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Published: December 10th 2015
The initial draw for Mysore was the yoga (for P mainly). Apparently there are many yoga centres offering classes and some even offering courses. After getting the yoga bug in Indonesia, P placed Mysore firmly on our itinerary. Of course Mysore is more than just a yoga hub, it's a huge modern city; with wide one way roads, colonial style buildings, a palace and a large cathedral. We likened it to Jaipur when we arrived but far more cleaner and organised. Before getting here we pictured it to be a lot smaller and less busy. How naive of us. This is India.
There's an overnight train that goes straight from Hospet (near Hampi) to Mysore. We were on that train. But due to a major oversight on our part we had booked it only part way to Bangalore and had booked a separate train 2 hrs later from Bangalore to Mysore. We had no idea why we had done this, only realising our error as we boarded the train. We had 2 choices: We stick to our schedule and get off at Bangalore and wait for our next train OR try and stay on this one and feign confusion
when asked for the ticket...At around 7am the conductor came along and woke us out of our sleep to tell us we we're in Bangalore. P shown him our tickets and told him we wanted to go to Mysore. He looked at our ticket, wobbled his head, scribbled on his paper and then went on his way. We love the relaxed rules of India.
Looking through our guide book, there didn't seem like a hell of a lot to do in Mysore, and we were supposed to be there for 2.5 days. Also since arriving in India we learnt that doing yoga here wasn't as straight forward. Apparently its the more remote resorts such as retreats in the jungle somewhere away from any other hint of civilisation. Many of them being more like schools/colleges where you'd need a student visa to attend, not just a basic tourist visa! No yoga for P.
After settling into our fancy hotel (there is only one budget hostel outside the city, whereas we wanted to be in it) we stepped out into the cool refreshing air of Mysore. It wasn't cold by any means but the humidity was a lot
lower than previous places, which we were so grateful for.
Just around the corner from our hotel was a large cathedral (built in 1931). We decided to pay it a quick visit, as when you think of India, Christianity and cathedrals rarely spring to mind.
**Fun fact: The minister who married us back in England was Indian**
The cathedral looked pretty large from the outside and in good condition. It automatically reminded us of the many cathedrals and churches back home from stone structure alone. We stuck our heads through the door to admire the architecture inside as a service was taking place with hymns sung in kannada (local dialect). The inside was pretty much the same as any other church really, with pews on both sides and the aisle down the middle leading towards the pulpit.
We had barely walked down the street on the main road before a rickshaw driver approached us. He said he would take us into town for 20rupees (which a very good price for tourists). We asked him to take us towards the city palace, where all the eateries were. On the way he was telling us about
how the people in Mysore were very nice, friendly and don't overcharge foreigners. "Trust me" he said. Stopping just outside of the palace, he started giving us info on where's best to eat, mentioning some silk and fabric market and the opening/lunch times of the palace. He offered to take us to all these places and more. We declined his offer and asked him to just drop us near the palace where we could get food. For some reason he started driving us in the complete opposite direction of the palace, ready to take us to some restaurant he mentioned earlier, away from everywhere else. Getting stressed we told him to take us back the way we came. It seems the trick here is rickshaw driver’s offer extremely low priced journeys but will then earn commission for taking you to 'recommended' places. Highly frustrating, especially when you are hungry but to his dismay we refused to give in and we were finally dropped off where we were asked to be. The only reason he did this is because we took his phone number with a plan to call him once we had finished (we certainly were no fool).
Finding a popular eatery called RRR restaurant, with a very basic menu selection but offering a unique experience we took a seat inside. P ordered the veg thali meal whilst Chris ordered a chicken biriyani. All meals here are served on a banana leaf and diners are to be ate with your hands. P was served a poppadom, rice and about 6/7 sauces, Chris had his biriyani with 2 sauces. We were both stuffed after eating the mountains of rice they gave us but it was really tasty meal and cheap too.
After lunch we headed to the city palace. A fairly large complex with a fusion of Hindu, Islamic and English architecture. From its red minarets on the outside to the huge ceiling and wall paintings of Hindu deities to the bronze lion statues throughout. This place was truly grand. The original was actually made out of wood and burnt down in 1897. The building we seen today was built in 1912 by an English architect. We took the audio tour around the palace (free for tourists) stopping at highlighted points to get an idea of what we were looking at. Unfortunately taking photos inside is forbidden
so we don't have any snaps of the grandiosity of the architecture here or the lifelike paintings drawn from photos. The huge columns, the enormous chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, the stained glass windows and the burmese teak wood with ivory ingrained it, really shown off the amount of money flying around the royal family at the time. There was also a residential part for visitors to walk through but we gave it a miss. Palace fatigue.
We sat outside for the rest of the afternoon admiring the views of the palace and people watching whilst planning our next move. Both feeling slightly exhausted we decided we would cut our time short here and head to our next destination further south for some relaxation by the coast and the backwaters. The business of India’s roads and towns had finally taken its toll on us and maybe that short stint in Goa also shown us what else we could be enjoying in India. We somehow managed to find a train leaving the following day and booked it straight away. Despite reserving 2 nights at our hotel online, the manager was very kind and only charged us for the one night
we stayed and cancelled our 2nd night with no fuss. After checking out he even gave us fruit juice, omelette, toast and a free taxi to the train station - all on the house. Maybe we should stay in hotels more often. We think the fact that P promised to write a good review for them on trip advisor also helped.
Transport: Mysore to Allepey via Bangalore (2 trains) 15hrs 830r each AC chair and Sleeper
Tot: 2.206s; Tpl: 0.061s; cc: 40; qc: 188; dbt: 0.116s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.9mb