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Brindavan Gardens

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Brindavan Gardens are located near the Krishnarajasagara dam which was built across the river Kaveri in Mysore.

State Transport buses and private buses ply regularly from Mysore to these gardens. One can also visit this place by a private vehicle. There is complete chaos on the ground where the vehicles are parked and one can easily get lost in this place. The parking lot is so big that it can accommodate around 100 big buses so when you plan to visit this place do  remember to keep the bus number or the driver’s contact number as it will be very useful in locating the bus.

Water Fountain in the Garden

The gardens were completed in 1932 after 5 years of work. They are visited by approximately 2 million tourists yearly and the number just keeps rising every year.

The gardens are open to the public throughout the day. The musical show, however, is held only in the evening. Large numbers of people come to see the evening musical show.

Water Fountain in the Garden

The garden is around 60 acres wide and has some of the most exotic trees on the face of the earth. Kudos to the people who have helped to maintain this garden to date.

In the evening, musical shows are held. There are many water fountains here with multi-colored lights popping out of the fountains. Everyone around was busy in shooting pictures, but then everything around was certainly worth photographing.

Water Fountain in the Garden
 The musical gardens are located at the end of the garden and are a major crowd-puller among all the fountains here. You need to sit all around the circular fountain to see it. It is a 15-minute show in which Hindi and Kannada songs are played with musical lights and the fountain water is programmed to dance to the beat of the music. Have you ever seen something like this? Not me.

Water Fountain in the Garden
I was totally impressed by these gardens and heartily recommend them to anyone visiting Mysore.

Mysore Rail Museum

Monday, August 29, 2011

This was my first visit to a Rail Museum and The Mysore Rail Museum left me totally amused.

Located on the Krisharaja Sagar Road , very close to the Mysore Railway station, the museum, which was built in 1979, has a very good collection of engines and locos. These look new to this day as they are very well maintained.

The museum can be visited everyday from 930 hrs to 1830 hrs except on Monday as it is closed for maintenance purposes. 

Inspection Car
The Inspection Car is very beautifully done on the inside and has a kitchen, bedroom and attendant room. Pretty impressive! 

Steam Pump
Most of the engines here were built in the 19th century and were brought to Mysore for the use of the Royal Family. What caught my eye were the Steam Pump and the Austin Car.

The Steam Pump was built in 1932 by Merry Weather Company. It used to boil water by using the steam generated by the copper boiler. It was used for irrigation purposes and also at the time of fires.

Austin Car
The Austin Car looks very impressive to this day. This car was brought as scrap and then converted to a railcar and used for inspection purposes way back in 1925.

Travelling Crane

Also on display is a Traveling Crane built in 1885 in England. This crane could take a 360-degree turn and was used to load and unload wagons with cargo. Used in the case of accidents as well, it is still in working condition.
Maharani Saloon
The most impressive sight is that of the Mysore Maharani’s Saloon which was made in 1899. This loco comes equipped with an ornate balcony, bedroom, western commode, kitchen and dining unit. This train could run on both broad gauge and meter gauge.

There is a small museum on the premises which has miniature models of engines, wagons, railways bridges, rail lanterns used for signal purposes and other railway equipment in use in those days. This museum is truly worth visiting on a trip to Mysore.

Another Rail museum visited by me is the Western Railway Heritage Gallery.

St. Philomena Church

Saturday, August 27, 2011

St Philomena's Church is one of the oldest and largest churches in India. It is located in the city of Mysore in Karnataka. This church was built in 1959 in the Gothic style and is one of the largest Cathedrals in South Asia.

Main Entrance to St. Philomena Church

The church has two twin towers standing at a height of 175 feet. The towers have exotic carvings in them. It also contains a tiny crypt which has a statue of the saint specially brought from Greece. Prayer services are conducted in this church in Kannada, Tamil and English.

The exterior is covered with stained glass, depicting significant events in the Christian calendar, such as the Birth of Christ, the Last Supper, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ.

St Philomena Church
The church is located at a distance of 3 km from city bus stand and 2 km from the Palace of Mysore.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mysore is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka in India. It is approximately 140 km away from Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka. The city, situated at the base of the Chamundi Hills, can be reached both by rail and road transport.

The name Mysore is a derivative of Mahishasura, a demon from Hindu mythology. Mysore city was ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty. So the city houses a lot of historical monuments.

There are plenty of places to see in Mysore. The Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hills, St Philomena's Church, Brindavan Gardens, Mysore Zoo, Rail Museum, Jaganmohan Palace, Karanji Lake, Kukkarahalli Lake and Lalitha Mahal Palace are some of the big attractions in this city.

The city has a cool climate so it can be visited at any time during the year. The people here are very friendly and speak Kannada, English and Hindi. Thank God for Hindi and English or else we would have been lost in this beautiful city.

There are many motels here which offer a nice stay and a panoramic view of the city. One can make on-the-spot bookings also after checking the rooms. Most of the motels are 3-star.

The food is good. I personally prefer the vegetarian food over the non vegetarian, as the latter is prepared very differently from the non-vegetarian fare we are used to in Mumbai. The pricing of the food is very reasonable and the quality of the food is quite nice. You can taste spicy Andhra style cooked food, served on a banana leaf, at one of the many food outlets here. Eating on a banana leaf was a first for me and I enjoyed the experience.

Mysore is famous for its silk sarees, and ivory and sandalwoods handicrafts. These handicrafts are extremely unique and beautiful and I felt like buying all of them. Unfortunately, they are priced rather exorbitantly. Making one of these beauties your own will make a huge hole in your wallet.

This city is like a pit stop on the way to Tamil Nadu, so you will have many inter state buses plying through Mysore. The city is not clogged with traffic as compared to Mumbai. There are state transport buses and rickshaws taking you around the city at low rates.

Mysore Palace

The Mysore Palace is the official residence of the Wodeyars. This place is beautiful both by day and night and is very massive. A must-see for anyone who is on a trip to Mysore. The Palace is a huge tourist attraction.

Chamundeswari Temple

The Chamundi Hills are located very close to the Mysore Palace and are at a height of 1000 metres. There is a statue of the demon Mahishasura at the summit. The hills offer a panoramic view of the city. One can also visit the hill via a stairway, consisting of 1511 steps, to reach the top. Buses ply regularly to Chamundi Hills from the central bus stand.

A major attraction here is the Chamundeswari Temple and the Nandi.

St. Philomena's Church

St. Philomena's Church, one of the oldest and largest churches in India, is located in Mysore. This church was built in 1959 in Gothic style and is one of the largest cathedrals in South Asia.

Brindavan Gardens

Brindavan Gardens are near the Krishnarajasagara dam built on the river Kaveri. These gardens were built in 1932 and are a huge tourist attraction thanks to the musical water performance held in the evenings.

Engine at Mysore Rail Museum
Rail Museum, set up in 1979, was the first one in the country and has a good collection of engines and coaches used in the British era.

Mysore Zoo is very close to the Palace of Mysore. The official name of the zoo is Shri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens. I was unable to photograph a single animal here :-(

Jaganmohan Palace, built in 1861 by the King, is currently an art gallery.

Lalitha Mahal Palace is now converted into a hotel and offers a panoramic view of the city.

I felt that Mysore is a better city to live in as it is rich in all aspects, be it food, literature, or the arts. I just loved this city so much that I found it difficult to leave.

Chamundi Hills (Mysore)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Chamundi Hills are located around 1000 meters above sea level.

Atop these hill is the famous Chamundeswari Temple and a few small temples and the Rajendra Palace. The Palace is closed to the public. The foothills of Chamundi are home to the famous Nandi temple, which has a huge statue of Nandi the Bull.

Neel and I had inquired with the locals here before boarding a bus to Chamundi Hills. It took us around 45 minutes to reach the top. Alternatively the top can also be reached via stairway.

Chamundeswari Temple

If you love trekking and climbing, like I do, then you need to take the stairway. There are 1511 stairs that you have to ascend in order to reach the top. As we were hard-pressed for time, we had to take the bus all the way up.

Once there, we saw that the number of devotees was increasing by the minute. Had we stood in the line it would be evening by the time we reached inside the temple premises. So we bought VIP tickets in order to enter the temple. When we got there, aarti, meaning prayers, was going on inside the temple.

The temple was painted in a shade of yellow and beautifully carved. On a serious note, I like the way the temples in the south are decorated with beautiful carvings.  

The view from outside the temple is simply amazing. It offers a panoramic view of the city. One can see the race course, Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore Palace and Karanji and Kukkarahalli Lakes.

There is a huge statue of Mahishasura. Legend has it that the demon Mahishasura was killed by the goddess Chamundeswari, also known as Chamundi, after a fierce battle. So the hills were named Chamundi Hills and the temples built in her honor.  

Chamundeswari Temple
 On the way down, we saw a huge statue of Nandi the Bull. Later we headed off to see the world-famous Mysore Palace.

Mysore Palace

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Mysore Palace is located in the city of Mysore and is the official residence of the Wodeyars, the royal family of Mysore.

Everything about the Palace is beautiful and worth seeing. I wouldn't mind spending the rest of my life here, Hehe.

The Palace is visited both by national and international tourists. There is an entry fee of Rs 100 to enter the Palace. No shoes and cameras are allowed in the Palace premises. Signboards warn you that if you are caught with a camera you will have to face the consequences. 

Mysore Palace
 The Palace has four entrances. The Main entrance towards the east is called "Jaya Maarthaanda." The entrance which is towards the north is "Jayarama," "Balarama" is to the south, and "Varaha" is to the west.

The premises are home to 12 temples built in various centuries with the oldest built in the 14th century and the latest in 1953.

Bronze Leopard in the premises

The Palace which currently stands is a different structure from the one built in the 14th century. The palace building of today, constructed in 1912, is the third version of the palace.

There are many attractions in the premises. The Audience Chamber was where the King would meet with his ministers. Ordinary subjects could pay tribute to the King and plead with him in the Public Durbar.

The Palace boasts of the armour used by the Royal family. There are many bronze statues of leopards in the premises. They look quite fierce, as if they are about to pounce on you. 

Mysore Palace

The locals told us that on national holidays and Sundays the entire palace is lit up. That would be an amazing sight, I am sure. Too bad we had dropped in on a weekday. I can only imagine what the Palace would look like when fully lit up.

Gates to the Palace

I recommend that you visit the Palace if you are ever in Mysore. It's a good thing that photography is not allowed here. This is one of those instances where only seeing is believing

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