Apart from getting done and the general aggressiveness of the sellers in Mysore, we had a lovely time! There’s a lot of great architecture in this relatively small city and it is a great base to explore the surrounding country.
The palace is the main attraction, being the seat of the Mysore Kingdom from the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565 until Indian independence in 1947. To begin with there were a couple of wars between Mysore and the British although it was eventually officially under the British Raj, it managed to escape the trappings of the British Empire because they gave the Maharaja the purse strings.
The palace is really beautiful and the sun set behind it evoking the kind of image you dream about of India. Reddened monuments, long shadows, a domed palace etched in shadow.
The inside was incredible too – so opulent! – with a lot of gold, turquoise, high ceilings and places to show off the wealth of the kingdom. Soph thought that Pete was being really sneaky, taking pictures of the inside when it was forbidden. Turns out he just hadn’t read the signs and had to give a (happy) observant guard a 100Rs tip to persuade him not to report it!
In the grounds they still house the palace-owned elephants for festivals and celebrations, so we wandered over there to say hello.
We also went to a massage place which was one of the most relaxing we’ve had, with two masseurs each! Mysore is a centre for yoga and a lot of foreigners come here to get a certificate to be a yoga teacher. Although they ‘couldn’t’ provide transport back into the city so we had to ask a local village auto driver to take us, he rubbed his hands and beamed from ear to ear.
This is somewhere we just popped for lunch…
The one good thing Ravi did do was tell us to go to a silk factory (because he wanted to take us to buy silk and get his commission afterwards). We’d become savvy to his conman ways so bypassed the shopping bit, but the factory itself was amazing! So noisy with so many people working in tandem to create masses and masses of silk. Unfortunately there were no photos allowed inside but it definitely made Soph keen to get some silk, without being forced to. So we met a lot of silk merchants, got to understand a little bit about what was ‘good’ silk and eventually purchased a gorgeous turquoise blue sari with a gold border.