Mysore and the White Tiger

Trip Start Aug 22, 2005
Trip End Feb 06, 2006

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Friday, September 16, 2005

I wasn't sure if I even wanted to go to Mysore, but I was persuaded by Marcus who wanted to see another palace... I must admit I was a bit dubious. Those who have read my other posts will know I have seen MANY palaces already. I ate my hat with this one though.

We couldn't take cameras in so I can't show you just how magnificent the inside of this palace was. It had it all... sold gold Howdahs (seats to put on elephants), loads of paintings of royal life, antiques and elephant worship. I found the elephant worship a little strange as they would frame pictures of Ganesh (elephant god) with tusks. There was also a whole wall of elephant paintings... and then two mutilated heads at the end. The halls of private and public audience were incredible; the colours and precious stones in the walls, carved mahogany doors and ceilings and immense stained glass domes must have been very intimidating for anybody coming to visit the royalty here.

I loved Mysore zoo. The animals were so close we could almost touch them. Admittedly, as with most zoos, some of the animals were completely insane. It's usually those that aren't as popular and so are not given decent cages, or even more disturbingly, a place to hide. I understand the zoo wants to make sure the public sees the animals but as we watched a sloth bear head butting the closed door to his hide, I felt I needed to leave it alone, as it was clearly distressed by our presence. However, most of the animals were mentally still there and I just sat for ages watching them go about their daily business; eating, grooming, sleeping, entertaining. The photos are just beautiful (if I do say so myself!) and I can't believe we were so lucky with the white tiger and her cubs. I wish I could have taken one of the Malabar Giant Squirrel we saw. Honestly, I've never seen anything like it! It looked like a giant guinea pig with a basil brush tail and long dangly arms. It was lazing at the top of a cage when we saw it but unfortunately the bars were too small to get a good picture. I've since seen one in the wild and am thinking of how to smuggle one home.
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