As I mentioned recently, I will occasionally post some flashbacks to some favorite old trips and events. In 2008-09 we lived in Bangalore, India, and traveled extensively.
Today I’m remembering an incredible day in Mysore, a small city a few hours west of Bangalore, which we visited for the major Dasara festival. The parade was an incredible sensory experience, including elephants, bands, dancers, and more. Check it out!
A night in Mysore before a quiet family Christmas at home.
We spent a night in Mysore [location], before heading back to Bangalore on Christmas Eve. We had been to Mysore back in October, but wanted to visit again so my parents could see the palace and other sights. The palace is truly amazing, indeed, if they would only let me take photos inside I could share with you the carved ceilings, elaborate woodwork, and huge marble palace rooms.
We also visited the Mysore silk factory, which was fascinating, and deafening! Vast rooms full of electric looms, clattering away, spinning and and then weaving gorgeous bolts of pure silk, or silk woven together with gold. It hurt the ears, and yet most of the workers had little ear protection. Again, no photographs allowed, so here is Pam shopping for silk at a nearby shop.
We visited a gift shop, because this region is well-known for its inlaid wood furniture. We spent many hours there, watching the woodworkers, choosing some pieces to send home, and examining the beautiful silk. As a gimmick, on our arrival the shopkeeper had one of the woodworkers instantly and freehand sawed a delicate carved initial for each of our kids. We bought a beautiful table made of inlaid wood:
Christmas Day was quiet, spent in our apartment at home. The kids were thrilled to receive an iPod nano each. Amazing how Santa read their minds! Now, if we could just get them to put the dang things down and look outside the window….
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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.
Dasara is the most important festival in Mysore; we attended the famous parade that includes colorful elephants and dancers.
It was 100˚ in the shade. Gosh! After four hours, I was wishing that we were sitting in the shade. After six hours, when the parade had come and gone, I was nonetheless glad that we staked out good seats early in the day. Read on, and be sure to see the photo gallery.