If as a Leave UR Mark volunteer, you ever need a break from the crazy city of Bangalore, go spend a weekend in Mysore. Mysore is actually called Mysuru and is located approximately 150 kilometres from Bangalore. Even though the bus or train ride will take you at least three hours, Mysore is easy to reach and therefore perfect for a little weekend getaway.
80.000 Light Bulbs: The Amba Vilas Palace in Mysore
For most people the Amba Vilas Palace is the main reason to come to Mysore. It is also known as Maharaja Palace and ranks among the most famous palace buildings in India. It used to be the residency oft the maharajas in the former princely state of Mysore. Today only some of their descendants live in a small part of the palace.
Amba Vilas combines Hindu, Indian-Islamic, Rajput and European architecture. It is almost ridiculously loaded with marble and mosaic floors, beaten gold, pillars, expensive antiques and carved wooden doors. You should definitely visit Mysore on a weekend, because every Sunday from 7pm to 8pm and every other Saturday from 7pm to 7:20pm the palace walls will light up with more than 80.000 light bulbs.
A rather weird Zoo, many Temples and an enchanting Bull
Apart from the palace, there are a few more things to see in Mysore. The zoo is quite famous, but a rather sad spectacle. Even though the grounds are pretty and well maintained, the animals are obviously not taken care of very well. Some of them were even sick or injured, but nobody seemed to care. Therefore I definitely wouldn’t recommend going there.
If you fancy more sightseeing, there are some beautiful temples in Mysore. About three kilometres from the city centre you will find the Chamundeshwari Temple, located on the Chamundi Hills. The Hindu temple was built in the 12th century and is surrounded by a lively market square. You will have a lot of fun just watching the action, tasting the food and do a little shopping. There are also many thievish monkeys, so take good care of your belongings!
My favorite ist the bull called Nandi, who is located only a couple of minutes from the Chamundeshwari Temple. Nandi is the gatekeeper of Shiva and Parvati. I f you have a special wish, you have to whisper it into Nandis ear. It will come true, trust me!
Just enjoy the Small Town Charme in Mysore
After you’re done with sightseeing, just go with the flow in Mysore. There are many markets and restaurants to explore, and you will definitely get the chance to try the regional cuisine. Also the locals welcomed us foreigners in an extremely friendly, curious and cordially way. I met many nice people here in India, but Mysore is definitely up front.
How to get there: From Bangalore to Mysore by Bus
We went from Bangalore to Mysore by bus. The return ticket for the luxury bus with air condition and comfortable seats will cost you around 600 rupees. The bus will take approximately three hours and is very reliable. If you want to book online, most of the companies require an Indian credit card though.
A good alternative is Redbus. You can just give them a call and book the tickets via phone. The vouchers will be delivered to your accomodation the next day and you can just pay cash. I highly recommend not to choose the cheapest provider and check the reviews of other guests, as traveling in an old and rickety bus without air con can easily turn into a nightmare in India.