Day Trippin': Mysore (sponsored post)

12/15/11

About 140 km southwest of Bangalore is the beautiful town of Mysore. Jeff and I spent a Sunday here and did a bit of sightseeing. It's definitely one of those places where you can spend a full day exploring.

Mysore is known for its beautiful silks and sandalwood, as well as for being a former Princely State. I heard it referred to as the most opulent place in India. I also heard it called the cleanest place in all of India (I will admit, it was pretty clean compared to some other places).

The first place we visited was Daria Daulat, the summer palace of Tipu Sultan. Tipu was born in 1750 and ruled the kingdom of Mysore. Tipu fought several wars against the British during his rule.

Unfortunately I wasn't allowed take photos, but the entire building is decorated with elaborate murals depicting battles between the British and the French. After Tipu was defeated, Colonel Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington) lived in the palace.
Looking towards the entrance of Daria Daulat
The second place on our trip was St. Philomena's Church. It was built in the 1936 in a Neo-Gothic style. It's a beautiful structure with elaborate stained glass windows.

A statue of St. Philomena can be found in the catacomb below the church. Inside the church, some of the female statues are wearing saris. I also observed that, although there were church pews, many people were sitting on the floor during mass.
St. Philomena's Church

A relic St. Philomena in the catacomb
After that, we headed to Chamundeshwari Temple on Chamundi Hill. Because it was a Sunday and many people had the day off, it was crowded and lines to enter the temple snaked around the building. We didn't go inside because we would have waited for hours.

Women selling offerings of coconuts and flowers to temple-goers

Chamundeshwari Temple

A statue of Mahishasura, Mysore's namesake
Next, we drove up to the top of Chamundi Hill to take in the views of Mysore. The views on a clear day are really good; we could see several palaces and other historic buildings in the distance. Several of these have been converted into government buildings, tourist attractions or hotels now. 

We also checked out the Nandi bull on the way up the hill. The bull is about 16 fet tall and is carved from a single block of granite. There were lots of people coming to pray and leave offerings in front of the bull that day. There are one thousand steps to the top of Chamundi Hill; the bull is at the 700th step.

Nandi bull on the way to Chamundi Hill
Mysore Palace was our last destination of the day trip. Sadly, I wasn't allowed to bring my camera inside of this amazing building. There was even a camera drop off, where I had to put my camera in a locker while I went to the palace. I wish I could have taken photos, because the elaborate interiors were worthy of several blog posts. 

The palace was designed by a British architect and was completed in 1912. It truly is a palace; there is so much opulence inside to take in. There were halls adorned with detailed murals of life in Mysore, large oil paintings of royal family members, and a solid silver door, among other things. The marriage hall in the palace could have fit a thousand people in it, and the stained glass in this room was brought from Glasgow, Scotland. The most amazing room in the palace is Durbar Hall, where the maharaja hosted audiences from a gold throne. 

Although there are no more maharajas in India, members of the Wodeyar dynasty still live on palace grounds. The Wodeyars ruled Mysore until 1971, when then prime minister Indira Gandhi abolished all titles.

Mysore Palace
I planned this day trip with the help of my Insight Guide India, courtesy of Global Language Store. There's so much to see in a country as large as India, but this travel guide breaks down the places by regions and states.

It provides lots of great recommendations for places to eat and stay while you're traveling. There's also lots of information on Indian history, culture, art and religion.

My favorite part of Insight Guides is that they're a bit larger than most travel books and are printed in full color, so after I'm done using it as a travel guide it makes a pretty coffee table book. 

Another book I got from GLS which I also found helpful is the Culture Smart: India book. A quick read, I finished most of it on the flight over and recommend it if you're someone who is really new to Indian culture, especially if you're going to India to do business. It provides great introductions on topics like religion, politics, food, social norms and cultural etiquette.

Both of these books and others are available at www.globallanguagestore.com.

Related post: Travel Guides From Global Language Store

This is a sponsored post. Travel guides provided by Global Language Store. All opinions are my own. 




3 comments:

  1. It's so annoying when you can't bring your camera into beautiful places! Even worse though is when you're made to pay a fee to bring your camera and it turns out there's little that is photo worthy and the lighting is too dim in the first place!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been in both situations. I hate paying to bring a camera somewhere too. In the case of Mysore Palace, I had to pay to put it inside a locker and not use it! I would have been taking tons of photos.

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