My solo trip to Mysore, the city of palaces and perfumes

I travelled to Mysore from Mumbai as a solo woman traveller for the first time in December 2016. I have always travelled with friends and family but never alone. But this time I wanted some time off for myself. So I decided to go on a short trip to Mysore on my own. I always wanted to visit Mysore and I chose this destination also because it is one of the safest cities in our country. As a woman traveller, safety should be paramount along with exclusive experience. Mysore promised me to give all of that. Moreover, it is a magnificent city which holds a big chunk of our history and has always been on my wander list. So I quickly booked 2 nights at Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel and my flight tickets to Bangalore from where I took a bus to Mysore.

Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel Mysore, Palace Hotel, Mysore

Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel Mysore

I was planning to book an overnight bus from Mumbai which leaves at 2 in the afternoon and reaches Mysore at 9 am. I was planning to leave on a Friday afternoon so that I could reach Mysore Saturday morning. It would have given me ample of time to explore the city over the weekend. But last minute program changes forced me to take a flight to Bangalore on Saturday morning instead. From there, I travelled in a KSRTC Flybus to Mysore. It runs every 2 hours and is a comfortable ride of 4 hours one way. So, I was in Mysore by Saturday afternoon. I took a prepaid auto to my hotel. The prepaid auto stand is right outside the bus stand.

I quickly checked into my hotel, grabbed a bite and went out to explore the city. My first point of exploration was St Philomena’s Church, a beautiful gothic structure which can give competition to many European churches. Unfortunately,  it was under renovation so I couldn’t see it completely. But I was glad to visit it for sure. The nearby area also has mosques and temples and it was a good example of religious tolerance in our country.

mysore, mysuru church, church, St Philomena church

St Philomena’s Church

From there I visited the Mysore Silk Factory and Mysore Sandalwood Oil Factory. These are closed on a Sunday and are open till 5 in the evening on other days. The entry is free and the tour is very knowledgeable. I learnt a great deal about the process of extracting silk from a silkworm and oil from sandalwood tree bark. A must visit if you are interested to explore the famous things of Mysore city. Later, I tried Mysore Bonda and Mysore Dosa from Nalpak. Needless to say, it was extremely delicious.

I also visited Devaraja Market in the evening to see the famous Adil and Azam brothers who deal in perfume oils. They are always busy with foreign tourists but took out time to explain to me the various benefits of the perfume oils. Paid Rs 100 for 10 ml for each bottle of oil which will last me a lifetime. The oils are brilliant. Their shop is in the alley selling coconuts. Beautiful experience if you want to explore local market and buy reasonable incense sticks and perfume oils. Adil speaks many languages and claims to have incense sticks that burn for an hour. Gave me a few samples too.

Adil and Azam, Mysore, perfume oils, devaraja market

Later in the evening I decided to visit Brindavan Gardens which is approximately 25 kms away from the city. Uber and Ola do not operate there. Autos are not allowed to go so you need to hire a private taxi. The taxi charged me Rs 800 for the to and fro ride from the city. But when I reached there, I felt that all the trouble of reaching the garden was not worth it. I have witnessed better gardens around the world. The musical fountain show was average. So all those who are planning to visit Brindavan Gardens should go there with very low expectations. Over the weekend, the place is over crowded and you have no space to move. I suggest to visit it on a weekday instead. I came back to my hotel and crashed as I was extremely tired. You can see a video about my trip to Mysore here.

The next day I hired a local auto who decided to take me around the city by meter. His incentive was to take me to sandalwood oil and silk shopping which anyway I was planning to do. Autos in Mysore are notorious for over charging unsuspecting travelers. But thankfully my autowalah was a decent guy. He also took me to Guru Sweet Mart, a small corner shop to buy authentic Mysore Pak which is no where close to what we eat and like. Natraj, owner of the shop is a descendant of the royal chef who invented Mysore Pak. I bought some Mysore Pak for home. A piece of history brought back with me, literally.

I started my journey by visiting Chamundi Hills the next day. It hosts the famous Chamundeshwari temple and the giant Nandi. On my way back I also visited a quaint little museum of sand sculptures. It was pretty interesting. I was done with it within 20 minutes. I skipped the Mysore zoo but have heard that it boasts of some very exotic collection of animals. I went to Jaganmohan Palace instead which has a huge artifacts collection from Mysore kings and royalties as well as paintings by Raja Ravi Verma. It has hand painted wall paper which is pretty impressive for that era. Post that I went to the Railway Museum that exhibits a bespoke carriage used by the queen of Mysore and her entourage.

And my last stop was the magnificent Lakshmi Villas or the Mysore Palace. It is truly astounding from inside as well as outside. Luckily, I was there over the weekend and the palace is lit up between 7 pm to 7:45 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Royal musicians perform classical music after the palace is lit up. The palace is over crowded during the weekends. You will be pushed along the crowd and will not be able to see each and everything properly. But the glimpse inside the royal palace makes it worth your time. So much of opulence and beauty. Once outside, you can explore the huge palace grounds and wait with baited breath for it to go all twinkle twinkle. It houses the famous Lakshmi temple where you can offer puja after 6 pm. The paintings on the temple wall are story based and colorful. You must not miss them. It looks truly amazing. I was elated to see the Mysore palace, one of the best in our country.

Mysore palace, Amba villas, Lakshmi villas, beautiful palaces of India

Mysore Palace during sunset

mysore palace, trip to mysore, solo woman traveller, Karnataka tourism

Mysore Palace at night

I came back to my hotel Lalitha Mahal Palace by 8:30 pm and decided to go for their royal thali. I couldn’t finish all the food but got a glimpse into the gluttony of the royalties. Next morning I stayed inside the hotel exploring their beautiful suites and hotel grounds. I also took a ride on their royal carriage. Post lunch I started for Bangalore on a Flybus. Reached Kempegowda Airport on time and took a flight to Mumbai. All I can say is that this trip was very adventurous and educational as well as it boosted my confidence to do more solo trips in the future.

Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, Mysore

Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, on the vintage carriage like a queen or may be not so much

Have you ever been on a solo trip? Do leave me your recommendations for my next trip in the comments section.

About MumbaiGloss

Parimita Chakravorty is an author, blogger, features writer and a communications specialist. She has written for various popular magazines and websites related to beauty, fashion, jewellery and lifestyle, including HAIR India, Femina.in, BeBeautiful.in, Hello, etc. She has also contributed to various youth blogs and magazines. Her book ‘Look Stunning At Any Size’ has been well appreciated and received by the readers. Currently, she is part of India’s leading IT brand and takes care of their internal communications. Parimita is also working towards bringing awareness about Endometriosis in India; a silent epidemic which is consuming a lot of lives. She manages a page ‘Endometriosis India Files’ where patients discuss their condition and diagnosis.
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