Bangalore – Mysore – 1 day trip (24th April 2011)
The trip to Chamundeshwari Temple is one that we had been trying to make, with not much success. Finally, it came about a few weeks back.
We went through a travel agent, with one of their daily trip packages from Bangalore to Mysore. The best obviously would be the Incredible India tour (govt sponsered). But since ours was a last-minute trip, we got in a local tour.
The starting point for all the tour buses to Mysore start at Marathahalli at around 6-6.30am. At the junction you would normally see about 5-6 buses lined up on the roadside. These buses have various pick-up points through the city. So by the time one actually leaves the city its almost 9am.
The first stop is for breakfast at a small restaurant called Woodland Avenue on the highway at around 10am. All buses stop at the same points for food. So its definately a battle for time and space at these places. 🙂
The first tourist stop was Channapatna. Most wood carved toys in india come from here. They are typically brightly coloured, and come in a multitude of toys, deco pieces, and handicrafts. We picked up some bright;y coloured show peices and keychains. The prices is reasonable, and definately less than what we have to pay if buying in Bangalore.
The next stop was Srirangapatnam. This was the summer capital of Tipu Sultan. It is also home to the famous Ranganadha Swamy temple. The whole place lies within a fortress. Most of the walls have fallen down, but you can still see the major doorways and battlements.
The tour guide points out the various entrances and exits from the fortress. And also interesting views, but doesnt necessarily stop at any of them. So you have to have your camera ready if u want pictures!
First view is of the Jumma Masjid, and imposing white structure. 2nd view is of the ruined palace of Tipu Sultan. Apprently, once Tipu Sultan was killed, the British soldies ransacked and burnt down this palace. You can now see only the bare ruins of the place.At neither of these places, the tourist bus stops.
Finally we reach the Ranganadha Swamy temple. Here we were given about 20 mins to have darshan and come back. While normally this is more than sufficient time, we went on a holiday. Which basically translates to huge, unruly crowds. The tour guide warned us that if the queue is too long, pplease take darshan from outside and come back. We, of course joined the said crowds for the darshan. By God’s Grace, we were able to get proper darshan and come back to the bus within the stipulated time.
From here, wee cross over the River Cauvery, on towards Mysore.
In Mysore, the tour bus first stops for lunch. This is at a restuarant named Leela Residency. Both North-Indian and South-Indian thalis are served here. The best part is that the food is piping hot. The worst is that all the buses reach at approx same time, leaving you waiting to get a table.
The next stop is the Cauvery Emporiom for sliks and handicraft shopping.
(i just realised: At every major point the sequence seems to be the same – food, shopping, finally sight-seeing!!!)
Next we reached the famous Mysore Palace, also known as Amba Vilas. Note: if you want to go through both the old and new palaces, better to go by yourself, rather than tour bus. The tour guide discourages you from going to the old palace saying there is nothing much to see. The new palace has 4 major sights to see: The stained glass ceiling, the central courtyard, the palace of dolls, and the main Sabha of the Wodeyar. However, if you look carefully, you will notice the ivory inlaid doors, and glass work in the panels and floors. Again, time is short, so one has to rush through the whole experience.
The second-last stop on the trip is the Chamundeshwari Temple, situated on the Chamundi Hills. The parking lot is about 1/2 km from the actual temple. The entrance has a statue of Mahishasura. At the temple proper, there are 2 ticets available: Rs. 20/- and Rs. 100/-. One can also avail of the free darshan. You can also give an offering of coconuts and flowers that can be bought outside the temple. We took the Rs. 20/- darshan, and were able to have a good darshan, and rather fast too.
Behind the temple, not know to too many people, is the temple of Sri Mahabaleshwara, a temple of Shiva and Consort of Chamundeshari Devi. A simple stone temple, its definately worth a visit.
The final stop for the day is the Brindavan Gardens and the Krishnarajasagar Dam. It is a 20 min stop and the biggest disappointment of this trip. The short time-span gives you just enough time to walk all the way to the musical fountain, watch it for 10 mins, and walk back to the bus. The musical fountain is beautiful, but after the first 2 sound-tracks, it becomes repetitive.
You cannot see the dam, except a glmpse from the road, nor the rest of the famous gardens.
Also beware of pickpockets. As you would reach the gardens only after dark, it is a haven for pickpockets. 2-3 people unobtrusively surround you, seemingly talking on the phone or some such thing, preventing you from moving for a couple of minutes, enough time for the pickpocket to slice through your bag with a blade. Thats exactly what happened with us. Thankfully, the handbag in question was a sturdy model with various layers and pockets, preventing the thief for actually stealing anything. Only after reaching the bus did we notice the deep cuts in the bag.
On the way back, the bus stops finally for dinner on the highway for about 30 mins. After that its a straight trip back to Bangalore, reaching the final point of Marathahalli at about 11pm.