One Day Getaway To Mysore
People usually, ask why some like to travel alone, but, I would ask why most people don't. There are few things in life that can be enjoyed only in absolute solitude. Solo trips are one of such kind. While traveling in a group has its own charm, solo travels fill the inner souls. As an active doer of both, I can easily say, one cannot be looked over the other. All of us deal with our crisis mostly by ourselves all the time, but we never acknowledge how brave we are for waging our own battles, but, in solo trips, one could instantly acknowledge their courage and presence of mind for dealing crisis in a minute-to-minute basis and nevertheless making the best out of it. From finding places to visit, stay, eat and having proper time management or addressing the lack of it, solo trips teach us life skills in the most intriguing way. There is a power in extending our boundaries by ourselves. So, if you haven't been to one, get started already. You may not even need to have an elaborate itinerary to start with. Plan for short trips, like this one, my one day getaway to Mysore.
I don't remember how many times I have been to Mysore with my family as a child. But this time is different. I'm all by myself. I could not help but wonder how far life has come!
Knowing my inability to wake up in the wee hours that too in the comforting weather booked my ticket for 7' o clock train. Basically, all reserved coaches in all the trains from Bangalore to Mysore are open for unreserved passengers. However, I booked my berth to stretch and sleep to compensate the hours I missed in the morning. Being an ardent fan of 'Bounce' travel in Bangalore, pre-booked a bike with 'Bounce' in Mysore too. Bounce is the easiest choice if you need a bike. They operate directly from the Railway station and Bus stand, saving you time and energy to locate them elsewhere in the city.
I got my bike, fuelled it and drove to the iconic Palace which cannot be missed in any Mysore trip. The Palace is that of Wadiyar kings, from whom it was with Tippu sultan for a brief time before he was killed by the British for fighting them, The British handed over the palace and kingdom to the Wadiyars in return to be Supreme ruler themselves. The palace houses the most luxurious artifacts said to be used by the royals and great paintings. There is another wing called Residential wing, though in no way close in grandeur to the main palace, but, holding equally exquisite artifacts.
My second stop was Jaganmohan art gallery. Contrary to popular belief, the palace and the gallery is a private property still being run by Ms. Pramoda Devi of the Wadiyar clan. I thought it would be yet another art gallery, but, was quietly surprised seeing the renovated gallery catching up with technology. They issue free audio guides to the visitors to play the description of any artifacts in the gallery. Finally, I was able to properly envision how Robert Langdon from 'Origin' roamed around the museum listening to a Quantum computer. The gallery is one of a kind and a couple of hours should be reserved to enjoy it fully.
My next destination was to an offbeat village 38kms from Mysore called Somanathapura, at the Kaveri banks which houses the Kesava Temple of Hoysala Period i.e 12 th century. I drove amid beautiful landscape and soothing weather. The drive was a cakewalk for an average city dweller frustrated by traffic and pollution. The Kaveri River and farmlands welcomed with open hands throughout the drive. Enroute I filled my tummy with a yummy meal at a roadside Dhaba. Once arrived, the Hoysala's trademark way of building the temple on a 3 ft high pedestal welcomes majestically. The intricate works of Hoysala architecture are not to be missed by anyone. The detailed carvings and sculpting skills of the Hoysalas would put anyone to shame. Though some parts are slightly damaged, the elegance is unparalleled. There are 3 deities in the premises of the temple. And also a walkway around the temple made of architecturally and structurally sound pillars arrayed perfectly. Minimum one must require an hour to bask in the architectural marvel for which the temple stands testament. The temple is in the tentative list of UNESCO Heritage sites and I cannot wait for this totally deserving entry to be included already.
The next stop was a tedious ride of 52kms to the Brindavan Gardens, the first 35kms were quite easy going back enjoying the marvels of Kaveri. But, later I started feeling tired. There was mild but not threatening rains. I arrived at the Gardens by around 6' o clock. While I was wandering at the south side of the garden, rains started picking up slowly. I halted under a tree to let the rain subside, but, it did not. After some time I braved the rain and walked to the north side of the garden where the Musical fountain is usually scheduled. As a kid, I thought it was a big one, but, now it felt somewhat little to me. The rain slowed down a bit but picked up soon. The fountains danced to 'Vande Mataram' and some regional songs finishing off with 'Sare Jahan se acha' amid cries by the patriotic citizens. One of the interesting observation while Vande Mataram by ARR was played, the audience was singing the same in different regional languages. India is indeed a country of diversity.
I decided to leave by 8.00 P.M after a coffee break. The railway station was 20kms away and the maps stipulated a half hour to reach. It was raining steadily. With no signals of it subsiding, I decided to brave the rain and drive. The roads I took still scare me. Up to anyone's common knowledge, the roads from a most sought tourist destination to the city Junction should be well maintained and safe, but this one was a joke. Literally a slap on the face. Half the route I could not even find any street lights. My bike's headlight was the only light guiding me in the pitch dark. The roads were highly damaged and almost deserted except for a few vehicles. With the rains constantly blinding and drenching me mercilessly, I was focusing just to avoid potential skidding and increase my risk factors already at alarming levels. There is this famous quote from 'Man's search for meaning',
"Those who have a 'Why' to live can survive any Hows".
I could not help but go WOW at how this stands meaningful even in the tiniest hurdles we come across in life. My goal was to just make it out of it safely. No rains or thunderstorms or the strangeness around could stand a chance before my existential crisis. (The next day I was standing on my terrace with a roof over my head and watching the rains, I found myself shivering even with jackets on. It is funny how the human mind and body copes up with the situation.)
After endless lefts, rights, and straights by the navigation, the Railway junction was finally there, after an hour-long struggle. I dropped my bike at the same spot and waited for the rain to subside. There was no hint of it and I realized the longer I stand there drenched, the more are my risks of getting sick. I searched the station for any clothes shop. There was none. I thought I could find some at least around the station, but, being Sunday night, most of the shops were shut early. I kept walking hoping for some kind of luck. I asked a policeman who said there might be some in the direction he pointed. I kept walking believing something might show up. I badly needed an ATM too as I had run out of cash already. Thinking which one I would find first if at all there is any in the vicinity, I kept walking until I spotted a MORE supermarket with an ATM. I did a mental happy dance for the sweet surprises life always offers me at any crisis. I purchased joggers and a t-shirt and took an auto back to the station where I changed into my new dry clothes.
When I look back, the trip could not have been adventurous if not for that fear struck drive and rains. Otherwise, it would have been an ordinary trip with things going as planned. Exploration is more fun when there are risks associated to overcome. Like Mark mason quotes in 'The subtle art of not giving a fuck',
"To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action"...
and what else than a trip could give us more things to solve and be happy?
Here's to more such meaningful problems...