Thursday, July 24, 2008

An Evening in Veli Tourist Village

During my recent visit to Thiruvananthapuram, I was keen to visit Veli Tourist Village.

Veli Tourist Home is located amidst the lush green coconut groves and backwaters of Thiruvananthapuram, in the Veli Tourist Village, bordered by the Arabian Sea and the Veli Lagoon. It is a great picnic spot, with a beautiful garden and facilities for water sports.

There is also a waterfront park which has a floating bridge that connects to the Shanghumukham Beach.

The Veli Tourist Village is the place where the lake merges with the Arabian sea. The lagoon here is separated from the sea by a narrow sand bar.

It is a nice place for tourists with young children to spend an afternoon. There are lots for the kids to do. Children can also enjoy a horse ride.

Thiruvananthapuram Airport is just 3 kms away, and the railway station is just 8 kms away.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Weekend Trip to Mysore

On the early morning of a Saturday we reached Badami House at Bangalore to board the KSTDC tourist bus to Mysore. There were few other buses also ready to proceed to different tourist destinations. Sharp at 7.15 a.m. our Volvo bus, began its journey through the "not-so-crowded" roads (because of the time) towards its destination Mysore, located 140 kms away. Among the tourists, there were many domestic and international tourists as 'first-timers' to experience the well known "City of Palaces" and many repeated visitors like me. The weather was extremely pleasant and hence our journey was enjoyable.

By 9.30 a.m. we stopped for our breakfast at "Hanchina Mane Restaurant" at Somanahalli.
Our next stop was at historic town Srirangapatna. It was the capital of Mysore rulers Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, popularly known as Mysore Tiger.

(Chamundeswari Temple)

(Music Fountain)

See the people trying to capture it in their mobile camera.

(Hotel Mayura Hoysala)

Dariya Daulath Bagh

We stopped at Srirangapatana to see Dariya Daulath Bagh, the summer palace of Tipu Sultan, built in 1784. With an entry fee we entered the palace. It was built mainly in wood, except the supporting pillars. Then we passed through the ruined Fort, the Gumbaz (Tipu's Mausoleum), and then the spot where Tipu Sultan was found dead, and the 9th century Ranganatha Swamy Temple, on the Bank of River Cauvery.

After a brief stop there, we proceeded towards Mysore, the cultural capital of Karnataka. We visited the colossal St.Philomina's Church, designed by French architects. It is built in Goetic architecture in 1933 and the French made beautiful stained glass windows overlook the apse, showing main events in the life of Christ. The imposing twin towered Church has a height of 175 feet, and it is one of the largest churches in the country and the only one of its kind in this part of the world.

There was Mysore Silk Emporium, and many tourists visited there, we too bought few saris which we felt are definitely cheaper than Bangalore. After our lunch at Mayura Hotel Hoysala we proceeded to see Mysore Palace.

Mysore Palace
Mysore was the glorious capital of the Wodeyar Kings. Maharaja's Palace is the focal point at Mysore, located in the heart of the city. Camera was not allowed inside the palace, and it was to be deposited in the Camera Deposit Counter. To enter inside the magnificent palace, the footwares to be removed. There was a lot to see in the three-storied royal palace, built in Indo-Sarcenic style of architecture, with domes, turrets, arches and collonades, and decorated with Hoysala style carvings. The Durbar Hall is highly impressive.

We couldn't see the illuminated palace, which was done only on Sundays, holidays and during Dasara.

Entry fee Rs.20/-

Chamundi Hill

Our next journey was to Chamundi Hill, on the outskirt of the city, located at a height of 1065 meters above sea level, and about 800 feet above Mysore city standing as the crown of Mysore. On the top of the hill is Chamundeswari Temple. Goddess Chamundeswari is an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi, who killed the demon king Mahishasura. Close to the temple, there is a gigantic statue of the demon king.

There are some more temples in the hill. Standing on the hill, the panoramic view of the city of Mysore is beautiful. On our way down, there is a huge monolithic statue of Nandi bull, vehicle of Lord Shiva. It is one of the seven important Nandi sculptures of the country.

From the city, buses and taxis are available to Chamundi Hills. The auspicious days to visit the temple are Tuesdays, Fridays and during Dasserha.

Our next destination was Brindavan Garden, set on the banks of Krishnarajasagar Dam built across River Cauvery. It is one of the best gardens in South India, and about 20kms away from Mysore. The Garden is well planned and well maintained, and spread over 150 acres of land. The major attraction here is the Illuminated Musical Fountains dancing on the tune of music, which makes you feel like in a fairy land. This is a great tourist attraction. These musical fountains have spectacular harmony of colors, music and water. Every day, the spectacular show starts at 7 p.m. Entry fee Rs.25/-, Camera fee Rs.50/- and Video camera fee Rs.100/-

(Hotel Hanchena Mane)
(Daria Daulath Bagh)

(St.Philomina's Church)
(Mysore Palace)

We had no time to see other interesting attractions of Mysore - Mysore Zoo, Art Gallery, Lalitha Mahal Palace which is now converted into a luxury hotel, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, and Karanji Lake etc. May be able to make it some other time.....!