ANNETTE'S TRAVELS: INDIA 2011 - MYSORE AND MANGALORE
On January 23rd the hotel driver took us down the mountains from Ooty to Mysore. It was an enjoyable drive with lovely scenery. There were many switchbacks, but the weather was perfect, the road was good, and the traffic was light. When we completed the descent, we passed through a game preserve and were disappointed when no elephants appeared.
Mysore is a lovely city with many trees and buildings dating from the days of the Maharajas. Wealthy rulers of the most prosperous princely state apart from Hyderabad, the Maharajas were great patrons of the arts and architecture, and created many palaces, churches, temples and gardens. Although Mysore joined India at independence, this legacy of the Maharajas is still very much in evidence today.
Beautiful Downtown Building, Mysore
Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore
Our hotel, the Pai Vista, was a modern four-star hotel with
several restaurants and coffee shops. One of the restaurants, the
Jungle, was decorated to resemble the jungle at night. It captured the
atmosphere perfectly: there were trees, flowers, birds, animals, areas
of darkness, areas with spot lights, waiters dressed in safari suits,
and the night sounds of the jungle. Combined with fine food, it all made
for a great dining experience.
On January 24th we visited Mysore Palace, built by the Maharaja
in 1912 to replace the 14th Century structure that was destroyed by
fire in 1897. We had a guide show us through the palace. Much of the
layout and design of the original were retained. Of its many attractive
features the most outstanding were the many doors beautifully carved
from Burmese teak, the two beautiful durbar halls for the Maharaja's
public audiences and private meetings, and the large ground floor
pavilion with the ceiling made from Belgian crystal and its huge crystal
chandeliers from Bohemia.
Entrance to Mysore Palace
Temple in Grounds of Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace - No photos allowed of the Interior
Looking Back Towards the Entrance to Mysore Palace
The next day we took a rickshaw to Tipu Sultan's summer palace at
Srirangapatna. The palace itself was not that interesting, having become
somewhat dilapidated since Tipu's defeat by the British in the late
18th Century. He was a Muslim ruler of Mysore allied with the French who were established in
Pondicherry. He fought four major battles until his final defeat -
attributed by some observers to his ally, France's, lack of interest due to a
preoccupation with what was going on during the French revolution.
Still, it was fascinating to be there and to imagine the events that had
taken place and were illustrated in the many drawings and paintings in