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Friday, 01 January 2016

Mysore, India - Page 3

Written by Richard Taylor
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The ticket allows for visits inside the palace and having doffed shoes and cameras (they’re definitely restricted inside) one enters through the Gombe Thotti (Doll Pavilion) and the palace interior, divided into halls and pavilions:  Doll, Marriage, Durbar et al, is as ornate as the exterior is spare (for an Indian palace that is, these things are relative).  Along with what is uniquely Indian, there are international contributions as well:  Stained glass from Belgium, Italian marble, iron pillars from Scotland.

I imagine a fair bit of sneering reverse snobbery wells up during these tours – “I’ve come to India for the authentic bovine/mahatma/sitar thing – didn’t travel all this way for Belgian glass.”

In any case a photographic memory is required, or a deft hand at phone camera subterfuge.  Or one can buy postcards. 

 

The next day I walked east.  There wasn’t much in that direction except the railway station but it’s worth a visit.  A handsome structure, washed in azalea tones that suggest Jaipur and surrounded by greenery and fine landscaping, it’s as attractive as the bus stations are dire.  However, the City Bus Stand (as stations are called), is advantageously more central than the railway station, more central indeed than the Central Bus Stand, braced between the palace and Mysore’s mix of shops modern and traditional, from shiny pots, electronics and Bata shoes to spices, bangles, incense and the city’s famous sandalwood.  Devaraja Market is the must-see, one of India’s most colorful and photogenic (market shots are usually ‘keepers’ from any country, unless one has a penchant for tent spikes or piles of rind – and even then).  Among the jungle of bananas and flower garlands, the real eye catchers are the vivid mounds of kumkum powders, used for body painting and sold in neat packets for a hundred rupees.  I had assumed at first they were spices until one artistic vendor put me wise. 

Mysore7

“Here sir, I show you.”

He took a fine brush, dipped in the bright red and went about it with the care of a Japanese watercolor.  It was the second time I’d been painted in India, although the last had been more basic - a little old lady had dotted my forehead outside a temple in Hampi.  In Mysore I left Devaraja Market with red artwork on my right hand.  Walking back to the hotel, the symbol was garnering a lot of stares and raised eyebrows.  Had the artist played some mischief on me?  I tried to pull my hand into my sleeve (try that with a polo shirt), and finally slid the hand into my trouser pocket.  I thought of my snarly arrival two nights ago and kept smiling politely.  Mysore had grown on me certainly.  I suppose I wanted to make a better second impression too.

 

 

©Richard Taylor

 

 

 

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Last modified on Friday, 01 January 2016

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