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Our travel to Mysore in October 2015 for Dassara festival

November 3, 2015

Our travel to Mysore : 20-27 October 2015

Route followed :

Noida- Delhi – Bangalore [ by air ] – Mysore [ by train ]  – Nagarhole – Kushalnagar – Madikeri – Talacauvery – Madikeri – Bangalore [ by cab ]  – Delhi [ by air ] – Noida

20 October  – Day 1

Bangalore :

6.35 AM: Leave for IGI Airport T1D by Indigo . Arrive at 12 noon : Transfer to Ibis Hotel ,Off Richmond Road. [ # 425 ] .[ Phone : 080 42548000  ]

                             Our room at Ibis that we didn’t find very comfortable to sleep in !

3.15 PM: Leave for Basavanagudi . Visited  Dodda Ganesha temple.The huge Ganesha of this popular temple is 18 ft tall in height and 16 ft wide.  This Temple at Basavanagudi attracts devotees from different parts of the country . Devotees come here to get blessings of Lord Ganapati. What makes this Ganapati idol more eye-catching to the people is the different sorts of decorations which are done during the week. One of the most famous decorations is the butter coating (Benne Alankara) to the idol. Over 100 Kgs of butter (Benne) is needed to apply to the huge  idol of Dodda Ganesha .

                                                           The Dodda Ganesha Temple

The amazing Bull temple (built by Kempegowda in the Dravidian style in the 16th century  ) contains a huge granite monolith of Nandi Bull and is located in the vicinity of Dodda Ganesha temple. It is an amazing experience gazing at the Nandi Bull statue stated to be more than 500 years old . The Bull temple is inside a park called Bugle Rock. The Bull referred to is a sacred Hindu demi-god, known as Nandi, a close devotee and attendant of Lord Shiva.

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Entrance to the 500+years old Nandi Bull temple . Inside the Temple .

The ancient Cave temple at Gavipuram which is just 2 kms. away , was  also visited .Built in a natural cave in Gavipuram, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and cut into a monolithic stone. The courtyard of the temple here contains several monolithic sculptures. The main attractions of Cave temple are two granite pillars that support the giant disk of the sun and moon, while the other two have a number of Nandi at the top.

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Ancient cave temple at Gavipuram

                            A riot of colour on the streets of Gandhi Bazar . Right : You find several                                                       vendors selling plaintain leaves on the streets for the festive season .

The iconic Vidyarthi Bhawan in Basavaniguda that is good for delicious coffee and dosas

Relish crisp dosas with filter coffee at the iconic Vidyarthi Bhawan,                                                               set up in 1942 in Gandhi Bazar .

Return to Hotel by 7.30 PM . @ 8 PM: Light meals at Spice IT restaurant at Ibis Hotel.

21 October : Day 2

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Breakfast at Spice IT restaurant with FB friend Arvind Khurana and his gracious wife Hema    turned out to be a great start to the long day ahead of us .

0915 hrs : Checked out from the Hotel  for Bangalore City Jn for travel to Mysore

On board Rajyarani Express from Bangalore to Mysore

On board Mysore Rajyarani Express speeding towards Mysore from Bangalore

Arrived at Mysore Station at 1.25 PM . [ Picked up by : Chandrashekhar Driver : 090-08-489245 ]

Checked  in at Hotel Regaalis , 13-14, Vinobha Road [ Phone: 0821 242 6426  ] . Hotel Regaalis is located in the heart of the city , just 5 minutes’ drive from Mysore Railway Station . It is  built on a sprawling complex of 4 acres with lush green landscaping. We were accommodated in an upgraded Club Room on the 4th floor, close to the elevator .

                          Regaalis Mysore  – a 3+ Star hotel that provides 5 Star hospitality

3.45 PM:  Visited Sri Chamundeshwari Devi Temple .The temple  is located on the top of Chamundi Hills , about 13 km from the temple city of Mysore .The temple was named after Chamundeshwari or Durga, the fierce form of Shakti, a tutelary deity held in reverence for centuries by Mysore Maharajas .

The temple has a seven storey tall Gopura decorated with intricate carvings. The deity of the Goddess is said to be made of gold and the temple doors of silver. It was constructed in 1743 or thereabout by the then Maharaja of Mysore.

The giant statue of Nandi Bull is located mid-way on Chamundi hills in Mysore. More than 350 years old, this is one of the oldest icons in Mysore. According to Hindu mythology ,Nandi is considered as the vehicle (mount) of Lord Shiva. In front of every Shiva temple, on the court facing the shrine, you can see the image of a Nandi. This Nandi atop the Chamundi Hills is said to be the third largest in India. The creation of this colossal image is attributed to Maharaja Devaraja Wodeyar (1659–1673) one of the illustrious Maharajas of Mysore. It is the same Maharaja who also commissioned the 1000 stepped stairway to the hilltop.

Originally this was a colossal boulder. The image of the Nandi was carved out of this boulder in situ. The Nandi is portrayed in sitting position with its left foreleg folded in an about to get up posture.

This is an open shrine exposed to the elements. As we understood , during special days , scaffolding are erected to do the abhisheka (anointing). Otherwise on regular days the priest stands at the front and conduct Pooja. There is a granite bench over there which is a vantage place for view the upper portion of the Nandi Bull and also a great spot for taking photographs.

You can also quench your thirst drinking delicious sugarcane juice sold by several vendors nearby . Visit to the Statue is highly recommended, you just can’t miss this one if you are visiting Mysore .

Thereafter, we spent some time at  Karanje Nature Park and Lake  [ Admission fee : Rs 20 per person ]  and looked at the dense plantations, high trees and the butterflies, breathing pure air .You can go for a short boating on the Lake at the end of the Park . There is a separate play area for children .

                                                    Karanje Nature Park and Lake

Thereafter, we visited the famed  St.Philomena Church which was  constructed under the directions of the  ruling Maharaja of Mysore in the early 19th century  . Saint Philomena was a Latin Catholic saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church. She was a young Greek princess martyred in the 4th century.

                                                                                St Philomena Church

An inscription at the  Church states: “In the name of that only God – the universal Lord who creates, protects, and reigns over the universe of Light, the mundane world and the assemblage of all created lives – this church is built 1843 years after the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Enlightenment of the World, as man”.  The Maharaja of Mysore laid the foundation stone of the Church on October 28, 1933. In his speech on the day of the inauguration, the Maharaja is quoted to have said: The new church will be strongly and securely built upon a double foundation — Divine compassion and the eager gratitude of men.The construction of the Church was completed under Bishop Rene Feuga’s supervision. This Church is a good example of blending of local culture.

Dufferin-Clock-Tower-in-front-of-Mysore-market

Dufferin Clock Tower, close to the main markets in Mysore

Mysore is famous for Silk sarees , several varieties of perfumed incense sticks , sandalwood carvings and herbal oils.

Thereafter, we visited two silk saree shops nearby . Dined at a vegetarian restaurant in Siddarth Hotel. Passed  by Sayyaji Rao and Devaraj Urs markets where we saw several shops selling flowers , incense sticks and colours .

22 October : Day  3

ETIOS Cab No. KA 55 5359. Driver : N.Anil Kumar [ 09902184525 ] .

Our driver N Anil Kumar who took to us to all the interesting places beyond Mysore during 22-27 October in his brand new Toyota Etios .

Our driver N Anil Kumar who took to us to all the interesting places beyond Mysore during 22-27 October in his Toyota Etios .

9 AM: Srirangapatnam , 15 kms from Mysore .Visited temple of Sri Ranganathaswamy  . Saw the ruins of Tipu Sultan’s  fort and place of his death .

                           Shri Ranganathaswamy temple . Tipu Sultan’s palace, now in ruins .

Passed by Bailey’s dungeons which was built by Tipu Sultan to confine British prisoners .

Proceeded to Shravanbelgola . Got there by 11.30 AM . As the “Palki bearers” had already left, we summoned sufficient courage to climb 614 steps to the top in about 50 minutes to the gigantic Gomateshwar Statue . Built by the Ganga dynasty Minister and commander Chamundaraya, Gomateshwara is a 57-foot (17 m) monolith and is situated above a hill.  It was built in around 983 A.D. and is one of the largest free standing statues in the world. Although slightly tiring climbing up in a warm weather , it was a great experience, leaving us spell bound . While getting down, it took us just 25 minutes. Left at 1.30 PM. and returned to our Hotel in Mysore around 3 PM for some rest .

                         Climbing 614 steps at Shravanbelgola  is an awesome experience . The gigantic                                       Gomateshwara statue leaves you spell bound .

6.30 PM : Meeting with Dr Vikram Bhaskar at Regaalis Hotel . We were taken round the illuminated Mysore Palace.

8.00  PM  : Dinner  with Dr Vikram Bhaskar’s  family at their elegantly furnished house on Temple Road . We were introduced to all the members of his family which covered 3 generations , the most momentous times these were of our 8-day travel .

                          The house that Bhaskars built . Right : A group photograph with the family .

23 October : Day 4

8.45  AM:  Departed  for Somnathpura temple which is located at a distance of 45 km from Mysore. Somnathpura is well known for the breathtaking Prasanna Chennakeshava Temple, one of the three famous  and  finest representations of Hoysala architecture (other two being temples at Belur & Halebid). The Hoysala temples are known for minute and intricate carvings and sculptures with metal like polishing.This temple was built in 1268 by Somnatha, a General of King Narasimha III.

                          At the Somnathpura temple , the carvings on the pillars, walls and roof  are so                                           intricate that simply leave you spell bound .

The Somnathpura temple stands on a raised platform like other Hoysala temples. It comprises three shrines and three wonderfully carved peaks with a common Mandapa. The three sanctums once housed beautifully carved idols of Keshava, Janardhana and Venugopala. Today, the idol of Lord Kesava is missing but the other two are still worshipped by the visitors .The premises are nicely landscaped due to maintenance  by the Archaeological Survey of India [ ASI ] . There is a token admission fee of Rs 5/adult .

10.15 AM :  Leave for Talakadu  : 35 min (25 km) drive. Talakadu has 5 temples , incl: 2 submerged in sand . They are of granite, unlike the Somnathapura ones which are made of soft stone.  [  Last 10  kms stretch of road is really bad ] . As walking in the sand is very tiring , only saw 2 smaller  temples at the entrance of the complex .  Cauvery river flows right behind the temples which is a nice picnic stop for families with young children.

According to legend , some 400 years ago, a queen, pursued by the Mysore Maharaja’s army, cursed that the bustling town of Talkad would be covered by sand and destroyed and that the royal family of Mysore would go abegging for heirs. To ward off the ill-effects of the curse, devotees from the States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala perform the Panchalinga darshan once every 4 to 14 years, to appease the five forms of Lord Shiva. Even today, it is stated that the current ruler and his family conduct secret prayers before the image of the Queen during Dassara to seek her forgiveness .

Cauvery river flowing right behind the Talakadu templesSubmerged temples in Talcaud20151023_111545

River Cauvery flows right behind the Talakadu temples, Right : The way to submerged temples in Talakadu

Proceeded  to Mysore Palace  for the Dassara Procession getting there  by 1.00 PM. Spent just 30 minutes there due to disorganised seating and heat and returned to Hotel for some rest .

                                  At the Mysore Palace for Dassara Celebrations

4.45 PM : Visited the Flower show that was very interesting .

The arrangement of flowers at the Flower Show in Mysore leaves you spellbound20151023_165139

20151023_170403Flower Show 2015 dedicated to Late President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

The flower show was a fest for the eyes 

                          Charcoals Restaurant by the Poolside, the dinner venue .                                                                                   Right : Post dinner photograph at Regaalis Hotel with the Bhaskar family .          

The Hotel staff  led by Mr. Inder Dhawan , General Manager , pulled out all stops to ensure that our stay in Regaalis was comfortable as well as enjoyable .

24 October : Day 5 : Checked out at 9.45  AM and proceeded to Jungle Inn , 25 kms before  Nagarhole Forest Reserve  [ Block C3 ] , 19 Kms from Hosur town  . Located on Veerana Hosahalli, Hunsur-Murkal-Nagarhole Road, Hunsur Taluk, Mysore District.

8 PM: Watched an interesting 30 minutes’ duration documentary on Nagarhole .

The pathway close to the Office located at the entry to the resort is the only good part of this mismanaged horror . Stay away .

25 October: Day 6

Checked out at 9.15 AM and left for Coorg , 90 kms away , driving via Siddhapura  through scenic plantations  . It takes a lot of time in travelling around all these spots in Coorg as most of them do not fall in the same route. Enjoying Coorg  requires walking a bit  at the Bylakuppe Buddhist Retreat, Nisargadhama,   Abbey Falls and climbing up 400+ steps at Talacauveri for views of the valley .

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Coffee beans ready to be plucked.  Right :Pepper vines – Apart from coffee plantations,                 Coorg is also famous for growing pepper .

10.30 AM : Bylekuppe near Kushalnagar is one of the largest Tibetan settlements in South India. It has several monasteries and the prominent among these are the Great Gompa of Sera Je and Sera Mey and the Namdroling monastery. Another important monastery is the Tashi Lhumpo monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama. The gold-coated Buddhist statues in the monastery are imposing and unique, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the Tibetans.

The 40 ft tall golden Buddha statues inside one of the Monasteries are the major attractions of Bylekuppe. The statues of Buddha, Padmasambhava, and Amitayus are the notable ones. The walls of the temples and the institutions are decorated with colorful paintings depicting gods and demons from Tibetan Buddhist mythology. The altar is decorated with flowers, candles and incense sticks. Close to 7,000 Tibetan monks and students are settled here in peaceful surroundings .

Bylekuppe was established by Lugsum Samdupling in 1961 and Dickyi Larsoe in 1969 and is situated to the west of Mysore District in Karnataka. Namdroling was established by His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche shortly after he came to India from Tibet. With only 300 rupees in his hand and with just a handful of monks, he laid the foundation stone of the three-storied main temple that then covered an area of 80 square feet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama consecrated the spot and bequeathed the name “Namdroling Monastery”.

The top arch of the spectacular Golden temple is visible from a few kilometres as you approach the Monasteries . The premises are clean and the environment so very serene and peaceful . While in Mysore or while travelling to Coorg, it is very worthwhile spending some time at the Monastery . Within the premises and outside, there are several shops selling Tibetan handcrafts and curios .

A visit to the Golden Temple is a mesmerising experience .

11.30 AM: Cauvery Nisargadhama  is on the way to Coorg from Mysore, off Kushalnagar. It  is a beautiful island , 2 kms. from Kushalnagar town while  Madikeri is 28 kms away . The 64-acre island, surrounded by the Cauvery river, can be accessed by walking across a hanging bridge. Its breathtaking beautiful surrounding are lush with thick foliage of bamboo groves, sandalwood and teak trees. Elephant rides and boating are some of the other attractions. There is an admission fee of Rs. 20 per adult for entering the forest .

                                             At the hanging bridge at Nishargadhama forest

                                                                Abbey Falls

12.30 PM: One of the most popular tourist spots in Coorg, Abbey Falls, is located approx.8 kms from Madikeri. The River Cauveri makes a descent here from a height of about 21 meter from sea level, providing a splendid sight. The cascading crystal clear water in the midst of the emerald flora that surround the fall, is something that  can be seen only in Coorg.  To reach the falls, one has to take a 500 m downhill walk from the end of the road. The area around this fall is rich with coffee bushes , wild vines and creepers.

2.00 PM: Checked in at Ananda Nilaya Homestay  , Kannanda Bera Temple Road, Mahadevpet , Madikeri . 2 Kms from KSRTC Bus Stand . Owner Kunjappa Brown, Contact : 09449659666,  takes very good care of his guests . Stayed at a well appointed large room on the first floor complete with a drawing room and kitchen .

                                               Brown Kunjappa, owner of Ananda Nilaya Homestay

12188912_1148768511817638_3040053155724331106_nWalking in the dense plantations in Ananda Nilaya Homestay in Madikeri

Walking in the dense plantations in Ananda Nilaya Homestay is a                                                         delightful experience .

5 PM: Visited  Omkareshwar Temple  dedicated to Lord Shiva . There is a pond at the entrance to the temple . However, the temple premises are not maintained nicely .

Omkareshwar Temple in Madikeri

5.30 PM: Raja Seat : This  is a seasonal garden of flowers and artificial fountains and is one of the most important tourist spots in Madikeri. Raja Garden was one-time-favorites of Kings of Kodagu who used to watch the setting sun, and spend time with their queens here. The structure is small square in brick and mortar of four pillars bridged by arches, enhanced by beautiful surroundings. It is built on a high level ground with a commanding view of the cliffs and valleys to the west. Early in the morning as the sun is just rising in the east, the mist shrouded valley below offers a rare sight. The golden light of the setting sun is a splendour to watch. There is also an attraction of a Toy Train for children which runs around the gardens . Be ready to pay Rs 5 as admission fee .

Raja Seat in Madikeri32

Raja Seat . Right: A toy train runs around the Raja Gardens.

Bought different kinds of spices at the Spices Market, close to Townhall .

Neel Sagar Vegetarian Restaurant in Madikeri

Neel Sagar Vegetarian Restaurant in Madikeri

Dined at Neel Sagar, Vegetarian restaurant [ North Indian meal ] @ Rs 120 per veg.thali .

26 October:  Day  7

9.15  AM : Checked out from Ananda Nilaya Homestay .

Visited Talacauveri . 45 kms away from Madikeri along narrow winding roads, Talacauvery is generally considered to be the source of the river Cauveri. It is located by Brahmagiri hill near Bhagamandala in Kodagu district of Karnataka, However, we were given to understand that there is not a permanent visible flow from this place to the main river course except during the rainy season.

A tank or kund like has been erected on a hillside, at the place that is said to be the origin. It is also marked by a small temple, and the area is frequented by visitors. The river originates as a spring feeding this tank, which is considered to be a holy place to bathe on special days. The waters are then said to flow underground to emerge as the Cauveri river some distance away.  You can climb up some 400+ steps for some amazing views of the hilly ranges and a part of adjoining Kerala State . It is an unique experience wading through the knee deep water tank to get to the Cauvery deity wearing traditional dhoti available from a counter nearby .

3.5 hours on one of the days of your stay in Madikeri must be kept aside  for visiting this very clean and peaceful complex . The memories of the visit linger in your mind for long time to come.

At the steps of Talacauvery temple complex , that must be on every traveller’s                        itinerary. You can climb some 400 steps at the Talacauveri  for some jaw                                    dropping views of the  valley below and a part of  adjoining Kerala State as well .

A very nice shop close to Townhall in Madikeri for shopping for silk sarees, dress materials , herbal soaps and oilsAt a nice shop in Madikeri close to Townhall where you can buy exquisite silk sarees and dress materials

Moving away from Talacauveri, we proceeded to Madikeri for buying silk sarees, stoles and dress materials at a nice Shop close to Town Hall . Of special interest to us were light weight sarees made out of silk+banana fibre , we bought 2 of them  !

Lunch at Raintree Restaurants :13/41, Pension Lane. You have to drive down a steep lane . The ambience is quite nice . The service was swift . However , while rotis were  really crisp, we were not happy with vegetables and the raita  !

Raintree Restaurant at Madikeri, close to Ton Hall

Raintree Restaurant at Madikeri, close to Town Hall . There is also a shop nearby  which sells quality spices, honey and fresh coffee beans

2.00  PM: Checked in at Club Mahindra Resorts.Galibeedu Road, Kalakeri Nidugane Village [Phones : 082722 21114   M: 09900486290 ] , 6.5 kms from Madikeri , thanks to Timeshare gifted by FB friend, Umesh Kr.Dubey . [ Accommodated in  Room No.1143 in Block No 11 titled “ Lakoocha “  ]

11215837_1150842214943601_4303673760438028264_nThe very impressive welcome lounge at Club Mahindra in Madikeri

                        The very impressive lounge at the Reception

My thanks to a FB member for letting us use 1 day from his Timeshare . Right from the moment you enter and register till the moment you check out from this amazing property, spread over 33 acres, there is non stop excitement and happiness . The whole process works likes a well oiled machine . The rooms [ 220 of them in 17 Blocks ] are king sized and are provided with all the amenities incl: tea/coffee maker, electronic safe and toiletries .

A view from the balcony of our room on the first floor in Lakoocha -Block [ No.11 ] .

Free wi-fi at the Wifi zone close to the Planters Club ,which serves delicious coffee on Level -2, ensures that you remain connected to the world .   There are plenty of things to do at the “Fun Zone” incl: playing carom , table tennis and chess and watching the amazing magic show of 45 minutes’ duration .

franco-at-the-violin-over-dinner-at-the-green-cardamon-restaurant-on-25-october

Franco on his violin

We listened intently to Franco playing on his Violin with whom I also sang the immortal song ” Ai Malik tere bande ham …” . However, due to paucity of time, we could not engage ourselves in the Nature Walk or the Coffee tasting sessions at the Planters Club. We bought food vouchers worth Rs 1250 each that enabled us to relish evening tea/snacks, dinner and breakfast .

                           The Coffee Blossoms A-La-Carte restaurant which specialises in mediterranean                                      cuisine, one level below the reception . Right : The Planters Club , two levels below                                  which serves delectable wines and delicious teas. A free wi-fi zone . 

Shopped  at Jawhar Silk Shop inside the Resort for bed covers , table covers and mats .

8.30 PM: Dinner at Green Cardamon Restaurant, Opp: Fun Zone after a 45 minutes magic show . Senior Chef Prakash took good care of us and attended to our orders personally , telling us about processing and preservation techniques .

                                        The big buffet spread at the Green Cardamon Restaurant

Cardamon Green Restaurant lays out a huge buffet, both at the dinner, as well as at the breakfast like which we have never experienced before . We especially enjoyed the masala dosa and doughnuts especially prepared for us .

Live butterfly found stuck on a wall on one of the Restaurants

A live butterfly with a human face that was found stuck to one of the walls of Cardamon Green Restaurant on 27th October morning .Our thanks to Senior Chef Prakash also for packing light snacks comprising of vegetable sandwiches, mineral water bottle and Mysore Pak [ sweet ] for our long travel back to Bangalore International Airport in the morning hours .

27 October : Day 8

10.45  AM:  Checked  out . All in all, an unforgettable experience . We intend to go to Coorg again in next 3 years’ time and will plan to stay at the Club Mahindra for at least 2 days then .

Departed  for Bangalore International Airport  [ 5.5 hrs drive]  with a stop for tea with Arvind Khurana at Hotel Lalit Ashok  at 4.30 PM .

6.15 PM: Arrive at Bangalore Kempegowda International Airport . Depart at 7.55 hrs for New Delhi .Arr at IGI T1D at 10.30 P.M.

TRIP OVER

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One Comment
  1. Venkatesh permalink

    After going thru this blog, i felt as if my trip is already complete. Crisp, Precise, Neat, Clear and Clean.

    For sure, lots of efforts would have gone into making this blog. and i am sure that this would be the base for my trip.

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