Mysuru district has a rich history with many world famous 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 boasts of a moderate climate.
Mysuru city is the headquarters of Mysuru district which forms one of the southern most district of Karnataka State. ‘Mysuru’ 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 Kms and is well connected by rail, road and air. It covers an area of 128.42 Sq. Kms, having a City Municipal Corporation since 1977. The population of the city is 8,87,446 consisting of 4,43,813 males and 4,43,633 females as per provisional reports of Census India – 2011.
The city with the majestic world renowned Mysuru Palace, royal mansions, public buildings, gardens, water bodies and planned markets exhibits 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 Mysuru, set in the back drop of Chamundi hill adds to city’s attraction.
The antiquity of Mysuru dates back to the days of the Mahabharatha. Tradition identifies the place as the abode of Mahishasura whom Goddess Chamundesvari killed and the name Mysuru is associated with it. Mahavamsa and Deepavamsa, the two Buddhist texts, allude to the despatch of Buddhist missionary Mahadeva by the Mauryan emperor Asoka to Mahishamandala to propogate Buddhist Dharma. Inscriptions speak of Mahishapura, Mahisurapura and Mahishasurapura. Erumainad of Tamil classics is also identified as Mysuru 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 Mysuru Nadu and comprised of 70 villages. After 1499, this town was clearly mentioned as Mysuru.
The city was also known throughout the world for the pomp and gaiety with which the traditional Dasara Festival was celebrated annually during the Navaratri. The tourists thronged 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 majestically walk the procession route. 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 Chamundeshwari accompanied by umpteen tableaux is the chief attraction.
Mysuru 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 Mysuru University, it has Engineering, Medical, Dental, Pharmacy Colleges, Speech and Hearing and Central Institute of Indian Languages. The city has the oldest zoo – Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens and many parks and gardens. Mandakalli Airport is located at Mandakalli village at about 8 Kms from Mysuru. There are a few lakes in the city of which Lingambudi, Kukkarahalli and Karanji are very popular.