I was talking to Bhumi a few days back and it was so good catching up. Since moving to the UK, I haven’t really had a chance to spend any quality time with her and I really do miss that. So we decided to get out of Bangalore, the city I call home and explore India. Add to that, the fact that this was Seb’s first trip to the India, we thought it would be a nice way to show him some of the things southern India has to offer.
The plan was to drive up to the Mysore, the princely city that served as the capital of kingdom of Mysore for nearly six centuries, from 1399 until 1947 located 90 odd miles south of Bangalore. It’s a beautiful city well known for its historic palaces and traditional craftsmanship. We started at 6 am and as we were zipping down the highway enroute to Mysore, Bhumi said she had a surprise planned for us and asked the chauffeur to drive to Somanathapura, a sleepy village near Mysore.
I love surprises and was happy to play along. This was exciting. I have never heard of Somanathapura and started getting slightly worried when I started seeing hay on the roads! We were well and truly off the highway!
But it was all worth it when we saw what we drove this far for.
Isn’t that just breathtakingly beautiful? The Keshava temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture built in 1254 A.D.
The intricate stone work is beautifully carved on the stone and really does come to life – we didn’t know where to look because everything was so intricately carved.
The temple is housed inside an impressive high walled enclosure (typical of Hoysala architecture) which we made the most of.
A last few pictures and we decided it was time to carry on to Mysore.
What a nice surprise! If you are in south India, I would definitely recommend visiting the Keshava temple, it’s a stunning piece of Hoysala architecture.
By the time we got to Mysore, an hour later, we were starving so we stopped off at the Lalitha Mahal Palace for a bit of lunch. Another stunning piece of architecture, it’s the second largest palace in Mysore, built in 1921 by the Maharaja of Mysore for the Viceroy of India when he visited. What a difficult life eh?
I loved sitting by the massive windows in the grand dining room overlooking the gardens. It was nice to get out of the sun!
Lunch was a traditional Indian affair with butter naans and some delicious curries. But it’s exactly what we needed to keep going for the rest of the day.
The Lalitha Mahal Palace is a fully functioning hotel and I definitely want to stay here the next time I visit but for now, we had to move on.
What better way to burn off lunch than a bit of paddle boating eh? We stopped off at Karanji Lake situated right in the heart of Mysore, where we attempted to paddle across this vast lake in our tiny little blue boat.
I have never been in a paddle boat before and this was so much fun! Seb and I paddled away while the Queen of Sheba (Bhumi) enjoyed lazing around behind us.
Karanji lake is also home to a butterfly park and a walk through aviary, India’s largest in-fact. After getting off our boat, we walked through the aviary and I saw a peacock. I was over the moon! I was really hoping that it started raining so that he opened up his beautiful feathers but I had no so such luck.
It was time to move on again. It was time to visit the Amba Villas Palace, also know as Mysore Palace. This palace is the pièce de résistance of Mysore – it is the official residence of the royal family of Mysore and is absolutely stunning.
I love the architectural style – its so Indian blending Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic styles.
The interiors of this palace are just as stunning with ornately gilded columns, stained glass ceilings and chandeliers, so many chandeliers! It even comes complete with a gold throne that weights 750 kgs!
But this wasn’t my favourite thing about the Mysore palace. It was what happens after dark that makes this palace special. It is absolutely stunning when lit up.
By this time, we were absolutely knackered, I had seen enough palaces for a day and decided it was time to drive back to Bangalore and hit the sack And that is exactly what I did.
I had such a good day out with Bhumi and Seb. Mysore is a beautiful city and I highly recommend visiting this city of palaces if you are in India.