Day 9 – 15th December
Double beds, hot showers, buffet breakfast, 2 sets of cutlery either side (not sure what to do); we had gone from rags to riches in the space of 12 hours, (or what felt like riches at the time.)
Mysuru- Chamundi Hill
The last day of the trip. A temple tour, cocktails at 9pm, (free-bar), a flight at 2am, it was going to be a long day and I was going to have to restrain myself from experiencing the true benefits of unlimited alcohol this time around. Nick and David on the other hand (flying at a reasonable time the following morning), could go the distance.
The morning entailed packing, breakfast, and a short trip to Chamundi Hill. Aaaand you guessed, OK Google, the temple is named after the Goddess Chamundi where the Chamundeshwari Temple is located on the top of the hill. Apparently, the main hill features an ancient stone stairway of 1,080 leading to the top, but fortunately for us, Google came into play after this discovery, leading us instead to enjoy a smooth uphill car journey to the top. The journey to the sumit took around 30 minutes, and had many scenic viewpoints of Mysore city along the way.
The temple has a great backstory of Indian Mythology behind it. Heres my half adequate attempt. (Google only slightly coming into play this time). The temple was named after Chamundeshwari or Durga, (a Goddess demon) who is in reverence by Mysore Maharajas for killing Mahishasura; an out of control ruler. After being granted the wish of immortality (no man could kill him), a female could, and this was Durga. The battle is said to have taken place on top of Chumandi Hill for 10 days, the battle of good over evil. After the defeat, the Goddess, was named as Mahishasuramardini, ‘the killer of Mahishasura.’ The battle is celebrated as the festival of Dasara all over India today.
The temple was free, and the queue to get in really showed it too. Having been overloaded with sightseeing the day before, we were much less eager to join. We then visited a small temple at the side of the temple seeing that it was queue-less. Throwing ourselves into what we would soon find to be a tourist trap, we were given a red fabric band, (to be put around our wrists, a red dot printed on our foreheads, and red dust (an offering) to sprinkle onto a candle-lit table. The red dot; a symbol of luck for the journey ahead, the red-band; a happy life; it was a common ritual in the Hinduism and meaning varied depending on where in India. Google says that the red dot in a woman signifies a ‘woman’s commitment to a man’ but I’m not too sure if this applies for either of us. We were then given a brief history on the Temple (as what was mentioned above) and then pretty much forced to empty our pockets at the end. Nicely done.
Still, it was a good tour, and we looked very culturally engaged by the end of it.
After taking advantage of the viewpoints on the way down, we then ventured to Mysore Palace, a 30 minute drive away.
OK Google.. Mysore palace is a historical palace and the official seat of the Kingdom of Mysore and the residence of the Wadiyar Dynasty (the local Zamindar people that ruled the Kingdom from 1799- 1950) The palace right in the centre of Mysore, commonly known as the ‘City of Palaces’ with there being 7 in total. The palace is now the second most visited tourist attractions in India; the Taj Mahal being the first.
The palace was beautiful. The queue to get in wasn’t; the closest thing what it feels to visit the Vatican, only India’s equivalent. Costing a measly 50 IRN, we were in for a treat. The interior and furnishings were lavish and a lot of the palace was open to the public. We decided against hiring a tour guide for the reason being, we’d been ‘temple-d out’ so to say- or in this case, ‘palace-d out;’ preferring instead to go at own pace.
After our 2-3 hour tour of Mysore Palace had come to an end, we sat down, had ice-cream, watched a few camel rides, and prepared ourselves for our very last car journey to Bangalore.
Mysore to Bangalore (3 hours)
A 3-hour car journey and we arrived, checked in to our hotel, (not that I was staying anyhow) showered and made our way to the Shangri-La-Hotel for a cocktail party, specifically organised for the ‘drinkers’ (us lot). With a concierge on entry, tall ceilings, the biggest Christmas tree you’ve ever seen and guests walking in dressed up to the nines, I suddenly started envisaging that dress that would have been ideal for the occasion had I the baggage allowance.
After greeting Nam and Sid on the terrace, making use of the free-bar, and shaking hands with more of Nam’s friends, we took the opportunity to thank them for their hospitality and a happy future together. After being friends with Nam for 4 years (despite our 8 year age gap) and learning so much from her (independence being the biggest key to success) it was here that it really hit home that Nam was married; an overwhelming sense of happiness for her; as if I’d seen her grow some how.
Meanwhile after a few drinks and confidence boost bringing me to announce to my Instagram followers (not that my Following/ Followers ratio permits me to say such a thing) my farewell to India and my departure to Taiwan.
A final farewell, a few hugs, thankfully no tears, it was time to leave. Having drank three double Bacardi’s and lemonade in 45 minutes, and feeling much more relaxed than anticipated, I walked to my taxi thankful to have checked in beforehand.
All set in the airport, check in and security complete, I sat there thinking a) how lucky I was to have experienced India in its true form b) how great it feels to turn up into an airport wearing heels and a full face of make-up; like a Sex and the City doll.
India was a ball.