Meandering in Mysore

Trip Start Aug 26, 2012
Trip End Dec 22, 2013

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Where I stayed
Parklane Hotel Mysore
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of India  , Karnātaka,
Friday, January 18, 2013

To make up for our extra day in Goa we had another long drive day from Hampi to Mysore. Again because of the gorgeous scenario of palm trees, rice paddies and lush farmland it didn't make for too long of a day as it was easy on the eyes to watch the world go by.  Our hotel ( in Mysore was fancy (compared to what we were used to) and most of us were easily excited about the free bag of toiletries they gave us.  Not to mention, Satellite TV that works with some English channels and the Mysore Times (English) newspaper delivered to our door. At home in my weekly travels none of this didn’t really mean very much to me as it was just expected.  Having these amenities here makes me appreciate what I had, have and can continue to have at my choosing.  Our full day in Mysore marks the halfway point for those of us doing the whole Kathmandu to Kathmandu trip.  Reflecting back on the first forty days it seems longer than forty days but at the same time it feels like the trip is flying by.  I think that is the nature of overland trips though.

Mysore is most popular for its sandalwood carving, silk and incense production and is a very popular tourist destination for that and for the many festivals.  However outside of that there is not too much to do in the city so it was a leisurely day with our first stop being at the Maharaja’s Palace.  This is the Versailles of India.  Unfortunately we are not allowed to take cameras inside so there are no pictures but trust me when I say there was no detail left undone in the construction and decorating of this palace.  It was completed in 1912 for the 24th Wadiyar raja, built on the same site of the old wooden place destroyed by fire in 1897.  At this time electricity was available so the new palace was wired and has some amazing chandeliers and an elevator.  We had an audio tour as part of the ticket price which was interesting when you stopped trying to figure out what the order was and just go with the flow.  This was also a good plan in attempting to get ahead of the many school groups that were also there. When that wasn’t possible it was a constant barge of "Hi/Hello, how are you? Where are you from?’ And at one point I had a group lined up to take a 3 second listen of my audio tour.  Very sweet kids I have to say.

The tour of the palace was short taking less than an hour and while we could have stayed longer in the courtyard to check out the twelve temples around the palace, a few of us (Zoe, Joe, Heather, Mike and myself) choose not to and instead wandered over to the Devraja Market; the fruit, vegetable and flower market.  Here there were rows upon rows of covered stalls chocked full of delicious goodness as well as the Kumkum powder (used as paints for just about anything) and natural oils.  Shortly into our wander we happened upon a beautiful stall selling oils and the Kumkum power and quickly became friends with the owner Adil (#265, Onion & Coconut Line).  He was a fine salesman and after smelling all his oils and reading other customer’s comments from his books, most of us bought a 100ml bottle of something and/or some kumkum powder.  Group pictures for us and for him to put in his book along with a comment from me and we were off again to find a place to sit and a cup of coffee.  Unfortunately from what we were told the only place to go was the chain Café Coffee Day which we have been to many a time.  What made it worse is that we actually had to walk through the coffee district where they were sell fresh beans and coffee machines but no such place that actually serves coffee.

Being early afternoon and not wanting to go to Domino’s for pizza, Mike and I went back to the hotel to ask the front desk what else was there to see in Mysore.  Their recommendation was the zoo and after a quick look on Trip Advisor we decided to give it a go.  Many people would be skeptical of a zoo in India, but it was actually really well done.  All the large animals had very large enclosures and all the animals and birds looked really health.  The path around the zoo was 3km and it took us close to 2 hrs to complete it, though we rushed a bit at the end skipping some snakes and other reptiles.  I had to go to a zoo, but I finally saw a Bengal Tiger in India.

For a change of pace there were plans to go to an amusement type place for the late afternoon evening for some bowling and go-karting.  But we found out through many sources that the place had actually closed down since Amanda had been here last.  So with free time on my hands and being disappointed that my photos of the zoo didn’t turn out that well (so much for my camera being fixed) , I was easily convinced to tag along with Joe and Amanda to the camera store.  Well to make a long story short, three hours later, with three separate visits to what was the only decent camera store in Mysore (in between walking to a Walmart type store and driving across town to what really wasn’t a camera store), I’m now the proud new owner of a Canon 1100D SLR.  I didn’t get much of a discount but still cheaper than I would pay back home and more importantly I have a decent camera again. I have a lot to learn about this camera but there are more than four people on the truck with the same or similar camera and have all offered to give me lessons. Actually that night over a beer and before dinner Amanda gave me my first intro lesson. Oh boy this could take a while and glad there is the auto feature as a back-up.
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Lynne on

Hey Mol ...
I have to admit I was behind the times in reading your blog so I've just whirlwind travelled with you through half of India -- absolutely amazing. You've got some incredible photos and no doubt some even more amazing memories. Things are looking positive for me to meet you in SE Asia, so I'm hoping that you are still keen on doing the planning/organizing for both of us! xoxo

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