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Old 10th November 2011, 02:09   #1
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Default Operation Goa-ing, Gone : Three Misquiteers to Mysore/Coorg and back!

OPERATION GOA-ING, GONE: Three Misquiteers to Mysore/Coorg and back!


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The majestic palace of the Wodeyar royal family.

Note: This travelogue is primarily intended to serve three purposes. First, quite a few relatives and friends have been interested in details of our trip to Mysore/Coorg and back. Rather than repeating the same story to every relative and friend over and over again, I thought it would be a better option to chronicle all our experiences of the trip and send them this information, either by email or as a printout, for those unfamiliar with computers.

Second, this trip was largely successful due to team-bhp.com, since I had benefited greatly by valuable inputs from team-bhp members. Moreover, a lot of information on routes to and from Mysore was picked up from team-bhp.com.


Third, this travelogue serves a personal purpose as well. With a recent trip, memories and experiences are fresh and it is easy to recall them. However, a growing number of details can easily be forgotten as years go by. A travelogue helps preserve and refresh these memories, just as photos help preserve priceless moments.


This travelogue has been written in considerable haste, with little time to edit the text. Penning down a 9200-word travelogue in quick time will surely have its share of mistakes (spelling and grammar) and kindly excuse me.



1. THE CONQUEST:

* The heritage city of Mysore, culture’s gift to mankind.
* The hill city of Madikeri (Coorg), nature’s gift to mankind.

We were due for an inter-state visit, following our Goa-Thane-Mumbai visit in October 2010. The thought of a long distance drive excites me no end and thankfully, my wife and our 4-year-old daughter share a similar passion for long drives. For us, the journey is as exciting as the destination.

But the garden city of Mysore is no ordinary destination. It has a rich socio-political heritage with fascinating history (past) and modernity (present). It may not have the beaches that Goa may brag about, but Mysore has various other attractions for various ages – palaces, a zoo, bird and butterfly sanctuaries, silk and sandalwood factories, gardens, art and cultural centres – that are not only well maintained but also marketed effectively enough to attract tourists from far and wide.

For the record, this is my third trip to Mysore. My first trip was as a 10-yr-old kid along with my uncle in 1980 and later, with my parents and siblings two years later. I have precious little memories of my first two trips to Mysore and hence, this trip was as good as my first real trip to Mysore.

A second attraction towards Mysore is more to do with its geography, rather than its history. Mysore is strategically located between Bangalore (life in the fast lane), Coorg and Ooty (life in the high lane), with each of these three areas showcasing their own attractions. With Mysore as our base and with a week-long holiday in mind, we would have sufficient time for a three-day holiday in Mysore, a day-long visit to either Ooty or Madikeri (Coorg) and three days for travel. We opted to visit Madikeri for a day.

2. THE ROYALTY:


* His Royal Highness Prince Melvyn Misquita, my Princess Anastasia (yes, that is her name and bears a striking resemblance to her late Russian counterpart) and our little 4-yr-old princess, Megan.

3. THE ALLIES:

While plotting out our holiday programme, I had contacted some Team-BHP.com members located in Mysore. Two of them, Anand (nutmello) and Sudeep (gypsyFreak) got in touch with me. By sheer coincidence, Sudeep was travelling to Goa during the same period as our trip to Mysore, but he gave me valuable advice regarding places to see in Mysore while he and his wife were in Goa. Thank you, Sudeep.

Another team-bhp member, Ravi (ravibhat) also offered valuable assistance in confirming the Mysore-Goa route for us. Thank you, Ravi.

But by far, the most kind and helpful person was Anand. Not only did he take pains to prepare a programme for us during our three-day stay in Mysore and one day in Madikeri (Coorg), he even booked us a hotel in Mysore well in advance. He also visited us on quite a few occasions and even invited us to dinner at his home. I was frequently in touch with him on places to visit and dine during our stay in Mysore. Our holiday could never have been the same without him. Many, many thanks once again, Anand.

While we were in Madikeri, Anand’s friend, Harsha, assisted us a great deal and took time off to show us the key sites (shopping, dining and some tourist sites) in Madikeri. Thank you, Harsha.

4. THE STRATEGY:

Our initial plan towards Mysore was to drive along the Margao-Karwar-Ankola-Hubli-Tumkur route and halt at Tumkur for the night, before completing the Tumkur-NICE road-Mysore route the next day. On our return journey, we had plans to drive along the Mysore-Mandya-NICE road-Tumkur-Hubli route and halt at Belgaum for the night, before proceeding from Belgaum to Margao via Ponda the next day.

However, Anand suggested that our proposed Goa-Mysore route was longer than necessary. Instead, he suggested that we travel by the Margao-Karwar-Honnawar-Sagar-Shimoga route for the night and complete the remaining route (Shimoga-Mysore) the next day. He suggested that this Goa-Honnawar-Sagar-Shimoga-Mysore route was a shorter and a preferred route with sufficiently good roads along the way. We decided to take his advice and follow that route.

5. THE CHARIOT:

Our Hyundai I10 1.2 (Magna) Kappa2 car had recently clocked 10,000 kms of trouble-free and excellent drives since her arrival in our household in December 2010 and I was eager to take her for a long spin across the countryside. To make sure the I10 had her vital organs and fluids in top shape for our Mysore holiday, I took the car to the Hyundai service centre in Panjim and a service advisor ran a quick scan of the engine. I then topped-up petrol, noted the fuel readings and finally checked the nitrogen on all five tyres. Our I10 was well oiled and ready to go.

6. THE ARMAMENT:

CLOTHES: Plenty of them. We had no intention to either wash our clothes or give them to a laundry while we were in Mysore.

FOOD SUPPLIES: Nuts, fruits, juices, water for the way. Travelling always gives us an added appetite, but I’m reluctant to eat a heavy meal along the way. This is to ensure that I don’t feel drowsy while driving and moreover, to avoid any sort of unwanted rumblings within my belly. We prefer to carry nuts, raisins and fruits so that they can easily be munched at regular intervals along the way. Juices and water ensure that our liquid intake is sufficient along the way. Also, a little bag of these nuts, fruits and liquids insures us if there is no decent restaurant along the way.

MEDICINES: Just the bare essentials (crocin, lomotil, plasters, etc) for the two of us and our daughter’s stock of essential medicines.

GADGETS: Mobile phones and charger, Panasonic FZ38 camera, Canon A3200 camera and battery chargers.

DOCUMENTS: Credit/Debit cards, Mediclaim cards, car documents (RC book, insurance, PUC certificate)

ENTERTAINMENT: My netbook (along with a charger, USB net connection and USB hard disk for kid’s movies), music CDs and an 8 GB USB drive with music loaded for the car’s music system.

7. THE CHARGE:

24 October 2011:
Since we had planned to stop at Shimoga for the night, we were in no urgent hurry to leave from Margao early in the morning. Another reason for the delayed start was due to the last minute collection of a package. A visit to Mysore necessitates proper planning and equipment. While I have a Panasonic FZ38 camera, I thought it would be wise to get my wife a point and shoot (P/S) camera that would serve us three purposes: My wife could capture some priceless moments on her own. Second, a P/S camera is compact and can easily be carried in her hand bag. Third, in case my FZ38 happens to let me down, I have a backup camera to capture the majestic heritage and culture of Mysore.

I had ordered a Canon A3200 camera from eBay well in advance, but the seller let me down and informed me only on 19 October that he did not have one in stock. I then ordered a Canon A3200 from another seller on eBay on 20 October and requested the urgent shipment of the camera. The seller shipped the camera only on 22 October and I contacted the courier company as I needed the camera latest by 23 October evening. Unfortunately, the camera did not reach Goa by then, but I was in for some luck. The camera arrived on 24 October morning, the day of our trip to Mysore. I rushed to the courier warehouse at 9 am, picked up the camera and returned to Margao with barely enough time to set out for our journey to Mysore.

Equipped with the requirement armament (two large duffle bags of clothes and a haversack) in the car and the customary farewell to my wife’s family at their house in Margao, we were ready to embark on our journey in our I10.

DAY 1: 24 October 2011

11.10 am (0 kms):
We finally leave Margao and our first stop is at Karwar. The roads from Margao to Goa’s border at Pollem are superb with a scenic view along the route.

1.15 pm (71 kms): We reach Karwar and we stop for some snacks and tea. The road from Karwar to Honnawar was also pleasant with no major hiccups.

3.35 pm (91 kms): At Honnawar, we get off the NH 17 and proceed left towards the Honnawar-Sagar-Shimoga route. This was the most disappointing part of the route. The road from Honnawar to Jog Falls was rather narrow (by state highway standards), full of sharp twists (given the ghat areas) and in a dilapidated state. We decide against stopping at Jog Falls for tea as we are keen to reach Shimoga as soon as possible.

6 pm (85 kms): We halt at a roadside restaurant in Sagar for tea and a short break.

7.53 pm (72 kms): We reach Shimoga, the final stop of the first leg of our journey. The route from Honnawar to Shimoga is about 157 kms and it takes us a little over four hours to cover this distance. The route is a mix of lovely roads and fairly ordinary ones.

The joy of driving along a long stretch is broken at many places by three major hurdles. First, there are quite a few villages and towns along the way, where people carelessly cross the road, oblivious to vehicles passing by. Since we are “outsiders”, we have to take extra precaution to avoid these moving obstacles. Second, cattle and goats freely use the same road, making it difficult at times to negotiate these obstacles and despite the generous use of the horn, these domestic animals have a mind of their own and take their own sweet time to allow us our share of the road. Third, there are a number of speed breakers of various shapes and sizes along the Honnawar-Shimoga route and many of them have virtually no advance warning in the form of a signboard. I am careful to observe these speed breakers, but even then, we sight some speed breakers at the last minute, making it impossible to make a gentle pass on them. As a result, the car hits a few speed breakers a little faster than necessary, but we encounter no problem. Thank goodness for that. The Margao-Honnawar route was far more pleasant and enjoyable in comparison to the Honnawar-Shimoga route.

Since I had already made a prior reservation and had checked up the location on the internet, we had little difficulty in locating Hotel Jewel Rock. We are quickly assigned a room and we move into it. The room is quite spacious, but we encounter an unusual problem. The bathroom window does not have a mosquito net and there are quite a few bees hovering inside the bathroom. This bothers my wife and we request a change of room. The bathroom window of this different room is secured and all seems well.

We are then told that there is no hot water for a shower at night, but I manage to get a room boy to bring a bucket of hot water, which is shared by the three of us. We opt for room service for dinner and the meals arrive rather quickly. We finally settle for the night and this ends Day 1.

DAY 2: 25 October 2011

10 am:
We finish our breakfast and decide to check out of Hotel Jewel Rock. We fill petrol at a nearby petrol pump. We then proceed towards Badrawati.

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Fully loaded and ready to go: The I10 is loaded to the gill.

10.43 am (21 kms): We reach Badrawati and we have to ask for directions towards Mysore as there are a few turns to be taken to proceed towards Tarikere.

1 pm: We stop for lunch at the roadside Kamat’s Palate Inn at Channarayapatna. Lunch is quite nice and the owner is happy to see a Goa-registered car. He is from Karwar and wishes us well along our journey.

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Megan, her inseparable buddy (Tigger) and our I10 car outside Kamat’s Palate Inn at Channarayapatna.

5.30 pm (226 kms):
We finally reach Mysore after covering a distance of 566 kms from Goa. We are relieved to arrive at this historic city. The road from Shimoga to Mysore may have been 247 kms, but it took us seven-and-half hours to cover this distance, including a 30-minute break for lunch.

The route from Honnawar to Shimoga is no different from the route between Shimoga and Mysore. The same three obstacles (careless pedestrians, carefree animals and inconsistent speed breakers) confront us along this route as well. The roads are also largely inconsistent, with good stretches marred by fairly poor roads. There are occasionally scenic backgrounds of the lush green fields in the region.

We encounter an unusual obstacle as we approach Mysore. Heavy rains cloud our visibility and we have to move cautiously along the wet roads. We desperately hope that this is an unusual shower that will not prolong for the next few days.

We stop at a main junction before Colombia Asia hospital and I call up Anand for the directions to The Roost hotel. He advises me to take the Ring road bypassing the city and at 5.30 pm, we reach the hotel amid light to moderate showers.

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Our temporary abode (the ground-floor room near the potted plants) at The Roost in Mysore.

The car has performed flawlessly and we use the AC for nearly the entire distance from Goa to Mysore. Not that we like using the AC, but using the AC makes our journey less tiring and insulates us from the noise of strong winds (while travelling at speeds of about 80-90 kmph) and the exhaust fumes of other vehicles.

We have the option of choosing one of two rooms at The Roost and we opt for the one on the ground floor. The room is quite spacious and the bathroom is huge by most standards. We move in our luggage and proceed to the restaurant to have some snacks and tea. The weather in Mysore is beautiful and cool in comparison to the warm and humid Goan weather that we had left behind a day earlier.

Anand and his wife drop by The Roost and we introduce ourselves. They are both a charming and fascinating couple with immense warmth. We immediately strike a common chord and we chat for some time before they return to their home.

Since we have three days to spend at Mysore, we decide to take it easy for the evening and order dinner in our room itself. The TV in the room is of little use to us and our little Megan is more than happy to watch some Noddy movies on my netbook.

DAY 3: 26 October 2011

We are up by 8 am and we are eager to commence our expedition to the various attractions that Mysore has to offer. Anand advises us to have breakfast at a nearby restaurant Highway 18, that serves fine food. Our little Megan is delighted that the restaurant has a little see-saw and other playthings. After a nice breakfast, we are ready to visit the famed Mysore Zoo.

Getting into the city is very easy and there are numerous signboards indicating directions to the zoo and the palace. While Goa celebrated Diwali on 26 October, Mysore will celebrate the festival a day later. Irrespective of this difference, there were a few people at the zoo when we reached the site at about 10 am. A small fee is charged for entry and for the use of a still camera. We realized that the zoo has a route of about 3 kms, which could be tiring for a 4-year-old. As a result, we opted for a guided tour on an electric van. To our luck, another 3-member family felt the same and we decided to share an electric van between the two families, rather than waiting for it to be filled up.

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All set for our safari in the electric van at the Mysore zoo.

We had been to the Bondla zoo in Goa, but it is nothing in comparison to the Mysore zoo. Not only does the Mysore zoo have nearly ten times the number of animals, it is also much larger, better maintained and has a well planned route with many breaks for refreshments along the way.

The first stop was the section of birds. It was fascinating to see a Macaw, white peahen and various other fascinating birds in their glorious colours. Then, we were treated to the exquisite sight of the Royal Bengal tiger and white tigers. Seeing these animals in pictures is one thing, but seeing them live and watching their graceful movements is an enchanting experience. Since the white tigers were moving in their cages at the time, it was slightly difficult to click photos of them. The Royal Bengal tiger was outside in the enclosure and it was easier to click photos of the striped beauty.

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The Royal Bengal Tiger

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The White Tiger.

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The Lions at ease.

As we passed by different animals, the driver of the electric van would give us some brief information of the animals. At times, we would make a 5-minute halt to view some animals in the area. The breathtaking sight of the lions, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, the Indian and African elephants, giraffes, gorilla and other awesome animals makes it difficult to believe that one is actually in Mysore. It is almost as if we were somewhere in Africa.

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The royal family in the royal…errrr…zoo.

The ride in the electric van took a little over an hour to complete the entire route in the zoo and our little Megan was delighted to witness so many animals in real life. My Panasonic camera was working overtime to capture pictures and movie clips of as many animals as possible. We came out of the zoo with wonderful memories of the animals and it is a must-see for anyone visiting Mysore. We highly commend Mysore’s royal family for their vision in establishing a zoo and to the Karnataka government for preserving the royal family’s rich legacy.

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With her tiger (tigger) close to her heart, our Little Megan had the heart of a tiger.

Behind the zoo car park is Ramsons, a handicraft emporium, which also happened to feature a colourful exhibition of lamps and other handicrafts. We picked up a number of beautifully crafted cloth crosses (a symbol of our religion), sandalwood incense sticks and some sandalwood artefacts as souvenirs for the near and dear ones.

Since it was lunch time, we checked up with Anand and he advised us to dine at Das Prakash, a fairly large restaurant in the vicinity. After lunch, our daughter became tired and fell off to sleep. We thought this was a good opportunity to visit the Maharajah’s palace. This majestic building may have a rich history, but then history means little for a 4-year-old child who has just been introduced to alphabets and numbers. In any case, we were sure that the palatial structure would offer none of the attractions that the zoo had in store for her.

Hence, we drove straight to the palace and got in through the public entrance. The palace is huge with an equally vast garden area. A guide offered to take us on a tour of the palace and we quickly accepted his offer. The history and architecture of the palace is readily available in books, documentaries and on the internet, hence I will not dwell on this aspect in this travelogue. But what I can say is this: The palace is simply awesome. The details and effort into the construction and maintenance of the palace is unbelievable and it is surely the jewel in the crown of Mysore’s rich history.

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The palace of the royal Wodeyar family.

We were also very impressed by the government’s determination to preserve this magnificent structure and exhibit it to the public. This living piece of history attracts millions every year, especially during Mysore’s famed Dussera festival. In a way, we were glad that we did not visit Mysore during the Dussera celebrations else the surging crowds may have repelled us to the site.

The guide gave us a fascinating tour of the palace, taking us through the various sections of the palace open to the public. Unfortunately, photography is not permitted inside the palace (tourists have to deposit their cameras in a locker room near the entrance gate), but a number of visitors were busy clicking photos on their mobile phones. We chose not to do so and decided to abide with the guidelines of palace authorities.

On the way out, however, documentaries of Mysore (which also offer brief images of the Mysore palace and its interiors) are available for sale and we gladly picked up a DVD and a booklet on the Mysore palace.

By then, our daughter had woken from her afternoon nap and as we collected our footwear (yes, footwear is not permitted inside the palace and they have to be deposited at a counter in the palace), we decided to visit a handicraft shop within the palace premises. A souvenir of this majestic structure would definitely grace our own little palace. Surprisingly, the handicraft store did not have miniature models of the palace and hence, we settled for some little wooden elephants and a little shield with two swords crisscrossing each other.

As we walked out of the main palace structure, a pleasant surprise was in store for us – elephant and camel rides. While our little Megan loves to see animals, we were not too sure if she was ready to accompany me on those rides. Much to our surprise, she was more than eager to have both rides and it so happened that my wife was slightly nervous and backed out. But she was more than happy to click photos of the two of us atop the two four-legged beauties.

Megan was delighted to get a ride on the elephant and the camel. It was my first elephant and camel ride as well and we made sure that my wife captured a number of snaps and movie clips of these two rides.

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The elephant ride at the palace.

Operation Goa-ing, Gone : Three Misquiteers to Mysore/Coorg and back!-12.jpgThe camel ride at the palace.

As we exited the palace, we decided to enjoy yet another ride, this time on a horse carriage. This time, the three of us fitted into the carriage and the carriage owner took us on a ride on the road around the palace, giving us nuggets of information about the city and the royal family. He then urged us to visit a silk emporium and assured that there would be no waiting charges for his carriage. I suspect that these carriage owners must be getting some commission to bring customers to these silk emporiums.

Anyway, the invitation was tempting and to be honest, we did have plans to visit a silk emporium and purchase some silk fabric sometime during out stay in Mysore. We entered a silk emporium and my wife picked up some silk cloth, much cheaper than rates here in Goa.

We got back into the horse carriage and we returned to our original destination, the car park at the palace grounds. It was a short while after dusk and we decided to have some tea at a nearby café. I happened to notice a nice looking Café Aramane and we proceeded there to tea and some snacks. The restaurant appears to be located within a historical structure most likely built by the Wodeyar kings sometime during their rule. The ambiance within the restaurant was very nice, well so were the snacks and tea.

We returned to the hotel quite tired by the end of the day, but it was filled with fantastic memories of the zoo, palace and the different rides. We ordered dinner in the room and our little Megan was quickly off to sleep. My day was not finished and while the two ladies in my life were fast asleep, I downloaded the 350-odd snaps that I had clicked during the day. Some of them were duplicate or unnecessary (blurred or out of focus) and were promptly deleted on the laptop. While I was editing the snaps, I charged the camera battery, so that it would be fully charged for the next day. This became a ritual every night while we were in Mysore, especially since I would click 250-300 snaps each day and I needed to transfer those snaps from the camera’s memory card to the laptop, to clear the memory for other snaps.

Our first day in Mysore left us with three strong impressions. First, the weather in Mysore was simply beautiful and cool, much unlike the warm and humid weather in Goa. Second, the roads in the heart of Mysore city were very wide and more than adequate to accommodate the existing transport. Third, the city was incredibly clean and we could rarely see litter strewn in the city. It was only later on my return to Goa that I learnt (on the internet) that Mysore was declared by the central government as the second cleanest city (after Chandigarh) in India in 2010. We are filled with admiration towards the authorities in Karnataka for taking pains to maintain and preserve the rich heritage of the city. Something, our Goa government seems to have forgotten after being blinded by the quick money that Goa’s beach tourism has had to offer so far.

DAY 4: 27 October 2011

We had plans to visit the bird sanctuary in the morning and the Brindavan gardens in the evening. But Anand informed us that the Mysore palace would be lit up in the evening (since Mysore was celebrating Diwali on 27 October), a rare feature reserved for Dussera and on public holidays. The palace is generally illuminated by large focus lamps in the evenings, but on these special occasions, about 75,000 ordinary bulbs light up the palace, its temples and surrounding walls, giving it a breathtaking look. Determined not to miss this spectacular view, we decided to visit the bird sanctuary and the Brindavan gardens in the morning itself (in any case, these two places are located in the same area on the outskirts of Mysore), leaving us enough time to visit the palace in the evening.

With this plan in mind, we had breakfast at another restaurant Green Leaf and proceeded towards the bird sanctuary. We sought Anand’s guidance to proceed towards the bird sanctuary. It is about 20 kms from the hotel and we had little difficulty in finding the place. The forest staff admitted that there were few birds in the sanctuary, but the boat ride was also an added attraction to us.

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A crocodile is only a click away at the bird sanctuary.

The boat ride was quite pleasant and the boatman took us for a round in the river, while also indicating the different birds in the area. To our surprise, we saw quite a few crocodiles lazing around, with a couple of them in close proximity to the boats. Megan was quite fascinated with the boat ride and was equally happy to sight the crocodiles. We then took a quick walk past the rock garden, before proceeding towards the Brindavan gardens.

We reached the Brindavan gardens at about 11.30 am. This was not the best time of the day to visit the famed gardens noted for its colourful and dancing fountains. But we were nevertheless struck by the beautiful layout of the gardens even in broad daylight. A few fountains were in action and we took a quick walk around the gardens. Thankfully, the Mysore climate was cool even at noon and hence, we could cover the length and breadth of the main gardens. The dam adjacent to the gardens is huge, but we were not permitted to take the stairs leading to the top of the dam. My wife and daughter then walked across the bridge towards the northern part of the gardens while I sat near the boat counter (yes, there were boat rides in the river separating the northern and southern parts of the gardens, but they did not seem to be operational at noon) to take few pictures of the dam.

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The Brindavan gardens.

We returned to our hotel in the afternoon and rested for a while. In the evening, we returned to the Mysore palace to witness the spectacular illumination at 7 pm. We parked our car at a car park opposite the main entrance, which was reserved for the massive Dussera exhibition. We had planned to visit the exhibition after our visit to the palace.

Since the illumination would be for 45 minutes, we decided to enter the palace 15 minutes early. The palace was beautiful enough with the general lighting and I clicked quite a few snaps of the palace after dusk.

A fairly large crowd had also gathered on the palace lawns in anticipation of the 75-000 bulb illumination of the palace. A few minutes before the designated hour, lights at a portion of the palace were switched off.

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The main entrance to the Mysore palace at dusk.

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The Mysore palace during normal illumination.

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The Mysore palace shortly before full illumination.

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The Mysore palace with full illumination.

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The crescent moon atop the palace.

At the stroke of 7 pm, the entire palace burst into a glow from the tens of thousands of light bulbs, evoking a roar of admiration from the eager crowd gathered at the site. Thousands of cameras began capturing the splendid view of the palace. Not willing to miss a moment, I began furiously clicking stills and movie clips on my camera.

Once we had our fill of the illuminated palace, we decided to visit the huge Dussera exhibition opposite the main entrance to the palace. The exhibition had hundreds of stalls offering all sorts of household items as well as various food outlets. We visited a few stalls and picked up a few items. But of interest to us was the amusement park located at fag end of the Dussera exhibition. Unfortunately, our little Megan got scared of some children’s rides and we then went for a ride on a toy train, where she seemed slightly more comfortable.

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Megan on a toy train ride.

That night, Anand and his brother-in-law joined us for dinner in the hotel and we exchanged very interesting notes on a wide range of topics, ranging from cars to culture and from cities to cuisine. It was a very pleasant dinner with our two new friends.

DAY 5: 28 October 2011

Since we had covered more sites within two days in Mysore than we had initially anticipated, we decided to re-visit the zoo and the palace. The idea of re-visiting the zoo was mainly to click photos of some animals that we had missed out during our previous visit on the electric van. Besides, I had seen a zoo shop somewhere in the premises and we decided to pick up a few souvenirs of the zoo as well as a video of a tour around the zoo. The need to re-visit the palace in the evening was only to click a few snaps of the palace in higher resolution photos that would enable me print and frame a picture of the magnificent palace, if needed. Also, Anand had invited us to his house for dinner at about 7.30 pm, leaving us some time to click the snaps of the palace, before proceeding to his house.

But first, we decided to visit the silk factory in Mysore city. After all, Mysore is world famous for its silk and it is but fascinating to the tourist to witness the process of manufacturing silk sarees. We were quick to reach the silk factory, thanks to directions by Anand. Similar to restrictions in the palace, photography is prohibited inside the silk factory. We then proceed to catch a glimpse of the various steps in the manufacture of silk thread and in the weaving of silk sarees. There are a number of intricate processes to obtain that fine silk thread and an equal number of steps involved in the weaving of silk fabric. It was an incredible sight to watch hundreds of high decibel machines along with the dedicated staff working in tandem to produce that famed silk saree. My wife’s admiration for silk fabric only grew after a visit to the silk factory. As far as I am concerned, I was proud that Mysore silk has justified its reputation as a premier fabric that has attracted people of all walks of life across the ages.

We then proceeded to the zoo, where we decided to walk along some parts of the route. We proceeded in the reverse direction to reach the zoo shop as it was closer towards the exit. The shop has a few items of interest to us, but I managed to get a VCD of a documentary on the zoo.

As we proceeded along the zoo, we realized that we had missed out quite a few animals (zebras, otter, wallaby, etc.) during our previous visit to the zoo. I clicked quite a few snaps of our second visit to the zoo and we took our own time to reach the other end of the zoo. After all, our daughter was only too happy to see the wonderful animals for the second time.

Operation Goa-ing, Gone : Three Misquiteers to Mysore/Coorg and back!-19.jpg
A giraffe in a playful mood.

Operation Goa-ing, Gone : Three Misquiteers to Mysore/Coorg and back!-20.jpg
A lioness relaxes in her enclosure.

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Megan depicts the big elephant ears.

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A large rhinoceros nibbles on some grass.

Operation Goa-ing, Gone : Three Misquiteers to Mysore/Coorg and back!-23.jpg
A zebra in glorious black and white stripes.

Having missed seeing the gorilla – reportedly the only one of its kind in India – on its feet during our earlier trip to the zoo simply because the animal was asleep at the time, I hastened to the gorilla’s spacious enclosure. Luck eluded us for the second time, as the gorilla was having a nap yet again.

Our second visit to the zoo was as enjoyable as the previous one and we would gladly recommend this wonderful place to any tourist visiting Mysore.

Since we had some time on our hands we decided to visit the nearby Mall of Mysore, which was opened a few weeks earlier. Unfortunately, the mall did not have a food court and we returned to our hotel for lunch.

In the evening, we returned to the palace as I wanted to click some high resolution snaps of the palace with its general illumination. As we reached the palace parking lot, Megan requested us for a second horse carriage ride. Since we had reached the palace parking before dusk, we all boarded the horse carriage for another ride around the palace. This time too, we were “encouraged” to visit another silk emporium in the area, but we had no intention to do so as we had already purchased our quota of silk during our first visit to a silk emporium.

Operation Goa-ing, Gone : Three Misquiteers to Mysore/Coorg and back!-24.jpg
Four legs, two wheels and a lot cheaper than petrol to run.

By the time we ended our horse carriage ride, it was well after dusk and we entered the palace for the third time. This time though, there was an unusual attraction outside the palace. There was a sound and light display of the palace. I clicked the necessary snaps of the palace that I needed and we decided to sit and watch a bit of the sound and light display of the palace.

As soon as the programme started, the light display of the palace was spectacular with different colours flashing all across the palace. Problem is, the sound part of the programme was a total let down, at least, for us. The programme was in Kannada and we could not understand a word of the highly animated pre-recorded voices during the programme. Slightly disappointed, we left the programme midway and the police personnel at the exit were kind enough to understand our dilemma. We then proceeded towards the residence of Anand, which incidentally, is located about 3 kms from our hotel.

We managed to find Anand’s residence without much difficulty and we were quickly at ease with our hosts. In fact, Megan was glad to be in the company of Anand’s 8-yr-old daughter and 3.5-yr-old son. They were soon playing with each other, while my wife and I had a warm and pleasant conversation with Anand and his wife on many topics of mutual interest. Since Anand was aware that we had plans to visit Madikeri (Coorg) the next day, he got in touch with a friend in Madikeri and advised us to meet him during our visit to the town.

Anand’s wife prepared some delicious South Indian food, which was followed by some delightful filter coffee. After enjoying filter coffee at Anand’s house and other restaurants in Mysore, our fondness for instant coffee evaporated almost immediately.

It was soon time for us to bid goodbye to the ever-pleasant Anand and his warm and friendly family. Our visit to Mysore may have been filled with tonnes of fond memories, but the highlight of our visit was the friendship that was cultivated between our two families. Believe it or not, such was Anand’s kindness that he even offered to find me a job if I was willing to relocate to Mysore!

We returned to the hotel, eagerly awaiting our trip to Coorg the next day.

DAY 6: 29 October 2011

Determined to set out for Coorg as early as possible, we had an early breakfast at the nearby Highway 18 restaurant. I then topped up the fuel tank of our I10 in anticipation of a long trip ahead and we left for Madikeri (Coorg), which is about 120 kms from Mysore. As suggested by Anand, the single wide road was beautiful and we enjoyed the drive towards Coorg at speeds of about 80-90 kmph. We passed by a large tree that had numerous beehives. It was an unusual sight indeed.

There is a large Tibetan settlement at Bylakuppe about 30 kms before Madikeri. Anand suggested that we visit the golden temple of the Tibetan community and we agreed to the plan. Getting into the Tibetan settlement is fairly easy and one can easily see a large arch by the Mysore-Madikeri road. Once inside, the sight of hundreds of Tibetan people from all walks of life makes it difficult to imagine that this settlement is actually in Karnataka. There are various shops, restaurants and other establishments run by the Tibetan community and most signboards also include the Tibetan language. Incidentally, there is even an ‘LT Tibetan Settlement’ branch of the State bank of Mysore in the area.

Operation Goa-ing, Gone : Three Misquiteers to Mysore/Coorg and back!-29.jpg
An elderly Tibetan woman in the settlement at Bylakuppe.

We reach the temple premises after a 2-km drive with the settlement. There are two large temples and one of them (featuring a huge portrait of a spiritual leader) was closed at the time. We proceed to the other temple and are impressed with the peaceful and serene atmosphere within the large structure. There are three huge copper and gold-plated statues in the temple – a 60-feet statue of Lord Buddha and 58-feet statues of Guru Padmasambhava and Guru Amitayus. According to information pasted for the benefit of the tourists, the statues contain “scriptures and relics of great beings.” There are large paintings on both sides of the statues, depicting the 25 disciples of Guru Padmasambhava.

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One of the temples at the Tibetan Settlement in Bylakuppe.

Operation Goa-ing, Gone : Three Misquiteers to Mysore/Coorg and back!-28.jpg
Tibetan monks at prayer.

We clicked a few photos of the temple and then proceed to purchase a few Tibetan souvenirs from a nearby handicraft shop. Since religious structures (whether Tibetan or not) are not of any interest to our 4-yr-old girl, we decide to proceed towards Madikeri.

The road at the beginning of Madikeri town is broken up and we had to crawl through our way. Thankfully, we locate the ‘Bean Scene’ café of Anand’s friend, Harsha and he was there to greet us. An MBA graduate from Bangalore, Harsha declined opportunities to go abroad and preferred to set up base in his beautiful Coorg district. We had some delightful filter coffee at his café, while he gave us interesting information about Coorg.

We told Harsha that we were keen to buy some spices in Madikeri as they are of superior quality and are priced cheaper in comparison to spices here in Goa. He directs us to a small shop ‘Coorg Greens’ that had a large collection of spices, dried fruits and nuts, sweets and coffee. The owner was pleased to see a Goa-registered car and told us that he had recently returned from a trip to Goa.

Within a short while, we packed up a box of assorted spices, dried fruits, nuts, sweets, filter coffee and I paid by credit card. Harsha then came to meet us and we told him that we were eager to sample Coorgi food for lunch. He mentioned that pork is a popular ingredient in Coorgi cuisine. We were at ease with pork, especially since it is a common ingredient in Goan cuisine as well. He took us to a restaurant and since he had to get back to his café, Harsha declined our invitation to join us for lunch. The Coorgi food, and the pork dish in particular, was quite tasty.

After our meal, we visit a nearby shop and purchase some honey (priced at Rs 190 per kilo) as well as a little manual filter coffee percolator. While we were proceeding to our car, the Coorg Greens owner approached us and much to my surprise, said I had forgotten my credit card at his shop. Since he knew were travelling in a Goa-registered car, he and a friend had gone around the town in search of our car and had finally found our I10 outside the restaurant. He seemed pleased to have found us and returned my credit card, but we were touched by his honesty and determination to find us.

It was nearing 3 pm and we decided to return to Mysore as I wanted to visit the popular Chamundi hills by dusk to capture some snaps of an aerial view of Mysore city. We proceeded to meet Harsha and enjoyed yet another round of filter coffee. We also purchased some Dobbamane filter coffee powder from Harsha. We wished him and assured to return in the near future for a longer stay in Coorg.

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A scenic view of Coorg district.

The drive back was equally pleasant and we reached Mysore by 5 pm. We initially had plans to visit the sandalwood factory, but Anand assured us that it would have been closed for the day by the time we reached Mysore. We then stop for a tea break at Highway 18, before proceeding to the Chamundi hills. By the time we reached atop the hill, it was nearing twilight, but I managed to get a few photos of the Chamundeshwari temple and an aerial view of Mysore city.

We returned to Mysore city and made a stop at Big Bazaar for some purchases. We were quite tired by the end of the day. But more than that, it was our last day in Mysore and we were sorry to leave this beautiful city, especially since we had had a eventful and memorable holiday in Mysore. Mysore has so much to offer in terms of entertainment and education, and one can never visit all popular sites in Mysore within three days. We missed out the sandalwood factory, the butterfly sanctuary, the museums and other art and handicraft exhibitions, but it did not cause us much heartburn, simply because these missed sites would give us an excuse to visit Mysore again in future.

Shortly before dinner, I learn that Sudeep and his wife had just returned to Mysore from their holiday in Goa. It was a real pity that I could not meet him, but he had kindly offered to visit us in the hotel the next morning. However, we were planning to leave early in the morning and moreover, I did not want him to take that extra trouble to meet me, especially since he must have been tired from his long drive back to Mysore.

We had dinner in our room and we packed our bags before we retired for the night. We planned leave Mysore on Sunday by 8 am. I was eager to take the Mysore-Mandya-NICE road-Tumkur-Hubli-Belgaum route, with a stop at Belgaum for the night. We had plans to leave for Goa the next day. However, Anand advised us to take the interior Mysore-Srirangapatnam-Pandavapura route before reaching the expressway at Sira and then proceeding to Hubli and Belgaum. He claimed that the route suggested by him was far shorter than the route earlier suggested by me. We later agreed to his route.

Another thought then crossed my mind. If we could reach Hubli by 5 pm, we could even consider driving straight to Goa, since we could take the Hubli-Ankola road and reach Ankola by 7 pm. We could then reach Karwar by 8 pm and could easily reach Margao by 10 pm.

To confirm the condition of the Hubli-Ankola road, I got in touch with Sudeep and he gave me the number of another Team-BHP member, Ravi, a native of Sirsi but presently residing in Bangalore. I contacted Ravi and he confirmed that the Hubli-Ankola route was in very good condition.

The desire to reach Goa within a day became more attractive when we learn that a family friend (who works in Ratnagiri) was down in Goa and it was his birthday on October 30. It would give us a perfect opportunity to reach Goa and meet him on his birthday.

8. THE RETREAT:

DAY 7: 30 October 2011

We were up by 6 am and were ready to leave the hotel by 7 am. However, the early morning staff took some time to prepare our bills. As such, we were delayed by nearly 40 minutes and we reached Highway 18 only at 7.45 am. By the time we finished breakfast, it was 8.15 am and after topping up petrol in our car, we were ready to leave Mysore. Anand met us along the way and gave us directions to reach Sira. We wished him and thanked him profusely for his hospitality and invaluable assistance to us in Mysore.

8.20 am (0 kms): We proceed towards Srirangapatnam and the drive is enjoyable with light to moderate traffic along the way.

8.48 am (28 kms): We arrive at Pandavapura and we try to follow the directions of Anand. The road conditions (many speed breakers, cattle and pedestrians crossing the road at many villages) are similar to the ones we encountered along the Honnawar-Shimoga-Mysore route a week earlier. As such, it is not easy to get a long stretch of road devoid of these natural and artificial obstacles.

About 40 kms from Pandavapura, we encounter a Y-road and we decide to take the right road. It was a mistake that took us completely off track. Instead of proceeding towards Sira, we ended up on the Mangalore-Bangalore highway and proceeding towards Bangalore. We tried asking locals for directions to get on the Pune-Bangalore expressway, but none of the people we met could understand either English or Hindi.

Finally, we decided to stop by a roadside inter-state truck and ask the driver for the proper route. He politely informed us that we were way off target and that the only way to get towards the Pune-Bangalore expressway would be to get off the Mangalore-Bangalore highway and proceed towards Tumkur, which is nearly 50 kms from Sira.

So, we got off the Mangalore-Bangalore highway and we realised that we were 38 kms away from Tumkur. The road (via Hebbur) leading to Tumkur was in poor state, but it was our only hope to get towards the expressway. Left with little option, we crawled on the road and it took us quite some time before we reached Tumkur town.

11.50 am (140 kms): After considerable twists and turns along the poor to bearable roads, we are mighty relieved to arrive in Tumkur and our next challenge is to get on the Pune-Bangalore expressway. There were no milestones either in English or Hindi directing us towards the expressway and all signs were invariably in Kannada. We encountered slight difficulty in getting directions from locals, but we finally manage to reach the Pune-Bangalore expressway after travelling around Tumkur for nearly 20 minutes.

The Pune-Bangalore expressway was sheer bliss, in comparison to the previous stretch of the route. There were no speed breakers, no pedestrians and no cattle or goats to block the delightful road. The I10 happily gallops to speeds about the 100 kmph without any fuss.

Despite the quick pace, we had already wasted precious time and distance after we have gone off track and had reached Tumkur instead of Sira along the expressway. I was, therefore, not sure if we would reach Hubli by 5 pm. We then decided that if we did not touch Hubli by 5 pm we would abandon attempts to reach Goa that night. We would, instead, proceed along the expressway and halt at Belgaum for the night. We would then cover the remaining distance to Goa the next day.

We were hoping to stop somewhere near Chitradurga for lunch, but we did not notice any decent restaurant along the expressway. Much to our surprise, we did not find restaurants along the route for much of the way. It was then we spotted a Kamat restaurant at Renebennur. The restaurant was pretty crowded at the time and the stewards were taking their own time to take orders and serve customers. We were rather disappointed and decided to leave the restaurant as soon as possible.

We also noticed there were very few petrol pumps along the expressway, but this did not bother me much as I had more than enough fuel to reach Hubli. Of the very few petrol pumps along the expressway, none were accepting debit/credit cards. Incidentally, I was keen to top up the fuel tank somewhere between Hubli and Karwar, especially since I had heard that there was an acute petrol shortage in Goa and I wanted to have sufficient fuel in our car for the next few days, till sufficient supplies were available in the petrol pumps in Goa.

4.35 pm (338 kms): We are in Hubli and about to exit the expressway to get into the Hubli-Ankola road. Thanks to the expressway, we cover considerable distance within a short time. In fact, we covered 338 kms from Tumkur to Hubli within barely four-and-half hours (which included four small stops along the way). Despite losing precious time and distance in the morning, we are well within our deadline (to reach Hubli by 5 pm).

The Hubli-Ankola road may be a single carriageway, but it was a beautiful and scenic route made even more enjoyable by the lovely road. The fairly wide 130-odd km route enabled us to drive at speeds of about 80-90 kmph. What surprised us were the number of petrol pumps and restaurants along this route, as opposed to the expressway. We stopped to top-up the tank shortly after Yellapur and proceeded towards Ankola, as dusk set in. Thankfully, the road was not isolated as vehicles frequently passed along the route.

6.50 pm (130 kms): We are again well within our deadline and we arrive in Ankola at 6.50 pm. The Honnawar-Karwar (NH17) road is very familiar to us and we have no problem travelling along the route late in the evening. As expected, we quickly reach Karwar and within a short while later, we cross the Karnataka border. We are now in our Goa territory and it is a pleasant sight to spot numerous Goa-registered vehicles.

As expected, the pumps in Canacona are dry due to panic buying of petrol by motorists and we are in for some luck as the petrol pump at Cuncolim has just received its petrol supplies. We top-up the fuel tank and proceed towards Margao.

9 pm (103 kms): We heave a sigh of relief as we reach my mother-in-law’s house in Margao at 9 pm, almost an hour ahead of our deadline. We had taken a little over 12 hours to cover a distance of 752 kms between Mysore and Margao, which included an unscheduled detour to Tumkur. Our friend, the birthday boy, is at my in-law’s house and all (mother-in-law, bro-in-law, his wife, our friend and his mum) are very pleased with our safe arrival. We have endless stories and over 1,000 photos (later reduced and edited to 600 photos) of our holiday in Mysore and Coorg. We have brought back various trophies (souvenirs, spices, sweets) of our twin conquests to remind us of our wonderful trip, so that memories of our holiday linger on…and on.

9. THE CHARIOT:

Our I10 car had performed flawlessly throughout our journey to and from Mysore/Coorg and had exceeded all our expectations. The car had encountered a few bad patches and had gone faster than necessary on some unexpected speed breakers, but the car handled all obstacles really well. The car was quite silent, especially along the expressway with the windows rolled up and the AC deployed. The car was quite stable even when I drove at 110 kmph during certain stretches of the expressway. The I10 never felt that it was running out of power and the butter-smooth gears were a joy to use during different driving conditions.

As mentioned earlier, we used the AC throughout our journey and given the fact that AC usage generally reduces the fuel economy by 1-2 kmpl, I estimated that our I10 would deliver around 15-16 kmpl (I normally get around 17-18 kmpl without AC use under mixed inter/intra city conditions). When I finally got down to the calculations, I was within the range of my estimates.

* Total distance covered: 1,744 kms
* Total petrol used: 104.76 litres
* Total cost of fuel: Rs 7,563
* Fuel economy: 16.65 kmpl

Our I10 had given us a comfortable ride and a satisfying fuel economy.

10. FOOTNOTES:

* For anyone planning a trip between Goa and Mysore, I would strongly suggest the Goa-Karwar-Ankola-Hubli-Tumkur-NICE road-Mysore. It may be a longer route compared to the Goa-Shimoga-Mysore route, but it is a better route with far less obstacles (speed breakers, pedestrians, cattle etc) and it is also more enjoyable and pleasant route.

* For the benefit of the domestic/international tourist travelling within Karnataka, the government should include English (or at least in Hindi) on all milestones along its roads or state highways. Not everyone can read or understand milestones in the Kannada script and restricting milestones to a state language could well repel tourists from other states (or countries) from undertaking memorable road trips to Karnataka.

* It would be advisable to have more petrol pumps and more restaurants between Hubli and Tumkur. In contrast, the Hubli-Pune stretch of the Pune-Bangalore highway has far greater spread of petrol pumps and restaurants along the route.

* Mysore and its surroundings can never be appreciated with a day or two. In fact, I had picked up the following information from the internet, which may be of interest to those visiting Mysore:

Places of Interest surrounding Mysore:

Towards Bangalore: Srirangapatna Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple (18 Kms), Dungeon, Dariya Daulat (Summer Palace), Gumbuz (Tipu Sultan's Tomb), Sangam, Bird Sanctuary (20Kms), Kokkrebellur Pelicanry and Melukote (Cheluvaraya Swamy Temple)

Towards Ooty : Nanjangud (Sri Najundeshwara Temple) (25 Kms), Himavat Gopalaswamy Hill (80 Kms), Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary (Elephant Safari) (90 Kms), Madumalai Elephant Enclave (100 Kms) & Ooty (120 Kms).

Towards Coorg : Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary (90 Kms), Tala-Cauvery (Birth Place of River Cauvery), Abbi Falls and Dubare Elephant Enclave.

Towards H.D.Kote : Kabini Reservoir, Karapura Jungle Lodges Boating (85 Kms)

Towards Chamarajnagar : Biligiri Rangana Betta (B.R.Hills) (90 Kms).


- Melvyn Misquita
Porvorim-Goa
8 November 2011

PS: This travelogue was completed on the fourth birthday of our daughter. As she grows up, I hope this travelogue will inspire her to undertake trips of her own, so that she can discover and appreciate the length and breadth of our incredible India.

Last edited by misquitas : 10th November 2011 at 02:26.
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Old 10th November 2011, 12:07   #2
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Great travelogue misquitas with great narration & pictures! I must say this will become one of the reference log for anyone who want to do goa-mysore-coorg-mysore-goa route. Giving a well deserved 5 stars!!

And belated birthday wishes to your daughter!

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Old 10th November 2011, 13:43   #3
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So nice travelogue we all liked it and loved reading it. Thanks for sharing and lets load more in near future.

Ravi.
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Old 10th November 2011, 17:44   #4
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Nice travelogue and very well written. Glad that you enjoyed your stay in Mysore.

Great photos, i can see that you have put quite some effort to get the photos. Liked the photos of the palace and interesting to see that you were able to get a photo in daylight without the crowd.

I would like to thank you also, for all the help provided for our visit in Goa.
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Old 10th November 2011, 18:40   #5
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Originally Posted by gypsyFreak View Post
Nice travelogue and very well written. Glad that you enjoyed your stay in Mysore.

Great photos, i can see that you have put quite some effort to get the photos. Liked the photos of the palace and interesting to see that you were able to get a photo in daylight without the crowd.

I would like to thank you also, for all the help provided for our visit in Goa.
Mysore is a beautiful place with cool weather, clean surroundings, rich Indian history and superb local products (silk, sandalwood, coffee), tonnes of places to visit. It is strategically located (between Coorg, Bangalore, Ooty, Chipmagalor, etc). Above all, Mysore is blessed with warm and hospitable people.

My compliments to the authorities and the locals of Mysore for retaining and preserving the rich heritage of Mysore. In fact, I'm already looking forward to my next trip to Mysore about 5-6 years from now, when our daughter is able to understand and appreciate palaces and other heritage sites.
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Old 10th November 2011, 20:37   #6
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Originally Posted by misquitas View Post
10. FOOTNOTES:

* For anyone planning a trip between Goa and Mysore, I would strongly suggest the Goa-Karwar-Ankola-Hubli-Tumkur-NICE road-Mysore. It may be a longer route compared to the Goa-Shimoga-Mysore route, but it is a better route with far less obstacles (speed breakers, pedestrians, cattle etc) and it is also more enjoyable and pleasant route.
Which is the Shimoga-Mysore route that you took?
Did you go via Chikmagulur?

The best option I think is :

Shimoga-Bhadravati-Tarekere-Kadur-Bannavar-Haleebidu-Hassan-Holenarasipur-Mysore.

Here is the route link:

Link


Hassan to Mysore SH is a brilliant SH. Is that the one did you take?

Again while going back, for the route to Sira, you need to ask for Gubbi.
after Pandavpura, there is a Y junction, one for Melkote and another at Nagamangala.
I think you must have gotten off at Nagamangala where you must have taken the road to Shravanabelagola.

Roue Via Gubbi

But above all a great drive!
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Old 10th November 2011, 20:52   #7
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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Which is the Shimoga-Mysore route that you took?
Did you go via Chikmagulur?

The best option I think is :

Shimoga-Bhadravati-Tarekere-Kadur-Bannavar-Haleebidu-Hassan-Holenarasipur-Mysore.

Here is the route link:

Link


Hassan to Mysore SH is a brilliant SH. Is that the one did you take?

Again while going back, for the route to Sira, you need to ask for Gubbi.
after Pandavpura, there is a Y junction, one for Melkote and another at Nagamangala.
I think you must have gotten off at Nagamangala where you must have taken the road to Shravanabelagola.

Roue Via Gubbi

But above all a great drive!
The Shimoga-Mysore route we were advised to take was:

Shimoga-Bhadravati-Tarekere-Kadur-Bannavar-Arasikere-Channarayapattana-Srirangapatana-Mysore.

To be honest, the route was not bad, but had many villages located through the route. Railway crossings, speed breakers as well as cattle/goat and pedestrian movement forced us to go slow, thereby increasing the drive time.

Yes, I remember seeing Nagamangala somewhere during our drive back from Mysore.

I would still prefer the longer expressway to and from Mysore, unless any shorter route has minimal speed breakers, cattle/goat and pedestrian movement along the road.
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Old 10th November 2011, 21:35   #8
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By the way, I forgot to add in my travelogue that we spotted a number of "sandras" on the map of the Mysore-Tumkur region. They are:

Mayasandra, Nagasandra, Thippasandra, Ankasandra, Ammasandra, Kyathsandra, Dwasandra, Byrasandra and Banasandra.

Later, while checking Google maps, I found out even more "Sandras" in and around Bangalore. They are:

Hongasandra, Singasandra, Thippasandra, Dommasandra, Thanisandra, Bommasandra, Minasandra, Vittasandra and Kamsandra.

Incidentally, Sandra is the name of my sister and hence, we found it amusing to find all these "sandras" spread all over the place.

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Old 10th November 2011, 23:05   #9
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Default Re: Operation Goa-ing, Gone : Three Misquiteers to Mysore/Coorg and back!

Nice travelogue and glad that you enjoyed your stay in Mysore and your visit to coorg. You could have also visited Srirangapatna and Dariya Daulat (Summer Palace), Gumbuz (Tipu Sultan's Tomb) or maybe you can do this on your next visit to Mysore.

Your visit to mysore zoo and palace gave my good old memories when I was in mysore for couple of years, you never get to know how time files when you get into the zoo.

-Sajan
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Old 11th November 2011, 21:05   #10
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Nice travelogue and glad that you enjoyed your stay in Mysore and your visit to coorg. You could have also visited Srirangapatna and Dariya Daulat (Summer Palace), Gumbuz (Tipu Sultan's Tomb) or maybe you can do this on your next visit to Mysore.

Your visit to mysore zoo and palace gave my good old memories when I was in mysore for couple of years, you never get to know how time files when you get into the zoo.

-Sajan
Quite a few visits will be planned during our next visit to Mysore. They include Srirangapatana, sandalwood factory, butterfly sanctuary and museums in the palaces of Mysore. Of course, we would love to re-visit the zoo and the Maharaja's palace.

I agree that the zoo is a wonderful experience for people of all ages. The joy of watching animals like the giraffes, zebras, tigers, lions, etc, is simply priceless.

Last edited by misquitas : 11th November 2011 at 21:08.
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Old 16th November 2011, 00:20   #11
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A very well and decently written travelogue, Melvyn. I'm sure when your daughter grows up, she'll be proud of her dad's writing and driving skills. May our next generation get to enjoy India as well as we did, right from our childhood to adulthood.

Inspired by your write up, my wife and me will surely want to make it to Mysore and Coorg. My elder brother, Salvador, and his family had already been to Coorg this July in our Esteem and was urging me to drive down there, but I've been the proverbial 'mulla' whose 'daud' ends up at 'masjid' (Goa) since we have our own house there and loads of relatives.... but never too late for another honeymoon even after 5 years what say?
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Old 16th November 2011, 02:10   #12
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A very well and decently written travelogue, Melvyn. I'm sure when your daughter grows up, she'll be proud of her dad's writing and driving skills. May our next generation get to enjoy India as well as we did, right from our childhood to adulthood.

Inspired by your write up, my wife and me will surely want to make it to Mysore and Coorg. My elder brother, Salvador, and his family had already been to Coorg this July in our Esteem and was urging me to drive down there, but I've been the proverbial 'mulla' whose 'daud' ends up at 'masjid' (Goa) since we have our own house there and loads of relatives.... but never too late for another honeymoon even after 5 years what say?
Thanks for your interest in our holiday to Mysore and Coorg. India has so much to offer and travelogues, such as those on team-bhp, only fuels one's appetite to savor the length and breadth of our country. My wife and I do hope that our daughter inculcates a passion to explore places across the country. It is a learning experience that can never be replicated in text books.

It is never too late to travel, as long as one has the capability (the will, the means and the relative physical ability) to do so. A relative of my wife, who is in her mid-80's has fond (and fascinating) memories of driving with her husband in their little car during their honeymoon from Goa to Srinagar way back in 1953. On their return, they then drove down south all the way to Trivandrum. It was some travel at the time.

Mysore is a lovely venue for a second honeymoon. Besides the various palaces and gardens, your wife would love the silk, while you will cherish the sandalwood.

Speaking of 'masjids', here's a little fact. My (Portuguese) surname, Misquita is derived from the word masjid (mosque).

Let me know if you need any further details regarding our holiday.

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Old 18th November 2011, 18:00   #13
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Very nice. Having done the Mumbai - Goa - Mumbai trail in my santro, all i can say is that the experience is truly sublime. Now having moved to Chennai, I am eager to do the Chennai - Bangalore - Shimoga and back route. Good stuff and regards to your family.
Neil Misquitta
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Old 21st November 2011, 18:55   #14
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Lovely travelogue,not everyday that you find such a well chronicled travelogue on Mysore.Thanks for sharing.
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Old 22nd November 2011, 00:08   #15
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I received an interesting call on my landline telephone yesterday morning (21 November). A gentleman identified himself as a retired banker (name withheld), now residing in Bangalore, had kind words to say on my Mysore/Coorg travelogue.

He mentioned of his passion for cars ever since his dad had their family vehicle decades ago. In fact, he has applied for membership on this forum and awaits approval from moderators.

Having served a few years at a bank in Goa and given the fact that their family deity is in Ponda-Goa, he is very fond of Goa and makes it a point to undertake periodic drives to Goa every 3-4 months. In fact, he purchased a Hyundai i10 1.2 kappa2 (Sportz) car about 10 days after I had purchased my i10 in December 2010 and he too is very happy with the car.

But what intrigued me was his ability to find my landline. This was his reply: “Oh well, after reading your travelogue, I simply wanted to get in touch with you. I first checked your name on the BSNL Goa telephone directory and found a phone number to it. To make sure that I had got the right person, I then hunted for the Goa government transport department website and re-entered your name. I got the confirmation of your address and car. Hence, I gave it a shot and managed to get through to you.”

Some determination and effort, I must say.

Needless to say, we exchanged our mobile phone numbers with an assurance of future contact as well as a personal interaction if either of us happens to be in the other person’s territory. I sincerely hope he is allowed to become a member of team-bhp and we can then welcome yet another valuable member on this community.

Last edited by misquitas : 22nd November 2011 at 00:10.
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