The word Mysoreorginates from the word “mahishur“meaning ‘The town of Mahishasura in Kannada’. Mysore has been linked with the Puranic story found in the Devi Bhagavatha. As stated in the story in the Devi Purana, Mysore was ruled by the demon Kind Mahishasura, a buffalo-headed monster.

In reaction to the prayer of the Gods and Goddesses to rescue them from the demon, Goddess Parvathi, took birth as Chamundeshwari and killed the monster on top of the Chamundi hill located close to Mysore.

It’s been said that after eliminating the buffalo-headed monster the Goddess stayed on top of the hill, where she is worshipped as a deity to this day. The famous 10-daylong Dasara of Mysore is in honor of the Goddess Chamundeshwari and is a celebration of this victory of good over evil monster.

Prior to the uprising of the Ganges in the 10th century there is little historical evidence relating to Mysore. The Ganges initiated their power in the 2nd century and they ruled over the majority of Mysore till 1004 AD. In the 3rd century natives placed their capital at Talakad, located on the shores of the Cauvery River.

mysore history

There’s an etching on Chamundi Hills that was done in 950A.D. during the reign of the Ganges. This inscription is the oldest found in Mysore. The Cholas controlled the city of Mysore for over a hundred years after the Ganges. The Chalukyas followed the Cholas. The Hoysalas forced the Cholas from the existing portions of Mysore during the 12th century. Hoysala are famous for the alluring temples they constructed during their dynasty.

After the Hoysalas reign,next came the Mysore Yadu dynasty in 1399A.D. This dynasty also donated many cherished temples to the Mysore landscape.

The Vijayanagara Empire disintegrated in 1565. The power vacuum created soon after was exploited by Raja Wadiyar (ruled 1578–1617). He expanded the borders of the Mysore kingdom and in 1610 changed the capital city from Mysore to Srirangapatna; a rare island formed by the river Kaveri, which provided natural protection against military attacks.

Later famous rulers of the dynasty included Kanthirava Narasaraja I (ruled 1638–1659), who expanded the frontiers of the Mysore kingdom to Trichy in Tamil Nadu. The dynasty reached its peak under Chikka Devaraja (ruled 1673–1704), who reformed the administration of the empire by dividing it into 18 departments (called Chavadis) and he also introduced a coherent system of taxation.

From 1760 to 1799, the rule of the dynasty was essentially nominal, with real power in the hands of the dalwai, or commanders-in-chief, Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, who expanded the kingdom aggressively, but clashed with the British East India Company. After Tipu Sultan was killed by the British in the Battle of Srirangapatna in 1799, the Wadiyars were restored to a reduced kingdom.

The 17th and 18th Centuries

So after, the Raja of Mysore renovated the fort of the city and made his headquarters within its perimeters. Raja Wodeyar relocated the capital from Mysore to Srirangapatna until after the death of Tippu Sultan in 1799. Afterwards, crowning Mysore the capital of the Wodeyars once again.

During the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III Mysore expanded and moved beyond the walls of the fort. Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV developed Mysore into a breathtaking city with excellent organization and planning. Under his power, Mysore became popular for its extended roads, magnificent architecture, art, music and elegant parks.

Wadiyar Rulers of Mysore

  • Yaduraya (1399–1423)
  • Hiriya Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar I (1423–1459)
  • Thimmaraja Wadiyar I (1459–1478)
  • Hiriya Chamaraja Wadiyar II (1478–1513)
  • Hiriya Bettada Chamaraja III Wadiyar (1513–1553)
  • Thimmaraja Wadiyar II (1553–1572)
  • Bola Chamaraja Wadiyar IV (1572–1576)
  • Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar V(1576–1578)
  • Raja Wadiyar I (1578–1617)
  • Chamaraja Wadiyar VI (1617–1637).
  • Raja Wadiyar II (1637–1638)
  • (Ranadhira Kantheerava) Narasaraja Wadiyar I (1638–1659)
  • Dodda Devaraja Wadiyar (1659–1673)
  • Chikka Devaraja Wadiyar (1673–1704)
  • Narasaraja Wodeyar II (1704–1714)
  • Dodda Krishnaraja Wodeyar I (1714–1732)
  • Chamaraja Wadiyar VII (1732–1734)
  • (Immadi) Krishnaraja Wadiyar II (1734–1766)
  • Nanajaraja Wadiyar (1766–1770)
  • Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar VIII (1770–1776)
  • Khasa Chamaraja Wadiyar IX (1766–1796)
  • Krishnaraja Wadiyar III (1799–1868)
  • Chamarajendra Wadiyar X (1868–1894)
  • Vani Vilas Sannidhana, queen of Chamarajendra Wadiyar X, was Regent from 1894–1902.
  • Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV (1895–1940)
  • Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar (1940–1950)
    • Rajpramukh of Mysore state (1950–1956)
    • Governor of Mysore state (present-day Karnataka) (1956–1964)
    • Governor of Madras State (present-day Tamil Nadu) (1964–1966)
    • De-recognized as Maharajah of Mysore by the 26th Amendment to the constitution in 1971.
    • Died on 23-9-1974.
  • Prince Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar (1974–2013; ascended the throne in 1974; died on 10 December 2013)
  • Yaduveera Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar (2015–present; ascended the throne on May 28, 2015)

Mysore Today

Today Mysore is a growing, highly motivated city that has been able to retain its picturesque old traditions and peaceful charm. Today the city is famous worldwide for its excellent sandalwood and rosewood artifacts, stone sculptures, incense sticks, inlay work with ivory and its exquisite silk sarees.