18 March 2016

Mysore – A quick city sojourn


So India. You couldn't count the things going on in this photo even if you tried...

So, Mysore! A bustling place with so much vibrant life, like all Indian cities, I guess. But first, let's get there:

The first great Indian train adventure took me from Hospet to Mysore. I had heard ghastly tales as well as wonderful stories about what to expect in a sleeper class, so I waited for my first overnight train ride with mixed emotions. But already on the train station I was pleasantly surprised: I found my name on the list on the wall, stating clearly which wagon I was in and the number of my bunk. On the platform there were clearly marked places for where each wagon would stop, so no confusion there. The train was almost on time (and the delay was announced clearly on the lightboard), nobody was hanging from the doors and windows, and the train actually stopped for the people to get on and off.

 After a little searching I found my bunk, which was the middle one, so the bed still wasn't "made". I lucked out in having a lovely elderly couple as neighbors, so we chatted a bit about India and travelling and good/bad people before the retired bank clerk helped me get my bed sorted out, and on I climbed. There was no one to sell food in the evening, which was slightly disappointing, so I drifted off to sleep in my bunk. I managed to get a couple of hours of sleep in total, waking up and falling asleep again, before the persistent calls of chai wallas announced that it was morning (and a concerned Indian gentleman woke me up at 6 when we were in Bangalore, as he thought I was oversleeping my stop). The remaining hours of the journey I spent watching scenery go by, listening to music and munching on tasty idlis and coconut chutney (30 rupees = less than 50 cents). The train was in Mysore almost on time, and the greatest adventure on the train ride was to notice that something (or someone) with pointy little teeth had gnawed its way into my Ganesha shopping bag and the bag of empty peanut shells. Hmm.


My digs for the night

I had two days in Mysore, and hadn't really planned anything. I'd wanted a little bit of luxury, so I'd booked a "fancy" 2000 rupee hotel room (1000/night, so 13 euros) close to the main attractions, namely the market and the palace. The hotel didn't turn out to be anything special in the end: a small room and not even the tidiest, but there was hot water (say what? I'd totally forgotten what such a thing is) and a/c, which I actually even ended up using a little bit.

 It was boiling hot in the city, so after checking out the nearby Devaraja market (awesome chai with funny local boys and the most amazing piles and piles of flowers on sale) and having a dosa and a lassi (a first sweet one by mistake, I prefer the salty ones...) I went for Mysore palace. Check me out, paying to get into the second sightseeing spot on this trip already! But it was really worth it, I don't think I've ever seen such amazingly decorated place. The stained glass windows, intricate wood and metal carvings, mosaic floors... So beautiful! Of course you aren't allowed to take photos inside, so you'll just have to take my word for it (or Google it). 



A temple on the palace grounds. Closed when I went, but at least I got to see the gorgeous facade.

Oh, I also tried the local sweet delicacy, Mysore pak. A soft, caramelly and very sugary thing. Nice, but a half portion would have been enough. I also had a giggle at the ad on the sweets shop wall that was advertising products for diabetics. Irony <3 

A litte walk after the Palace took me to a neighbourhood apparently dedicated to oil shops and motorcycle repair. Shop after shop of the same thing. Not much for the eye, so I stopped for a coconut and managed to get a rickshaw driver to understand I want to go to the nearby lake. („Lake?“ „Water?“ „Yes, water!“). Kukkarahalli it was called, and boy was is marvellous! A perfect oasis in the middle of the bustling city. And so many birds! Amazing variety of species from small chirpers to huge prehistoric looking ones that napped in trees and took languid tours in the air once in a while. As it got darker, I promised to come back the next way with my zoom lens.

Coconut salesman and his friend
Kukkarahalli <3 Suomalaisläppä: täällä hallit on arvossaan, juna pysähtyi mm. Palahallissa :D Koska myös Palli on sana täällä niin yritin tietty Google Mapsata Pallihallia, mutta no such luck. Boo!




The next day I hit the market again, did some essential oil shopping, figured out that Mysoreans apparenly really like stationery and printing of all kind (especially wedding cards). Behind the market I also saw the hugest amounts of bananas and plantains for sale, and men moving them around, some with cars, some on top of their heads. So many bananas! Mmmm. I bought some fruit and got a knife as a gift from a nice fruitsalesman. I also visited an astrologer and a palm reader who told me I was a very independent person, I'd live to be 85 and if I decided to have children, there would be 3 of them. Ok.


The importance of bananas highlighted

In the evening I went back to the lake again, armed with my zoom, and got some okish shots of the birds. The big ones weren't feeling very photogenic this time, but remained in their trees, napping away. Before heading back I also saw the hugest bats I've ever seen, cruising round in the sky. Gotta love Indian nature <3







2 days in Mysore wasn't nearly enough to see or experience that much, so if I ever go back, I still have Chamundi hills and the nearby botanical gardens to check out. But as a little layover and blogging stop it was nice, and the soft bed was a really really amazing thing to have. My back does prefer the hard ones, but the soul needs some luxurious softness once in a while :)




Sweets dude. Diabetes, waiting to happen. Oh hey, but it did already. 

Is this cow correctly parked?

Pongal for breakfast. Yum.

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