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Deccan Odyssey - December 2016



Mysore

Next morning we left Bangaluru & drove to Mysore.

On the way we visited Rangnathitoo, a bird sanctuary. Our driver, Raj, stopped at the roadside for us to have the fresh coconut drink. The bird sanctuary is a lovely area of gardens, lakes & woodlands on the river Cauvery. There are many migratory birds such as storks, white ibis, egrets etc. We also saw many crocodiles in the lake & exotic flowers in the gardens..

We arrived at Mysore & checked in at the Royal Orchird Metropole hotel. This is a lovely heritage hotel which used to be a guesthouse for the guests of the Maharajah of Mysore and still reflects the bygone years. There are two wings, the old part of the building with traditional rooms and the new wing with garden view rooms. There is also a swimming pool at the end of the gardens. The open courtyard restaurant serving evening dinner is delightful and the highlight of the hotel. The food was also delicious. We had the best tandoori chicken, fish tikka and roti there.

The following day we began our Mysore city tour by going out of town to visit the fort town of Sriangapatnam. It is built on an island straddking the Cauvery River. The Royal household of Tipu Sultan is still there as a museum hall but much of the fort is now a living village. The place where Tipu Sultan was killed by the British soldier during the epic war in the fort is now a memorial shrine. A few remaining city walls and gates can still be seen among the village houses. Hauntingly the village has left an open area of ruins in the middle of the village where used to be the living quarters of Tipu Sultan. A reminder of the glory days of Southern India in the 18th century.

We drove back to Mysore town and visited the Mysore Palace. This is the grandest Royal Palace in Southern India. As the architect was from England there are many European design features inside including stained glass, mirrors, carved wooden doors, mosaic floors etc. During the 10 day Dasara festival celebration every year the palace is used for the traditional Dasara procession with decorated elephants, horses and camels leading through the streets of Mysore.

A visit to Devaraja market followed where daily life is laid out to you as local people go about their shopping, bargaining, shouting and smiling too. The displays of fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices are colourful and delicious-looking. We also visited the Chamundi Hills which offer a good view of the city below. There is also a Bull Temple dedivated to Shiva on the way down. Today we also inspected two hotels in Mysore, the Radisson and the Windflower, to be used for our tours in this area.

We left Mysore next day and drive to Hassan. On the way we visited Vindhyagiri Hill where a 57-foot tall monolithic statue of Gommateshvara is located amongst a clusted of ancient temples. To get to see this huge statue involves a climb of about 700 steps cut into the rock. Every single step is worth the effort once reaching the pilgrimage site and gainging a close-up look at the giant statue from head to foot. This statue dates back thousands of years.

An extra joy for the visit is the local children from different school parties. They love to pose for photos. Their happiness and laughter fill the air and linger on in my memory.

We arrived in Hassan for lunch and inspection of the Mallige Residency hotel, a simple modern local hotel in the centre of town. Afterwards we checked in at Hoysala Village Resort. As the name suggests this is a country resort with lovely gardens, swimming pool and antique furnishings in a quiet location.

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Friendly locals  
Friendly locals
Vindhyagiri Hill
Vindhyagiri Hill




Green Coconuts!
Green Coconuts!
Rangnathitoo bird sanctuary.
Rangnathitoo bird sanctuary.
Royal Orchid Metropole, Mysore
Royal Orchid Metropole, Mysore
Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace
Hoysala Village Resort
Hoysala Village Resort
Devaraja market
Devaraja market