It was the third weekend of the program. This weekend follows a notoriously busy week of Globe. So it comes as no surprise that it is designated crash time and everyone gets some much-needed R&R. Most Globers stay in nearby Bangalore, but those with a shred of energy left head to nearby Mysuru (formerly known as Mysore). Whether it be a day trip, weekend, or longer, Mysuru has a captivating history and energy to keep you occupied.
We hopped in the car very early on the Saturday morning and drove towards Mysuru. Everyone had told us that seeing Mysuru in one day was pretty ambitious, and maybe they were right, but a day was enough to see the highlights and get a good taste. Bangalore traffic being the way that it is (absolutely terrible) meant the drive took longer than you would expect. The 96km journey would maybe take an hour or two back at home… but hey, it’s India, so it was four.
A quick stop at Café Coffee Day for my customary double espresso and brownie, and we were soon flinging down the highway towards our destination. Listening to a mix of Indian tunes and Spotify playlists, the time actually went pretty quickly. So much is constantly happening out the window when you’re driving in India that it is incredibly difficult to feel bored on a road trip. Whether it’s a tuk tuk full of goats (seriously) or motorbikes with an incomprehensible number of people piled on board, something is bound to catch your eye.
Soon enough we had arrived in Mysuru. The atmosphere was more sedate than the bigger cities. Although bear in mind, when I say that, it was still completely hectic. We only had about six hours to see the highlights of the city so it was time to go to the most obvious: Mysore Palace.
Mysore Palace stands out like a beacon. The bulbous red turrets atop the intricately designed yellow palace walls were unlike anything else we had seen in southern India. So there was that, and there was the fact that every visitor and school group in Mysore was gravitating towards the Palace like bugs to light. Going on a Saturday meant it was busy but the interior was beautiful. Even though it was built only between 1897 and 1912 it seemed a lot older. It sits atop a historical place in the Old Fort where there have been previous palaces which were, unfortunately, successively destroyed in various ways. The crowds made it difficult to look at the exhibitions but the architecture is what took the cake. A pleasant array of pastel greens, blues and pinks coloured the walls, columns, and murals, as well as the customary over-the-top gold detailing.
After we had explored as much of the palace as possible, we were a little peckish as usual so headed to Devaraja Market in search of food. Turned out the market was not ready-made food but it was so delightfully vibrant that we put our cravings aside and did some serious exploring. Towers of coloured Holi powder, spices, bananas, and jewellery lined every walkway and stall. People hustled and bustled in the search for the best deals left, right and centre. One man was so intensely bartering that he did not notice the large Tarantula on his back (not ideal). It was a sensory experience in all sense of the word – a constant influx of sights, sounds, and smells.
We somehow found a perfume salesman we had heard about back on the program. His small shop was full of bottles of every possible scent. As he spread the different scents on our wrist he would proudly say “this is like Gucci” or “this is like Kenzo”. The chai kept coming and the perfumery guest books opened to messages from purchasers hailing from all around the world. Eventually we settled on our scents for a price we were all happy with, and were ready to grab some food.
After a mighty feed and an equally mighty search through some local jewellery shops, it was time to go home. The drive home seemed longer in the darkness, but the tunes and conversation kept us sane. All of us will have fond memories of Mysuru and were glad we peeled ourselves out of our Bangalore apartment beds and into a road trip.
GETTING TO MYSURU (MYSORE)
There are plenty of options for getting between Mysuru and Bangalore. Make sure that you search/ask for both Mysore and Mysuru because different companies use different names for the city.
Car: We hired a private car for approximately 3000Rs each for the day including tolls (this was to/from an outside of Bangalore, so Bangalore central would be around 2000Rs).
Train: Trains run from Bangalore in the morning and evenings. The trains are cheap but take approximately as long as driving and less comfortable. Bookings can be made online or at the station.
Bus: Buses run from Bangalore central and from Bangalore International Airport. The buses are the cheapest option by far, but again, are less comfortable. KSRTC is the bus company and more about getting to Mysore from the Airport can be found here.
THINGS TO SEE IN MYSURU (MYSORE)
Entry: 50Rs each for foreigners, 2Rs for shoes
Opening Hours: 10:00am – 5:30pm
Address: Sayyaji Rao Rd, Agrahara, Chamrajpura, Mysuru, Karnataka 570001, India
Opening Hours: 6:00am – 9:30pm
Address: Sayyaji Rao Rd, Devaraja Mohalla, Shivarampet, Mysuru, Karnataka 570001, India
We didn’t stay in Mysuru so cannot recommend any accommodation options there, unfortunately. Spending a night in Mysuru would allow more time to explore the city, so if you’re not too time restricted, this is what I would recommend. You can find a booking.com portal to help you book your stay in the sidebar.
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