After a few restive days in Bangalore, I caught a train southeast to Mysore in Karnataka State. Mysore quickly became a favorite place for me. It is an ancient city, one of the “Princely States” separate from British rule and ruled by a powerful maharajah family who saw to it that the people were well taken care of. There is a legacy of royal heritage that permeates the city. It is cosmopolitan and friendly. It smells of sandalwood and incense. The city is famous for yoga, the center of learning of the Ashtanga method and attracts thousands of international students every year to either practice or take teacher certification. The center of the yoga universe here is in the residential suburb of Gokulam, which is where I stayed. I must say that my lodging and my hosts there were the best of my entire trip so far. The house was large, tasteful and comfortable. My hosts treated me as a VIP from beginning to end and really won my heart. The food in Gokulam was great and pure-veg restaurants were plentiful. I extended my stay by several days and still did not want to leave.
Mysore Palace is arguably the #1 tourist highlight in Mysore. It is considered to be one of the grandest of all of India’s royal buildings. It was and still is the home of the Wodeyar maharajahs, as well as the former seat of government. The interior is incredibly beautiful with stained glass, mirrors, bright colors, carved wood, mosaic floors and more – alas, no cameras allowed inside. Here is the exterior.