Monday, September 15, 2008

Let's Talk About Mysore

"A day without sunshine is like, you know, night."

Steve Martin

As you are reading this, I am currently basking in the sun on Tioman Island (or burning, if I have forgotten to slather some sun lotion on). As soon as blogger introduced the scheduled posting feature, I have always wanted to try it out. It's freaky, huh? It's like there's two of me now; one talking to you here and the other me is holidaying on some tropical island out on the South China Sea. And the 'me' writing to you right now was me in the past - well, the past for you that is, but as I'm writing this it is still very much present, and I am still in Malacca and have not yet set out for Tioman yet. Trippy...

Remember my last travelogue about Bangalore? Remember that ghastly experience Phoebs and I went through at the bus station? I seemed to have neglected to mention that one of the straps of my backpack snapped while I was walking under the heavy rain looking for the bus to Mysore. If you've ever backpacked, you'd realise how much trouble that amounted to. It happened at the worst time possible and basically, any time a backpack's heavy enough to snap one of its straps, it's always the worst time possible.

We did make it to Mysore finally and checked into Hotel Dasaprakash at about 3:00 am. Here's Phoebe at 8:00 am the morning after,

It wasn't because it was cold. It's to shut out my irritating blather about her missing the day.

I'm not that big a fan of sleeping when I'm on vacation, usually. Besides, I needed to hunt down a cobbler to get my backpack fixed and to get a pair of slippers to wear while waiting for my Timberlands to dry out. After I got back at a more amicable time (to a still sleeping Phoebe), I practically rolled her out of bed to bathe before the entire day flew by.

We did managed some decent sightseeing on that first day,

The 1927 Silver Jubilee Clock Tower.

The Mysore Palace.

The Mysore Palace closer-up.

Phoebe, violating the Maharaja's decree about touching his majesty's tigers.

Don't enter the rose garden? Mole-hill garden more like.

The inside of the palace is tastefully (or what counted as tasteful in the past century anyway) decorated with a kaleidoscope of stained glass, family portraits, mosaic floors, massive chandeliers, ornately carved wooden doors and a whole lot of other things which belong in a museum somewhere. Amidst its gaudiness and age-mellowed painful mixtures of colours, I have to admit that it's all pretty impressive. Phoebs and I actually spent a quarter of an hour sitting on some prettily tiled steps in one of the palace's great halls reading - y'know, just to know what its like reading novels in a palace (doesn't everyone?).

Anyway, the reason I'm describing the interior instead of showing you pictures of it is because - I wasn't allowed to bring my camera inside. I don't know why's that but I suspect they are just afraid that the rest of the world would find out just how bad their taste in home furnishing is.

Then we hit the Devaraja Market,

Those colourful piles of something are kumkum. Remember those bindi dots you sometime see on married Indian women? These are the stuff they use.

I don't know about you but I find the sight of vegetables to be quite pleasant.

... and there's a lot of that here.


Later, after dinner, we took a stroll back to the palace (the city is pretty compact) to see if they, by some fluke, turned on their famous 96,000 light bulbs that day. As a rule, they only do that on Sundays from 8:00 to 9:00 pm and during the festival of Dusshera, but you never know right?

No such luck, however,

But it's still pretty darn bright.

On our walk back to our hotel, we saw this doll or mannequin standing outside a children's apparel store which came straight out of the Uncanny Valley,

Stare deeply into her eye and you can see Satan masturbating to child porn.

The next day, we caught a public bus to Chamundi Hill, which overlooks the city of Mysore, and visited the Sri Chamundeswari Temple,

Big 7-storey, 40 metre high gopuram.

Well, devotees are suppose to brave the 1000-something steps up but lucky for me, I didn't feel particularly religious that day so I only took the stairs down. It's a seriously sweet picnic of a walk if you like hill-views and shrubberies and all that but if you're the sort of person who uses the elevator when it's more than two-storeys high, I urge you not to try this because you're a wimp,

This is how to get sore feet in Mysore. Sorry, couldn't resist.

Stairs: defeating wimps since the 12th century.

Nice wildflowers growing beside the stairs. They are invisible to wimps.

About one third of the way down, you'll see this,

That's a lot of bull.

It's a 5 metre high Nandi (or in simple Westron, Shiva's ride) carved out of a single solid rock in 1659. Is it just me or the ancients really have a lot of time on their hands? Maybe it's just that they didn't have television and the internet back then.

Just a bit of a warning here though; if you aren't that big of a fan of Shiva or Hinduism, you might want to avoid taking a garland of flowers from a guy standing just outside the fence who looks as if he's giving them out for free and going near the bull to pay whatever token respect you feel you need to pay to it. That's because the flower garland guy charges like crazy for them and the priest dude (in the picture) always insists you leave a bit of cash at the bull's feet after you walk around it. And of course, you being the foreign sap you are, can't risk offending the locals by not abiding by their customs.

After Phoebs and I were gently extorted by the tag team, another group of tourists (locals, by the look of them) stopped by. They, however, had the smarts to completely ignore the flower garland guy and after praying to the Nandi, didn't even leave a single rupee.

It's all pretty funny on retrospect.

A millipede I spotted on the rest of the way down sporting racing stripes! Now I've seen everything.

After our little hill excursion, I finally brought Phoebs to the Mysore Zoo, which was by far the most exciting experience we both had in Mysore - especially for Phoebs. She's so much like a child that I sometime wonder if I'm something of a covert paedophile for dating her. In fact, I read some really interesting articles on paedophilia recently and I might put my thoughts about it in a post soon.

Oh, and about the zoo, I'll show you some pretty neat photographs I took there in the next travelogue. One of them is a riot, I tell you. Phoebs laughs everytime she sees it.

P.S. Phoebs, remind me to borrow your copy of Lolita the next time I see you.

P.P.S. It's a pity we didn't have time to see St Philomena's Cathedral. Pictures of it look seriously awesome.

P.P.P.S. I gotta stop going on new vacations before I even finish writing about my old ones.A casual reader might assume that I'm perpetually on holiday or something.

Currently in Tioman,
k0k s3n w4i


fubi said...

bt i love sleepin in d mornings T_T I shld hv passed u d book b4 u went bck xD heh. go huntin 4hermit crabs!!!

ericG said...

dude, when ur new sem starts?
will be back in mlk in another 2 more weeks... can go y/c if yer in mlk and not on vacation...

me no. 012-6132167

Zzzyun said...

lol u and phoebe are so cute! and i cant believe u were wondering whether u are a covert paedophile! LOL...

bevE said...


bevE said...

but i liked bits of this post.

Said nubhisni said...

nice blog you have. how i wish i can actually have a blog like your.