Hi There! After months of a tight schedule, and a few trip experiences (which I unfortunately couldn’t share), we’re back. This article belongs to a series of articles titled ‘Up South’. Recently, I covered a few places in Karnataka, India. It was a long trip, hence cannot be covered in a single article. Let’s start off with Mysuru.
Mysuru (formerly known as Mysore) situated in Karnataka, about 150 km from Bengaluru. My feel about Mysuru: Apart from being a well-known place of historical importance. You get to see a lot of British architecture in government and public offices. It is a home to many museums.
We were on a trip to South India this summer, this was our second destination post Coorg. We traveled from Coorg to Mysuru by KSRTC buses and reached in the night around 9.30 pm, welcomed by rains. In fact, every destination in this trip has welcomed us with a pleasant weather, making it a better experience.
So we quickly checked into our Hotel, Suvarna Comforts, located close to the Jagan Mohan Palace. Mysore lacks a night life like some other cities of India, so it will be difficult for you to get some food from a local restaurant if you’re too late. We could manage to get dinner with the help of our hotel staff. The hotel was quite decent according to the standards of a budget hotel.
Next day, we were all enthusiastic to visit the Mysore Palace. The Palace is beautiful, which the internet will tell you any day. You must explore it with the help of a guide. Knowing the history of the Wodeyars, significance of different articles and locations in the palace is a wonderful experience. A lot of ivory has been used in the Palace doors and some photo frames. Most of the paintings have got a 3D effect, which left us awestruck as they were all made before 200-250 years. Only 40% of the Mysore Palace is open for public visits and the rest is still owned by the royalty. A few souvenir shops are also located within the palace. We got back to the palace in the evening for light and sound show. It has separate days for Kannada/Hindi/English narration. Had we known that earlier, we would have understood the show better. All that time is worth watching for the Mysore palace lights! Another option to get a glimpse of that glitter: be there on a Sunday evening around 7 pm.
And then there was a slight twist in the story. We’d thought we would navigate to places on our own. Outside the palace, we met a few local auto drivers, who agreed to take us around the city (plus more!) for a mere 200 Rs. Perhaps they didn’t know we’re not just visitors, we’re explorers who just sink deep in everything. Well, no matter, we hired two autos (we were a group of 6) and off we went to our first destination, the wax museum!
This was a small museum based on the theme of Music. Apparently, it has the largest collection of musical instruments in Karnataka themed with the wax statues-an ideal visit for music lovers. We then went to the sand and sculpture Museum, which was an absolute delight. It housed sand sculptures based on 15 different themes. The designing was intricately done, and efforts of the young artist quite visible. It was worth a visit. Even the ambiance in the museum was very artistic. A few shops selling paintings, and offering archery shots were lined up there. A slightly disappointing thing was they did not sell any photographs/souvenirs for the same. However, photography is free.
Our lunch break was rejuvenating, with a south Indian thali. Pro Tip: In places like Mysuru and Coorg, the south Indian thali is a specialty and worth a try. Do not miss it. The kind-hearted hotel even served us extra add-ons without charging a single penny. Mysore is also the home of silk rearing and sandal products. The government promotes it quite well in different factory outlets, Cauvery being one of them. We visited another factory outlet called ‘Mysore Silk Factory’, which also had a great variety of sarees, and humongous amount of sandal products. These are expensive, to be obvious, but worth buying. Your family and friends will love them.
During our visit to one of such stores, we could observe them carving on wood from scratch. I must say, a lot of effort goes into producing a single article. After carving, there are few more stages of polishing and the product comes upto a benchmark.
Another famous museum in Mysuru is the Rail Museum. It has a repertoire of instruments used in railways since the ancient times, for e.g. light signals, morse code instrument, steamer etc. Also, old models of many railways that help you notice how current railway systems have evolved from previous models. Do look for the Maharani Saloon over there.
The day ended with another south Indian meal.
The next day, we visited the Folklore, Heritage and Archaeological museum-all of which are located within the Mysore University Campus. If you are an Art and a History lover, and have enough patience to look at intricacies of olden times-this is the place for you.
My best memory of this trip-interacting with a humble and down to earth crowd of Mysuru. You just need a shoestring budget to travel in this city.
See you all with another article soon.