Now in the south of India, and I’m enjoying the view already, it’s greener down here, if the view from my bus window as I head from Bengaluru airport to Mysuru, the glimpses of rural life from the window intriguing and suggestive. The rice fields and sugar cane grow, the palm trees abound, sheep and goats graze. Many dairy shops selling milk indicate dairy farms. It’s still the same India, with the same obvious visual issues, the same poverty, littering and as always the same road rules.
One of the things Mysuru offered that I appreciated above all others was the pavements, the ability to walk mostly un-accosted, uninterrupted on an actual designated footpath is a luxury I had forgotten. Being able to walk and look somewhere other than the placement of your feet really does lighten the mood, it makes exploring a new place that bit more relaxing.
Central Mysuru has a city layout clearly designed to show off, with a grand palace, many grand buildings, a series of traffic roundabouts in the city centre have splendid gazebo type buildings used to house splendid statues, even the reservedly sized statue of Ghandi is gold, shimmering in the sun like the promise of a modern India he dreamed about.
With a few, slightly aged looking art deco buildings thrown into the architectural mix long, easy to navigate boulevards and excellent marketplaces, Mysuru is a pretty cool place to spend a few days.
At night the modern palace is lit up in a Disney-esque light bulb extravaganza. The sheer size of the palace and volume of lights puts the show well ahead of any OTT Christmas lights I’ve ever seen. By day the splendid palace, set amongst large grounds, is a great example of opulence, fusing colonial and local architecture in many places, with cameras forbidden inside the design features are hard to explain with any detail. The historical design of some parts of the palace gave me a contextual view of opulence and a visual colour palate I can apply to some of the less well preserved buildings I’ve seen elsewhere in India.