Mysore has been a city where all religions have co-existed in harmony for many centuries. Even when Mysore was culturally at its zenith under the Vijayanagar Empire and the Wodeyars the rulers always encouraged all religions and cultures without any discrimination. The continuous patronage and support of the Kings in every field led to the evolution of a distinct style known as the "Mysore Style" in the all the fields like painting, architecture, music, poetry etc. Over a period of time as this culture spread far and wide it was prefixed with the word "Mysore" to identify the unique cultural heritage. To this day in Karnataka the best quality jasmine flowers are referred to as Mysooru Maligae (Mysore Jasmine).
Over the years Mysore has become a cosmopolitan city with people from
different walks of life living together peacefully. In Mysore people
practicing different faiths live harmoniously. This has helped the city
develop. The people of Mysore take part in each other's festivals and
celebrations. The Kings of Mysore have laid a strong foundation for
communal harmony by making generous contributions towards religious
centers of all religions. This tradition is still followed in Mysore.
The Hindu community is the largest religious community in the city.
Muslims form another prominent community in the city and there is a
sizeable population of Jains as well. One finds people from different
parts of the country, speaking different languages, celebrating
different festivals all co-existing peacefully. Though Mysore has become
a modern city it has not lost touch with its tradition and culture. The
ultimate expression of cultural unity is witnessed during the 10 daylong
Dasara festivities that is synonymous with Mysore. The celebration not
only includes religious ceremonies but also the decoration of houses,
display of dolls, distribution of sweets to neighbours and children. The
residents of Mysore have celebrated Dasara in this manner for decades.
The high point of the celebration in the olden days was the "Jamboo
Savari" or the procession of the Maharaja on elephant back through
the streets of Mysore. It is said that Dasara was celebrated in this
manner from the times of the epics and was continued by all the Kings of
Mysore. Even today Dasara is celebrated with the same pomp and splendor
with some minor changes. Now the Royal Elephant carries the golden idol
of Goddess Chamundhi in the splendid procession through the streets of
Mysore. Though Mysore has become a modern city and has all the comforts
of modern development, this city has managed to retain all its old world