Friday, October 3, 2014

The Best of Mysore

Mysore puts one in a spot as it has so much to offer- palaces, zoo, bird sanctuary, temple, church, museums, lip smacking food, art, the list keeps growing... We have compiled a few of the best of Mysore.

Lalitha Mahal Palace: Once a Royal home, now a heritage hotel run by The Ashoka Group, this palace is tucked away from the city en route Chamundi hills. This stunning palace was one of the locations in the famous Rajinikanth movie 'Muthu.' Visitors are charged an entry fee of Rs.100, and you are treated with a delightful cup of hot beverages. One feels the essence of peace and tranquility amidst forest over looking Chamundi hills. Also, you can go back in time and experience royalty by taking a buggy ride around the palace.

 Jaganmohan Palace:  Just a stone's throw away from City Palace is the fine art gallery at Jaganmohan Palace exhibiting phenomenal work of Raja Ravi Varma, artillery, intricate woodwork, extensive ivory artifacts such as comb, stirrer, jewel box, hair pins, board games, hand fan are just a few to list. Life of Buddha depicted on a massive ivory tusk, Japanese painting on silk cloth, work of Shakespeare depicted on silver wall hangings, antique musical instruments, miniature of Ambavilas palace in marble, medieval currency are the other interesting exhibits.

If the above mentioned does not cease to amaze you, check out the exclusive oil painting - "Glow Of Hope" this beautiful painting depicts a women carrying a 'Diya' in one hand and covering the glow with the other hand to protect it from the wind. The artist has captured the ultimate glow through her fingers beautifully. No amount of words can do justice to the painting, we stood there admiring the work in awe. The museum has rightly dedicated an exclusive room with fine aesthetics to portray this exhibit.

To be further surprised, walk towards the first viewing gallery on the ground floor of the museum to witness a 10-feet high French clock, made in 1818, churn it's magic. Every hour the miniature soldiers march around with soft music playing in the background. Every 15 minutes one can hear the clock chime and if you observe closely on the top left corner of the clock, one can see a soldier beating a drum which syncs with the seconds hand of a clock. This clock not only shows the time but also denotes the month, date & day of the calendar year.

Rail Museum: This small museum dedicated to old locomotives is rooted in the corner of the city, right next to the railway station. If you love machines, this place is a must visit. The highlight of the museum is "The Maharani Saloon" - yet another fine example of what royal life is all about. This carriage was exclusively designed to keep the Maharani comfortable with a movable cot, writing table, fans, chandeliers, comfortable bath, great aesthetics, exclusive servant room, followed by another carriage which housed the royal cook and dining area. All of this luxury costed the Royal family Rs.29500 in year 1899.

The 'Travelling Crane' built in 1885 is another engineering marvel exhibited at this museum. This crane could lift weights upto 5 ton and can swivel to 360 degree. This was used during accident and restoration work, best part being this is in perfect working condition.

Saint Philomena Church; Built in Neo Gothic style in 1936, this massive structure stands tall attracting devotees and tourists. Do go there to admire and appreciate the architecture and sheer class of the monument. The special feature of the church is the passage to the basement housing the relic of Saint Phelomena under the main altar.

Chamundi Hills: 15 km from Mysore city is Chamundi hills, the adobe of Chamundeswari. It is one of the most famous and much visited pilgrimage site in Mysore. Apart from spirituality, you have stellar panoramic view of Mysore city. Do stop at the view point to get a bird's eye view of the racecourse, Mysore palace, karanji lake & the city.

The mere fact of visiting any religious place is for solace and inner peace, however, the ground reality is completely different. People push, shove & scream at one another to catch a glimpse of the deity. The drive to Chamundi hills is brilliant, on either side you are treated with lush green forest. On the way back do stop over at Sand Art Museum.

Last but not the least Ambavilas Palace:

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