Sunday, July 17, 2011

A South Indian Weekend Gateway… A trip to Mysore




How was Mysore? It was quieter to Bangalore as I started off from Bangalore. Life was going at a lazy, slow pace there. It was a beautiful city. So, the exciting thing about Mysore…

The facts are- it's hardly 3 hours from Majestic Bus stop, Bangalore. Going by the Volvo was easy and comfortable. Kept on watching a movie and the sights/ scenery and it reached us on no time. Mysore can be a good weekend getaway from Bangalore. We had little time.We were looking forward to short hols too. Mysore was the right destination: Cultural capital, City of Palaces of Karnataka.
After reaching Mysore, we hired a Taxi for the whole trip to Mysore Town. That includes Chamundi hills, Zoo (which we skipped, as seen Animals/ Birds all the time in its natural habitats: Sanctuaries, Wild life parks), Mysore palace, and Brindavan Gardens. The driver was a very sweet, friendly old guy.




Visit to Chamundi temple can be an enriching experience. It's nestled high up on the Chamundi hills. It was a steep drive and we really liked it. The temple, named after Chamundeshwari or Durga, the fierce form of Shakti, a tutelary deity held in reverence for centuries by Mysore Maharajas. The temple has a seven story tall 'Gopura' decorated with intricate carvings. The deity of the goddess is said to be made of gold and the temple doors of silver. As a friend had recommended, Chamundi temple was the first place we visited upon reaching Mysore. It has always been so good to visit temples while on holidays. Really, Pilgrim holidays have been so fulfilling. It was an amazing experience.


As it was some hours drive from Bangalore. After visiting Chamundi Temple, we were damn hungry, not at all tired, rather excited and delighted. So, after much introspection and enquiries from friends who have stayed in Mysore. We came to know of few places, about good popular restaurants in Mysore and shopping places for Mysore sarees. RRR was a good option on restaurants as it was at close proximity from the Mysore Palace, which was our next destination. Getting sarees from State Kaveri Emporium was right. The food at RRR was very good, tasty Andhra food. Everything about it was gratifying, though didn't like the rush part. It was so crowded for its good food and popularity. And the price was very affordable for everyone (rich/poor, I guess: Dirt cheap if you happen to be dining in good restaurants in big cities). Mysore palace was our next destination on the day's Agenda. Horses run transport system/ drive on carriage was another option to ply to nearby places from there.

Mysore Palace, the official residence of the Wodeyars - the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, was a beautiful palace with so many rooms which also houses two durbar halls (ceremonial meeting hall of the royal court). The view from the Durbar hall to the gates was a very pleasing view which opens to the outside world. It really catapulted me to have the view to the outside gates from the Palace.



Mysore palace was a tourist site, not only for Indians as I came across many foreign tourists as well. I was all the more thrilled and surprised when I learnt that it was one of the most famous tourist attractions in India after Taj Mahal with more than 2.7 million visitors.

Every autumn, the Palace is the venue for the famous Mysore Dasara festival, which is the most extravagant festival of Mysore. This celebration commemorates the victory of the great Goddess Durga, (Chamundeshwari) after she slew the demon, Mahishasura, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil according to Hindu mythology. During Dasara, news about the festivities to be held at Mysore are flashed everyday. In my short sojourn in Bangalore, it was quite hectic and only could manage to have those glimpses of festivals and catch up from many newspapers. It was also learning about new cultures that of south India.



Inside the large palace, got to see ornately gilded columns, stained glass ceilings, decorative steel grills, and chandeliers with fine floral motifs, mirrored in the pietra dura mosaic floor embellished with semi-precious stones. It was a grand palace with art works in many rooms. I also tried listening to the music which came from a hollow pillar, after tapping it as some of the local tourists asked me to try out. My sis was quite glad and so was I. There were multi-hued stained glass ceiling with peacock motifs arranged in geometrical patterns. Also, the floor of the Mantapa had the peacock theme with a peacock mosaic, designed with tiles from England.
Next trip was Brindavan Gardens. To enter Brindavan gardens, we were suppose to take tickets. The queue was a long one and there were all kinds of people, it was quite crowded. Brindavan gardens doesn’t strike me much though I loved and enjoyed the boat rides. There were so many fountains, that was relaxing and refreshing and flower blooms were not much at that time when we visited. I was expecting quite so much, from Brindavan Gardens as I have seen it to be very beautiful as a kid from cousins Family hols photo collection from their whole south India tours and travels.



Though, I can’t deny I like the designs and large terrace gardens arrangements. There was so much street food for visitors to try out, which was encouraging. While still in Brindavan gardens, it was becoming all dark and night was setting in.
We bid Adios to Mysore with fond memories of sights, fun, smiles, lovely people and beauty of the places visited and that of a short getaway. It was very fulfilling to visit a temple, a palace of grandeur and a beautiful garden with a pleasant boat ride not excluding the ride passing through many beautiful, spectacular sights of Mysore city. Our Taxi guy drove us back to the Volvo stand and guided us. It was a moment of truth that, it ended with a sweet note and a happy smile that it was a lovely day. Goodtimes never failed to fascinate us, my sis ( who came all the way from Delhi (to attend a fren’s South Indian Wedding for 2/ 3 days) and me who ended up meeting her in Bangalore decided to tour Mysore for a day…
Till then, Mysore rocks in its quiet, sweet way, away from the crowded, maddening, hustle and bustle of big city metros.

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