Friday, January 27, 2012

Snippets of Mysore

The Mysore Palace

Despite one’s age and the years of experience, an official trip could give an unsettled feeling to a person wanting to take time off to make some personal visits. Since my work involved a forenoon session of last Sunday, the afternoon came handy for some brief wanderings in the city of Mysore.

I have always loved Mysore for a variety of reasons. Just like our own Travancore, Mysore too had been a princely state with many exotic aspects attached with it. Paul Brunton, the British mystic and traveler had been a personal friend of Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar the Maharajah who reined Mysore between 1902 and 1940. A scholar and spiritual master, the Maharajah, had been eulogized greatly by Paul Brunton, in the dedication of his book, “The Quest of the Over-self”, through the following words; the clear Hellenic mind of Plato foresaw that, “the world can only be saved if the Kings become Philosophers or if the Philosophers become kings.” The love which everyone in the state bears for you reveals how true those words are!”.  I read this remarkable book three decades back while at the University at the instance of a senior friend, Dr. Mohan who was my room mate in the hostel and who may have now retired as a senior scientist from the ARS- Agricultural Research Service-.  Raja Ravi Varma’s association with the Mysore royalty, Diwan-ship of Sir Albion Rajkumar Banerji of the ICS both in Cochin and Mysore, Khedda-the unique trapping of the wild elephants- etc were subjects of great interest to me.  Besides, the unique palaces and the magnificent zoo attracted visitors to Mysore over the years. Last but not the least, being a foodie, the sumptuous vegetarian dishes of Mysore with succulent accompaniments, have always been a great temptation.

Gandaberunda -The mythological bird with two heads, royal emblem of the Wodeyars-

The Mysore Palace

The majesty of the palace still attracts a lot of visitors local, national and international. Inside one of the halls of the palace, I found a very friendly policeman who came forward to explain certain nuances of a fine painting. As with most of the policemen anywhere over the world in the under-developed and developing countries, he too expected a baksheesh. On my query – not to get caught on the wrong side of the law- as to whether it would be in order if I tip him, he politely replied that I might do it if it pleased me and I readily obliged. Inside the palace photography is not prohibited provided you do it with the help of a mobile phone. You are not allowed to use the Camera inside the Palace.

Horse carriages in front of the palace


Inside the palace

Painting of Jayachamaraja Wodeyar (r.1940-50) on his "thread ceremony day"

The vendor of peacock feathers

Painting of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV inside the palace

Another view of the palace

The Jaganmohan Palace

The place offers more to a connoisseur interested in paintings, objects of art and different antique and royal pieces.  The Raja Ravi Varma gallery where more than a dozen of his paintings are displayed obviously warrants more care. It was appalling to note that paintings like, Jatayu Vadha, Harischandra in Distress and Srikrishna liberating his parents show signs of total neglect with the canvas being torn and unattended.

In front of Jaganmohan Palace

Visit to the house of Mr.A.C.Lakshmana

It was a pleasant experience to call on -at his house- Sri.Lakshmana with whom I had made acquaintance through this blog. He is a senior civil servant retired from the Indian Forest Service as a Secretary to the government of Karnataka. A wise man of great erudition, he is also a good conversationalist. He is keeping himself very busy  attending to his NGO work advising, helping  and guiding the farmers of Periyapatnam and Hunsur  to adopt various practices to increase their yield through scientific farming. In between he has found time in writing his memoirs more like a service story which may be published soon. I have already made a booking for a copy of this book and, knowing him, am sure that it will make great reading.

Mr.A.C.Lakshmana IFS (Rtd)

The cold climate of Mysore is one thing with which you will certainly fall in love. With some warm clothing on, an outing in the evening to one of the local restaurants could be very enjoyable with the accompaniments of some Akki Rotis. You may as well go for the usual Vada Sambar which has some sweet tingling which Mysore only could provide.

Tripunithura, South India.
63rd Republic Day.

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