After Karanji Lake we moved to our next spot St. Philomena’s Church. Located in the north of the city, on Cathedral Road, is St. Philomena’s Church, among the most majestic churches in India. It was constructed in 1956 using a Neo Gothic style and its architecture was inspired by the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The twin spires of the Cathedral, 175 feet in height, are seen from miles around making it a distinctive city landmark. The main hall or nave of the cathedral can seat up to 800 people and is as exquisitely conceived as the ornately crafted exterior with beautiful stained glass windows depicting scenes from the birth of Christ, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ. Initially a small church stood on the grounds given by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in 1840. He gave the plot to build a church when a need for a Christian church was felt in 1799 when the capital of Mysore state was moved from Srirangapatanam to Mysore city and many British officers and soldiers came and settled here. In 1933, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (the grandson of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III) laid the foundation of a new larger church. It was designed by a French architect and was again remodeled and completed under the Mysore Bishop, Rene Feuga’s supervision. It is the same church where the Amitabh Bachchan starrer movie Amar Akbar Anthony was shot.
For more photos of St. Philomena’s Church, click here.
Then, we moved to Shri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens a.k.a Mysore Zoo. Mysore Zoo is one of the oldest and most popular zoos in Southern India. Located on the outskirts of Mysore, the zoo is home to a wide range of wild species. The official name for the zoo is Shri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, though it is known commonly by its shortened name. Mysore Zoo is one of the city’s most popular attractions. It was established under royal patronage in 1892, making it one of the oldest zoos in the world. It was created by Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar. While the Zoo had been found on just 10 acres, now it is expanded to 250 acres right in the center of Mysore. This is the only zoo in India to have a Gorilla. Just after entering the zoo we saw 4 Giraffes. Well, that was the first time I ever saw a Giraffe. Here are some details about Giraffe: The Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant. Males can be 4.8 to 5.5 meters (16 to 18 feet) tall and weigh up to 1,700 kilograms (3,800 pounds).
There were lots of birds in the zoo, but after watching aviary in Karanji Lake I was not interested in watching the caged birds. Check out this sleeping tiger:
Then, I found a Chimpanzee, wow, he was sitting in the tree and thinking 🙂
The next was Polo, the male Gorilla. Incidentally, Polo is the only Gorilla exhibited in any zoo in India.
After that was an amazing creature Tapir. Tapirs (pronounced as “ta-pier”) are large browsing mammals, roughly pig-like in shape, with short, prehensile snouts. They inhabit jungle and forest regions of South America, Central America, and Southeast Asia. All four species of tapir are classified as endangered or vulnerable.
The next big thing was Gaur. The Gaur is a large, dark-coated bovine animal of South Asia and Southeast Asia. They are the heaviest and most powerful of all wild cattle. The biggest populations are found today in India. It is also called seladang or in context with safari tourism Indian bison, although this is technically incorrect. The gaur is the largest species of wild cattle, bigger even than the Cape Buffalo, water buffalo and Bison. Males have a highly muscular body, with a distinctive dorsal ridge and a large dewlap, forming a very powerful appearance. Females are substantially smaller, and their dorsal ridge and dewlaps are less developed. Check out this one, he’s so muscular, looks like he spends most of his time in gym 🙂
After that we saw an Ostrich like bird, Emu. The Emu(Dromaius novaehollandiae) is the largest bird native to Australia and the only extant member of the genus Dromaius. It is also the second-largest extant bird in the world by height, after its ratite relative, the ostrich. The soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds reach up to 2 m (6.5 ft) in height.
Then, I saw some white deers. It was a strange thing. I assumed that they were from polar region just like white bear, but there was altogether a different story. These were the albinistic variant of Fallow Deer (Dama dama). Albinism (from Latin albus, “white”; see extended etymology) is a form of hypopigmentary congenital disorder, characterized by a partial (in hypomelanism, also known as hypomelanosis) or total (amelanism or amelanosis) lack of melanin pigment in the eyes, skin and hair (or more rarely the eyes alone).
The next one was a huge lizard called the Water Monitor Lizard. The Water monitor, Varanus salvator is a member of the monitor lizard family. They are large lizards growing up to 3 meters (9.8 ft) in length, but most adults are 1.5 meters (4.9 ft) long at most. Maximum weight of Varanus salvator can be over 75 kg, but most are half that size. Their body is muscular with a long powerful tail.
For more photos of Shri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens or Mysore Zoo, click here.
Well, if you are a wild life freak, I would seriously recommend this zoo as you may see some of the animals which are somewhat impossible to locate in a National Park. I have been visiting a lot of zoos in India but the animals like Giraffe, Chimpanzee, Gorilla, Tapir, Emu, White fallow deers, and Water Monitor Lizard are unique for a zoo and it is the first time I ever saw these animals. Of course I saw many of them in TV but watching them live is a different experience. Alright, we were done with the zoo and were coming out and suddenly our camera battery got down. Well, that was a terrible thing, as we wanted to check out a few more places in Mysore like Railway Museum and Mysore palace. After driving for two days I was a bit tired so we thought of going back to Bangalore and cover these places some other time. It was 4 pm and we were so involved in the trip that we forgot about the lunch. But, when the adventure got over we were back in our senses and realized the hunger. We rushed to a dhaba in Bangalore Mysore Highway. I ordered chicken kebabs, butter chicken and tandoori roti along with coke. After a nice lunch we started for Bangalore. It was 5.30 pm and I thought of covering the maximum distance before dark. So I drove at the speed of 80-90 kms/hr and we took the first break near Ramnagaram at 6.45 pm. We had some tea and relaxed for a bit as Bangalore is just 50 kms. from Ramnagaram. After that I drove at a moderate speed of 60-70 kms/hr and we reached Bangalore at 8 pm.