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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mysore & Coorg

On August 17th our Boss St from the US came to Bangalore. He was here for a colleagues wedding in Kerala and stopped to see all of us at Bangalore. On 17th afternoon, my friend Subbu and I started our tour with St. We had worked out a detailed plan for him and assured him that the two of us would guide him through his travel in Karnataka. According to the plan, we left our office at around 12:30 PM and headed to Mysore, on the way had lunch at coffee day near Maddur. St was all amazed by the driving discipline or perhaps lack of it. :-) He was surprised by the motorcycles with around 4 to sometimes 5 passengers. We tried to explain the difference as much philosophically as we could. :-)


We reached Mysore palace at around 3:45 PM and hired a guide to show us around. This was my first trip inside the palace. I had been here a few years back for Dasara but could not make it in at that time. Wonderful wooden carvings, crystal chandeliers, mesmerizing paintings with images following your eyes (A special 3D painting where the eyes of any object or person painted will follow you as you move), lovely art and crafts was a treat to watch. The guide did a descent job to load us with enough information on the Palace and Dasara festival.


We stopped at Jagmohan palace to view some Ravi Verma Paintings. We then drove to St. Philomena’s church which I think is a magnificent structure from late 1800’s. After taking a tour of the church we moved to Cauvery emporium, where he bought some gifts for his family. As per the plan we drove next to Chamundi hills, but it was already dark and the temple was closed. So we had to be satisfied with the night view of Mysore from the hill top. Our next stop was Hotel Wind Flower. St checked in and we waited for him at the Restaurant Olive Garden. The ambience of the resort is amazing and the food was good too. After dinner, Subbu and I left to town and checked into a hotel. It was already 10:30 or something, but still we decided to take a walk around the royal city. Subbu having studied in Mysore had lots of stories and facts to talk about and hence our long walk around the entire palace compound went by with good conversation and what seemed like no time.


Next morning, I got up at around 6:00 and decided to take a walk, something I enjoy doing always when I stay in some new place. I love to watch a city, town or village wake up with its daily chores. Anyways on that day Mysore woke up to not a very pretty sight where I was walking. :-) A few middle aged prostitutes were on a verbal attack mode over a younger one who seemed to ignore the talks but definitely looked disturbed. The fight attracted many onlookers and a waiter from our hotel gave me the information about the whole scene.

At Wind Flower...Mysore

So after that eventful morning, Subbu and I left to Wind flower. St was ready and we drove to Dubare Elephant sanctuary. On the way Subbu and our driver stopped to buy some mushrooms from a villager who had fetched them himself from the forest. A deal was struck at 120/ packet from what started as 300. So that wasn’t a bad deal I guess. Tender coconuts on the way refreshed us and gave St a hint of natural energizers we Indians mostly love.

Dubare Elephant camp was something of a surprise. They had caught a wild elephant few months back and it was caged for 6 months. A mahout would be always beside it to build a rapport with the hostage. Elephant had been named Lambodhara. Mahout Kumar, has another pet too, a parrot but whose wings he has trimmed out of love so that it never leaves him. :-) He spoke to the elephant occasionally and fed bamboo to it which it relished.


Anklets?

Kumar with Lambhodara

A small construction made of Bamboo and dry leaves is a school for the Mahouts kids and a teacher from nearby village comes to educate the students till standard 4th. We took a short walk into the wild and saw two other elephants feasting over the bamboo bushes.

St was very impressed by the camp and I am sure has taken back this among the top memories of India. We next drove in search of Wind flower hotel in Coorg. Subbu’s friend knew this place so we traced the directions given, which passed through slushy, muddy roads, deep into a coffee estate. But the final destination was a beautiful resort though under construction offered splendid view at the woods. I must say it’s a treat to bird watchers like me. I spotted a wood pecker, oriole, Magpie robin and several other birds chirping its way across the resort.

Since the hotel has not opened completely yet, their kitchen perhaps was not set that day but they decided to place an order for us themselves and several dishes landed on our table, including the head chef who came along with his visiting card and told – “If you need any changes to the menu call him. I am Ashok Kumar. “ :-)


After a late lunch we drove to Byllekuppe. There was some major festival going on in the golden temple hence several monks chanted in the main hall which I think created a very spiritual and serene environment in there.



The trip ended there and we headed back to Bangalore. We met two other friends at Bidadi and our team had dinner at SmarKhand on Infantry road which boasts to have some good Afghan style cuisine. Anyways we were not in a mood of eating a lot after one and half days of eat-outs so I thought it was extremely expensive and not worth the price.

It was a nice trip and I enjoyed guiding an American friend around my country. His perspectives were insightful to know ourselves better and also it puts one on a test of how well and beautifully we can present our country to a foreigner. This was a trip to remember for several reasons.

21 comments:

  1. hey,u took me on a trip too... yeah! i still remember those paintings in Mysore Palace that follow you eye to eye and some of the Ravi verma paintings are a feast to watch too.
    have u seen the basement of the St. Philomena Church? it felt so mystical and peculiar there!!

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  2. Long back I have been to that Church in Mysore and reading your post makes me want to head that way once again.

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  3. Anupama - Thanks...yes the basement at the church was nice...i saw people dropping money after making a wish.

    Mridula - Yes, Mysore is a wonderful place to visit. I have always loved its quiteness and simplicity.

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  4. Mysore is a lovely place to walk, if you know where to.
    Next time you're here, hire a cab and go to krs backwaters, where the temple that kept getting submerged when water levels increased,has been re-located.

    You'd also like to visit the Lalith Mahal palace and surrounding helipad.

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  5. Wonderful pictures and a great time it seems you had!

    I've always wanted to visit Coorg! Will do so someday! Your post has renewed by efforts! ;)

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  6. Great photos! I can't wait to visit this place - love the bird on the chess set!

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  7. Thanks for the wonderful post...always learn something new when I pop over.

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  8. Thanks for coming back...

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  9. Kish - Very true, Agree, i enjoyed the walk around the palace. Next time i visit i should take some inputs from you on some non-tourist places of Mysore.

    Rakesh - Yes, coorg is a lovely place and this is the right time to be there.

    Mina - Thanks and welcome here.

    M Kate - Thanks

    Ranjit - Hi...thanks, do i know you?

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  10. I've seen Mysore Palace from outside during the night, didn't get a chance to go inside. But, it looked magnificent with all the lighting.

    Wud love to go there once.

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  11. so many pretty photos, soooo amazing!!
    i like your travel becoz there is always 'happening' lol

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  12. That is a lovely writeup and the pictures came out pretty nice...


    Web hosting india

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  13. Out of topic
    You liked flashbacks of a fool too? It's a lovely movie, isn't it? I can't believe it's so under-rated:P

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  14. Kish - Yes i did, very much infact.Loved the storyline and the way it has been portrayed. Craig is too good too.I feel the movie is hauntingly silent, heavy with expressions and emotions. Wat say?

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  15. Yeah Craig pulls it off. There really is another side to his acting, something that is prominent in layer cake also. He is not merely a 'Bond'

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  16. Hey hey hey... you're back again... and back tripping again... gosh you're so lucky... and mysore is the best place in the world to be in for dussera... lucky u. :)

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  17. Kish - True...He brought a new look to Bond too.

    Ajai - Yep...and i am off again for 2 weeks....to Himachal, mumbai and Mangalore....see you all when i am back.

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  18. Parrots wings trimmed!!?? That's sad...even if done out of love!!

    I've been to other places except Dubare Elephant Camp. I've always wanted to visit the Camp and more so now, after reading your narration here.

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  19. Thank you for a beautiful tour of Mysore and parts. Great photos, great post.

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  20. I don't know you- I chanced upon this blog- I found the Chef's giving you his visiting card part hilarious- because I know Ashok Kumar and this is just the kind of thing he would say!

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