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mysore tourism

Travel Yoga

Mysore Diaries – Day #14

December 13, 2015

Today was my second and last ‘led’ class with Saraswathi.  I got there about an hour early and people had already started queuing up.  And as soon as they opened the door all the places were taken in no time.  Led classes are always the same, but since I’ve been practicing for two weeks now, I’m more familiar with the sequence and I feel I’m able to get more out of the class.  Today Saraswathi allowed me to go all the way up to Marichyasana D.  Tomorrow morning is my last class in Mysore and I’m excited that I will go all the way up to Marichyasana D.  I’m happy with the progress I’ve made in the last two weeks, and I’m looking forward to continuing my practice in Bangalore.

We decided to do a bit of sight seeing today since it was a holiday for Sharath’s class.  So at around 8 am 5 of us we headed out to Somnathpur and Tallakad to see the famous temples.  I’ve wanted to see the temples ever since one of my students told me about them and I’m so happy I got a chance to see them today.  And it wasn’t just seeing the place, but going with this particular group of girls that was great.  We were all interested in seeing the temples, taking awesome pictures and having a great day out.  We managed to get to Somnathpur in good time.  It wasn’t too hot, the bathroom was clean and the site wasn’t too crowded.  We even took some yoga pictures!  The Somnathpur temple is beautiful.

The temples at Tallakad seem to be more popular with people, for some reason.  There are a total of 5 temples in the complex, and they are still used by people.  But the Somnathpur temple has beautiful and intricate carvings.  These temples seem unfinished and built for the purpose of regular use, and not so much as a display of art.  Maybe the Somnathpur temple was for the royal family and the Tallakad temples for the commoners who perhaps wouldn’t be able to appreciate art so much.

By the time we finished seeing the first two temples in Tallakad, it was hot and the crowds were surging.  So we found a shady place to eat and then had ice cream while some of us went to take a look at the Cauvery river.

Pictures coming up soon!


Lifestyle Travel Yoga

Mysore Diaries – Day #7

December 6, 2015


Today was my first ‘led’ class.  A led class is basically one in which the teacher leads the entire class through the usual routine.  The class started promptly at 5 am.  As usual, by the time I got to class, most places were taken.  (And I get to class at least 15 minutes early!)  However, I was happy that I found place.  Some people end up practicing in the changing rooms!  The nice thing about a led class is that it allows you to explore asanas that you may not have done in your daily practice.  So I actually went beyond the Parsvaottanasana.  And also, while I haven’t done any of the finishing postures, in today’s class I did quite a few of the closing asanas as well.  I’m assuming that I will be able to practice all the ‘new’ asanas in tomorrow’s practice session.

Sharath and Saraswathi have different off days.  While mine was yesterday, a bunch of students had their off day today.  So a lot of people were in the weekend mood.  And where does that mood take you to in Mysore?  To the palace of course, to see the lights.  The last time I saw the palace lit up was 10 years ago.  Over the years I’ve tried to plan day trips form Bangalore to see the lights, but somehow the trips never materialized.  I was really eager to see the palace lit up (for some reason more eager to see it lit up, than during the day).  For some reason I had assumed that it would be really crowded and noisy.  I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t too crowded.  We were able to walk around without having to elbow through a crowd and were able to see the palace from different angles.  And we took the obligatory pictures.

After the palace we headed to Mylari, a dosa place which I’ve only just heard of, but which is very popular.  They only have plain and masala dosa on the menu (Rs. 35).  The dosas were fresh, soft and delicious.


Incidentally, Mylari closes at 8 pm, but our cab was on its way at about 8.10 pm.  When we suggested that we wait outside, the owner and the waiters told us that it’s ok if we wait inside.  We decided to find out a bit more about Mysore from the owner.  We found out that Mylari has been around for 75 years and is named after the man who started it.  Currently there are 2 Myalri hotels in Mysore.

Remembering my quest for RK Narayan’s house, I asked the young owner of Mylari if he knew where it was.  He seemed taken aback by the question and said he doesn’t know.  Well, at least he knew who RK Narayan was.  When I asked him if he knew who Shri Pattabhi Jois was he said he didn’t!



I simply love the colors in this photograph.

Lifestyle Travel Yoga

Mysore Diaries – Day #6

December 5, 2015

Can you spot me?

I came to Mysore for the first time on July 25th 2005 for the coveted Infosys training.  Little did I know that I would be back on Dec 1st 2015 to train at the prestigious KPJAYI.  In fact, in 2005 we were a bunch of trainee software engineers who thought Mysore was about masala dosa, the Mysore palace, Chamundi hills, and of course Infy.  It seems inconceivable to me now that I didn’t know that yogis from all over the world were converging to this sleepy town…and that Shri K Pattabhi Jois was also in the city!  I tell myself that everything happens in its own good time, but that’s small comfort.

In 2005 I didn’t know about the Jaganmohan palace.  Why it caught my attention this time is its large collection of paintings and artefacts, including paintings by Raja Ravi Varma.  Also, the Wodeyars (the Mysore royals) used this palace while the Mysore Palace was being built (their old palace had burned down).


And strangely enough, there is a yoga connection too.  In the Yoga Makaranda I read that the Ashtanga yoga classes were conducted on the grounds of the Jaganmohan palace before moving to the Mysore Palace and then to the current location (Gokulam 3rd Stage).  While walking around the palace I tried visualizing how it would look without the commercial enterprises that have sprung up all around it (sari shops, food stalls, souvenir shops).  Basically trying to visualize how T. Krishnamacharya would have seen this place when he was teaching.  How a young Shri KP Jois and BKS Iyengar would have seen it.


The palace hasn’t been maintained very well, but I wasn’t expecting otherwise.  There seems to be no order in which the artefacts and paintings have been placed.  There is hardly any security and no security cameras.  In fact, if someone really wanted to, they could actually walk out with a small cup or dagger.  The brass and copper items such as ashtrays and decorative plates are in wooden display cases with cheap metal padlocks on them.  I’m sure these locks are easy to pick.  There are no metal detectors at the entrance of the art gallery.  They did ask us if we had cameras and asked us to deposit our phones only because they spotted them.  No one checked our bags.

On the ground floor there are old pictures of coronations and durbars, which I really liked.  I wish we could’ve had a better look at these photos.  Some photos are placed at an angle where you can hardly see them.  The first floor had paintings by several painters, including ‘Lady with the Lamp’ by Haldenkar.  This painting is definitely awesome, but I wish they had done something about the lighting.  The surface of the paintings reflected the light, making it difficult to see the details.  I crib for I was there only for the paintings!!! In fact, I had to squint a lot and walk back and forth in front of the Ravi Varma paintings until I was finally satisfied.

The Ravi Varma paintings that stand out in my mind are called ‘Draupathi’ (I think they meant ‘Draupadi’) and ‘Galaxy of Women’.  The woman in ‘Draupadi’ is depicted in a beautifully draped pink sari with a golden border.  Her hair is loose.  In one hand she holds a brass plate with a small jug on it, and with the other hand she appears to be wiping away her tears with her pallu.  She is climbing down the steps of a large stone structure (temple? palace?).  I love the way the sari seems to blaze forth in the largely muted background.

The ‘Galaxy of Women’ shows a bunch of women, every single one of them dressed differently.  Each is wearing different styles of jewelry (even their nose rings are different!), and different styles of clothing (there’s an English woman among them too!).  Some of them are playing instruments, some are standing and some are seated.  The detail that stands out in this painting for me is the rug.  You can actually see the folds and creases on the rug beneath the women.  This little detail seems to bring the women to life.

Once done with the palace, Alexa and I decided to walk around a bit to see if we could find a place to grab a bite.  I’ve been missing south Indian food a lot so I was looking forward to dosa.  A receptionist in one of the hotels pointed us to the Raj Bhavan hotel and we had a nice lunch there.


Now I’m wondering how to track down RK Narayan’s house ….