Weekend Getaway – Mysore – Day 1

Mysore being less than 150 km from Bangalore, was the destination of our last weekend getaway.  Combined with the Independence Day holiday, we had 3 days and hence had a 3-day well-calculated plan too. The key highlights include the Opel Corsa long drive, the meet with the TE titans (Masky, Chaos and Sunny) and a surprise, the Tibetan camp visit, and the travel back to the historical ages…

Day 1 – Aug 15th 2008

There was a plan that Masky and Chaos would give us company enroute Mysore, but RK and I were late. (The previous night, it had rained in Bangalore, and the traffic made RK reach home, very very late, at around 11.30pm!) I don’t know how those people sleep late and wake up early as if they are insomniac, but anyhow, they were ahead of us and reached Mysore by 8.15am.

We started as slow as possible, within 6.30 to 6.45 am in his grand Opel Corsa, with 2 backpacks and water bottles in the back seat. The traffic was not that heavy, and once we were on the main highway SH17, the Mysore Road, the drive was really smooth. There were cars initially, but as we went further, there were even none for some time, I guess owing to the early morning timings. We were speeding low as we had to fill up the gas and air too on the way, and also had to look out for the lefts n rights we need to take long ahead. We had Srirangapatnam Temple in mind, and enroute, the green welcome boards notified us of the Silk city (Ram Nagaram), Sugar City (Mandya), and then the Historic City (Srirangapatnam).

The directions to the temple were pretty clear, but we knew of , or rather had the agenda of only the temple and the Dariya Daulat in that town. There were many other places to visit in the Srirangapatnam, but not that we got reminded of at that point. The Ranganatha temple is 1-2km travel from the right turn on the main highway. It reminded me of the Dasavatharam first few scenes and Kamal Hassan’s famous chant of “Om Namo Narayana”. Close to the temple, were the Tipu Sultan’s place of death, and Colonel Bailey’s Dungeon. I hate the reminiscence of wars and battles, and not to mention the dungeon and the pain of the people involved. I didn’t even wanted to visit the Juma Masjid nearby on the way back, as the whole history had started to haunt me.

Dariya Daulat Palace and Gardens were a tempting relief sought by me from the war cries. The place was serene, with full of greenery lawns n old tall trees. There were wall paintings and historical artifacts on display, which spoke more of Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali. there was an entry ticket of Rs.10 or 20. But what surprised me was the whooping Rs.100 as entry ticket for non-Indians. Is this indiscrimination any worth of or should be condemned? I guess that calls for a separate post altogether.

We continued to Mysore shortly afterwards. There was a thought of visiting Ranganathathittu bird sanctuary too. But it was already 12pm, and we need to check in at the reserved hotel. Moreover these short stops were actually planned for Day 3, but the weather was good and tempted us to stop by. So we checked in at around 12.30pm and had lunch at the same hotel. We were very close to Central bus stand, and also near to Mysore Palace. So without re-thinking, we started to Mysore Palace.

I had been to the Mysore palace long back, but only once, during my college tour. I remembered only the gardens and the big balcony (or the Durbar). At the parking lot, met Masky, Sunny and the photographer Chaos. There was long queue for the entry tickets as it was already 3.30pm on the first holiday. Obviously, where will layman people would go out? Those techies were not interested in getting inside the palace, and neither was RK. I had forgotten what is inside the magnificent palace, and hence decided to peep in. So we, RK and me, went inside while the techies carried our cameras and sat in the gardens watching people(???). It was already 4.30 pm by the time we came out.

The techies had planned for go-karting at Planet X, while the Day-1 schedule for us was JaganMohan Palace, Karanji butterfly park, St.Philomena’s Church, and Chamundi Hills. Too much aint it?? Well, thats how I plan 😐

Chamundi Hills visit on a Friday and holiday was too crowded, as told by experts. Jaganmohan palace was just an art gallery, while the Church is just a famous church and Karanji is just a lake with boating, and having a butterfly park which closes at 5. So that left us with Chamundi Hills or the go-karting. The latter was tempting more, as there were 4 adventurous men in front of me willing to go-kart rather than visit the history and nature, if not resting at hotel. So we moved on to Planet X, where we were told that the laps were booked until 8pm. So we decided to have a drive to Karanji and Chamundi Hills and come back by 8pm. So instead of taking 2 cars, we went in Chaos’ famous Cedia. Oh yeah, I did got to ride in a Cedia, which I don’t think I would’ve done in my life on my own. But there were more to come.

Karanji lake was on the way to Chamundi Hills. Though the butterfly park there closes  by the time we reached there, we thought of trying our luck of it being open. But luck didn’t favoured us. Nevertheless, the long walk from the entrance supported with the serene environment created by palm trees (?) was soothing. As there was nothing much left to check over we left to Chamundi Hills.

As told, it was crowded enough even to park the car. The Chamundi Hills temple was closed. But then the crowd didn’t seemed to bother it. Maybe they were waiting for the temple to open. Strange is the religious faith at times and its magnetic power. On the way, we had the tophill view of Mysore. Masky and other techies had a hard time, pointing me the Mysore Palace and all, but till now, I need to admit, that I couldn’t see anything clearly other than the Race Course. Its vast coverage of land area, made me ponder and rewrote my old opinion that, the city was too small.

I needed to check out the Mysore palace lighting too. As time was available in plenty, we hopped on Cedia, with Chaos, lecturing his prior automobile-adventures, and reached Mysore palace, the minute, the lighting turned on! Just in time! The palace with the lighting was absolutely stunning.! I had trouble shooting with my point and shoot camera Canon Powershot A400, while the Master Photographer and his accomplices, were playing with their DSLR’s and various lenses. Masky, at the end, gave me(oops..us!) a photographic tip to shoot at night after which we moved onto the Planet X.

I had done go-karting long back, but not so seriously, at VGP Golden Beach, Chennai, lwith my roomie! But this was serious. 10 laps/10 mins for Rs.125. What will I do for all those 10 mins? I wondered. And seeing my dejection, Masky started giving looooong lecture, rather taught me practically, how to ride! So we all 5, were in the race, with RK and myself being amateurs. I did curse for one moment, why did I joined along with the techies for my weekend getaway, when it could have been very peaceful with refreshing views of palaces or in the worst case, a good rest at hotel. But after the 8th or 9th lap, I started enjoying and also tried my max speed, but without skidding.(Obviously, you shouldn’t skid, if you know to ride). And the great news is, the best lap time of mine was 1.02 min!!! Wow.. Not bad! 😀

Afterwards we had a delicious dinner at the Olive Restaurant nearby, which later turned out to be a dinner treat by the Techies. ( 🙁 ) We reached back at around 10 -10.30pm and slept off immediately, not able to withstand the tiredness of the loooong day.

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