Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Memorable Mysore


A long gap since last note. Close on the heels of Sathyanarayana Pooja at Preethi's house, we had to prepare for the family vacation that Bharath had so painstakingly planned and organised. Vasanthi was worried her time was too tight even to ack things, but the bank threw a surprise mandatory 10-day leave, giving her some breathing time. Engaging Parimala came in handy, for preparing methi-paratha for the onward journey.

We left on Thursday 26th morning, Ola demanding a flat 700 in spite of previous night booking made at 550 or so. We had to reach on time, so there was no other go The train was comfortable, Bharath and Prabha engaged on music, Vasanthi on catching some more sleep and me on reading. Jeevthi was thrilled to see me receiving her on the platform, and the Bangalore-Mysore trip took no time. For a change, we walked out way to the hotel, KSTDC Mayura Hoysala, located less than half a km away. We finished our lunch and took a brief rest.

Day 1 evening was for the famous Brindavan gardens. We left around 5 pm, in order to be there before sunset, and also watch the light show. We reached on time, but the crowd was unimaginable. It look quite long for us to wade through the multiple platforms of fountains and gardens, reaching the top near the Royal Orchid hotel end, only to discover that the dancing fountain light show was at the other end of the gardens! Though it was a little tiresome to walk all the way in the jostling crowd, the experience and the weather made in enjoyable and memorable.

Bharath and Prabha had already pre-selected a few restaurants not to miss while in Mysore. Accordingly, we had dinner on the way at Mahesh Prasad. It was unfortunate we selected a wrong day and time for the visit, as it was terribly overcrowded, and we had to wait long, only to get only what was available at that time, benne dosa! The dosa was fabulous, yes, but the wait and the cramped restaurant spoiled the fun to a major extent. We hired a taxi for all three days, and the driver Manoj also helped us plan outings from his experience and from what we had in mind.

Accordingly, we left around 9 am next day (Day 2), vacating Hoysala only to occupy the next day again, and proceeded towards Vinayak Mylari, another heritage hotel in Mysore. Again, the environment was cramped, in a buzzling urban middle class locale with cowsheds and meat shops and competing Mylari restaurants all over the street. Bharath managed to talk to the owner and managed to get seats on the upper floor of the restaurant's extension on the backside. In view of the crowd, they also had only dose - masala or plain at the same cost - brought in dozens straight out of the tava and served, mostly two or three doses in one go, to customers eagerly waiting their turn at the tables for long.

Breakfast done, we left for our next stop, Srirangapatna. Our plan was to go to the Doddamallur Aprameyaswami temple, and then the Kengal Anjaneya temple, and then check-in at the Mayura River View lodge on the bank of Cauvery. But Prasanna was a little apprehensive of keeping schedule, and since he had meetings to attend working from home or wherever he was, it was decided to drop him at the hotel first, and then proceed to the temples. The temple visits took a little longer than expected, with another stop introduced in the agenda, that of buying some Channapatna wooden toys and other items. In the meantime, we had asked Prasanna to find out how good was the in-house restaurant, and he informed it was not good for a proper vegetarian meal, as there was only one kitchen for both v and nv. So we decided to visit Halli Mane, a restaurant on the main road, where we had good thali means, with only I opting for ragi mudde instead of puri bhaji.

As there was no agenda for the evening, we had ample rest in our cottage-style river side rooms. We enjoyed a good coracle ride in the river for about half an hour, with Jeevthi enjoying the adventure to the hilt. Only Prasanna complained of giddiness when the operator swirled the coracle faster in circles, and we stopped before it got any worse. Jeevthi had lost her footwear somewhere, so we made a short trip to the town before going to another restaurant, Ruchi Mane, on the highway. At a little after eight, the down was deserted and the shops were already closing down, but we managed to find some footwear for her on a platform shop. Ruchi Mane was not as good as Halli Mane, all dishes loaded with too much oil.

Having spent a good time on Day 2, all got up quite late on Day 3. Preethi and Prabha, because of their interest in selffie and photography respectively, got up early unmindful of the urge to sleep, and joined me on the river bank for some nature photography, followed by a coffee session in which all of us joined. Thereafter we left for the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple. My God, it is a long, long time since I personally saw a crowd like this. The crowd management at the temple was also very poor, making us suffer in stampede like condition for over half an hour, and then allowing the entire crowd to move into the sanctorum, everybody jostling the other amid cries of frustration and anger at the temple authorities. On the way out, however, it was festive atmosphere, and we enjoyed tender coconut, a giant wheel drive and a leisurely stroll through the crowded stalls, with rare sights like the toffee man making different shapes out of a jelly like sugar candy rolled on a tall stick with a doll perched on it.

We skipped lunch and went straight to the Mysore Palace, where also there was such a thronging crowd because of the continuous holdays. We were pushed through the palace which actually requires a patient, preferably lonely presence to admire its grandeur and beauty. There was not a calm place or sufficient enough space to even click decent photographs. So, out we came in a jiffy and latched on a quick trip to the Jagan Mohan Art Gallery to see some of the exquisite paintings including that of Raja Ravi Varma, before returning to our rooms at Hoysala for freshening up and going back to the palace for the light-and-sound show. The cool weather was made bearable by the presence of a house-full open-chair auditorum in the garden. After the show, we had a good dinner at the Green Heritage restaurant and retired to our rooms, closing the taxi account and disposing Manoj off.

We had enquired the previous day itself about a open roof-top one-hour bus ride around Mysore Palace and other important areas. We were told to be ready at 9.30, so everyone had got ready on Day 4 for this trip. The receptionist initially scared us by informing that the pick up point was at the Mysore Palace, but then pacified us by saying if there were a minimum of seven passengers, the bus would pick them at their place of stay. However, as the driver came a little late, we had time to grab a quick breakfast. We were also told that the minimum number was eight, not seven, so we had to buy eight tickets if the trip was to take off. Since the bus was anyway parked only at our hotel and was leaving from there, we had the option of taking our preferred seats on the roof. It was a sort of disappointment for us that we ended up the only passengers for the entire trip, with no one else boarding and vying for our seats! More than anything scenic, the pleasure of roof-top travel with family in the pleasant weather was a nice culminating experience for our Mysore trip. In a shortwhile after the bus dropped us at our hotel back, we vacated Hoysala and made our way to the railway station, well in time catch a glimpse of, and even record, the departure of the popular Vande Bharat express and then leisurely catch our Shatabdi express. In view of the forced mandatory leave, Vasanthi decided to alight at Bangalore along with Preethi and stay for a few days.

The only disappointment for us was the repeated failure of IRCTC to deliver food in the train, which we were eagerly and hungrily awaiting to receive at the Katpadi station. The hot plain dosa at the A2B in Chennai Central somewhat made it up. Thus ended our short but memorable vacation.

Credits are due, primarily to Bharath for meticulously making the hotel bookings and travel arrangements, and to Prasanna for agreeing to join despite his work load. Secondarily, to all members for compromising on their little comforts and co-operating to make the vacation happy, enjoyable and memorable. Of course, the silent worker here has been my Pixel 6a, without whose fantastic pictures the memories could not be refreshed again and again.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home