Ticket to Mysore

Mysore has been one of those places which I dreamt of visiting after hearing a lot about its weather and culture.

I had to force myself to go alone for this trip since most of my close circle had already visited Mysore. One fine day, I just sat with my laptop and started to list the places that I can look around. TripAdvisor was a great help indeed. So my itinerary included the following places:

  1. Railway Museum
  2. Ambavilas Palace
  3. Wax Museum
  4. Sand Museum
  5. Chamundi Hills
  6. Bonsai gardens at Avadhoota Datta Peetham

I wanted this to be a slightly different experience. I chose to go by train and use a printed map instead of Google.

August 20th Morning 6 AM I started my expedition. To my disappointment, the metro service was not available until 8:30 AM on Sunday and I had to opt for an auto-rickshaw to reach the railway station. My other time-plan was intact and I boarded the 7 AM local to Mysore as expected. The journey is about 3hours and the ticket fare is dirt-cheap.

I was welcomed by the hot and Fragrant Madur Vade on my way and I didn’t leave any chance to take a bite while sipping a hot cup of coffee.

Maddur Vada

As per the plan, I visited the Railway Museum and saw some amazing collection of rail engines and relevant artifacts. Referring to the printed map was a bit tedious initially, but the little Gulliver me was more confident to conquer this huge city of Mysore.

After enjoying a delicious breakfast, I decided to take a walk to Ambavilas Palace. The journey was quite long, but the experience was pleasant since there were hardly any vehicles on the way. I was mesmerized when I had the first look at the gigantic Ambavilas Palace. The first part was the house where the royal family once stayed. The huge collection of paintings had a life-like finish which was catching everyone’s attention. The palace is an architectural beauty by itself. Huge halls, detailed paintings, wooden artifacts, tall pillars were giving it the royal look it deserved.

Without waiting further, I took an auto-rickshaw to Wax-museum. To my disappointment, the place was more of an exhibition of musical instruments instead of the detailed wax statues. However one of the staff mentioned that all the wax statues are made by a single person and he is more passionate towards collecting the musical instruments.

The sand museum is just a 10 minutes walk from the wax museum. Though not made of sand completely, the sculptures here had an innovative theme. The models there varied from religion to Disney creatures.

Since my plan was in such a way that the places were connected, I just had to come out of the Sand Museum and catch a bus to Chamundi Temple since I was already in the foothill. The ticket cost is nominal and the Volvo service by RTC makes the journey smooth. I was right on time for the pooja at the Chamundi Temple followed by a sumptuous meal. One can get a spectacular view of the city from the hilltop and the weather was just right after a small drizzle.

I decided to get down the hill by footsteps where I can visit the famous Nandi statue and reach to the other side of the city where my last destination was located.

The Avadhoota Datta Peetham is about a Kilometer from the foothills of Chamundi where the steps begin. The Bonsai garden here was to be open at 3:30 PM. The collection of trees there were just amazing and one of the watchmen over there was kind enough to take me around.

They suggested me to have a look at Shuka Vana a parrot Sanctuary which was the right opposite. Though this was not in my initial plan, I didn’t regret the visit to a home of Parrots and Macaw. Both the Bonsai garden and Shuka Vana have a nominal entry fee and worth a visit when in Mysore. They even have a museum called Vishwam which has a huge collection of interesting artifacts.

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Mysore was a memorable experience indeed!

31 minutes on Namma Metro

Here is my first-hand experience of NammaMetro on the first day after the launch of the complete reach 1. To my disappointment, the gates were open for public only from evening 4 PM, but it didn’t stop me from giving it a shot for a one way trip from Indiranagar to Jayanagar.

I am one of those travelers who makes use of both Green & Purple lines for my journey with an interchange at Majestic metro station. For my luck, it was less crowded from Indiranagar to Majestic since it is the route available for long and saw the most co-passengers at the Majestic station who wanted to try the newly opened Green line. The metro was welcomed by hundreds of flashes and countless smiles who were relieved of the traffic hassles.

My journey started at 5:30 PM from Indiranagar station which is just a 5-minute walk from my work jnaapti. I was excited about this for almost a month and had my metro card ready almost a week before. The fare-chart showed ₹38 to Jayanagar station. Got my seat in the first coach after boarding the metro from the 2nd platform and it took 16 minutes for me to reach Majestic station. The metro to Jayanagar was leaving from the 4th platform which dropped me off at the Jayanagar station at sharp 6:01 PM.

The canopy on green-line makes it a best fit for the name and the 15% concession for using the metro card came as a surprise when I saw ₹32.3 being deducted while exiting. 31 minutes from Indiranagar to Jayanagar is a boon for any commuter and kudos to NammaMetro team for this amazing gift to citizens of Bengaluru.

Quick tips:

  • Catch the last coach from Indiranagar if you are traveling to Jayanagar, since the way to platform 4 at Majestic station is towards the end of the platform
  • Get a metro card which can save your time standing in queue for token and grab the 15% discount on each travel
  • You can top-up the card online, making it a complete cashless travel

Ticket to Channapatna

Every soul needs a trip, a solo trip. It’s just to find the endless possibilities.  One such trip I had been was to Channapatna.

It was one of those days where I just had to stop my brain from its routine and explore something different. “How about a visit to a vineyard ?” said the inner me. Ok! I am a teetotaler, and this was a really unusual experience.

To my luck, found the Heritage Vineyard near Channapatna which was also the city of toys. I prepared my checklist with the following:

  1. Wine Tour at Heritage vineyard
  2. Grape Stomping
  3. Visit Jaaanapada Loka

My journey on April 16th started at 7:00 AM. It was a 72km ride to Heritage Vineyard. The sight of various toy shops was a pleasant view. The first town Bidadi soon after Bangalore is famous for its Thatte-Idli. I had planned to skip this one and try a millet-dosa since I am not a big fan of Idli.

The vineyard was welcoming and I was the first one to be there. Got my tickets for the wine tour and grape stomping. The tour guide had a lot of interesting facts to share about the variety of grapes, the concept of wine tasting. The factory was smaller than expected and it was not operational since it was a Sunday.  He showed the complete set of stages where first the grapes are first washed, crushed (with the stem), fermented with a controlled temperature and finally bottled. I got to taste around 5 variety of wines including the ones made from pineapple and berries. The stomping experience was fun. I’m sure it’s not an experience for a solo traveler though.

This entire activity of stamping had made me damn hungry. I picked up some famous wooden toys from Chennapatna as a souvenir and left in search of a tummylicious food. Kamat Upachar near Ramnagar was the best choice with North Karnata Rotti Meals.

The next destination was the Jaanapada Loka where a variety of artifacts were exhibited related folk arts of various parts of Karnataka. It’s a must visit place if you are on the way to Chennapatna. Haven’t seen such a beautiful representation of information and culture before.

Overall, a doable trip for anyone with a day in hand and to pack some memories to munch in the future!

Ticket to Dodda Aladamara & Machanbele Dam

When I heard about this 100+ year old tree ( some say it is more than 300), it reminded me of the  ‘Three-eyed Ravan” from GOT!

It was Sunday morning when I packed my backpack to visit this giant tree.

Around a 30km journey from Bangalore and around 9km off Mysore road.

The main tree is actually dead and the roots are spread in more than an acre of ground.

Despite not being a professional rider, I could keep up good speeds on the NICE road. Took around 60 minutes for me to reach there.

Once you exit from Mysore road, the road keeps your eyes busy with the nursery of colorful plants on both sides till the destination.

The place is well maintained and one can visit any time of the day. If you are a bird-watcher, early mornings are the best sights. Rest of the day, you can be happy watching the monkeys!! They are smart here, so beware.

Picked-up a plant on my way from the nursery as a souvenir.

Another place on the route ahead is Machanbele Dam. A must see place if you enjoy scenic views. Though one cannot go near water, you can enjoy views of the massive collection of water and ‘Savanadurga’ in the background!

Overall, a short getaway from Bengaluru with a fulfilling experience of nature!