism. Navodaya writing style is found in the short stories, novels, dramas and poems that came into existence under the basic influence of the Christian missionaries and the Britishers in Mysore. Even today, there are a lot of musicians and writers found budding in Mysore in search of a good platform. The era of Tipu Sultan marked the origination of Mysore silk which is considered to be the purest form of silk and is very popular for its shimmering looks and rich feel. Dishes like Mysore pak and Mysore Masale also have a significant role in adding to the popular and well preserved cultural heritage of Mysore.
Art in Mysore
Mysore is blessed with a number of museums and art galleries that hold lovely artifacts depicting art and culture of Mysore. The rich past of Mysore is very well showcased through them. They also represent lifestyle of people of Mysore and the culture that s very colorful. The culture of Mysore is of great significance because it is the culture and the tradition that is depicted in the lifestyle and the hospitability of the people of Mysore.