Trip Start Nov 18, 2002
157Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We left Munar on Tuesday 7th March. We poshed it again by sharing a nice newish 4X4 land cruiser with our friends Patrick, Hannah and darling Maiya.
The whole journey took 4 and a half hours. The stickiness of the hot temperature as we headed back to the coast was very noticeable. And the pollution too!
We stayed in Fort Cochi, our destination for a couple of days and then said our sad good byes to our lovely friends from Hastings. :( We were heading inland and they were finishing the remainder of their time in India back on the coast in Varkala.
Our next destination, the city of Mysore (via one nights non discript stop at Kalicut)we got to by bus. And again the driver wasn't too bad at his job either!
It was a Sunday so the city was heaving with people and families but not so much traffic on the road.
The main attraction for this city is for the Mysore Palace. Built by an English architect, it is a huge and very impressive looking building.
We wondered round the palace walls stopping to gauke at the majestic building at the North, South, East and West gates. We resisted going in as it was just too busy. Monday would be a much quieter day, visitors wise.
That evening we were treated to a 'once a week' lighting of the whole palace. WOW what a sight. Again, it appears that all the world was there to witness this spectacular display.
There was a really calm, chilled atmosphere about the grounds where everyone sat chatting, people watching and gazing at the palace. See photo.
The next day we went inside. Wow what an incredible building. Huge wooden doors and door ways to each room, exquisitely decorated and inlayed with ivory. There had to be over 50 large murals around the huge rooms depicting the Raj era. Unfortunately one was not permitted to take photos. Martin sneaked his camera in but there were too many security guards to risk it. Some of the guards would ask us "what country?" One such chap on hearing our answer proceeded to tell us in his best English, about the mosaic floor tiles all being from England. Then he walked off in front of us, pointed proudly to a pipe sticking out of the beautifully decorated wall and announced "English fire hydrant" I just cracked up. And the poor guy just didn't get why. Guess you have to be British.
We finished our tour looking inside the ancient Hindu temples and watching the locals take rides on the resident elephant in the grounds. Which, by the way escaped the other morning while it was having a bath. It made its way into the city but soon got bored after an hour or so and returned home again. To a beating no doubt.
Another day we took the local bus up to the near by Charmundi Hills. There, a huge Hindu temple adorns the top. People climb the 1000 steps as a pilgrimage but we took the cheap fast option of the bus!
Once at the top we watched the locals make offerings to their Hindu Gods and the local monkeys try to terrorise the locals with their offerings of fruit and food. This was really funny to witness. Especially when one monkey turned up with a TV remote control! His mates all wanted a go and a scuffle ensued. The remote control was certainly popular with most of the buttons being chewed off in half an hour!
We took the easy option and walked down the 1000 steps. Well, I say easy, it was actually quite a 'knee trembler' causing us to take a rest often whilst at the same time enjoying the panoramic views of the city below.
The few days we were in Mysore happened to be during Holi Festival. This lasts 3 days and is a celebration of Spring. This festival is well known for it's throwing of brightly coloured powders at each other. See photo. People were covered from head to toe in all sorts of colours. What a sight? It's similar to Thailand's Som Kram festival where they throw flour and water at each other. In Burma it's just the water that gets thrown, here it's just the powder. We were asked many times "do you want to be festival'd" but they did listen when we declined, smiling sweetly.
The local market seemed to be the best place to witness the fun, especially as it was the market sellers supplying the powder for throwing.
One of our lasting memories of Mysore has to be when we took the local bus to the outskirts of the city where there was a bird sanctuary. The bus draws up, drops us off only for us to find that the place was shut. Great. The security guards were having none of our suggestions of a quick 5 minute visit, oh no. So just when we were thinking what to do next this wooden cart being drawn by 2 Ox appears.
The old boy driving it stops for the usual request of a photo then gestures us to climb aboard the cart. How could we resist such a unique lift back into the city. He didn't speak any English but was amused at the thought of us wanting to ride with him. We thought it was great fun especially the look of horror on drivers faces when they saw such foreigners "lowering themselves" to ride in such low form of transport! One woman passenger, we saw was moping her brow, clearly in a state of shock at such a sight. Wicked.
Next chapter to be continued...................