Mysore [location] is perhaps one of the most interesting places to visit within an easy drive of Bangalore, and we took advantage of the kids’ four-day school holiday to make the trip at the tail end of the Dasara festival. Dasara is the biggest event of the year in Mysore, and I describe the parade in my previous entry. But the rest of the weekend (see photos) was also fun and interesting. Read on!
We hired a car and driver for the weekend, an extremely convenient (and surprisingly economical) way to travel. Ramesh had decorated the car when he arrived to pick us up, with garlands strung across the front, a banana-leaf stalk on each front corner, a sprinkling of flower petals, and symbols of Shiva painted on the windows.
As we drove, we soon discovered that many others, especially trucks and buses, were also lavishly decorated. Thousands of people were heading for Mysore!
We stayed at the Green Hotel, which was once a palace built for the princesses of Mysore and is now an ecologically-minded hotel that donates its profits to local charities. Very comfortable; good food.
On Friday we visited Chamundi Hill, which overlooks Mysore and is the site where the goddess Chamundeswari reputedly defeated the demon Mahishasura. There we visited the Chamundi temple. In an incredible coincidence, given the huge crowd, we bumped into some children who had sat behind us the day before, at the parade. On the way down, we stopped by the huge statue of Nandi the bull. A neat experience, though Pam was miffed when the flowers she was offered on the way in – apparently for free – turned into a demand for 100 rupees on the way out.
On Saturday we visited the local market, a real treat for the senses (and a fun opportunity for photos); on the other hand, as we learned from Ramesh, every vendor tried to rip us off (100 rupees for a 20-rupee packet of colored powder, for example). We spent the afternoon at the zoo (a surprisingly large and diverse collection of animals that was crowded with local families out for the afternoon). As an early dinner, we visited a little hole in the wall that Ramesh said served the “best masala dosas in Karnataka.” I’m no judge of dosas, but these were great!
We also visited the Mysore Palace, the stunning home of the last king of Mysore; in the morning we took a tour of the interior, and in the evening we watched as 1 lakh (100,000) light bulbs were switched on to illuminate the palace and all its walls and towers. Incredible!
On Sunday morning we visited the Brindavan Gardens, an extensive park nestled at the foot of a huge dam on the Kaveri river; the fountains shoot high above the gardens, running solely on water pressure from the dam. Nearby, we took a rowboat tour of the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, seeing dozens of birds and crocodiles.
It was hard to narrow down the photos – lots of good ones.
This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.