A road to remember: Bangalore to Mysore is a hassle-free drive with many scenic spots on the way


Bangalore to Mysore is an easy journey with a toddler. Well, easy may be relative for some but for me, an avid traveler not hesitant in stringing along the baby, this was an easy ride. I mean, in recent years I have learnt to appreciate baby years; yank the bottle, make the milk, soothe the child and press on the accelerator. Hell, you don’t even need to stop for a diaper change. The backseat of the car works just fine. With a toddler with tantrums ranging from poop stops in stinky bathrooms to pit stops for play areas with a bit of food, gurgled down, to travelling with a million cars, crayons and toys and yet holding on them for dear life in a speeding car, it takes mammoth patience to not tear every single graying hair.

So yes, Bangalore to Mysore, a mere 150 kms is a breeze of a ride. Not just for the beautifully stretched roads, but also for the scores of food joints, that spoils one for choices. But I will get to that in just a while.

So with two elderly people and a half sleepy toddler, we started early. We had 2 days of the weekend and we wanted to make the most of it. Every travelogue told us that we were to reach our destination in 4 hours. They also mentioned scores of places on the way to see.

Ramanagaram had some stunning boulder hills, but in a distance.

But we had our sights clear and our only stop for breakfast and coffee was at A2B just before Kamath. It is a new place, very efficient and with great food choices. We loved it because it had a play area!!! A break of close to an hour and we were on our way again.

Everyone told us that we would cross Chenapatna and I for one was super excited. As someone extremely found of artifacts, I was intrigued and excited at the prospect of finding a town that makes wooden toys. But I was left hugely disappointed! So would you, if you thought you could stop and shop. The town passes by in a drift, with no visible signs of any shops. So desperate I was that I made a pit stop at a small almost obscure shop, with trinkets and made my peace buying a second grade, wooden kitchen set for my boy.

Our next stop was Sringapatnam. It is a must see heritage town. Tipu Sultan’s magnificent capital is a river island, surrounded by the river Kaveri from all sides. The Indo-Islamic culture architecture of this place is evidence to an empire that flourished under Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan’s efficient regime. Sringapatam was a powerful seat of culture during Tipu’s regime. Many decisive battles were fought here including the last that martyred Tipu Sultan, who is buried here, betrayed by one of his own. Sringapatnam is a pilgrimage of the South. The Ranganathan temple is thronged by tourists, night and day.

We didn’t go to the temple. Although I managed to read enough about Mysore, none of the travelogue mentioned Ranganathan temple. It is only after I returned with my curiosity piqued of the Wodeyar Dynasty and Tipu Sultan’s rule that I started reading and discovered this piece of information. So that goes in my bucket list of reasons for yet another Mysore visit.

We drove past the decapitating walled city of Sringapatnam that was hustling and bustling with people. For a town with so much history, the quick recee of palace, tombstone was dissatisfying to say the least, but with a hungry toddler and cramped leg room and the hot sun blazing, we had little option, but to trudge along ahead. With a promise to the guide to return soon, we made our way out of Sringapatna and towards Mysore.

Needless to say, you don’t reach Mysore in 4 hours. Those who do, either don’t get traffic, or travel alone or cruise. And, here is another caveat. The Sringapatna town is on the right hand side of the main highway. We missed it three times. With no visible signage on the main road, relying on GPS was the only option that misled us thrice. My advice… Ask the locals.

The other place we were told that we would cross was the Shivasamudra Falls. We did ask for directions at a petrol pump. We were told that it was 75 kms off course, so we decided to abandon it, atleast for this leg of the journey.

A quick shower followed by a lunch and we were off at 3:00 pm for a Mysore Palace visit. A short buggy ride, some quick photographs and we were left standing outside the Mysore Palace.

Truly magnificent and spectacular are two words that come to mind, in describing this architectural marvel, of Indo- Saracenic style, a blend of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic styles. Surrounded by large gardens, this new structure was designed by Henry Irwin, an Englishmen, after the old structure was burnt down. The palace faces the Chamundi Hills as the rulers were devotees of the Goddess.

Beautiful landscaping, stunning architecture, but like all places in India, crowds, so overwhelming that the need to see the architectural marvel is circumvented by thoughts for ones near and dears safety. Once inside on a museum trip there is no going back, the crowd jostles you into room after room, down corridors and in narrow alleys. Travelling with two elderly and a toddler, with no elbow room can be intimidating, even frightening when encountering narrows steep steps, but we survived.

The Palace is long and once inside, one cannot step out. There seems to be only one way in and out and if there are toddlers surely there is a lot of carrying that one has to do in the place. It is not disabled friendly, for that matter it isn’t elderly friendly too, with its many steps. Plan a trip wisely, perhaps early morning is a better deal or a weekday.

After an exhausting trip and an over enthusiastic rickshaw driver, we made it back to our hotel, not far from the Palace. Not one to miss out on time, we quickly scurried the net, for things to do. A sound and light was our thing for the evening. Ofcourse we remember our person in Sringapatna, who has mentioned a sound and light show.

A careful debate followed. Should we see the sound and light show at the Mysore Palace or forsake that to travel 20 kms back to Sringapatnam. Tipu’s feat pushed us for the latter. So again we all piled in, my ever patient toddler, not knowing what lay in store. I remember preparing my little one for the show, that he was to see, babbling like excited school children, reminiscing the TV serial- Sword of Tipu Sultan. Back in those days, we didn’t have debates on Hindu and Muslim rulers; we just knew of valiant rulers and their contribution to fight the British rule in India.

The 7.15 show time beckoned and we sped our way to Sringapatnam. We arrived to a lone guard and an empty space. Sitting tight in our car, a window rolled down, I gently asked the guard of the show timings.  He said, if I was interested, he would start the show? But the show was in Kannada.

Dumbfounded and spaced out, we made our way out. With no person in sight, a show in Kannada, we didn’t want to risk anything. Disappointed is a relative term, I was heart-broken. My journey was planned to accompany my in-laws visiting Bangalore, almost cancelled cause I was carrying the fever germ, popping pills at intervals of 5 hours, exhausted and dead, yet enthusiastic enough to travel 20 kms extra,  only to learn of a defunct show. Why on earth did the travelogue not mention that? The articles I read on the show in Hindu and elsewhere, surely they should have mentioned that.

Also Karnataka State Government, who do you think will go to see a show on Tipu Sultan in Kannada? I mean I am all for supporting the mother tongue, but how on earth will one raise footfall, in the light of thousands of non-Kannada speaking tourists visiting the area. How? How?

We made it back to Mysore, only to see the last of the lights of the illuminated palace.

Everywhere I read, Mysore is a weekend trip, but a weekend doesn’t do justice to the sights in and around to visit. We wanted to visit the Mysore Zoo, but long queue, heat and different age groups, meant forgoing some. We wanted to see the Brindavan gardens, but we didn’t have time. So we decided to visit the Chamundi Temple.

A decent drive up to the hill, fresh air, winding roads and we were at the Temple parking. If you have a child who gets mountain sickness like mine, then do go slow. We made two short stops. Ornate and beautifully carved in gold, the temple is a marvel. We walked up to the steps of this magnificent abode of god, only to give up going inside. The line was serpentine and given my father in laws bad back and mother in laws accident affected leg; we decided not to be brave. Disappointed, yes big time!

The journey out from the temple to the parking lot is teeming with small shops, selling all kinds of cheap toys. Needless to say, my toddlers bawling continued, till we satiated it with another cheap substitute of kitchen accessories.

The journey home was now re-planned. We decided that since nothing much had come from the trip, an extra 75 kms could perhaps be the saving grace. The mighty Shivasamudra could well become the highlight of this visit. So off we went, GPS being our lone guide.

A diversion through some hills and what seemed to be a canal marked the entry to Shivasamudra. This route different from the main Mysore road had no restaurants and by 1 pm, my bladder was badly complaining. A lame signboard marked a hotel that seemed nowhere to be seen. We trudged along through what seemed to be an embankment road.

The hotel in sight, we stopped to break. As I made a beeline for the restroom, my mother in law stuck a conversation with the hotel staff. She asked them about the falls, only to be taken outside. There in front of us, was well a waterfall. The mighty Shivasamudra was trickling down a hill. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. I asked three other people. Immensely dissatisfied, I decided to go for a walk and explore. Sure enough, Shivasamudra was a tourist spot; adjacent to the hotel, with a viewing area, with some vendors competing to sell tender coconut water. I looked for the falls, truly wanting to enjoy its magnanimity, at least imagined, but couldn’t.

The way back home was beautiful, particularly the Ramanagaram rocks that we found so close up. I was etching to get off the car and take some shots, but well, another time.

Much wiser, my next trip will surely be better.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top