This weekend was Diwali, which means a very noisy four day weekend in India. Tim asked where we should go and it seemed an ideal time to explore Mysore, a small city south of Bangalore. Mysore was re-named Mysuru by the Government but the names are interchangeable. It’s primarily known for the beautiful Mysore Palace.
After battling the Indian Railways website, we obtained tickets and we set off on Saturday morning. The train ride (CC class) was rather pleasant and not as stressful as I was preparing for. The Indian rail system is very well-utilised and was surprisingly organised. Do be prepared to see people using the railway tracks for their ablutions…
The Mysore Palace
Our first destination was the Mysore Palace. The local royal family used to live there. Wow. Incredibly beautiful, ornate, and ridiculously sumptuous considering the squalor so many Indians live in. No photos are allowed to be taken inside, so please excuse the lack of photos. The Palace really is incredible, a must-do if you’re in the area. It also gets lit up for half an hour from 7pm – 7.30pm on Sundays and public holidays. Entry is free and it’s pretty amazing.
We stayed in Mysore for three nights. This was longer than really needed, but I got a bit of book reading done- this is a holiday after all! While in the area we explored the town a bit. Meet the lady who has been hand rolling incense for 45 years:
|This lady has been hand-rolling incense for 45 years…!|
|A lane we walked down|
|A local street scene as you exit Devaraja Market|
Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens
The Mysuru Zoo was surprisingly good. Animals by and large seemed well kept in nice enclosures and seemed as happy as caged animals get.
Karanji Lake is close to the zoo and the aviary was good. The signs telling us to avoid snakes meant we stayed to the well-tread path. A good playground for kids.
The Brindavan Gardens are a long-ish drive away and a great deal of the fountains, and likely lights, were in a state of disrepair. While the gardens were lovely, I don’t know if they are as beautiful as they used to be. In the photo, you can see Krishna Raja Sagara dam. There’s currently a war being fought over the water from this dam: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-37346570 and so it’s guarded by military forces with guns. I got too close to the dam and a nice lady with a gun suggested I step away.
The Devaraja market was INSANE. Crowded, noisy, intense. For the first time in India, I did think seriously about pickpockets. No photos because you just cannot stop, or make space for photos. This was the day before Diwali so perhaps the insanity was due to that. Great experience, just very pushy.
Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum
This takes about five minutes to walk through. It’s certainly a place of talent, but it’s starting to show wear and tear. If you head up to Sri Chamundeshwari Temple then this is on the way and worth a quick stop.
Sri Chamundeshwari Temple
I think the highlight of my trip was the Sri Chamundeshwari Temple. Not so much the temple though; the area is crowded, littered, and the temple itself was shrouded in scaffolding. Cows, dogs, and touts everywhere. Happily, the local monkeys were using the scaffolding as a playground, which was fun to watch.
No- the temple wasn’t worth the visit. But the walk up there was amazing. A touch over 1000 steps of rough-hewn marble (??) blocks, which I completed alongside locals; the old man who looked like he was 100 years old and was chanting resonantly as he walked. The giggling teenage girls in their colourful Diwali saris. The local runners. The devout, ascending while marking the steps with dye powder, or lighting little fire-lighters on each step as they climbed. Or the dogs, the monkeys chattering in the trees, the birds squawking and staying out of the way of the monkeys. The whole experience was possibly the best of the trip.
|Puppy at the base of the steps <3|
|Sri Nandi Temple – Halfway up the stairs.|
|The Sri Chamundeshwari Temple, complete with people trying to sell you things, and monkeys|
|View from close to the top|
|The base of the Sri Chamundeshwari Temple walk|
Now I’m home again for two days then off on a Very Exciting trip! I can’t WAIT for this adventure!