When we last visited Mysore, it was for Mysuru Dasara, an important celebration that brings an extra million or so people to this sweet little city, so we were eager to return at a quieter time. It felt to us, minus the extra million people, a city that could have the feel of Portland — a big enough city that there are always a variety of things to do, but small enough to feel personal and homey. Rachel and Laurence’s visit gave us the perfect opportunity to visit the city at a quieter time. This would be our second stop on our three week vacation, after a visit to a lovely private home in Bokkapuram, so it has a lot to live up to.
It turned in to a weekend of showing Rachel and Laurence some of the things we enjoyed doing on our first visit: we toured the Mysore Palace, walked through the market, went to the temples at the top of Chamundi Hill, dined at some fabulous places, and stayed at Southern Star Hotel (complete with their delicious paid-for-in-the-price-of-the-room breakfast buffet). All of these, minus the million extra people, were far more enjoyable and relaxing and meaningful the second time around.
There were some things that were different. We checked out the Cauvery Arts and Crafts Emporium (very cool). Our dinner at The Royal Orchid (next door to Southern Star) was at the courtyard restaurant Shikari instead of the indoor restaurant Tiger Trail (way more beautiful and way more delicious, but that might be because we remembered to ask for hotter than white people spice). Melissa, Rachel, and Laurence walked up the thousand steps to the top of Chamundi Hill instead of taking the bus up and walking down. Tom thought it was a good idea to get a nasty chest cold, so he spent the one full day in Mysore in bed ordering mediocre room service food. He could have done without that part, but all of the rest of it was just what we hoped.
Mysore is just simply a nice little city that moves at a much nicer pace than we are used to. Now we are off to the coast, Mahabalipuram and its awe-inspiring antiquities.