a gathering place for the words, images and momentos of the world of adventures i've adventured, the stories i've wandered through. curriculum bella vita...a resume, of sorts, of the good life.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Palatial Mysore

Once-mighty Mysore is a great weekend destination. The stately city of one million is just the right size; the relatively broad, relatively leafy streets don’t feel too crowded. The city is the capital of the State of Karnataka in designation only, it’s downright sleepy compared to bustling Bangalore two hours away.

The city is best known the impressive 19th-century palace that forms the heart of the city. No visit’s complete without gawking at the the grand foyer and the durbar halls. The smaller Jaganmohan Palace is a nice museum, too. The city’s little outdoor market is a fun and wildly photogenic diversion. And the city offers a great hill for climbing and a zoo for strolling.

The city boasts quite a few nice mid-range hotels. For less than $100, it’s hard to beat the Windflower Resort, tucked behind the racecourse, a 10-minute, 50-rupee autorickshaw ride from the city center. Great cabana restaurant, nice pool and peaceful ambiance.

 From Hyderabad, overnight buses are the most convenient option. Expect a 12-hour journey, either on a private line or on a state-run coach. Semi-sleepers are about $20 and not uncomfortable. Full Sleepers are about $25 and a pretty darn easy way to travel. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Time in the Tamil N

Madurai - A classic temple town, with three huge pyramids of stacked statutes, stretched high into the Southern sky. Sundays aren't very crowded, meaning you can explore the temple square and the neighborhood in relative peace...you'll be pleasantly surprised to see the basics of urban planning! the airport is nice and new, or else the temple is an easy 15 minute walk from the train station (featuring only one turn).  a really, really fantastic resort option in a calm corner of the city? Heritage Madurai. Rooms are luxurious, and not a bad price at all.

Kodaikanal - I've been to some incredibly scenic places in my day, but stepping out into the hill station of Kodai makes you want to get right back into the car...the scenic drive up to the town is far better than the destination. In short, it's dirty, crowded and not so peaceful. Sure the temperature's nice, but the lake's been trashed, it just  makes you a bit wistful. Obnoxious cars ruin what might otherwise be a pleasant walk around the lake. Bryant Park trends toward pretty. But there aren't restaurants or shops or cultural events of note. Middling hotels. Ugh. If push comes to shove and you HAVE to go, stay somewhere as far from the town itself as possible.