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India - Karnataka - Days 7 - 9: 14 Magical Days in India: #5

Updated: Feb 9, 2021

An early morning flight to Bangalore and the taxi driver got lost when he came to pick us up from a new community in the outskirts of New Delhi. No worries, we would still arrive at the airport 2.5 hours early for this domestic flight. Why leave anything to chance? At least, that was the plan as car and animal traffic tends to just happen.. Okay, the ride took a little longer, but we got to the airport about two hours before departure. The lines to get into the terminal were rather long and slow moving. An armed soldier carefully inspected each passenger’s identification and boarding pass. So, it is important to have the boarding pass printed or on your phone just to get into the terminal. Once in, we scanned the board and headed over to the counter to check our bags. There’s a billion people in India,so needless to say, no matter what you are doing, there’s hundreds doing it with you. As we inched along the line, an airport employee politely inquired as to which flight we were checking in for. When told Bangalore he responded with “What? Bangalore? That leaves in 55 minutes. You’ll never make it boss. Come with me”. We were escorted to a counter that was closed but had an individual at the computer. Our situation was explained, and after a few exasperated glances at both our assistant and us, our bags were checked. Then it was off to the security line. Our benefactor tried to get us into the first class line. That just resulted in a stern glare and a wave of the hand towards the less privileged lines. So the business class line it was. and again our case was plead. Once our shoes were back on, and all the suspicious camera equipment repacked, it was off to the gate. This was fun as we used our new found friend’s security clearance to run down passageways off limits to less connected passengers. Finally, we arrived at the gate just as the last bus out to the plane was boarding. For this, we thanked our guide and offered a generous tip. Well, we thought. In English, that was more clear than any uttered since our meeting, he said “Are you kidding me? You would never have made this flight” At which point, it became a scene from a comedy sketch. My husband started putting bills one at a time in the palm of his hand until he got the “Okay, that’s good, thanks”. It came out to about $20 which was not bad considering some of the dialogue along the way surely involved side transactions. So on to the bus, on to the plane, the door closed and into the air we went. We arrived late morning, August 5, 2019, in Bangalore, the technology capital of the world. Our American cell phones never worked better.

Upon our arrival, we were picked up by our driver/tour guide for the next 10 days, Anthony. From our experience, he is the best tour guide ever. Our first stop was the Bangalore Palace. Built in 1887 by King Chamaraja Wadiyar, this lavish, Tudor-inspired building is worth a visit.

One of the many sitting rooms with columns, arches, a multitude of crystal and glass chandeliers, furniture upholstered with the finest silk, wooden floors and beautiful natural light.

One of the many sitting rooms with columns, arches, a multitude of crystal and glass chandeliers, furniture upholstered with the finest silk, wooden floors and beautiful natural light.

My husband captured me walkinMy husband captured me walking around the palace around the palace
My husband captured me walking around the palace

After touring this amazing place we headed on a 50 mile drive towards Mysore. Along the way we stopped briefly in Kengeri, where we took photographs of the Panchamukhi Ganesha Temple

Continuing on the road we saw more beautiful temples.

Saw a dedication to Hanumana, the companion to God Rama, and one of the central characters in Ramayana.

Our next stop was our hotel, the beautiful Sandash the prince. After an amazing meal at the hotel, we went to see the light show at the Mysore Palace. Religious artwork, like that above, is found everywhere.

Every night , with the exception of Sundays and holidays, the Mysore palace is illuminated by nearly 100,000 lights for a 45 minute sound and light show.

In the morning we returned to the palace and saw it in a different light.

Beautiful columns line this room with floors so highly polished that they become reflective surfaces

Beautiful columns line this room with floors so highly polished that they become reflective surfaces.

Next stop, the Cathedral of St. Joseph and St. Philomena, Mysore, Karnataka, India

This majestic Neo-Gothic building with 175 ft (53.34 meter) twin spires can be easily seen from a distance. Born in Corfu, Greece, Princess Philomena, patron saint of Children, was martyred at age 13 by Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 3rd century AD. Below the church are her relics. Relics could be remains or personal effects and are required in order for an Orthodox or Catholic church to be consecrated.

Sts Philomena and Joseph cathedral

As we were about to leave I rushed back to the car, grabbed my Sigma telephoto lens and. clicked on this..

This baby Rhesus Macaque is old enough to climb. Like a human baby when it starts climbing, it can get into mischief.

After the church we ascended a very steep hill … Chumundi Hills and saw an interesting shopper

I'll give you an ear of corn... Don't touch the produce .... Bulls are everywhere in India, on the streets, in outdoor markets, and in the countryside. They are quite bold. This young bull is looking for an ear of corn.

Not wanting to wait in the long line to enter the temple proper, we walked around the back and visited the Sri Mahabaleshwara Temple.

Two women walking past the Shri Chamundeshwari Temple.

Of course one of the most prolific primates can not be ignored…

Rhesus “Bonnet” Macaque in the city of Mysore, in the Karnataka region of southern India, with the distinctive cowlick that gives them their name. Comforted by her mother and probably her grandmother or aunt, as a curious young troop member scrambles up to share the love.

Some say these monkeys have adapted to urban life, and some say they bring some of the wild into the urban landscapes of India and south Asia. It seems to be a bit of both in Mysore. The Rhesus Macaque monkey is extremely adaptable and is found in the widest range of any primate other than humans. Within groups of 30 to 150, Rhesus bonds between related females are exceptionally strong.

If you make it to Mysore, you must visit The Brividavan Gardens in the evening. Here are a few reasons why:

A beautiful potted plant in a water fountain

Water streaming behind this member of the cactus family.

The show is so spectacular that a little rain will not stop spectators from waiting at this colorful Waterfountain at Brividavab Gardens.

It's not easy shooting in the Rain (remember the rain gear I talked about in my India blog 1 preface?) But everything is so amazing in this place that it is well worth the effort. We also discovered that just being a foreign tourist was not the only thing that drew attention to us.

The colors and the water are choreographed in a beautiful dance.

Day 9

Like everything we have seen in this country there is so much attention to detail, to design, to aesthetics..

In the morning, after a sumptuous breakfast, before we left Karnataka, we thought, hey...

What is a vacation without a trip to the zoo?

While there are many animals to see in the wild, they can be elusive so in order to make sure you catch one or two, visit a zoo.

The elephant is being gently led by the ear

There were signs everywhere indicating that elephants could be crossing the street. However, this is the first elephant that we saw.

An elephant while docile in a zoo can be a force to be reckoned with in the wild, There is even a story, which people swear is true about a vengeful elephant with a long memory. Apparently, a trainer mistreated this particular elephant at some point. Years later, this guy was making a call from a phone booth along the road when this same elephant was passing through a wooded area nearby. The elephant recognized the guy and ran over and crushed him. Or so the story goes.

A drive through Karnataka brings us to this man and his beautiful sunflower garden.

While on a drive in Karnataka, India this past August, we noticed this field with brilliant orange flowers. Exiting the car, we were able to take in the marvelous scent. As we walked closer we noticed these women picking the aromatic flowers.

cotton plant flower

Sheets, towels, rugs, fabric would not exist as we know them without this plant

Indian cotton, even the flower is pleasing to the eye

A beautiful flower - Canna Lily ???

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Our next stop will be the state of Tamil Nadu

I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit.

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