Indian rules and southern hospitality

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September 7th 2015
Published: December 10th 2015
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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

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


10th December 2015
Knife and fork not required

For the love of thali! :)
That settles it, I'll have to find an Indian restaurant for lunch today! We were slightly underwhelmed by Mysore too - there were parts we loved, but on the whole we couldn't connect with the place.
11th December 2015
Knife and fork not required

For the love of thali
Haha hope you found a good Indian restaurant. Its strange that we both felt that way, people were friendly and there were things to keep us longer so I just cannot quite put my finger on why that was. Either way maybe it was a blessing as we just loved Allepey.
11th December 2015

Another great installement
I like your writing style, it's always very interesting to read about your travels. Where do you plan to go after India?
11th December 2015

Thank You
Thank you. What a lovely thing to say. Sometimes we read them after writing and think they may be a bore to others as we always write about particular experiences and impressions as opposed to always informing the readers of what to do and how to do it. We write about what we want to remember as we write it for us and hope it provides some use or interest for others. We went to the states after India. 2 more blogs to go until then. We are about 2 months behind with updating. We are now in Colombia and after here it'll be Ecuador ☺ We only have a few months left before we go home...for now anyway.
11th December 2015 tha..wha...hmm

This is one incredible photo. Definitely deserves front page. Wow!
14th December 2015 tha..wha...hmm

It was a poster that caught us by surprise everytime was saw it glued to walls in the south. I think it was an advertisement for milk of some form. Couldn't resist the opportunity to take a photo of it.
11th December 2015 tha..wha...hmm

Is this pic from a magazine or one of yours? sorry to ask.
14th December 2015

What a memory!
Hi friends, you are long gone from India but still managing to write your experiences as if you lived it today. Awesome. Waiting to read more from you...
15th December 2015
The palace draws its inspiration from many countries and faiths

Spectacular palace. Hope I in the future have time to travel in India again. I have so many places there I wish to see before I kick the bucket. /Ake
15th December 2015
The palace draws its inspiration from many countries and faiths

Thanks for the comment. One or two trips is never enough with India, there is too much to see in this diverse country. We will back on a future trip. Already mentally planning it!
16th December 2015

Dave and I were saying today we'd like some Indian food so now I guess we'll have to make that happen! Always love the head it. Another leg of the adventure and great stories. Thanks again for sharing.
17th December 2015

We hope you enjoyed your indian curry. Thanks for reading and commenting as always.
11th March 2016

India Great in every sector !! I love india !! I proud to be an indian...
Waoo!! Very nice blog dear specially your blog title is too important . Indian rules and hospitality is major facility in india. The grand palace of mysoore is very beautiful I love your blog. Visit me: turopaks
11th March 2016

Love India
Its a pleasure to hear you enjoyed it. Thanks for commenting!
22nd March 2016

mysore tourism
beautiful pictures. Mysore is a home to palaces displaying fantastic architecture, wildlife sanctuary, gardens, temples and much need a good amount of time to witness the beauty and explore best places to visit in mysore .
23rd March 2016

We agree, India as a whole is such a beautiful and diverse place. Unfortunately 5 weeks was all we could manage on this trip but no doubt we will return. Any tips on all the places around here that we missed out will be great for us and the other readers 😊
14th October 2017

nice article we really like this.we are also form mysore has a travel agent we can provide travel facility to your next trip .we have special package for mysore site scene for more information contact us

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