From Kochi I headed inland and north to Mysuru (Mysore) in the province of Karnataka, India.
The travel agent convinced me, since the train was booked, to try the overnight bus – ‘air conditioned’ he said, ‘reclining seats’ he said, and ‘only 8 pm to 7:30 am’ so faster than the train…
He didn’t mention we stopped to pick up more passengers until almost midnight, that the bus suspension was suspect, that we swayed around other traffic with a frequent horn. And though the back reclined, the foot support didn’t rise much. So being too short to brace myself with the foot rest, my core muscles got a workout! But good deal for $14 CDN!
So after a night of no sleep, I was so pleased with my hotel😁. First, it was easy to find across the street from the bus stop. Then the bed was SOOO soft! (So far the trend has been super firm). After a good nap, I headed out to explore.
Devaraja Market was a fifteen minute walk through streets lined with stalls and carts. The market itself has a 130 year history, and is especially known for the flower stalls. The flowers are used for Hindu temples, festivals and weddings. They are sold loose but also in incredible garlands.
True ‘composting’ cows wander the aisles at night to eat the discarded flowers and vegetables – though some don’t wait!
Then after a fantastic sleep and shower (good pressure!) I walked the 10 minutes to Mysore Palace. The original wooden Palace was destroyed by fire in 1896 but replaced in 1912 by a new style of building.
Jaganmohan Palace was used by the Royal family after the Mysore Palace was destroyed. Now it has been restored and become an art gallery. Unfortunately no photos were allowed inside.
I hired a driver for the day and we went to Sri Chamundeshwari Devi Temple up on a tall hill. It was a nice day in the country.
Then Venugopala, very peaceful temple surrounded by water.
Brindavan Garden was created beside a huge dam. It’s very popular in the evening with lights and fountains. At high noon it was pretty brutal in the sun.
Then it was a 12 hour overnight train to Hosapete (Hospet), the nearest town to Hampi. It was good. They provided sheets, a blanket and small pillow.
Hampi is the site of the the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagara from 14th-16th century.
The site is 25 square kilometres, so a tuk tuk was necessary unless you wanted to cycle, but I still ended up walking 10 km a day between the remains.
The contrasts in the landscape were amazing too – huge reddish boulders and lush banana and coconut, dusty paths and a river.
Temples, big and small, along with palace buildings. I have hundreds of photos!
I was fascinated by the cows. They calmly sit and walk where they want.
Then last stop in Karnataka was Bengaluru (Bangalore). It’s the capital with lots of universities, IT, hip restaurants, top end shopping.
Cubbin Park, a huge cool forest in the middle of the city.
Food has remained a lot of veg curries.
Yesterday I tried Pad Thai but I think the bean sprouts were a mistake 😬. Upset the system.
Chat is a snack.
I had a bowl of cooked dried green peas, spicy broth with crispy bits ( in a true biodegradable bowl), then a crispy puri with tamarind sauce and something green and spicy. Only 50 rupees ($1 CDN) for both. And a nice visit with some university students while standing on the curb.
Banana leaf lunch is a South Indian specialty I first encountered in Trivandrum. The place was recommended for its freshly cooked quality.
No menu. I just sat down and they placed a banana leaf in front of me. Then a parade of waiters added little bowls of soupy things, chutney, pickles, curd (yogurt), rice and dal. And kept offering all you could eat.
No fork. No napkin. So after watching others, I tried to look cool eating with my fingers. Problem was saucy and wet rice is tricky! A bib would have been good…
So one more day in Bangalore. Time is flying by. I’m at week 8 of 13.
Friday I fly north to Jodhpur in the province of Rajasthan. I’m going to post now though as wifi has been very sketchy and I’m afraid to lose the whole thing (again).