Click here to see where Mysore is
Mysore was a fun town, very Indian but with a lot of sights to see. The city was easy to negotiate and fun to walk around, and even better, it had great food.
Our first stop was the Mysore Palace, and it is definitely the coolest palace that we’ve seen in India. Most of the time when you’re touring a palace
or fort your eyes start to glaze over towards the end of the tour and you start to get that sleepy feeling; not so with the Mysore Palace. It was a relatively short audio tour and each room was exciting to look at with intricate ivory inlay work, paintings, chandeliers, stained glass, mosaics, and gold work. The current palace was designed by a British architect and only just completed in 1912, so although it looks like it should be a very old building, it actually was wired with electricity before its completion. We took full advantage of our admission ticket and hung around the grounds for a while looking at the statues and the amazing gray granite and pink marble exterior.
Another really fun area to explore was the Devaraja Market. It is a huge area packed with people selling fruits, vegetables, flowers, oils, incense, tikka
powder, and various other knick-knacks. As we walked around people would yell at us to come over and take a look at their wares. One young boy called us over to watch him make incense by mixing powdered sandalwood with powdered ‘glue’ and rolling it onto a thin piece of bamboo. I think we were given this show so that we’d buy things afterward, but hey, he said it was free to watch. Walking through the vegetable market and smelling the pungent garlic, onions, cilantro and chilies made us yearn for a kitchen to whip up a quick salsa in.
We weren’t hurting for good food in Mysore, though. Andy ate plenty of
masala dosas (very thin pancakes filled with potatoes and seasoning) and he claims that they have the best thalis (a meal involving a pile of rice and a variety of sauces and curries that is eaten with the hands; in the north they eat less rice and more chapati with their thalis and use a spoon), while I ate from the watermelon stands every day. The vendors would chop up the watermelon, rub black salt on it using a lime, then plop it onto a piece of newspaper and hand it over with a toothpick. So delicious!
I do have one major complaint about this city. All of the salespeople and
rickshaw drivers call you master. “Where do want to go master?” “Over here master.” What would you like master?” It’s probably some leftover from the British occupation, but it’s a very uncomfortable feeling to be addressed that way.
To cap off the greatness of Mysore we stumbled upon an outdoor bookshop set up in a tent that was selling books of New York Times crosswords for only 40 rupees! The perfect ending to our stay.