Mysore District is an administrative district located in the southern part of the state of Karnataka, India. The district is bounded by Mandya district to the northeast, Chamrajanagar district to the southeast, Kerala state to the south, Kodagu district to the west, and Hassan district to the north. It features many tourist destinations, from Mysore Palace to Nagarhole National Park. This district has a prominent place in the history of Karnataka; Mysore was ruled by the Wodeyars from the year 1399 till the independence of India in the year 1947. Mysore’s prominence can be gauged from the fact that the Karnataka state was known previously as Mysore state.
It is the third most populous district in Karnataka (out of 30), after Bangalore and Belgaum.
Origin of name
Mysore district gets its name from the city of Mysore which is also the headquarters of the district. The original name of this city was Mahishapura derived from a demon named Mahishasura. A statue of Mahishasura, after whom the city is named, and a temple dedicated to Goddess Chamundeshwari on the top of Chamundi Hill near Mysore city, relate to the legend of its origin.
The earliest known reference of rulers in Mysore district are the Gangas who during the rule of King Avinitha (469-529 CE), moved the capital from Kolar to Talakad on the banks of the river Kaveri in the Tirumakudalu Narasipura taluk.Talakad remained their regal capital till the end of Ganga rule in the early 11th century. Gangas ruled over a greater part of Mysore district, then known by the name of Gangavadi. In the end of the 8th century, the Rashtrakuta king Dhruva Dharavarsha defeated the Ganga king Shivamara II and wrested Gangavadi from him. Gangavadi came under the governorship of Kambarasa, the son of Dhruva Dharavarsha. Gangas who were overthrown from Gangavadi, had to wait till their king Nitimarga Ereganga (853–869 CE) won a victory against the Rashtrakutas at Rajaramudu. Seeing the increasing might of the Gangas, the Rashtrakuta King Amoghavarsha I gave his daughter Revakanimmadi in marriage to the son of Ereganga, Butuga II who became the ruler of Gangavadi. Gangas ruled over Gangavadi till the Ganga king, Rakkasa Ganga (985–1024 CE) was defeated by the Cholas.
In the year 1117, Vishnuvardhana, the great king of Hoysala dynasty seized Gangavadi and its capital Talakad from the Cholas. To commemorate this achievement, Vishnuvardhana built the Keerthinarayana temple at Talakad.Gangavadi was ruled by the Hoysalas till the death of their last ruler, Veera Ballala III after which Gangavadi became a part of the Vijayanagar Empire. In 1399, Yaduraya established the Wodeyar dynasty at Mysore.It remained as a feudatory to the Vijayanagar Empire owing allegiance to the Vijayanagar kings and the Vijayanagar representative at Srirangapatna, till the fall of the Vijayanagar Empire in 1565 CE. In the vacuum that was created, Raja Wodeyar I (1578–1617) established control and became the first major ruler of the Wodeyar family. He defeated the Vijayanagar representative in a battle at Kesare near Mysore, shifted his capital from Mysore to Srirangapatna in 1610 AD.
The Wodeyars continued to rule over Mysore till the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar II (1734–1766), when Hyder Ali Khan and his son Tipu Sultan became the virtual rulers of Mysore.Though there were Wodeyar kings during the rule of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, they were mere figureheads. With the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799 under the hands of the British, the Wodeyars were reinstated to the throne of Mysore and the capital was shifted back to Mysore. Prince Krishnaraja Wodeyar III who was just 5 years old was installed on the throne of Mysore in 1799.Wodeyars were the subsidiaries of the British Empire and had to pay annual subsidies. During the rule of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, the British took the kingdom back from Wodeyars in 1831 under the pretext that the Wodeyar king did not pay the annual subsidy.Commissioners were appointed to rule over the Mysore kingdom. Mark Cubbon (Cubbon Road and Cubbon Park in Bangalore city are named after him) and L. B. Bowring (Bowring Hospital in Bangalore city is named after him) were the prominent British Commissioners who ruled over Mysore. However, the Wodeyar kings raised a plea against this with the British Parliament who gave a ruling favour of the Wodeyars. In 1881, Chamaraja Wodeyar IX (son of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III and Wodeyar king since 1868) was given back the reins of the Mysore kingdom from the British. The Wodeyars continued to rule over the Mysore Kingdom, till the rule of Jayachamaraja Wodeyar who, in the year 1947, merged his kingdom into the new dominion of independent India. He remained as a Maharaja till India became a republic in the year 1950 after which he was anointed as a Raja Pramukh (a constitutional position) as the head of Mysore state till 1956. In 1956, after the reorganisation of Indian states, the Mysore state was born and Jayachamaraja Wodeyar was made as the governor of this state — the position he held until 1964.
Mysore district is located between latitude 11°45′ to 12°40′ N and longitude 75°57′ to 77°15′ E. It is bounded by Mandya district to the northeast, Chamrajanagar district to the southeast, Kerala state to the south, Kodagu district to the west, and Hassan district to the north. It has an area of 6,854 km² (ranked 12th in the state). The administrative center of Mysore District is Mysore City. The district is a part of Mysore division. Prior to 1998, Mysore district also contained the Chamarajanagar district before that area was separated off.
The district lies on the undulating table land of the southern Deccan plateau, within the watershed of the Kaveri River, which flows through the northwestern and eastern parts of the district. The Krishna Raja Sagara reservoir, which was formed by building a dam across the Kaveri, lies on the northern edge of the district. Nagarhole National Park lies partly in Mysore district and partly in adjacent Kodagu District.
Tourism is another big industry in Mysore. Its importance as a tourist destination was evident when it was selected as the venue for the Karnataka Tourism Expo in 2006. Though Mysore city is well known as a tourist place, other parts the district are yet to see growth in tourism. However, the tourism department plans to develop other areas like Nanjangud, Bettadapura, Hedathali, Kapadi, Mudukuthore Betta, Mugur and Tirumakudalu Narasipura as tourist places