Recently renamed ‘Mysuru’ by the Central Government, Mysore is a small city in Karnataka that is located at the base of the Chamundi hills. Most known for its long and prosperous rule by the Wodeyars, Mysuru attracts a large number of tourists throughout the year, both local and foreign.
The city is usually packed with tourists during the Dasara festival in the month of September or October, depending on the lunar calendar. It happens to be the most auspicious and unique period of devotional sadhanas and worship of Shakti (the sublime, ultimate, absolute creative energy) of the Divine conceptualized as the Mother Goddess-Durga, whose worship dates back to prehistoric times before the dawn of the Vedic age.
A large part of contributions towards the economy of Mysuru comes from tourism. It is also most famous for its industries of weaving, sandalwood carving, bronze work and production of lime and salt. The Wodeyars, namely Krishnarajendra Wodeyar IV, built the Mysore Palace in 1912. There are seven palaces in total but the Mysore Palace refers to the one built within the old fort. After the Taj Mahal in Agra, this is one of the most famous tourist attractions.
Wellness in Mysuru
The 5000-year old system of Ayurveda is slowly gaining recognition across the globe as a viable alternative to overcoming present day health problems and is currently recognised the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a complete natural healthcare system. In recent years, Mysuru has of emerged as a preferred hub for wellness tourism, thanks to the presence of many centres offering Yoga, Ayurveda and meditation. Today one can find a number of courses and packages ranging from 8-12 days that teach disciplines of adapting a balanced diet combined with focus on Yoga and Meditation. There are also several Ayurveda practitioners in Mysuru and Nanjangud, renowned for their preparation of medicines from herbs, which further gave the city a much needed boost as a healthcare destination.
Yoga is extremely popular in Mysuru with hundreds of foreigners, including those from the United States and Europe, visiting the city to learn structured training in yoga from instructors. The city is considered the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga, popularized by Sri Krishanmacharya and his students Pattabhi Jois and BKS Iyengar. Under the patronage of the Mysore Maharaja’s Palace, the late K. Pattabhi Jois’ contribution towards Ashtanga Yoga ensured that the city, now also known as the Yoga Capital of South India, attracts thousands of yoga students every year.
Mysuru is well connected by National Highway (NH) 212 to the state border town of Gundlupet; where the road forks into the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The state highway 17 connects Mysuru to Bangalore. Mysore railway station has three lines, connecting it to Bangalore, Hassan and Chamarajanagar. Mysore Airport, also known as Mandakalli Airport connects the city with Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai via Bangalore.
In and around the city, most people use auto-rickshaws and Tongas or horse-drawn carriages which are cheap and popular forms of transport.