26 December 2006

Trip to Mysore

This weekend (24th and 25th December) we'd been on a trip to Mysore-KRS-Srirangapatanam. All I can say is that it was fantastic.
I have a detailed travelogue with pictures below...so in case you are interested and have the patience, do go through it...
I believe India has tremendous potential, a huge unveiled treasure, in the form of tourism. There is so much of beauty that lies unknown to the world. A lot of things need attention, and once this is given, we are sure to be one of THE best places for tourism...
- First and the most important: the roads leading to the heritage/archaeological/historic sites from cities.
- Pollution control : maintenance of the site in terms of cleanliness (preventing littering, clean toilets), preservation of the historic items
- Organized, guided tours; knowledge of controlling a crowd by which even the crowd understands the significance of the great thing in front of them.
- Directions/information on 'way to XXX' etc

I believe if this awareness is shown by the tourism department, the public can automatically be made responsible for their actions.

In a number of places in Europe, you pay almost 10 Euro/person and travel miles together to visit a famous place. Here you find things are very well kept...but the problem is that the place is not as good enough as a place in India where there is so much to see! So why crib whenever there is an entry fee of 10-20Rs/person?


24th morning, we started at about 6:30am from JeevanBhimaNagar after setting our speedometer to 0.00 km we reached my parent's place at ISRO layout at about 7am. At about 7:15, we started off from there, got onto Kanakapura main road and in about 20 minutes time, were on the newly constructed (and previously controversial) NICE (Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise) road. The road is truly world-class...this 9km long road is so smooth; u can't go less than 100kmph!
We reached Kamat Lokaruchi (Janapada Loka - a place famous for pottery, located near Ramnagaram - the 'Sholay' city) on Mysore road in about 1 hour. Here, we had the famous "Malnad Kadubu" (pyramid-shaped idlis wrapped in coconut leaf).

Janapada Loka:

At about 9:15am, we started from Janapada Loka and reached Srirangapatanam at about 10:45. We headed for Tipu's Lal Mahal. This fort was supposed to be the second most strongest in India. The fort had four gates: Bangalore, Mysore, Delhi and Water and Elephant gates. Along the battlements, there are two dungeons in which prisoners were kept. It seems that a greater part of this palace was demolished by the British.
Srirangapattanam fort :

After this, we proceeded to Tippu's summer palace - the Daria Daulat Bagh (across the main road). This was Tipu Sultan's wooden summer palace. Like most palaces built by Muslim kings - this one is surrounded by a beautiful and well-kept garden. Inside, the structure has ornate and beautiful frescoes (photography prohibited!). This once lavishly ornamented building now houses a museum of Tipu memorabilia, explaining eloquent stories of Tipu's valour and his loosing battle with the British. The interesting features of this palace are numerous murals, depicting scenes from Tipu's military career. There is also a good collection of period furniture, coins, fabulous paintings and historical data of Hyder Ali and Tipu's conquests in the museum.
Daria-Daulat Entrance :

Daria Daulat - walk to the palace.

Next, we went to the Gumbaz located near the summer fort. Here lie the tombs of Hyder Ali, his wife and Tipu Sultan. This structure has typical Islamic domes on top. It's a masterpiece structure with splendid ebony doors inlaid with ivory.

Gumbaz-from near - see the ornate carvings

Tomb-from outside:

Ornate ebony doors with ivory engraved:

After this, we headed straight to Mysore. We checked in at the Darshan Palace, kept our luggage, had lunch at Kamat and headed for the art gallery.
The Chamarajendra Art Gallery :

The Chamarajendra Art Gallery located at the Jagan Mohan Palace houses a comprehensive collection of Indian and world art, acquired by the royal family of Mysore. There are huge portraits of the royal family and detailed paintings of royal weddings and the annual Dasara procession. The gallery hosts the famous paintings of the artist Raja Ravi Varma like 'Suckling child', 'Shakuntala', 'Krishna and Balram' and ‘Harishchandra’ and also the very famous painting of the lady with the lamp "Glow of hope" by S.L. Haldenkar:

The gallery closes at 5pm and as usual, no photography allowed inside the gallery! :(

Soon after this, we left for the Brindavan Gardens, about 12 kms from Mysore. The tranquil ornamented gardens are laid out below the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) dam. The musical fountains and colorful lights turn this place into an enchanting fairyland in the evenings. The KRS dam is India's first irrigation dam, built in 1924. Sir. M. Vishweswariah.
The sunset view from over the dam was truly breathtaking:

There is a boating pond to cross the dam. On the south side are the beautiful gardens and the Mayura hotel. At about 6.30 PM the garden lights up with fountains shining to different coloured lights. These gardens are so famous that many movies/songs have been shot here (remember the song from Padosan?).

On the north side are the dancing fountains. Since we were on our own in our car and in no hurry, we were able to take in the beauty of the gardens and watch the splendid 15 minute light and sound fountain show.

We got back to Mysore in about an hour's time. The next morning, we set out to visit the royal Mysore palace. This palace is the seat of the famed Wodeyar Maharajas of Mysore. The grand interiors of the palace, in keeping with the magnificent exteriors, are complete with exquisitely carved doors, huge pavilions, delicate chandeliers, exquisite stained glass ceilings and decorative frescoes depicting scenes from the Indian epics.

The grand Kalyan Mantapa :

The expansive durbar hall :

The earlier night, we were able to get some excellent photos of the silhouette of the palace illuminated with at least a lakh bulbs.

Thus ended our trip with memories of the awesome palace and the colourful musical fountains!

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