Hi everyone! Hope you had a chance to read the first post of my Mysore trip. If not, you can check it out here. Today, I am back with the promised final part of the series, so here we go!
For me, travelling means exploring the city as a local would – walking small distances, taking buses, going for a morning walk. Day 2 in Mysore was planned with that theme in mind.
Our first stop was was Kukkarahalli Lake, which is a famous for bird watching. There lake is surrounded by trees, giving the impression of being in a forest. There was a good track built on all sides of the lake, where we saw many health enthusiasts going for a walk/run.
For me, walking by the lake meant reconnecting with my inner self, being in harmony with the colors and texture of the natural world, far from the artificial cubicles where we spend a lot of our time these days. That, and a bunch of wonderful pictures 🙂
After the morning walk at the lake, we headed back to the Airbnb for breakfast and check-out. Our next stop was the Mysore Sandalwood Oil Factory.
Mysore Sandalwood Oil Factory:
This is a pretty offbeat choice of location to visit on a 1.5 day trip, as most people like to visit the usual touristy places in Mysore (e.g. Vrindavan Gardens, Chamundi Hills). However, I have always been curious to know how the things we use daily get manufactured. A part of this interest sparks from the basic science school education (which I could remember as the guy was explaining the oil extraction process). The other part is, as someone who works in an industry which is all about automation, I could see huge scope of automating the manufacturing process – till today, they separate oil from water manually. For me, such a business model is not very sustainable/scalable, as it is very people-dependent.
The facility is a small one, and a big part of the tour is restrictive and not demonstrative, so I would not necessarily recommend this if you are planning to visit Mysore, unless you have a kid who goes to school or you are yourself a manufacturing-enthusiast.
Oh, and by the way, a 5 ml sandalwood oil bottle sold at the factory outlet costs 2,500 INR – so I could not really get any souvenir from there. The other stuff, soaps and incense sticks we can get in any market.
Next stop was Mysore Palace – but this time, the interior tour (cost: 50 INR per adult). Mysore Palace is a combination of Hindu, Mughal and European architectural style, and I especially enjoyed the richness and detailing of woodwork on the doors, and on the ceiling of Diwan-e-khas, the private chamber. There are portraits of different members of the royal family along the walls of the palace, and also of some British royalty – especially loved the magnificent frame of a queen and king, whose names I cannot unfortunately recall.
The charm of visiting the palace somewhat faded because we went during a very busy time and we were constantly pushed around in the crowd. The best time to visit this would be when it is relatively emptier and you can appreciate the paintings, the ceiling and floor designs and picture yourself in the bygone era, with the palace being lit by earthen lamps, and women in flowing dresses walking in the halls, silent on their feet, but laughing easily and happily. Sometimes, when I am in places of historical importance, I just feel amazed when I think that there was an actual world that existed inside those palaces, and how far we have moved away from those times: to take a simple example, what the world of women must have been within the walls of the palace vs. today, when two girls can visit the palace on their own without having anyone to escort them.
Lunch Scenes @ The Old House:
It was almost 1 PM by the time we headed out of the palace, and it was time to grab some lunch. I had looked up The Old House while planning the itinerary – it had a rating of 4.6 on Zomato. The idea was to eat one meal at a nice place on the trip and this Italian place became a good choice – the first day had been good ol’ McD for both lunch and dinner 😛 .
Pooja tried Aglio Olio and ABC juice, and I took my usual white sauce alfredo pasta. Both of us loved our dishes, and Pooja literally loved the ambiance (she said I had done good research on the food place – pat on the back, whoo-hoo!) and we definitely recommend it to anyone who likes Italian. They also have wood-fired pizza, if that is something that entices you.
We also checked out a tiny apparel store (Maya Lifestyle Boutique) just next to The Old House – they primarily sell pure-cotton and khadi clothes, as well as natural oils (Pooja purchased a bottle of tea-tree oil). A nice attraction there was a bunch of turtles they kept in front of the store, and a bunch of kids kept throwing them food and admiring as they moved and ate.
Our return train was at 3.30 PM, and we still had an hour in hand, so we visited the railway museum right next to the station. There is an entry fee of 20 INR, and separate fee for the toy train ride.
The museum houses a photographic exhibit of the evolution of railways in India, and engines and other train parts which were used in previous decades. It is an open, outdoor museum, with quite a bit of greenery, so we also did a bit of photography and video-graphy there.
And with that visit to the museum, our trip came to an end. As the train was leaving the platform, I kept thinking that I had lived in Bangalore for so long, and it took me three years to actually visit Mysore even though it is merely 3.5 hours away by train. Mysore is a nice weekend getaway from Bangalore, and the best part of the city is its mix of history, nature, and modernity. My memories of Mysore would be of a green city with pure air, which gave me a nice break from the world which sometimes feels like it is closing in on us, choking us with its complexity.
P.S: I will be uploading a video of the trip on my YouTube channel probably this weekend, so if you are interested, do follow me and and press the bell icon so you are notified of the update. If not, I’ll share the link on the blog in a future post, anyway! 🙂