MYSORE

            Mysore (maisUru) (ಮೈಸೂರು) is deemed to be cultural Capital of Karnataka. This was the seat of power during the rule of oDeyar dynasty or ‘yaduvamsha’ as it is otherwise known. According to mythology, Mysore was under the control of the demon ‘mahiSAsura’ and it was liberated by the Goddess cAmunDi, who slew the demon and stayed atop the cAmunDi hills in order to protect the town. This story occurs in ‘dEvi bhAgavata’. MahiSamanDala’ became ‘mahiSUru’ and finally the form maisUru came in to vogue. Ancient Tamil scripts mention ‘erumai nADu’ which is an obvious reference to Mysore. Ashoka the Maurya king sent one of his emissaries to spread the message of Hinduism to ‘mahiSamanDala’. This event took place in the early centuries of the Christian era.

            However, one has inscriptional evidence to prove that the kings of the Ganga dynasty ruled over ‘mahiSamaNDala’ as early as the ninth century. After that it was ruled by the cOLa kings and they were followed by the Hoysala dynasty. Mysore was associated with and had feudatory relations with the kings of the Vijayanagara Empire. This is proved by a number of inscriptions.

            Odeyar dynasty came to power in the year 1399 A.D. It was YadurAja; allegedly from Gujarat the first king of the dynasty who saved the queen and her daughter from a chieftain called mAranAyaka ascended the throne. After that the dynasty continued to rule from Mysore as its Capital up to 1947. However there was a long interval during which the capital was shifted to near by Srirangapattana. Srirangapattana was the Capital city between 1610 A.D. and 1799 A.D. Raja ODeyar, (1578-1617 A.D.) KanTIrava Narasaraja ODeyar, (1638-1659 A.D.), ChikkaDevaraja ODeyar, (1678-1704A.D.) Hyder Ali, (1761-1782 A.D.) Tipu Sultan, (1782-1799 A.D.) MummaDi KrishNa ODeyar (1811-1831A.D.) and NAlamaDi KrishNArAja ODeyar(1902-1940 A.D.) are some of the kings who were very powerful and popular. The regime of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan was very important for more than one reason. It deserves to be studied separately. 

            Mysore does not really have many monuments and buildings that befit its antiquity. Most of its world famous tourist attractions came up during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Even the earlier ones have undergone many stages of evolution and change. The Chamundeshvari Temple atop the Chamundi hill is an exception. Even this is not associated with architectural or sculptural grandeur. The temple has a quadrangular structure. The Gopura or pyramidal tower at the entrance is intricately decorated in the Dravidian style. Actually the Mahabaleshvara temple situated near the Chamundi shrine is much more ancient. This dates back to at least 950 AD. “The famous Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana is said to have expanded this temple. It is believed that the Hoysalas added the Ardha Mantapa and Nava Ranga. Both of them have lathe-turned pillars typical of other Hoysala temples. Inside the temple there are attractive images of Sapta Matrikas, Nataraja, Parvathi and Bhairava, all built in the style used by the Hoysalas. (?) The image of Vishnu is from the Ganga period. In the niches behind this icon are the statues of Dakshina Murthy and Mahishamardhini, the latter statue is in the Ganga style. In the back of the temple, on the back corridor, there are a few images of Gods like Indra and Bikshatana Shiva that indicate that the temple has Chola workmanship as well. There is an image of Brahma from the Ganga period. The front Mantapa was built during the 17th century. This ancient temple that has the workmanship of more than three dynasties is worth visiting.” Lakshmiramanaswamy temple is another important place. The structures that have come up during a later date are beyond the scope of this note. 

 

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