Sunday, February 3, 2008

Adventure 6: Mysore

This morning we left at around 8:00 for Mysore. Mysore is a beautiful city about 2 and a half hours driving from Bangalore. (Or at least from Ashwin Mama’s house). We left with the idea of seeing Tippu Sultan’s palace and fort, and Mysore Palace. Again, our ride there was the classic Indian car ride. It was Ashwin Mama driving, his son Utsav and I in the front seat (Utsav was in my lap), and Mom, Nani, Bhavna Mami (Ashwin Mama’s wife), and Stuti in the back seat. When we got there, our first stop was Tippu Sultan’s palace. Now, Tippu Sultan was a great person in Indian history. When the British were invading India in the late 1700’s, he held his ground for a really long time and even captured one of the generals of the British army. But unfortunately the British had better weapons and more manpower in the end, so they eventually captured and killed Tippu Sultan. Now, I think it’s really funny that Tippu’s parents named him Tippu. It’s such a hilarious name! Imagine being a parent and having a kid, and then being like, “I think we’ll name him… TIPPU!!” That somehow doesn’t click so well in my head, but that’s ok… It clicked well enough for his parents. We examined the palace, which was a beautiful structure, with amazing grounds around it. I was amazed at the intricacies of the paintings and the still-bright hue of the colors that were painted there maybe 250 years ago! They survived storms, rain, sun, whatever. Another amazing thing about this palace is that it is entirely made out of wood. Think about that: for 250 years, neither did this wood rot, nor did it burn, or anything. How is this possible? In those days, they used to use certain oils to coat their wood before using it in construction, so that it would not rot and it would not burn. However, this method turned out to be very expensive, so sometime in between then and about 100 years ago they stopped doing that, and therefore we can now see the remains of burnt buildings from less than 100 years ago. But Tippu’s palace remains. In this palace is now a museum, and in the museum they explain that this was actually Tippu’s summer home. What a life this guy had!! The museum also displayed weapons that were actually used in the battles where Tippu held his ground. I was in awe of the fact that the guns and swords displayed there had actually killed people, and the color on them was not due to rust but due to blood. Sickening, right? But I was also compellingly intrigued…


Next we went to Tippu’s fort. This is an amazing area: the entire city is walled, protected by about 50 feet of stone, except for the gates. But each entrance has two gates that you must pass to get into the fort. Once we were inside, we took a drive around to see what it was like. There was a mosque and a temple (interestingly, before the British messed stuff up for India, Muslims and Hindus lived in peace with each other. And before THAT, there were only what are now known as Hindus, but I’ll get into the history of India later) and many other interesting monuments. This included a run-down mini-palace where Tippu used to actually stay, and also the place where Tippu Sultan’s body was found after his death. When we got out of his fort, we went to the place where his whole ancestry was buried. It was interesting, but I cannot place the emotion that I felt at that time. It was a mix between sadness for what happened to Tippu, but at the same time, a kind of awe that his whole legacy had been saved.


We stopped for lunch at an amazing restaurant whose name I can no longer remember, but there I ordered a “South Indian Thali” and it was amazing. Our final stop was Mysore Palace. When we got there I was not expecting much, but when I actually saw the palace grounds, and the palace itself, I was just speechless. THIS is the way kings used to live before! It is a massive structure, I can’t put a number on it, but many tens of thousands of square feet (that does not include the grounds or the temples that surround the palace). My mom and I went inside for a tour (a huge part of the palace is now a museum/tourist location, but a royal family still lives in a little part of it). And when I say huge, I mean most of the palace, but when I say little, I mean bigger than any of our homes in America. It’s a real, full-sized, KING-sized palace! In the tour, we were guided through maybe 20 or 30 different rooms/halls with different purposes, and a huge chunk of the palace that we were not even able to go to, which included guest rooms, halls, and whatever else. We got to see a lot of the artifacts that were in use by the inhabitants of that time. How beautifully constructed this place was, I can hardly say. But there were like 4 or 5 floors, each of which was at least 15 or more feet high, and some of the halls were at least 20 or 25 feet high! I can hardly say what I mean in words. If I lived in that palace, I could have spent years just exploring the place!! We saw a main dining hall (or so mom and I surmised) and many other random halls, the main outdoor court, which was just beautiful. I took pictures but they are on my mom’s camera, so when I get access to them I’ll put them up as well. Or when my mom puts them up I’ll share the link. When 6:00 PM came, it was time to leave. We headed back home and when we arrived I was too tired to really do anything… but still in awe of the trip we had just made.

1 comment:

mary said...

hehe oh varun this is late.... but just reading back over this post and laughing... when i visited uncle and auntie joshi last year this time, their daughter madhavi had just had a baby girl, and we called her chicu ...also a funny name.. AH i miss laughing with you!!! =) stay well