For a city on the verge of breaking into the list of metropolises of India based on its population, the journey from a non-descript village to a popular tourist and education destination has been relatively fast.
The capital of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom was Srirangapatna which was the scene of many a battle against the British. But after the fall of Tipu Sultan the reign of the Mysore Kingdom was handed over to the Wadiyars and the capital was shifted to the present Mysore in 1799.
Documents and letters of that age prove that the “city” was nothing but an overgrown village and there were fears that the province would lose its importance if the capital was shifted to Mysore. The British administrators lamented the absence of a single building worthy of conducting the coronation of the new king.
When the capital was shifted the city was neither a commercial centre nor a major centre for learning. There was little trade or economic activity. Mysore's boundary around 1800 A.D. is available in the Mysore Gazetteer published in 1920s and edited by Hayavadana Rao. The city's “geographical spread” extended from Agrahara to Laskhar Mohalla and was surrounded by villages!
But within decades, the skyline changed and Mysore came to be known as a “model city” and had many firsts to its credit thanks to the vision of the Diwans and the Maharajas.
With over 250 heritage structures reflecting different architectural styles, Mysore has emerged as a city of palaces within 150 years of planned development. The erstwhile City Improvement Trust Board (CITB) which was subsequently renamed as Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) is the first town planning body to be established in the country.