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MYSORE A city in the state of Karnataka, Mysore had a population of 742,000 in 2001. It was the old capital of the maharajas of Mysore before they shifted their capital to Bangalore. The name Mysore is derived from the mythical buffalo demon, Mahisasura, who was slain by the goddess Durgā, who is worshiped in Mysore under the name Chamundeshwari. Her temple on the Chamundi Hills is placed high above the city. Mysore is located at the center of a high plateau surrounded by mountains. Thus it was well suited as a stronghold of regional rulers such as the Wadiyar dynasty that controlled Mysore after the power of the Vijayanagar empire declined. In the last decades of the eighteenth century, the Wadiyars were temporarily replaced by the usurper Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. Hyder Ali was a very competent general who imitated European methods of warfare and military organization. Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were fighting against the British and the Marathas. In the first Mysore War, the British were defeated, but in the second one, Governor-General Lord Cornwallis defeated Tipu Sultan, annexing a large part of his domain; wanting, however, to retain Tipu as a counterweight to the Marathas, Cornwallis let him rule the remnant. In the third Mysore War, Tipu Sultan died on the battlefield in 1799. The new governor-general, Lord Wellesley, had been eager to get rid of Tipu, who was in league with the French. Wellesley's brother Arthur, later known as Iron Duke of Wellington, defeated Tipu just as he vanquished Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Wadiyar dynasty was later reinstated by the British, and a legislative assembly was also established. In subsequent years, Mysore became a model state as its rulers took a personal interest in its industrial advancement. Oil and soap made from sandalwood became major products of Mysore. It was also known for its fine silks. Even a small steel mill was started in the 1920s. Hydroelectic power was generated at Krishnarajasagar near Mysore city, another successful ambitious project.

Dietmar Rothermund


Isaar, T. P. Mysore. The Royal City. Bangalore: Marketing Consultants, 1991.

Mahadev, P. D. People, Space and Economy of an Indian City: An Urban Morphology of Mysore City. Mysore: Institute of Development Studies, University of Mysore, 1975.

Misra, P. K. Cultural Profiles of Mysore City. Kolkata: Anthropological Survey of India, 1978.

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