Sunday, December 8, 2013

Travel to Mysore and nearby places during Dasara season

Today I am sharing few travel experiences from our Mysore visit during Dasara timeframe (nearly two months after visit). The write-up was basically delayed due to lack of time. Primary time eaters are picture editing. However, pictures reveal stories and hence there is no charm in writing without pictures. I have kept this travelogue relatively short and concise. Hope you will enjoy reading our experience!

Oct 13, 2013

Many of us have already visited Mysore numerous amount of time. It is familiar hangout place for Bangaloreans during weekend. Except me, none of travel gang members had visited Mysore during Dasara time. Finally the journey to Mysore was on during this weekend. We all agreed to the plan and booked the same 7Rs/km cab. This time we were four of us. The planning was done just 2 days before the journey. Since I had some personal work on Saturday, the plan was fixed for Sunday. Unfortunately, I caught ill on Friday night and it threatened to spoil travel plans. But things were fine on Saturday with no loss of enthusiasm ;-). Thats the best way to keep away ill-health as per my father! Sunday, we had planned to start by 7AM and return after watching lighted Mysore palace. Even this time, the cab person delayed the start and consequently commenced journey 45 mins late. Not much traffic on bright Sunny day and it seemed many had traveled to Mysore to have glimpse of town during last day of Navaratri.

To pass time in cab, as always we discuss few topics during our journey. Most of the times it will be based on politics, science or architectural marvels [No junk  movie stuffs ;-)]. This time discussion topic was our one and only category-4 storm 'Phailin' :D. The 1999 super cyclone had devastated Orissa killing almost 10000 people. It was one of the worst ever cyclone faced by India. This time a slightly lower intensity cyclone was about landfall on Orissa coast with 220kmph wind speed. Fortunately the effect was restricted to 6hrs and casualities were less due to preventive measures. Myself and Rajesh are very much interested in geography :D and were discussing some of physics behind cyclone formation. Even Sudhir showed interest which boosted our discussion. We were discussing science behind the frequent cyclonic formation over Bay of Bengal compared to Arabian sea. The other topics were usual politics and few religion related. The cab was moving at normal pace and we halted for breakfast at Kamat Ruchi near Ramanagar. We had hefty breakfast here despite of high cost. The breakfast was tasty too :-).

Our plan was just to visit Brindavan gardens and Mysore town. The driver asked if we wish to broaden our visit in and around Srirangapattana as well. Oh, I had totally forgotten about that ;-). We said yes to driver and our first stop was Srirangapattana Temple itself. Around 11AM we reached the place. As expected the place was heavily crowded. The temple also was under renovation. It is believed that the Ranganathaswamy temple along cauvery river considered to be holy along with two more temples. I am not sure about the other temples. Some devotees visit these temples in a single day which is considered to be more sacred. There was long queue for darshan of Lord Ranganathaswamy. After being in queue for 20mins, we had darshan of deity. Quite old temple but has good architecture constructed out of stones. The array of pillars were looking awesome! We bought and had tasty laddus from temple too! Outside the temple there were many healthy horses fostered by local people. People could climb into horse with fee of Rs.20. I believe they were also taking for ride with a hefty fee. Rajesh and Sudhir enjoyed the hop into horse and felt like emperors and I enjoyed grabbing their pics ;-).

Next is the confluence of two rivers, Sangama. It has been long time since I visited this place. Again too much crowd and shops. These shops seem to be only present during Dasara times. The place is confluence of two rivers Sangama and Lokapaavani. Lokapaavani flows from North direction towards south to meet Cauvery river. The place is good if you want to have swim along the river. The surroundings are garbaged too much and not well maintained. Confluence of rivers is considered to be holy place in India and hence religious activities are carried out here.

After Sangama, we visited Gumbaz a monument where TippuSultan constructed for his father. Nothing much to be seen here but relax for sometime. One can enter the tomb and have a look. The main attraction is the garden spread for quite large area. After this our plan was to visit Balamuri water stream. We skipped summer palace and nimishamba temple due to lack of time.


Balamuri is on the way to Brindavan gardens along Madikeri route. Enjoy the beautiful rural landscape throughout the journey. Few minutes drive, we reached Balamuri. The cauvery river flows here. A place looks like small waterfall. Again huge crowd enjoying the bath in flowing stream. Both Rajesh and Sudhir felt jealous watching them since they had not brought alternate clothes :-). Finally bit of relief with small coracle ride. 50Rs is the charge per person. After ride, we went along the falling stream to enjoy the flowing water. Later it was time to savor churumuri :D. We had 2/4 churumuri with pineapple. Churumuri was tasty but pricy too! This is the time small vendors mint money. Later we left for Brindavan Gardens.

It was time to revisit Brindavan gardens. It was nostalgic feel for me when I visited with my parents enjoying the musical fountain. 10yrs back, we were even allowed to enter top of dam to have magnificent look of reservoir. We had even experienced the times when reservoir was full. The gravity pull of reservoir and gusty winds were awesome and fearful experience at those times. Due to frequent suicide cases or terror threats(?), the authorities do not allow to top of reservoir. There is nothing here to enjoy other than musical fountain nowadays. It has become mere place of relaxation and we only did that on this day :-(. Atleast some part of year, authorities should allow public to visit the top of reservoir. After few hours of relaxation, we started towards Chamundi hills.

The traffic jams added delay to our journey within city limits which was rare sight during our days. This also delayed ascending of hills. There were humongous amount of visitors and consequently vehicles were not allowed to park near temple. We had to climb few steps to reach the Chamundi temple. The temple would open only at 6PM and there was long standing queue for darshan including special entrance. It was only 5:30PM and unfortunately we decided skip the darshan. We roamed around the streets of temple and enjoyed the Sunset too! There was cool breeze passing through the hillock which provided pleasant feeling. It was around 6:30PM, we headed back to city but still the temple had not opened. The queue now had expanded twice as earlier and there were flood of vehicles along the way. We could not visit Nandi, again due to time constraints but enjoyed the city view at night for few minutes from view point.

7:30PM, we were near Mysore palace and could see sparkling palace from distance itself. We were tempted to enter palace immediately but I was hungry :D. We had tasty meals nearby well known hotel and later walked towards Mysore palace. The streets nearby were decorated with lights and it seemed like entire town was glowing. The massive crowd was the eye-witness to festive fervor. Even though I had been to this place many times, this is first time I am photographing glittering mysore palace. Never had tried to take pictures before. Now it is time to experiment ;-). I did not take much shots basically due to plethora of distractions mainly tents and people. Here is the type of occasion where you require UWL lens. I could have grabbed better pictures if at-least pandals were not present. Also flying whistles inserted too much noise in picture :-(. Nevertheless, I was happy with my first experiment. But things needs to be much more proper. Will plan during off-season just to picturize Mysore palace ;-).

9:00PM sharp, authorities switch off the lightings. It was time to say good bye to palace city. We spotted our taxi and started towards Bangalore. It was around 1:00AM when we reached Bangalore. I was really happy with some of palace pictures even though critiques say needs much more improvement. Any skill is all about practice, constant effort and most importantly happiness more than appreciation. That is only thing which makes you master. Experienced photographers say that best picture you will take will be only tomorrow and that applies for everyday :-). That means one needs to enjoy and keep shooting not wait for tomorrow ;-). Moral of story is, needs much more practice and work on better composition to grab better picture. The best is yet to come :-).

Here are some panorama and HDRs composed during journey. Could not find time for exclusive write-up.

The HDR pictures


Some Panorama shots


I am not sharing any palace pictures in this post. The pictures are documented here

There is small timelapse of clouds hovering around Brindavan Gardens. Will club all timelapse videos into one on fine day!

Did not grab much videos and hence none this time.

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