Thursday, 23 February 2017

SAVAARI #2 - MYSORE PALACE

Think Mysore and you cannot miss the palace. The Mysore palace was built in the princely state of Mysore and was completed in the year 1912 costing a total of INR 42 lakhs at the time it was built. Built in the Indo-sarcenic style, the palace draws inspiration from Islam and European architecture. A man-made marvel, there is royalty in every inch of the palace.

View from the entrance of the Mysore palace 
Dussera, a Hindu festival - also known as Navratri - is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Mysore. The palace is decorated and procession of elephants decked up is a sight that has never failed to catch the attention of tourists and connoisseurs of art & culture alike.

But here's a lesser known fact. The Mysore Palace is lit up, with 70,000 light bulbs every Sunday between 7pm and 7.30pm!

Side view of the Mysore palace when lit

So if you don't have the time during Dussera or patience to wait until Dussera, remember to slot Mysore for your next long-weekend trip and be there at the palace by 7pm local time. 

How to get to Mysore Palace the budget way
Book a bus from Bangalore on the KSRTC website. At INR 270 per person in about 4 hours the bus will take you to Mysore. Mysore Palace is walkable from the city bus stand at Mysore.

Other recommended activities at Mysore - 
1. Take a ride in the horse-chariots - Recommended price for a distance under 1 km is INR 50. During Sunday nights these carts are also decorated to match the royalty that Mysore radiates.

The carriage of a horse-cart outside the Mysore Palace


2. Dinner or Lunch - RRR Restaurant - Biriyanis and meals in Andhra cuisine - RRR park-lane branch is less than 500 meters from the palace.
3. Breakfast or evening-snack (tiffin) - Hotel Mylari - Masala Dosa with sagu and filter coffee.
4. Mysore Zoo. 
5. Chamundi Hills & Nandi Hills.



Monday, 2 September 2013

Savaari #1 - Kovalai Lake, Chengalpattu

One of these days, I had to go to Chengalpattu, early in the morning (does 6am qualify for morning or night?) for some stupid reason.
Battling a sleepy eyelid, I hopped into the local train to Chengalpattu. Train crossed Tambaram and a few more stations after that. Impatient and irritated I peered out of the window and saw the train getting onto a bridge over a waterbody, with curves (on the train track, I mean) making the trail look sexy. What followed was a wonderful spectacle!


Having been in Chennai for more than a decade now, I cursed myself for missing the beauty of Chengalpattu railway station on a rainy morning. As the train approached Chengalpattu, it halted for a signal. To my left was the Kolavai lake of Chengalpattu, with the sun just above the horizon.

Stealthily the train chugged into Chengalpattu railway station. But the sight didn't cease. Platform No. 8 of the station offered a wonderful view. In few minutes, after the sky cleared quite a few birds that looked like cranes were to be seen.

Serene and soothing the Kovalai lake, (according to statistics) is 60km away from Chennai and the absolute location on the globe is 12.7 degrees north and 79.98 degrees east.
The lake is certainly a place you must try if you like nature. For the wannabe P.C.Shrirams and Hari Menons, here's something your camera lens will fall in love with. Maybe Chengalpattu railway station for sunrise is an option I could use to replace Bessy for sunrise, once in a while. To all my fellow Chennai makkal - shutter-bugs and quarter-bugs alike, watch out!

Destination - Chengalpattu Railway Station

Ideal time to visit - Sunrise.

How to get there - Take the less-frequent direct local train to Chengalpattu. Alternatively take a train to Tambaram, switch platforms and take another train to Chengalpattu.  If you have enough petrol in your auto(mobile), Chengalpattu is approximately 40km from Chennai Airport. Keep driving on NH45 and look for directions to Chengalpattu/Trichy (the lake is on the Chennai-Trichy highway) and you will find yourself in Chengalpattu.

Caution - Carry sapaadu and go. I am not responsible if you get hungry and don't find places to eat at 6.30am.