If a blissful climate is what you have been urging for, then Bangalore will quench your thirst at one go. I planned a trip to Bangalore and Mysore in the beginning of the year and the trip turned out to be the most rejuvenating one.
The next day after landing in Bangalore was dedicated to Mysore. Approximately five hours away from Bangalore, the quiet city offers lush greenery and well-planned infrastructure. Our driver who last went to school in his matriculation spoke to us in fluent Hindi despite being raised in Karnataka. The trip was planned as per his expert inputs. Following were the attractions we had a brush with:
1. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple – On the way to Mysore, we came across places like Ramnagra where Sholey, the cult Hindi film was shot (now, I can die in peace), and Channapatna where wooden toys are made. We dropped at Shri Ranganatha temple or Sri Ranganathaswamy temple in Rangapattana before heading to Mysore. There is something unique about South Indian temples, which puts them in a different bracket of beauty, charm, and peace.
The architecture has always lured me to keep my eyes glued at the temples. This temple has lord Vishnu in his sleeping position which is rare in Hindu temples. Don’t forget to checkout the Ratha outside the temple for its intricate design. Trust me, it is hard to find such minute detailing elsewhere.
2. Ruins of Tipu Sultan – Close to Sri Rangapattana Temple, there are ruins of the palace of Tipu Sultan. When I say ruins, unfortunately, everything is dead. It is just the name and you may not be able to differentiate between a deserted land and a place with broken rocks lying here and there. We did check the burial ground (the tombstone says – he was found here) of the emperor, which still looks decent. When he was attacked by British army, he said, “Better to live one day as a tiger than a thousand years as a sheep”.
The highway, cool breeze, occasional drizzles and smooth drive made our travel way more comfortable than we had thought of. Mysore is largely identified by Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hills, Chamundeshwari temple, Tipu Sultan’s palace ruins, Mysore zoo, St. Philomena Church, and Infosys Campus (looks like it is a tourist spot but no, it is IT).
3. The Palace of Mysore – Spectacular beyond words or I should say it is an understatement. Scattered across a large mass of land, the palace belongs to the Wodiyars/Wadiyars, the royal family that ruled Mysore. Every nook and corner is strictly supervised by policemen. Spick and span, the palace gives you a glimpse of their lifestyle, grandeur, art and culture preferences. Their furniture still dazzles and they are taken care of with utmost precision. Apart from the chandeliers, furniture, idols, utensils and much more that you may stick to inside the palace, do take a vivid look at the photographs of the family and its lineage. Inside the palace, there is a temple called, Sri Lakshmiramaswamy Temple which is another attraction to look at. The yellow tint on the architecture, women making Laddoos, Holy Basil plant and some more things will give you peace. Not sure if others found windows beautiful but I did notice that the windows were designed in smaller sizes mostly with red color, they looked exceptionally earthy and idyllic.
The Wadiyars were cursed – they could never bear their own biological child and this is why they went on for adoption. The untimely death of his highness Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wodeyar has certainly brought questions to the entire Wadiyar dynasty but the palace still continues to glow in its own allure. His wife, son and daughter in law reside in the extended section of the palace.
Once, you are out, take a look at the Sandalwood products like perfumes, Sandalwood paste, Sandalwood bark, incense sticks, and others available at the shops in the campus. After Mysore Palace, we dived into Mysore Masala Dosa, Mysore Pak and curd rice.
4. Chamundi Hills and Chamundeshwari Temple – We headed towards Chamundi Hills which is easily accessible by cars and other means of transport. On the way to the hills, we came across Sandalwood trees which Mysore is known for (you don’t get to see Sandalwood trees everywhere, I can die in peace again).
Above the hills, is the magnificent Chamundeshwari Temple where the Wadiyars used to come and offer their prayers. Chamundeshwari or Durga, the Wadiyars were highly devoted to the goddess. It is also one of the 18 Shakti Peethas in the country. Thronged in high frequency by fellow Kannadigas, the temple is also attended by a large number of visitors from others parts of the country and abroad. And also, monkeys. There are several shops near the temple where you can buy photographs of the goddess, Kumkum, Prasad, necklaces, toys, etc.
5. Mysore Zoo and St. Philomena’s Cathedral – We couldn’t visit the zoo as it was closed but if you get an opportunity, do tell me how it was. Our trip ended with a small visit to St. Philomena’s Cathedral. Built in Neo-Gothic style, the giant church was built by the Wadiyars – Maharaja Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. Coming back from Mysore and not buying Mysore Silk is a sin that cannot be forgiven. Do buy a silk saree, Sandalwood bark, incense sticks, idols and perfumes. You may find them slightly expensive but you can give it a shot as the purest form will not be available anywhere else.
Mysore, in all honesty, was a refreshing treat and I would recommend everybody to travel once here.