I got up at 6.30 in the hotel room and got ready for Mysore. Just near the hotel people were playing nice folk music and I recorded a video:
It was half an hour drive and we reached Mysore. The first spot we selected was Chamundi hills. It is located at a distance of 13 kms from Mysore. Its average elevation is 1,000 meters. Legend has it that that the demon Mahishasura, the king of the area that is currently Mysore, was killed by the Goddess Chamundeswari (also Chamundi) after a fierce battle. The hills hence got their name and a temple of the goddess was built on the top. Driving in hills took some time and we reached the temple around 9 am. The temple is huge and it’s so beautiful:
The goddess is also known as Mahishasura Mardini meaning She who slayed Mahishasura. The temple has a very beautiful idol of the goddess wearing a garland of skulls. Inside the temple I took two packets of prasad for Rs. 80. Outside the temple there are various stalls where wooden articles are sold. I bought a nice wooden pen stand for Rs. 50. Before leaving I took a nice shot of Mahishasura:
While going down we found a board, where it was written “Nandi 2 kms”. So I turned my bike and we went to that place. We found a large monolithic statue of Nandi, the Bull. Nandi is the vahana (Vehicle) of Lord Shiva.
Just near Nandi there was an ancient Cave Shiva Temple:
While returning I took a nice shot of Mysore city from the top of the hills:
For more photos of Chamundi Hills, click here.
When we reached down we found a diversion, which read “Lalitha Mahal”. Well, we thought it might be a palace but it turned out to be a hotel. It was a shimmering white palace – a splendid Italianate palazzo, double columned and domed – set in sprawling terraced and landscaped gardens. It was built by the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore to host his most important guest, the Viceroy of India. The Lalitha Mahal is now one of India’s most opulent hotels, a palace hotel that offers an experience of princely living in a real Maharaja’s palace. Set on a ridge commanding a panoramic view of the gently sloping and curving valley, at the foot of the Chamundi hill, this dream-like palace was built in the year 1931 for special guests of the Maharajas. The building is a majestic, two-story composition of twin ionic columns, a projecting porch on the ground floor, spherical domes with lanterns and the central dome, which dominates the elevation.
For one more photo of Lalitha Mahal, click here.
Then, we went to Karanji Lake, which is owned by the Mysore Zoo Authority. The total area of Karanji Lake is 90 hectares. While water spread area is about 55 hectares, the foreshore area measures about 35 hectares. Karanji Lake is surrounded by a nature park consisting of a butterfly park and a walk-through aviary. This aviary is the biggest walk-through aviary in India. The entry fee is Rs. 10 per person. There was an option for boating but we were more interested in the aviary. An aviary is a large enclosure for confining birds. Unlike cages, aviaries allow birds a larger living space where they can fly; hence, aviaries are also sometimes known as flight cages. Aviaries often contain plants and shrubbery to stimulate a natural environment. We found many birds like Guinea fowl, Jungle fowl, Peacocks and Geese. But, the unique thing was this White peacock:
That was the first time I saw a White Peacock. There were lots of peacocks over there and I took some nice shots:
The next thing to watch out for was these Indian Sarus Cranes( Grus antigone )
We were watching all these birds and suddenly something happened which a nature lover dreams of. Wow, a peacock spread his wings and started dancing. It is believed that they dance in the rainy season and to impress a peahen. It was a wonderful view and I took some nice shots:
I quickly adjusted in the camera in Movie mode and took this video:
We were very lucky and this was really a treat to watch. Then, we moved to the other side where it was written “Butterfly Park” and an arrow was placed. We walked and walked and it was nearly 2 kms away. Finally we reached there. The butterfly park has been created on a small island within the Karanji Lake. To go to the butterfly park one has to cross a bridge. I took a nice shot of Karanji Lake from the bridge:
About 45 species of butterflies have been identified here. That’s one them:
For more photos of Karanji Lake, click here.
Some more videos of Karanji Lake:
After a nice time in Karanji Lake we moved to the next spot, St. Philomena’s Church.