After our five and a half journey on a bus, to cover just 161km (100 miles) we reached Mysore (Mysuru). It was a massive attack on the senses after being in the sedate atmosphere of Ooty. The bus station was absolutely heaving, buses honking their horns, crowds of people going about there business, auto rickshaw drivers frantically asking “where do you want to go sir”. I felt like my head would explode. Now it’s not like I am not used to this, as this is my fourth visit to India, and have experienced other hectic cities, like Mumbai (Bombay), Deli, Bangalore, but after our nice and sedate time in Ooty it was like being thrown into a cauldron. So you can imagine we were looking forward to getting to our hotel to get away from it all after our long journey. As my stress levels were let’s say we’re slightly raised. Trouble was they increased even more when we arrived at our hotel. The Spree Roopa Elite. We walked to the reception desk to check in, and was told that our booking had been cancelled. When I asked why, they told me that they had tried to contact me to confirm our booking but as I didn’t respond (I had had no contact from them incidentally), so they took it upon themselves to cancel. Not thinking to contact Booking.com who we had booked through, who could have contacted us, or send an email. Also their were an Indian couple who were having the same problem. An absolutely disgusting way to treat people. So I told the manager that we were not moving until we got the room we had booked, and if we have to, we would sleep in the reception. So after around two hours of waiting and calls to Booking.com we finally checked in.
Has a really good day, we visited St Philomena Cathedral by day and by night (it is amazingly lit at night, it’s even better at Christmas time.) Then onto Mysore Palace which is an amazing spectacle by day, but when it’s lit up at night it’s breathtaking, a must visit if you are in town. “Top Tip the illuminations are only lit on Sundays and Public Holiday so bear that in mind when planning your visit”. The atmosphere was electric and truly emotional. So many people from so many religions celebrating Christmas Eve. There was live India music and dancing show on a stage in front of the palace, and a spectacular illuminated flower show. Once again like always when we visit India we were the centre of attention being westerners. We had so many people wanting our photographs with there families, and selfies with themselves it was mad, but everyone was so friendly. It was brilliant. What a Christmas Eve.
It was an up and down day really. First off we wanted to go and have a look at a restaurant called Tiger Trails, situated in the Royal Orchid Metropole Hotel, which was recommend in the lonely planet guide book to book a table for our Christmas curry dinner. So we approached an auto rickshaw driver, told him where we wanted to go, he acknowledged, gave us a price, then proceeded to drive around the corner about 300 yds and drop us off at a coffee shop which had been closed for three months. So we found another auto rickshaw driver who knew where he was going. Next stop was the railway museum, which looked good on Google images. Lots of old steam trains from the past, ornate carriages from the days of the Raj. On arrival we could see the steam trains all dotted around, but painted in the most gaudy colours imaginable, kids running around screaming and climbing over the trains, it was like a bizarre theme park, so we didn’t bother. Luckily our auto rickshaw guy was still there so we proceeded to McDonald’s for some western comfort.
The Tiger Trail Restaurantis housed in the Hotel Metropole, which listed building which was built for guests of the Maharajah at the time. A really lovely ornate building, great ambiance and a very lovely dining courtyard . I have to admit it was rather strange though, eating curry for Christmas dinner,
Must see sights in Mysore
Mysore Palace is a must when visiting Mysore a truly amazing place, and according to Wikipedia it’s one of the most visited sights in India after the Taj Mahal, attraction some six million visitors a year. Remember though it’s only illuminated on a Sundays and public holidays
Chamundi Hill Is another must visit “although we didn’t on this trip as we have been before”. Sri Chamudeshwari Temple is situated atop of a hill overlooking Mysore. You can reach the top by taxi or by auto rickshaw. Or you can make the arduous climb to the top by way of some 1000 steps, which if you are fit enough I would recommend.
St Philomena Cathedral a really magnificent structure, and one of the largest churches in India. It was especially nice on this visit, as it was all lit and decorated for the Christmas festivities.
Brindavan Gardens Located around 25km from Mysore. Although we did not manage to get here due to time constraints, we were told it’s worth the visit. Especially the evening light show