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Exploring Mysuru: Part one

Updated: May 9, 2021

Mysore (locally known as Mysuru) is a charming city and a perfect place to base yourself to see as much of South India culture as possible with relatively short journeys to more rural towns, conservation parks, exquisite temples and the beautiful mountains. As always the trick is knowing where to look! While there, I got to know some fantastic locals who live on the outskirts of the city and know EVERYTHING you need to know to get the most out of your time there. Tuktuks are found everywhere but here they call them “autos”, as in auto rickshaws. Something to remember is that often, especially in cities like this, there is what I call the local price and the tourist price so haggling is very common*. In Mysuru, I met Lokesh. Lokesh is an auto driver who is very honest, trustworthy and made drives in a traditionally bumpy swervy vehicle very comfortable and enjoyable at the local price. He has the ability to create an itinery for you off the top of his head as long as he’s not too booked up! People like Lokesh give you the chance to see both the typical tourist places and the hidden gems. He’d drop us off wherever we liked, let us go off and do our thing at no rush and he’d be there waiting to take us back to the hotel or another stop. I’d highly recommend The Green Hotel, where he is often found driving for the people staying there.

The biggest attraction and the main reason I took my mum here is the big and beautiful Mysore Palace. With Temple-like walls hugging the lovely gardens before reaching the grand building, it is a spectacle designed by English Architect, Henry Irwin, for the Maharaja. Every Sunday night and bank holiday at 7pm the whole sight is illuminated by the 97,000 light bulbs that cover the Palace and its walls. It’s STUNNING and the atmosphere is so welcoming and uplifting. Thousands of people crowd into the open area between the gardens and the palace and wait for the big moment, trying not to look away in case they miss it. You’ll see a few people arriving an hour or more early so they have a good spot to sit and watch, I wondered if they were having picnics because I like that idea! The lights are illuminated for an hour so you can still see it if you’re late and enjoy the views walking around the gardens. We timed our trip just to see it light up, and I’m so glad we did! If you’re planning a trip to Mysore, this is something you shouldn’t miss!

*TOP TIP: Don’t be afraid to question a driver’s price! If you look like a tourist it is most likely drivers will try to charge you a higher rate than normal before you know better, so don’t be fooled! Either ask around about prices or ask trustworthy hotel staff once you arrive, everywhere is different! I surprised my mum as well as myself when I started negotiating with our first driver in South India, I suddenly realised I clocked onto this from my months in the Philippines without even thinking about it!


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