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Published: January 23rd 2016
It was a one hour drive to Somnathpur. This temple been had some restoration work and is now in excellent condition. This is a Hoysala temple, different from the Chola temples. It was built slightly later than the main Chola temples in C13. It has a star shape which is specific to Hoysala temples. It is also soapstone, again specific to Hoysala. The first thing you notice at Somnathpur is the Hoysala motif. This is a man killing a tiger. The man concerned is the legendary head of the dynasty. The carving around the outside of the temple has a number of levels. elephants are at the bottom, then horses, then scenes from the Hindu stories (e.g. Ramayana), then mythical creatures, then forms of the gods, then the temple towers. Inside the temple there are attractive turned and carved pillars and lotus decoration on the roof. An image of Krishna is memorable. Unfortunately his flute was damaged.
On the journey to the next site we stopped to see the production of jaggery. This is a type of raw sugar made from sugar cane. The production method is fairly basic. The husk of the sugar cane is used to create furnaces which boil the sugar cane. This produces a thick yellow sugary mess. When this is cool it is pressed into moulds. It looks a bit like yellow honey, but its texture it is a solid when cold.
The next site was Srirangapatnam, a fort city. The Mysore Maharajas had a Muslim general called Hyder Ali. He took over Karnataka in C18. His son was Tipu Sultan. Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were involved in four major battles with the British. They won the first two, lost the third and Tipu Sultan was killed in the fourth. Tipu's summer palace at Srirangapatnam, a monument celebrating the second victory. It is built of wood and some of the decorative paintings are currently being restored. The paintings on the walls show scenes of the battles.
It isn't described in any detail in the guidebook, but there is an old mosque in Srirangapathan. This was the mosque used by Tipu Sultan. He had his own special door, now plastered over. The mosque is in active use and has a small madrassa. From the mosque fragments of the fort are visible and we saw a few more fragments as we drove.
After the drive back to Mysore we visited the Devaraja market. The makers of the flower garlands were hard at work and there were a variety of different garlands on sale. In the vegetable section the various types of gourd were interesting as well as a wide variety of aubergines, most much smaller than the ones we buy.
For dinner we tried avegetarian restaurant close to the station. The north Indian thali was particularly good and very cheap. It wds served fast food style in small yellow plastic bowls.
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