Sunday, September 26, 2010

Back to the City Detour: Mysore Palace

On the way to Kabini for our safari we stopped off at Mysore for breakfast. As referenced in part 3 of the Into the Jungle series, this was the first time I'd seen monkeys in the wild.

The journey back home saw us stopping at Mysore again, twice. Our first visit was to the Royal Orchid hotel for lunch. There is also a Royal Orchid next to Diamond District, where we spent our first week of TWU for sessions. These are both incredibly posh places with delicious food. The Diamond District version also includes Geoffrey's, who proudly claim to be Bangalore's most happenin' English pub.

IMG_1711 IMG_1711 by sumeet.moghe on Flickr

The group split after lunch. Sumeet, Derek, and I went to the tourist-friendly Mysore Palace for a barefoot exploration (with audio tour). Kyle and Richard had already been, so they and Sumeet's wife headed toward the shopping district.

DSCF3577 DSCF3577 by sumeet.moghe on Flickr

The palace had burned down nearly a century ago. Since then it has been rebuilt in somewhat of a unique fashion -- this structure blends the Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic architectures. The result is something impressive and befuddling. It's one of the few palaces that feels like a patchwork of varying influences without much coherence.

DSCF3581 DSCF3581 by sumeet.moghe on Flickr

Photography was not allowed inside the palace, which is unfortunate because I can't locate an example of the stunning 3d-like paintings. We picked up all kinds of fun facts along the way, like the virtual fire-proofing of the new palace after the old one went up in flames. The most memorable result of these instructions to me were the giant pillars that looked like carved wood in an octagonal room; they were actually cast iron.

IMG_1715 IMG_1715 by sumeet.moghe on Flickr

Fun Fact #1 Entrance to the palace is Rs. 20 for residents of India and Rs. 200 for foreigners

Fun Fact #2 After shopping proved to be more expensive than anyone had hoped, we all met up outside the palace for a group photo

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