Tag Archives: weekend getaway

Travelling to Mysore, Karnataka | Day 2

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.

Kukkarahalli Lake:

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 🙂

IMG_20181020_073547312_HDR

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.

Mysore Palace:

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.

IMG_20181020_122812223

IMG_20181020_123734906

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.

Railway Museum:

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.

IMG_20181020_145454211_HDR

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! 🙂

 

Travelling to Mysore, Karnataka | Day 1

Like every year, my current year new year resolution was to travel more. In fact, if I look back at my new year post on this blog, I am very specific about the goal: travel to at least three places. November is around the corner, and I had not quite gotten closer to that goal: until this Friday, that is.

My travel partner was Pooja, my friend-cum-colleague from Mu Sigma. You might remember her from my Pondicherry trip. Our Mysore trip was to be 1.5 days long. We took an early morning train (Mysore Express: 6.00 AM at SBC) and were in Mysore by 8.15 AM. It was the day of Dusserha, and we were told that the we could expect to find the place crowded. I sort of expected that to happen at the station as well, but turned out that was not the case.

My first impression of Mysore was of a rather quaint and quiet town, with a wonderful weather. Pooja had packed us breakfast (bread and boiled eggs) and we ate that sitting on the platform – our Airbnb check in was not until 9.30 AM. We had plenty of time to kill until then, so we decided to take a walk to the Airbnb after breakfast. Besides, what better way to know a city than take a walk in it?

The walk to Brindavan extension, which is where our stay was, solidified my first impression of Mysore. It is a city with clean, wide roads. We did not see much traffic in the morning hours. Both sides of the roads were lined with trees – it reminded me of Durgapur, my home town. In addition, as we would later find out, the transport cost is far less compared to Bangalore standards. All of these features kind of tick the box for me as far as a quality of living in a city is concerned. I told Pooja that I do see Mysore as a city where you could settle down.

Our Airbnb was in a nice residential area with ATM and convenience stores nearby. We booked the room five weeks in advance for approx. Rs. 1,400 a night and let me tell you, it was worth every rupee. There was a well-furnished kitchen area (accessible to the guests), clean drinking water, a wide, spacious balcony with comfortable seating arrangement and a lovely view of a coconut orchard.

IMG_20181019_105321703_HDR

Our room was clean, well-ventilated with a double bed and air conditioning. The bathroom was clean and clean towels were provided. It felt like home away from home. In fact, I’d have been happy to chill in the room for the entire stay.

img_20181019_120504163_hdr1

The primary objective of our trip was to witness the Dussehra procession in its full glory. We left the Airbnb around 11.30 AM, and took a bus to the four-point circle near the railway station. By then, I was quite hungry and we ate lunch at a McDonald’s with a nice roadside view at the four-point circle.

After that, everything was a bunch of confusion. We didn’t quite know where to go for the procession. We went in front of the palace, but entry was barred due to the procession. Some person tried to talk us into buying passes to go inside for Rs. 1,500, but we decided to stick to the outer area to see the procession. After asking few people, we reached KR Circle. It had already started getting crowded, and the circle area was closed off by the police for the procession. I could see people on rooftops of the shops and houses in the circle area. Pooja and I somehow managed to sit on one of the roadside boundaries, like you’d sit on a motorcycle. It was uncomfortable for sure, and the crowd kept pushing and pawing. To top it off, there were a bunch of over-enthusiastic local young men who kept blaring a  cheap wind instrument that the vendors were selling. The sun was strong, and the procession was nowhere to be seen.

img_20181019_1432466811

After waiting for about two hours, the procession started. There  were elephants decorated beautifully, folk dancers singing and dancing and so on, but from my vantage point, I had a poor view of things. Frankly speaking, for the large part of the procession, I kept asking myself why was I putting myself through this torture. The event reached its climax when Ambari, the golden howdah passed us. The crowd went up in a collective roar, people raised their hands in prayers, and finally, I started feeling better about being there.

img_20181019_170128186_hdr1

As the crowd started dispersing, we went back to the palace. We thought we would visit the interiors, but it was closed for public viewing at the time. Instead, we roamed around, took some amazing pictures and sat on chairs in front of the palace, waiting for another 1.5 hours for the palace to light up in its famous Dussehra way. Meanwhile, Pooja and I chatted about Mysore, life, work and countless other things.

img_20181019_173814298_hdr1

As the clock edged seven, we got off our chairs and walked towards the front. I was about to get my phone to recording mode, when amid the collective cheer of the crowd, the palace lit up with thousands of lights. In that moment, in the sheer excitement and happiness that was part of every single person in the crowd at the time, I was glad that I was in Mysore. I was happy that I was lucky to witness a special moment in history, and it was, in fact, the excitement of the crowd which made it even more special. It made me not miss the Durga puja back home and feel a oneness with what I call the spirit of India.

IMG_20181019_190025119

Leaving the palace made us understand what people said about Mysore crowd in Dussehra. We walked all the way from the palace to the McD where we had lunch, and for the major part of the way the traffic was not moving at all. Fortunately for us, both Pooja and I are enthusiastic walkers, so we just walked all the way (hoping it would help me lose some belly fat 😛 ).

This was the end of Day 1 for us in Mysore. Day 2 was even more fun-packed, because I had planned the entire itinerary for that day and we were able to stick to it to the T. I will be back with the next and final installment of this series soon. Until then, do enjoy the pictures I clicked, and let me know what was the best thing you liked about Mysore in case you visited the city.

❤ ~Arpita~ ❤

Copyright © 2018 Arpita Pramanick