Sunday, October 01, 2006
Mysore is a town about 2.5 hours south west of Bangalore. Mysore was named after the mythical Mahisuru, where the goddess Chanundi slew the demon Mahishasura. It was for many centuries the richest most lavishly built and most powerful state in the region and the former capital of the illustrious Wodeyar Kings! (Or so the guidebook says)
We got early on Saturday morning to make the trip. We stopped along the way for some take out dosa (hot potato, egg and sauce) wrapped up in a tortilla type wrap. The food was wrapped in plastic cellophane and the rolled up in newspaper and then tied with string, no Styrofoam containers here!!
The way there was beautiful, rolling green meadows, high slopping hills along with several amazing rock formations.
Our destinations were the Mysore Zoo, water show/dam and Palace.
The Mysore Zoo is a rather large zoo with all the usual attractions, Elephant, tigers and Pheasants; this zoo had an incredible display of snakes. We saw the cobra, king cobra and a humongous python. There is also a huge display of plants and flowers from around the world. We had a great time and the kids of course loved the peanuts.
The water show, calling this event a water show does not do it justus. There is a dam in Mysore, which is the beginning of the water reservoir for the drinking water for Bangalore. The whole area is a series of pools that are joined and run into fountains which change colors and erupt to musical scores while people chant and sing and clap along, quite amazing. This is all of course happens at night and the colors of the fountains at the songs and the people clapping and singing along adds to the beauty of the place.
We then retired for the night at the Hotel Metropole. It is an old mansion with only 30 guest rooms, which are somewhat small. The staff is very friendly and helpful we were worn out from the travel and order Pizza Hut for dinner.
The breakfast buffet as usual was quite an elaborate affair with pancakes, omelets as well as many Indian dishes. After fortifying ourselves we headed off the Maharaja’s Palace. This is a fantastic Indo-Saracen Palace. The original Palace burnt down in 1897 and this new one was built in 1912 for 4.2 million rupees.
You are not allowed to bring in cameras however the place is beautiful. It has many areas of stained glass, viewing area for parades, flowers and wall after wall of portraits. We decided that after viewing many of these portraits in became clear that the royalty are not very photogenic. There is a part of the palace called a gopuraam, which is in the temple area and is where you would go to pray meditate, ect. I was taken for $1.00 by a very elaborate scam carried out by the palace police. It seems these folks will volunteer to give you the 30-second spiel on the palace and in return they ask you where you are from and if you happen to have any money from your country and could you give to them for the “collection” of non-Indian money. Very smart.!!
Before we left the palace we road on an elephant, a camel and in a horse drawn buggy. It was all great fun and we had a great time.