I dragged myself out of bed and met up with Ajit, the naturalist. We wandered off to the tea plantation where he explained a little bit about how the tea is grown in the area. The scenery once again was sublime, everywhere greenery, in the form of tea, coffee and pepper plantations, and of course thick forest. This was a sight common in Wayanad. I didn’t even know that tea and coffee could even grow in the same region. This place also seems to be a birder’s paradise, and although I myself am not so clued up about the local species, I couldn’t help but notice the amazingly bright colours of some of the birds flitting amongst the trees. After the short walk and breakfast, I had to start the next leg of my journey, into Karnataka.
About 3 hours drive from Wayanad I reached the regal city of Mysore. What struck me straight away about Mysore was that this was a well-planned city and the local Maharajahs had incredible foresight in building wide roads and overall the traffic and people seemed far more disciplined than in most other parts of India. First stop was Mysore Palace, a beautiful building showcasing some of the finest memorabilia in India. Mysore is renowned for its royalty and forward-thinking Maharajahs who planned the city so well, and were greatly respected by the public. Nowadays, there is no Maharajah, but their legacy remains through its grand buildings and rich history.
I was visiting during the festival period of Dusshera, and Mysore has the most elaborate celebrations throughout India. The highlight of this is the elephant procession through the city, where the chosen elephant is colourfully ‘dressed’ and adorned with gold, and the idol of the Goddess Parvati (Lord Shiva’s wife) is paraded through the city. Unfortunately I had to leave on Dussehra day itself, but nonetheless I was able to witness the other festivities and religious celebrations.
Later in the evening I made my way up Chamundi Hill to get an aerial view of Mysore. Dead on 7pm Mysore Palace was illuminated. Apparently over 100,000 bulbs are used to light up the palace! This usually only happens for 30mins on a Saturday and Sunday, but being Dussehra it happened every night during the course of the 10 day festival. Chamundi is also renowned for its statue of Nandi (Lord Shiva’s vehicle – the bull). This Nandi was huge in size and had been immaculately carved out of the natural rock and was black in colour. Devotees showered it with offerings of fruit, coconut and flowers.
It was a nice way to wrap up the day. Tomorrow I head off in the morning to the nearby Somnathpur Temples and hope to have enough time to visit Mysore’s famous Devrajah Market.