Monday, July 31, 2006

Journey to Mysore: Part One

Drove up to Mysore (130 kms from Bangalore) a couple of days ago. I was very excited about the trip because Mysore is well-known for its beautiful gardens, palaces, shady avenues, sugarcane juice, silk and sandalwood carvings/oil. Enroute, we obeyed the rumblings of our stomach and stopped at "Kamat Lokaruchi" a restaurant nestled among lovely palm trees, a river and other greenery, for a meal from the northern part of Karnataka (the state which hosts the cities of Mysore and Bangalore). Although the jowar roti and eggplant curry are considered specialties, my favorite was the dill herb curry cooked with spices and coconut milk. Lunch was served on green plaintain leaves and I was left licking my fingers long after my meal was consumed.A sweet end to the meal was a delicious dried- fruit ladoo which was whipped out from a cupboard (a rather unusual way to store these sweetmeats, I thought) and later I noticed that the cupboard even had a lock which made me feel like I was truly savoring a very precious delight.

Forgot to mention that the curd and buttermilk served with our lunch was obtained from cows kept on the premises, also, we were served by very pleasant local people dressed in Gandhi caps and dhotis.

The drive to Mysore from Bangalore is a very pleasant one and along the way, if you're so inclined you can stop at various interesting places like, "Ramanagar" well known for its silk cocoon market, the silk from which is woven to make the very famous, Mysore silk saris(picture below). Then there's "Channapatna" famous for its wooden toys; "Mandya" for its sugar mills (infact there are numerous sugarcane fields along the drive) and finally "Srirangapattana" set within and around the ruins of Tipu Sultan's fort.

As we arrived into Mysore, we had a flat tyre , but the gods ensured that it happened just outside a bodywork place, or as they call it in India, a tyre shop. Whilst they were fitting the spare tyre onto our SUV I visited a government school whose gate we had stopped infront of. I requested permission to take a picture of the teacher giving a lesson - the class was filthy, the walls unpainted. The amenities were basic with just a couple of benches (no desks), the kids (grade 6) received all their instruction orally. Primary education is free for children from low-income families and despite the condition of the school, I was happy to see these kids receiving an education.

Just Outside the school was this local couple weaving window blinds (you can see some of the students of the school I visited peeping over their school yard (notice one of the students is barefooted and the other seems to possess just an ordinary pair of rubber flip-flops. None of the students had shoes).

The lady in the picture is wearing a small garland of flowers in her hair and this is a typical hair adornment for most women in the state of Karnataka. The flowers are usually the sweet-smelling jasmine, but I am not sure what the orange flowers are called. She also has the red kum-kum at the parting of her hair which indicates she is a married woman.

Hope you've enjoyed this little trip to Mysore from Bangalore and hope you will stay tuned for pictures from Mysore in part 2.

(Sari pic. courtesy yourmanindia)


Rosemary Esehagu said...

Thanks, Lotus, for sharing this portion of your trip. The food looks delicious!

I think it was nice of you to stop by the government school. You probably already knew what to expect, but for some, your pictures will serve as an eye-opener. Sometimes we do not see how good we have it until we see life on the other side.

The interesting thing is that the students probably don't mind as much as we onlookers do, or at least, they don't see what we see. I bet the students consider themselves lucky to be going to school. This should make us think, shouldn't it? Sometimes, life is about developing the right perspective. With the right perspective, we can stand above almost any obstacle and enjoy life.

Looking forward to part 2.

Angela in Europe said...

Wow, what a great post! I especially love all the pictures. How cool that you are seeing things most people don't get to see. The children in the school are the saddest part.

Dorothy W. said...

What a great trip! thanks for the description.

Grumpy said...

Lotus, hi, you have realy given us a dreat look at this part of India. Hope the rest of your trip is as compeling as this. Please hurrey with part two. Hope the family is well.

paris parfait said...

Sounds like a fabulous journey! Thanks for taking us along through your story and lovely photos.

woman wandering said...

Oh, I loved this ... thanks for posting news of your travels!!

Lotus Reads said...

Lovely to see all your comments, thank you! Am rushing off to what they call, "God's Own Country" (Cochin). Will post again when I return. I miss reading your blogs!

Susan Abraham said...

I had no idea you had filled in a post Lotus, until I saw this by chance. What an avid description of India and a gorgeous picture of that saree.

Guinness_Girl said...

Oh! I love this post, Lotus! It sounds like you are having a wonderful time.

As for the school and the children without shoes - wow.

Beloved dreamer said...

My dearest, miss you so but love your posts and pictures.
Things are so so here. Did not post my last poem. It just brought up bad memories. Hope next poem will be free of problems.
Can't wait till you are home but I know that you are so happy.
Post me when you can.
L.O.L= lot's of love,Melanie : )

hellomelissa said...

thank you for letting us live vicariously through you, your words bring the trip alive, and i'm glad you're taking photos!

miss you much, and hope to "talk" more soon!

Lotus Reads said...

Hello, Rosemary!

Thanks so much for your thought-provoking comment. It's true - it's all about perspective and I do think the children would rather study shoeless and in a small and grungy classroom than not have any school to go to.

Being able to see a school like this was a huge eye-opener for my kids. Like most kids in the west they have grown up with a sense of entitlement which includes having the best education and the best schools. I think they now realize how lucky they really are.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi Angela! Glad you like the pictures. They are not half as good as yours however. I really do need to buy a better camera.

Hi, Dorothy
Hi, Grumpy
Hi, gg and Wandering Woman!

Thank you for following my travels.
I still plan to do a post on Mysore part 2 but I have yet to work on it - it's hard work when you don't have the right camera! :)

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Suse!

Love your new blog - how cheerful it is!

Hi, Beloved!

Miss you, too. Ohhh, do post your new poem - getting all those painful memories out there might just be healing, don't you think?

Hello, Paris-Parfait

How lovely of you to continue to stop by at my blog. Thank you so much!

Hello, Melissa!

Can't wait to return and catch up with all your travels. You seem to be having a splendid summer! Way to go!

Susan in Italy said...

Hi Lotus, What a gorgeous post! Thanks for some inside scoops on this part of India. The food served on a banana leaf looks divine as does the sari. I say if that teacher is a good one those kids will do well despite the dust. Let's hope.