Mysore district has a rich history with many pre-historic sites, monuments, forts, temples, mosques and churches depicting the archaeological, architectural and heritage value of the region. The district possesses excellent fauna and flora, rivers, hillocks, lakes and a moderate climate.
Mysore city is the headquarters of Mysore district which forms one of the southern most district of Karnataka State. Mysore is the name by which Karnataka State was known prior to 1973. The city is in the south-western direction from Bangalore at a distance of 139 Km and is well connected by rail and road. It covers an area of 128.42 Sq. Km, having City Municipal Corporation since 1977. The population of the city is 8,87,446 consisting of 4,43,813 males and 4,43,633 of females as per provisional reports of Census India – 2011.
The city with the majestic Mysore Palace, the royal mansions, public buildings, gardens, water bodies and planned markets exhibit an indelible impression of the vision of the Maharajas, their Dewans and other talented luminaries of the City Municipality, as early as 1862. The total harmony of buildings, sites, lakes, parks, open spaces of Mysore and the back drop of Chamundi hill adds to city’s attraction.
The antiquity of Mysore dates back to the days of the Mahabharata. Tradition identifies the place as the abode of Mahishasura whom Chamundesvari killed and the name Mysore is associated with it. Mahavamsa and Deepavamsa, the two Budhist texts, allude to the despatch of Budhist missionary Mahadeva by the Mauryan emperor Asoka to Mahishamandala to propogate Budhist Dharma. Inscriptions speak of Mahishapura, Mahisurapura and Mahishasurapura. Erumainad of Tamil classics is also identified as Mysore and an inscription dated 862 A.D. from Kadalur in Mandya taluk refers to the place as Maysooru. In the 10th century, the city was called Mysore Nadu of 70 villages. After 1499, this town was clearly mentioned as Mysore.
The city is also known, throughout the world, for the pomp and gaiety with which the traditional Dasara Festival is held here annually during the Navaratri. The tourists would throng the city from all over the country and abroad in great numbers to witness the Jamboo Savari(Elephants’ procession), the chief attraction on the occasion in which decorated elephants walk the procession route, majestically. The Maharaja used to sit in the howdah earlier. The tradition was maintained in full vigour for more than a decade even after the country acquired independence. Now, under the changed political and administrative conditions, Dasara is being organized in the city in a modified form as Naada Habba, festival of the land. On the tenth day of the festival, the grand procession of Goddess Chamudenshwari accompanied by umpteen tableaux is the chief attraction.
The Mysore city and its surroundings have a large number of industrial units. The city is an educational centre and in addition to many colleges and the Mysore University, it has Engineering, Medical, Dental, Pharmacy Colleges, Speech and Hearing and the Central Institute of Indian Languages. The city has the oldest Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens and many parks and gardens. Mandakalli Airport is located at Mandakalli village at about 8 Kms from Mysore. There are a few lakes in the city of which Lingambudi, Kukkarahalli and Karanji are very popular.