Mysore is the gateway to weekend getaways from Bangalore. A quick stop to refresh , maybe munch on Mysore masala dosa with coffee and we would be off from the place. It was only recently I got to explore some parts of Mysore though it is one of the popular tourist destinations in South India. We went local and took the least traveled path up to the Chamundi temple.
After a quick breakfast at popular Darshini Nalpak, we started the ascent up the steps. An enthusiast fellow climber who had got us here mentioned that it was a half hour climb! Little did we know nor did we bother to question him!!
Lord Ganesh as always was around at the start to make sure we had a safe climb.A stone toran painted red and white welcomed us towards the worn out steps. One of the first things you notice is that some diligent pilgrim has applied the Kumkum and Turmeric along the top of each of the risers.After the holy start, we were told these steps are close to 300 years old and there are thousand of them. Thousand steps and 30 minutes!! RIGHT!!! and God bless the pilgrim who anointed each of these steps.
The thousand steps turned out to be one of the refreshing hikes I have taken. Refreshing not because it was easy. Mind you, I did Huff and Puff! But because every now and then a vista would open up and we would stand back admire the city below including its sewage farm. The occasionally accessible granite rocks and boulders would let the adventurous leave behind the man made steps and scamper on nature.And of course how can one ignore the bird life. The clicks of the shutter from the group could be heard without a break. Let's not forget this is a path to a temple and trodden by pilgrims. So the thousand steps are intercepted with small shrines and a very big monolith Nandi. The 16' high and 24' long bull is third largest in India and is about 350 years old.
The Mysore place at a distance
Coppersmith Barbet at its nest. Tuk...Tuk...Tuk
One of the many smaller shrines
Nandi -Patroned by Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar (1659–1673)
Finale !! but lo behold there are more steps ahead to reach the temple
The Shri Chamundeshwari temple is one of the 18 Maha shakthi peethas considered to be built in 12th century with the entrance gopuram built in 17th century. The goddess slayed the demon Mahishasura here but he is acknowledged by his statue near the temple. Its is also said that Mysore was once "Mahishasuranaooru" and hence his prominence in this city.
The entrance Gopuram
Mahishasura with cobra in one hand and sword in the other
The tour of Mysore continued with a quick stopover at Karanji kere. The lake next to the zoo has been spruced up and now boasts the largest aviary in India. A not to be missed place to spot the feathered friends both in natural and man made homes. To top our excitement was the beautifully laid out butterfly park. A true Haven for the enthusiast like me. For the others there are boats, bicycles and of course a pair of their own legs to create some memories. A complete package!
Kukkarahalli Lake is one of the 38 important bird areas in Karnataka. An early morning walk along this lake right in the middle of the city and you will know why. As one walks along the well laid out pathway flanked by thick green cover on both sides , the random sighting of birds hidden from the obvious is a feeling of excitement. The constant chirping of birds but none within the sight is a feeling of frustration. And when a grey hornbill perches right in your path a feeling like none other. Mysore is a hidden gem boasting of a number of locations where one can be one with nature and spot some feathered friends. I should stop considering it as just a stop over!
A Morning at Kukarahalli kere
Grey Headed Swamphen
Black headed Ibis
Date: September 2015
Place : Mysore, Karnataka
Tip: Important bird areas http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/userfiles/file/IBAs/AsiaCntryPDFs/India.pdf
First: Aviary in India
The Travel connection:Wherever you go, go with all your heart Confucius