Since I am in Chennai from July 2014, it’s been a pending dream to go and visit Mysore and finally this New Year eve I got a chance to transform my dream into a reality. It was all of a sudden plan: I just booked a Volvo and then while we were in the bus at Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus we booked the only hotel that was available at that time.
We were not even sure about how many days we will be at Mysore, so we just booked for a single day and when we reach Mysore we were sure that we made a mistake and finally we managed the same hotel with double money to the extent our stay over there.
It was 30 December night we left Chennai and the very next morning we reached Bangalore. It was around 5:30 am and we were literally frozen. And for the first time, we realized that we are not prepared and at the same time it was a feeling of excitement that we are away from hot and humid Chennai. Anyway, we had to travel further 150 km in order to reach Mysore. As we had no arrangements, we decided to make it through railway; so we booked an unreserved ticket, and literally, we ran to catch the train. It was Tuticorin-Mysore Express and we got some Croatian co-travelers, though their English was broken but it was never difficult to express our views. Even though we had difficulties in communicating, we all shared the same excitement and enthusiasm.
After landing at Mysore the first thing we experienced is a grand welcome by the people of Mysore. The road traffic was free, we were the only pedestrians as I observed, maybe it was a bit early or the section of the city we were walking is less traveled. During our walk through the roads of the city, we came across government buildings, banks, old souvenir shops, alongside churches and finally we reached our hotel. We never planned about it but incidentally, our room was very near to the mighty Mysore Palace.
We traveled a lot from the last night. Quite understandably we were tired and hungry and when we asked people for food and especially non-vegetarian foods, all came with the same answer. It was the Hotel RRR and the food was really awesome. The foreigners, the local, the tourist all prefer the destination and the reason fits obvious when we tasted the food.
Next, we went for Srirangapatna which is around 20km from Mysore and it is the place from where Hailer Ali and his son Tipu Sultan roared against the British. The small town of Srirangapatna still holds its pride. We visited ‘Dariya Daulat Bagh’ the summer palace of Tipu Sultan, a perfect paradigm of Indo-Islamic Architecture. The palace may not be as big as the others found in different corners of the nation, but a visit to this palace takes you to the edges of past, from where you will never want to return.
Coming back to Mysore, it was 31 December night, the entire city was dressed like a bride. Each and every Church were full of flowers and peoples, to pray for a happy and prosperous year ahead. With them, with the people of Mysore and the travelers like us, we stepped into another year of hope and dream.
The very next day we went for Kodagu or Coorg as it’s famously known for, the coffee capital of India but I will talk about it some other time, in some other blog. On the way returning from Coorg we finally came to the heart of the city, the main attraction above everything, the mighty Mysore Palace. And I consider myself lucky enough that I was at the right place at the right time, and it was one of my memories that I will long cherish that I had my camera with me and I clicked some really nice photos that evening. But we were late enough to enter inside the Palace, so we just saw and enjoyed the beauty of the palace in thousands of lights “under the azure sky, so beautiful you want to die”.
Next and the last day of our stay we had early breakfast in another restaurant ‘Pandit Restaurant’ and I will safely recommend it to everyone who is planning to go for Mysore. The restaurant specializes in Rajasthani and Gujarati Dishes, and the sweets were so delicious that it is difficult for me to explain it in words. After the quick breakfast, we went for Mysore Palace once again and this time to see it deeply from inside out. “Cameras are not allowed inside,” she told me twice, and then the women at the counter started scolding me, only then I realized that really I can’t take my camera with me. After a different course of arguments and negotiation, they allowed me to carry it but not to use it.
After I place my very first foot inside the palace, it started relieving all my pains of the fact that I can’t take any photographs of the monument and at the same time as a photographer I was regretting their policy, but security comes first and I had to obey that. The more we walked along the corridors, the rooms, and the darbar halls the affection and love for the palace grow exponentially. Every painting depicts the saga of Wodeyar dynasty, the doors that are so amazed that ensnares you, the ceilings and the columns. The palace from outside looks more relevant to Islamic Architecture, but when we walked along every inside room one after another the perfect blend of Indo-Islamic architecture unbound itself before us. Even its Western influence is very strong.
After finishing our limited time which we dedicated to the mighty palace we went for the next and final destination of our tour, the St. Philomena Church. The Church is the oldest in the city back to the mid 19 century. The church was again reconstructed during the early 20 century. The gothic architecture and its quaint charm will touch you. We stayed for some time inside the church, the ambiance is so silent that you always want to come back for the sake of peace.
After we came out of the church the only destination was the same railway station from where 2 days before we entered this beautiful royal land, we stayed, we enjoyed, we were mesmerized and now it was time we should leave, but who can stop us from coming back again to this quaint land, from returning to the place of dreams of co-existence. Mysore I will be back soon.
Note: The Travelogue was published in Black Board