A friend of mine is celebrating her Indo-Swiss wedding this week in Mysore and as I could not attend the wedding I was reminded of my trip to this wonderful city a few months ago. I miss my home and family, but living abroad it is not always easy to keep flying back, especially when its far away. People say the world nowadays has become a smaller place and a good thing these days we have internet and smartphones so I am always connected. My trip home was very special, for one I was going home after such a long gap and second, my family would meet my boyfriend too. First up was Bangalore, where we stayed with my sister close to Garuda Mall. We were going to be in India for only two short weeks, so we planned a quick short getaway to Goa, but more on that some other time.
The day after Easter my family took off on a day’s trip to Mysore-Palace City, to show my boyfriend the city of Palaces. Mysore is about 2.5 hours drive from Bangalore so we started early in the morning and reached Mysore by about 10 am, stopping off only for breakfast at A2B for traditional South Indian breakfast and filter coffee.
Arriving in Mysore we first stopped off at Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace at Srirangapattna aka Dariya Daulat Bagh (Garden of Wealth). This was the capital city where Tipu Sultan ruled his kingdom from 1784 A.D. The palace is built in the Indo-Saracenic or Indo-Gothic style and is mostly made of teak wood. The paintings on the wall are very intricate, and even though defaced in some places, it is still intact throughout the exteriors of the palace. Photography is strictly prohibited, but we managed to click one or two nice picture when no one was watching!
Next up we stopped at Gumbaz which is believed to be the final resting place of Tipu Sultan who was killed by the British somewhere around 1799 A.D. The Gumbaz is a mausoleum built by Tipu Sultan, to house the remains of his parents – father Hyder Ali and mother Fakhr-un-Nisa. After his death, Tipu was also buried here. Outside the Gumbaz lies the tombs of various family members who passed away in the subsequent years after Tipu’s death.
We then went to St. Philomena’s Cathedral, which was designed by French architect Daly inspired by Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The structure of the church is very impressive, among the most majestic and largest churches in India, boasts two spires rising 175 feet into the air. Below the main alter a stairway leads to the crypt where the statue of St. Philomena lies along with her relics. Past this is a passage that leads on out of the church. Besides the church is a huge grotto in honour of St. Mary.
By this time we were hungry and so we headed out to one of the local restaurants to have some food. Post lunch we went on to see the crown of Mysore, the Mysore Palace. As the name suggests this is a Majestic Palace home to the Wodeyar family that ruled Mysore for many many years. The construction of the Palace was completed in 1912 as a feature about this palace is that it was built during the time when there was electricity! The Palace itself is breathtakingly huge. The insides are as royal as they can get. Intricate wall paintings and carvings of wood and ivory, gold and silver throne chairs, portraits of the royal family, the turquoise coloured royal Durbar (wedding hall), the grand courtyards, where Dassara parade takes place, I can go on and on about the magnificence of this palace. Many tourists flock to this spot and so I advise to get there quite early. Photography is not allowed inside the palace, so don’t even bother to bring any heavy photography equipment. A quick unguided tour through the palace and we were on our way to Chamundi Hills!
Chamundi Hills named after goddess Chamundi is breathtaking. The main hill itself features an ancient stone stairway of 1,008 steps leading to its summit. Approximately halfway to the summit is a statue of bull Nandi, which is 4.9m tall and 7.6m long and carved out of a single piece of black granite. Around this point, the steps become significantly less steep and eventually the climber is rewarded with a panoramic view of the city. For us, we started the opposite direction. We drove up the hill and walked down by these steps. The last stop of this trip was taking a few quick photos next to the statue of Nandi before descending back down and driving off back to Bangalore.
I would love nothing more than to go home for Christmas as its been 4 Christmas’ that I have not spent with my family, but we will see.
Till next time!