We cruised into Mysore in the early afternoon having enjoyed the three hour drive though the lush jungle and fresh countryside of the state of Karnataka. Mysore is in south southwest India and is such a pleasant city as the weather is hot without being oppressive, the people are friendly without being pushy and there is so much to do without being hectic. Mysore was to be just a short stopover before heading to Goa and part of us is regretting that we didn't stay longer than two nights.
On our first morning we stepped out of our hotel and straight into Asif's auto rickshaw. Just in case you don't know, an auto rickshaw is a three wheeled covered taxi about the size of a golf cart but powered by a two stroke engine. We were Asif's first customers of the day and the incense from his morning pooja was still smoking in his rickshaw as we piled in and took off to explore this city of 1.5 million.
We drove but a kilometer as we hadn't had breakfast and Asif recommended a place just around the corner. It turned out to be a roof top terrace overlooking Gandhi square. The sweet lassi (a yogurt milkshake) was made just right and was the perfect compliment to chai, eggs and toast.
But we were determined to see the town and not squander the day relaxing on a sunny rooftop with cool drinks so we piled back into the rickshaw and started for Chamundi hill. Solstice, Manas and I even took a turn at driving the rickshaw on the road up the hill. Our first intention was to climb all 1001 steps to the top but thank goodness we took Asif's advice and started 300 steps from the top where a giant statue of Nandi was carved in 1659 from the solid rock of the mountain. Nandi is giant bull and is the god Shiva's vehicle/pet/companion.
After 300 steps and a visit with Nandi we summited the hill to arrive at the Sri Chammundeswari Temple complex. After a look around and a couple of coconuts we were back down the steps and with only a brief pause for a fresh pineapple break we were back in the rickshaw.
We didn't go far as the next stop was Karanji Lake Nature Park. We strolled around the lake enjoying birdsong, butterflies and poinsettias commenting how the park was exceptionally clean and well managed. As Manas wrote in his journal, "I wish my lungs could expand so I could take in more of the fresh air." Aleix came back with a trophy of collected feathers bit without the one he coveted most - a peacock's.
After the park we toured the Mysore Palace with every other tourist and local within the near vicinity and as it was almost time for supper Meera and
The kids went back to the hotel while I dashed off for a shave. Getting a shave is one of my favourite things to do in India because for less than a dollar I get half an hour of peace from the world and a chance to recharge - plus a great shave complete with aftershave!
Supper was at a rooftop cafe where the only thing tastier than the food was the cool evening air and recalling the events of the day in this lovely
town of Mysore.