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akhila Mysore - A travel report by akhila
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Mysore,  India - flag India -  Karn├ątaka
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akhila's travel reports

A weekend at Mysore

  14 votes
The city of Mysuru offers a glorious past and a beautiful present- history, temples, culture, gardens, climate and people - ribboned in old charm and topped with the most magnificient palace. report of the month contest
Mar 2007


The giant Nandi(sacred bull) at Chamundi Hills
The giant Nandi(sacred bull) at Chamundi Hills
My first hand experience of this charming district and memories of the long weekend (23-25th dec) at Mysore was my best Christmas present last year.

Mysore has a history which dates back to the 10th century. The name itself comes from the word Mahisur - meaning the demon king, who according to the Hindu mythology, once regined this place, until he was killed by the warrior godess Chamundeswari(Durga) whose diety is manifested in the Chamundi Hills bordering the city. The city of Mysore was once the capital of a flourishing Hindu empire, ruled by the Wodeyars from the 14th century, then for a brief period by Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan, reclaimed by the Wodeyars and part of the British Empire until independence and democracy was established in 1947.

The most common weekend getaway for bangaloreans - mysore is just a 140 kms from Bangalore. Unlike most others in Bangalore, this was my first visit to Mysore. We called up a few of our friends and found out about the places in and around Mysore and decided that we would spend atleast 2 days visiting the maharaja's palace, brindavan gardens, KRS Dam and the Chamundi Hills at Mysore, Ranganatha Temple and Tipu's summer palace and mausoleum at Srirangapatnam and the bird sanctuary at Ranganathithu.

As planned, we reached Mysore at 10 AM on Satudray, the driver had much to to with deciding the timetable as he was well versed with the place. As suggested by our driver, our first destination was Chamundi Hills. The Hills overlooking the city,has a temple of the revered godess. Legend has it that anybody visiting Mysore must visit the temple here.

At chamundi, there are 1000 steep footsteps that lead to the main sanctum. At the 800th step is a giant Nandi, which is the prime attraction here and also a small cave shiva temple.

Atlernately, it is easier to drive to the top of the hill, a very scenic route led us to the parking lot adjacent to the Mahisha statue, in 20 minutes from the foothills.

Favourite spots:
Chamundeshwari temple.
Chamundeshwari temple.
We took some pictures here and passed several makeshift shops before we reached the temple hosting the diety Chamundeshwari.

We bypassed the long darshan queue by buying special tickets and were able to spend more time inside the temple adoring the gopuram, antique brasslamps and beautifully crafted metal doors after our prayers.

Outside the temple, apart from the long queue of visitors, one can see 100s of vendors selling flower baskets, garlands, sacred threads for offerings and some picture postcards of Mysore. Icecreams on wheeled carts and jwellery for the kids with the sanskrit shlokas playing in the background at cassette shops made this place absolutely vibrant.

On our way down hill we stopped to offer prayers and adore the Giant Nandi (Bull) which is over 15 feet tall, carved in black stone, dates back to 1660. We bought some snacks at the temple premises, stopped for a couple of scenic shots of the city on the way downhill and went stright to the hotel.

What's really great:
Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace
An indo-sarcenic architectural masterpiece, the Mysore palace is the most important and visited landmark in the city.The palace, as it stands today was the 4th one to be constructed after the earlier ones perished. It was constructed by the Maharani(queen), and designed by a british architect. Completed for INR 45 Lakhs with unparalleled grandeur is a 3 storeyed structure of grey granite with red domes. The grand interiors are decorated with Bohemian chandeliers, belgian stained glass, bhutan teak, incorporating both Islamic and Hindu styles. There are 5 gates to the palace - only one is open for the visitors. Part of the palace (which is not open to public) is still occupied by descentants of the Maharaja.

Entrance into the palace is through a doll pavillion where the Maharaja's collection of dolls from around the world are displayed, along with the attractive golden throne- weighing over 80kgs with red/green indicators for the mahaut.

Sights:
Palace view from one of teh gates.
Palace view from one of teh gates.
More from the palace....
The Kalyana mandapa(marriage hall for royal weddings) is an octoganal pavillion with stained glass ceiling with peacocks and butterfly motifs, resting on exquisitely painted iron pillars, surrounded by a hall with by 3D oil on canvas paintings depicting the reign of the marahaja and the dussera procession. It was absolutley magnificient!! We spent hours admiring each aspect of every painting in this hall, a very lively portrayal of contemporary lifestyle at the Royal era.
Also impressive were the doors inlaid with ivory and marble floors studded with semi precious stones that lead to yet another regal hall-the Diwan-e-khas or the private royal hall.

Paintings of the royal family, pictures from Indian epics and the eternal art of Raja Ravi Varma and the detailed work in the halls of the Diwan-e-am or public pavillion make this palace very grand. A splendid work of art, every inch of this place is worth admiring.

[Cameras are forbidden inside the palace]

Accommodations:
Kings Kourt - Mysore
Kings Kourt - Mysore
There are several palaces-turned-hotels in Mysore,which may well be worth the 2months advance booking.

We checked in at Kings Kourt which was the only one available @Rs3000.

The place was clean, service was good and so was the food at "Mysore Memories" the dining hall in the hotel.

We also had complimentary breakfast on all days. Typical Indian food - Idli (steamed rice and lentil), Dosa, Chutney, Sambhar, Vada for breakfast. Both North and South Indian varieties of bread, rice and vegetables were avaibale for lunch and dinner.
Food.. reminds me of one of the best idlies I've ever tasted. On our way to Mysore, along the highway, we stopped at a hotel Kamath for breakfast. the place had a unique ambience, a traditional setup,but was overly crowded as it happened to be a stop for everybody travelling from Bangalore to Mysore, Ooty. "Elai idli"- as it is called was served rolled in leaves. Dough is poured into leaves and then steamed, giving it a rich aroma and special taste.

Nightlife:
Brindavan gardens at night
Brindavan gardens at night
We spent out first evening at KRS dam and St Philomina's church at Mysore. We left around 4 PM for the very famous Brindavan gardens.
Streching over 3 kms on river Cauvery and built in 1924, overlooking Brindavan Gardens, is the Krishna Raj Sagara(KRS) Dam. This is one of the oldest in India and is the first one in India to have automatic sluice gates.

The gardens, one on the north and one on the south side, divided by a pond in the center, can well be flaunted as the best gardens in India. Terraced with flowers and beautifully designed fountains, it is worth enjoying the colours of nature during the day and the superb lighting effects and a musical fountain show by the the night.

At ranganathithu, we ferried in a small lake, watching "smiling crocodiles" and picniced amdist beautfiful brids and winderful gardens.

We spent the third evening at the Cauvery sangam in Srirangapatna, alongside the Nimishamba temple.

All places were overly crowded but a lot of fun.

Hangouts:
Ranganatha temple
Ranganatha temple
The small town srirangapatna, 15 kms from Mysore, the historic captital of Tipu Sultan and Haider Ali, has the revered ranganatha temple (roughly 1000 yrs old) - every pillar of this temple speaks volumes of the rich Hindu culture, this temple - as many others- was plundered during several wars - looted,scarred,patched up in haste and finally almost sold out of its Wealth/gold to the British when Tipu Sultan lost his last war in 1792.
The main sanctum here hosts a collosal lord vishnu, sleeping on Adi-shesha (the snake) - similar to the Ranganatha in Srirangam.

The Ranganatha temple, Tipu's mosque and Nimishamba temple has history and vibrant charm. We spent a lot of time at each of these places.

We relived some of our History class memories by visiting Dariya DaulatBagh the summer palace of Tipu.
Colonel Bailey's dungeon and the war achievements of Tipu depicted on panitings on his summer palace left me in great respect for the "Tiger of Mysore"- Tipu.

Restaurants:
Mouthwatering  snacks
Mouthwatering snacks
There are several restaurants in Mysore - Pizzas/Chinese/North and South Indian.

Ouside Mysore - again the highways offer a multitude of restaurants that cater to the a multitute of taste buds.

I particularly enjoyed the fired Bajji's and battered chillies on the banks of Cauvery at Nimishamba temple.

Other recommendations:
riding this boat was fun- especially when it spins!
riding this boat was fun- especially when it spins!
Cauvery and Sangam were my favourite spots - There was so much activity alongside the rivers - I sat at the last stone step, with my feet inside water trying to comprehend how much the waters were revered and enjoyed the activities alongside the banks. We tiptoed with our daughter, hopping over stones to get to the center - the Sangam (confluence) of 3 rivers - a tradition before offering prayers at Nimishamba.
I also, very much enjoyed the country life enroute - women singing along while they clean rice, acres of fields, bullock carts carrying sugarcane from the harvest. Jingling of the bells and heavy anklets (?) that adorn the bullocks goes in harmony with thier gait on the roads that unfortunately are more crowded with automibiles and their (not-so pleasant) honking.

Ranganathitu is a great place for nature lovers and bird watchers.
St. Philomina's church in Mysore was our apt christmas eve choice.

Note:Kindly leave your name/rating along with any comments!
Thanks!

Published on Friday March 9th, 2007


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Tue, Jul 03 2007 - 08:30 AM rating by cool_imad

that's a nice and detailed repot

Sat, Mar 17 2007 - 05:15 AM rating by downundergal

What a great read, infomative and lively with some fabulous pictures as well. I love the one of the boat with the little girl. India is well and truly on my wish list and your report makes it more so. Well done! Kerrie

Fri, Mar 16 2007 - 02:21 PM rating by marianne

Akhila,
What a joy to read, so much information and so well written

Fri, Mar 16 2007 - 02:40 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

wonderful report and nicely written,thanks for sharing the information with every one here.

Sun, Mar 11 2007 - 06:48 PM rating by magsalex

Really liked this report! Some good pics and lots of information!

Sat, Mar 10 2007 - 05:50 PM rating by eirekay

GREAT Report! I love your description of the paintings. The art in India is just amazing! I am sharing this report with my daughter who will be spending the summer in Jaipur - hopefully she will have time to visit Mysore! I hope you and your family are well!
Eire

Sat, Mar 10 2007 - 08:15 AM rating by rangutan

[4.6] A place bit heavy on temples again but still interesting, well written, informative and great supporting images. The more I read about India, the more I like it. Since joining GLOBO India has orked up to near the top of my travel "wish" list! (I like the name Ranganathithu too :-)

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