The city of Mysore, or the sandalwood city of India, is known for an array of things – architectural marvels such as the resplendent Mysore Palace, elegant Mysore silk saris and the irresistible Mysore Paak. This diversity is the direct corollary of its rich history and vibrant cultural heritage.
Tracing its origin from MahishasuranaOoru, meaning “the town of Mahishasura” in the local language Kannada, Mysorehas been at the helm of history right since its inception. Legend has it that Mysore was ruled by King Mahishasura, the buffalo-headed monster who pestered his subjects by subjecting them to innumerable atrocities. Finally, Chamundeshwari, the incarnation of Goddess Parvathi, slayed Mahishasura at the crest of the Chamundi Hill and brought an end to this harrowing experience.
Mysore’s rendezvous with history does not just end here; it flowed across the various chapters and eras of history. Thus, Mysore has been the seat of power of a plethora of historically important dynasties such as the Gangas, who established their capital at Talakad; the Cholas who ruled over the territory of Mysore for over a century; the Chalukyas and the Hoysalas who were famous for patronizing the construction of mesmerizing temples. The next great dynasty was the Vijayangara Empire, which was known for its famous rulers like Krishnadeva Raya and scholars like Tenali Raman. They were replaced by the Mysore Yadu dynasty for a brief spell of time and the Wodeyars who were eventually supplanted by Haider Ali. This was a major turning point in Deccan politics, for it coincided with other historically significant developments such as the dwindling power of the Mughal Empire and the entry of the British into the affairs of South. The city of Mysore happened to be the theatre of this politics. This took the shape of the Anglo-Mysore Wars.
The first Anglo-Mysore War (1769-67) was the result of the cunning machinations of Asaf Jah II who was the Nizam of Hyderabad, the British and the Marathas. The triomade attempts to gain control of the Northern Circars – a bouquet of coastal territories that were previously controlled by the French. The invasion of Mysore by the Marathas was the reason for the germination of the war. Ali was able to successfully capture Madras. After a few years of peace and tranquility, there was trouble again in Mysore during 1780–84, which resulted in Haider Ali losing his life to British General Eyre Coot and Tipu Sultan resuming the charge of the battle. The war concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Mangalore which restored the status quo ante bellum. The third Anglo-Mysore War was the beginning of the fall of Tipu Sultan for Lord Cornwallis succeeded in defeating the bravado and this culminated in the signing of the Treaty of Seringapatnam. By virtue of this treaty, Tipu acceded half of his territories to the British following this treaty. The final blow came in 1799 when Tipu Sultan lost his life while valiantly fighting the British. In the aftermath of this war, Lord Wellesley, the Governor-General of India imposed Subsidiary Alliance and drastically curtailed the power of the rulers of the Wodeyar dynasty, who were symbolically restored to power by the British after the fourth Anglo-Mysore War.
Following this major debacle, the history of Mysore has relatively been peaceful, with India gaining Independence and Mysore losing its status as a princely state. Today, Mysore thrives as one of the most developed and prosperous cities of India. While you make a trip to this spectacular city, a good hotel accommodation is Royal Orchid Metropole Hotel, Mysore. This 5 star grand heritage Hotel represents the mélange of history with modernity.