After checking in at my hotel I went for a
short walk and had a late lunch at a nice restaurant. Then I returned to
my hotel, updated my journal and went out for a couple of beers. After a
number of “dry” days I really thought I had deserved that. I must not
have been the only one who thought so as I happened to order my beer
during happy hour, which meant the third one was free…
The historic settlement of
Mysuru (which changed its name from Mysore in 2014) is one of South
India’s most enchanting cities, famed for its glittering royal heritage
and magnificent monuments and buildings. It should come as no surprise
my first place to visit the next day was the famous Mysore Palace. Among
the grandest of India’s royal buildings, this was the seat of the
But before I went to the
palace I visited a temple on it’s premises. It seemed to be ignored by
most of the visitors who headed straight to the palace but I was glad I
took my time to go there and was welcomed by some friendly priests who
proudly showed me around the small but interesting place.
Before entering the palace I
had to leave my slippers behind, something that by now,I did not frown
upon. A second and third security check later I was able to enter the
palace and watch the abundance of decadency with my own pair of eyes.
The walk through the palace was well organized and as the path was
carefully set up there was no way I could miss out on anything. Majestic
halls with completely over the top decorations, beautiful paintings and
smaller halls for private auditions.
The original palace was
gutted by fire in 1897; the one as I saw today was completed in 1912 by
English architect Henry Irwin for. The lavish Indo-Saracenic interior – a
kaleidoscope of stained glass, mirrors and gaudy colors – was
undoubtedly over the top. It’s further embellished by carved wooden
doors, mosaic floors and a series of paintings depicting life here
during the Edwardian Raj era.
Over the top… I can only
say I was overwhelmed by everything I saw and my mind started imagining
how things were like in former times. The time the Maharaja’s were the
absolute rulers and people were bowing for them at the slightest
glimpse. They were submerged in luxury normal people could not even
dream of, those were the days…
Besides the public places
which were available to see it was also possible to visit the private
residence, unfortunately photography was strictly forbidden here. The
tour included a rather interesting audio program which provided
information about the carriages, dresses and war gear that was on
display in the deferent rooms. I was surprised about how relatively
modest the private quarters were compared to the public rooms. But then
obviously the last ones were meant to impress…
Once I finished my tour of
the palace I took a Tuk Tuk towards the main bazar. A trip from the high
society to everyday life in India. The contrast could not have been
Markets have always been my
favorite places to visit and this one was no exception. The colors and
the fragrances were simply overwhelming and I loved strolling around
looking at the interaction between the entrepreneurs and their potential
Like usual all goods were
split up in groups. There was a fruit section, incense and coloring
section, as well as rice, flower, vegetable and a cooking utensil
sections. It was difficult to concentrate on one spot as there was so
much to be seen. At times I was overwhelmed by the smell of coriander
that filled the air, whilst not much later it was replaced by the
pleasant fragrance of flowers that were on display in abundance.
People were extremely
friendly and in no way camera shy, most of them were willing to pose for
a picture after a friendly smile from my side and a nod to my camera.
But then there were of course still the candid pictures, opportunities
enough at a market like this.
Unfortunately I was getting
dizzy again so I returned to my hotel and went out for lunch. Although I
was not very hungry the vegetable coriander soup was simply amazing. I
decided to leave the rest for dinner and returned to my room for my
regular afternoon nap.
By the time I woke up it
was dinner time so I returned to the restaurant where once again I had
difficulties on what to choose. Indian food is extremely rich and the
portions are huge so once again I decided to order dish after dish,
making sure I would not have to much in one go that would go waisted
On my final day in Mysore
had planned to go to the 1062 meter high Chamundi hill, just out of
town, so outside my hotel I grabbed a Tuk Tuk and I was on my way.
Halfway up the hill however there were some technical issues and we had
to wait a while before going on. First I thought the engine was over
heated but the “two minutes Sir” became five minutes and even longer.
Another Tuk Tuk showed up
and after some discussion that driver decided to push us uphill towards
the parking place at the temple. Things like this are never a big issue
The Sri Chamundeswari
Temple apparently was extremely popular which was not strange as
afterwards I found out it was one of the eight holiest places in South
India. “Chamundi”, or “Durga” is the fierce form of Shakti, the slayer
The road from the parking
place towards the temple was cluttered with loads of stalls offering
floral decorations and coconuts for offering. Of course kitschy
memorabilia could not fail and the Entrepreneurs could not complain
Obviously slippers had to
be left behind and then I had to get an entrance ticket. Thirty roepies
for a special entrance but for hundred roepies I got a direct access
ticket and bypassed the long queue with devotees. In a way I felt bad
but hey, this was the way things were advertised and there was nothing
dodgy about it.
Part of the “direct access”
ticket was a chain of flowers and some colored powder that I was
supposed to offer to the deities. The atmosphere was brilliant and the
devotees were in deep anticipation for their short moment they could
connect with Chamundi.
In spite of the length of
the queue everybody was waiting patiently for their turn and nobody
frowned upon this tall white guy who was lead straight to the beginning
of the queue and could admire the deity without having to wait, I guess
they were all used to VIP guests with more money than time…
Photography of Chamundi was
not allowed but as soon as I left the inner sanctum I was allowed to
make as much pictures as I wanted.
At several places in the temple ceremonies were going on but the queues to those were not as long as the one for Chamundi.
After a refreshing coconut
it was time to return to the centre. Back at the Tuk Tuk the technical
issue still wasn’t solved (I would have assumed the engine was cooled
down enough after my visit) but as the first eight of kilometers of the
trip went downhill no engine was required and it turned out to be a
surreal and very quit ride.
At the bottom of the
downhill road we came to a standstill next to another Tuk Tuk which
clients were currently in a shop. Fortunately it was the same driver who
helped us out before and after a multitude of “two minutes” wait we
continued the journey, thanks to the other driver who pushed us ahead.
We were brought to a gas
station where finally the cause of the problem became clear to me, we
had simply run out of gas. My driver asked an advance of the agreed trip
price so he could fill up again, also this was not a surprise to me as
it has happened before. As soon as the Tuk Tuk was full of gas again we
could proceed on our own power. Apparently my driver had been to shy to
ask for it at the beginning of the trip, but things worked out after
It was lunch time and I
enjoyed another prawn curry and some garlic butter naan. I was wondering
where to go in the afternoon but then decided I had seen enough and
opted for a long afternoon nap. It did me well.
Later that day I had my
final Mysore dinner, a couple of beers and then took care of my picture
backups. By now I had over 150Gb worth of image material and I did not
want to think of loosing that. Backups are always a good way for the
ease of mind.
A good night of sleep later
it was time to leave Mysore and take the train to Bangalore. There I
returned to Casa Home Cottage where I stayed during my first visit to
Bangalore as well. Fortunately I did feel much better this time but
still decided to take things easy. Bangalore would have to wait till
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