Monday, November 10, 2014

Come Away With Me : Mysore Musings

Editor's Note : Our traveler fly is back with another trip down south. Pls let us know if you have any questions regarding the place or any suggestions or experience regarding your travel you want to share. Tell us all in the Comments section or mail us at


The much awaited long weekend had finally come and we were aching to go on a road trip, and since Dussehra was just round the corner we thought why not go to the hub of Dussehra celebrations- Mysore! 

So we started off from Bangalore at 7am (Mysore is only abut 3 hrs from Bangalore). Like I mentioned in my earlier travel post, I prefer eating home-packed food on trips, I had indeed packed some yummy juicy burgers for the road. We stopped at Mandya, which is also known as Sugar city, owing to the vast sugarcane fields and sugar processing plants there, and had our burgers whilst admiring the beautiful sugarcane fields and men and women at work. The view was perfect and weather was pleasant. After our halt we continued our journey and finally reached Mysore. My sincere advice would be to not rely too much on your GPS. To put things mildly, had we blindly followed what "she" said, I would not have been alive to write this post!!

So after asking a number of people direction for our hotel, we finally reached there. Well, calling it a hotel is giving the "lodge" we stayed in undue importance. Planning is not my forte and booking in the 11th hour, left us with little choice. It was either this or outer universe - so a very basic room with little facilities. Did i tell you, we paid double for it? Serves me right!!

We had a day to explore the city as the main Dussehra procession and celebrations were scheduled for the next day. So we started off to the popular tourist hot-spots first, covering the St.Philomenas church. It was beautifully constructed in Gothic style with its tall spires and stone walls. It is one of the oldest churches in India, and resembles a cathedral. There were beautiful stained glass windows depicting the various stories from the Bible.

After that, we headed off to the much talked about Mysore Zoo. You have an option of either going around on foot, or on a cart. We chose the foot option - mainly for a hidden agenda to lose weight, but later realising it was a better option as you have more time and freedom to stop at each cage as your wish. The zoo was beautiful and housed many species of animals and some very rare ones. Most of the enclosures were spacious and very neat and had some healthy looking animals. Some rare ones we saw were the white peacock, white tiger, albino deer etc. There were about 8 giraffes and they looked absolutely superb! They even had about 6 different species of crocodiles. The zoo took about half a day, at the end of which we were two tired and exhausted souls, but having thoroughly enjoyed it! Few pics - 

In the evening we decided to see the glorious Mysore Palace which was illuminated for the festival. The images of the lit palace that I have seen in books and sites does not justify the actual sight at all! It was a breath taking sight and you can just stare at it for hours. The palace in itself is so big and majestic, I cannot even begin to imagine the height of royalty in those times. I think it was one of the best palaces I have ever seen (of whatever little I have seen). The whole city was illuminated to match the grandeur, the view was just awesome!

The next day of our trip was Dussehra and we couldn't wait to see the majestic celebrations which were to happen in the evening. As per the info I gathered there, this year marks the first time the festival is celebrated without their king (who had passed away sometime earlier this year). 

In the day time we went to see Karanji lake. The lake was very picturesque, and was quiet, calm and neatly maintained. It also had an aviary which is India's biggest. The aviary was the best part of the lake, There were numerous peacocks, white peacocks, pheasants, and many other bird species openly walking and flying about. To our luck, one of the peacocks opened up its feathers ,to shield its peahen and chicks from other birds, the minute we entered and it was one of the most beautiful sights ever. I would definitely recommend visiting the lake and the aviary. There were also several bird watching towers from the top of which we could view the whole lake and the islands and other birds. If you are going to Mysore for even a day, I would definitely advise you to visit this place.

After this, we headed back to our hotel for a breather, as the dussehra procession would start only by evening and we had couple of hours in our hand. The procession starts by around 3 pm and goes around the city with the golden throne atop an elephant and ends up in this stadium where the who's-who of Bangalore gather along with the people of Mysore and tourists. There are also some shows by the Police or the army, school kids, dancers etc. It's like the whole city participated, adding a different vibe altogether. 

It's another thing that the show turned out to be same ol' same ol'. They are your typical parades and stunts showcased by the Police and Army on bikes and horses. So wouldn't imagine it would appeal to all, but the whole experience was great. The festive fever and enthusiasm that ran across the crowd was definitely contagious, and the show ended with some spectacular fireworks.

The next day before heading back to Bangalore we went inside the palace, as it was finally open to the public after all the festivities. Just one word to describe the interiors- WOW!! The sheer magnitude of luxury and royalty is unbelievable. They even had separate special palanquins made just to carry the temple jewels! There were miniature models of actual luxury cars which were used as toys for the royal kids. The architecture showed tradition fused with modern elements in it (it was designed by a French architect). It was truly an epitome of our rich Indian heritage.

My only concern was I hope tourists learn to respect these works of art, as most of the walls had names and other scribbling on them. 

Finally we headed back to Bangalore after having enjoyed Mysore thoroughly. If you are planning a trip around Dussehra, I would suggest you take your own car or hire a cab, as the city is extremely crowded and you could easily get lost.

Hope you enjoyed our trip to Mysore, do post in your comments. Have any of you been to Mysore? Tell us all about your trip - we would love to hear your story. 


  1. Oh how wonderful a post of my beloved city, my birthplace! I was lucky to be in India during Dasara 2013 (after 30+ yrs of not having seen my Dasara) and it was such a grand event. I got to enjoy the wonderful concerts in front row seats, thanks to special pass from family members who were Dasara committee organizers. I even got to see the prince from two feet away during the Darbar session and photographed him like crazy. Sadly, he passed away soon after that. Your pics brought back wonderful memories, hope to visit India (Mysore during Dasara again). If not, I am at least glad I will be visiting my beloved Mysore this coming Sept. So glad I saw this post.