Mysore Trip Travelogue (Jan 2014)

I am a bit late in updating this here. We did a road trip after a long while. With the wife’s neck pain (well, the other pain – not me!), we have been mostly traveling by train and not really done any vacationing for a bit now. So we wanted to do something where we could go somewhere nearby and also somewhere where we can just go and ‘vegetate’ and relax.

Windflower Resorts

I had heard about this resort chain a while ago, and have heard that this is a great place. And there was a deal going on for their 3 days 2 nights package. The only catch here was that, you need to pay upfront the whole money. And there were cancellation penalties etc. But we had heard enough good things about the place that we decided to take the risk.

The time

We planned the trip right after New Years. We wanted quiet relaxation. So we had planned Jan 2/3/4. Nice and cool for Mysore. Mysore can get pretty hot in the summers.

The Onward Journey

The road is pretty good in terms of quality. From Koramangala, we started earlly around 530AM. Our intention was to head towards Hosur Road and take the Electronic City Ramp into the NICE road. Unfortunately because of the dark, we missed the entry ramp. We did realize this quickly though. So there was a bit of a delay here – about 20 minutes. But once on the NICE road, it was a breeze until Mysore Road exit. Worth the Rs.90 toll. The Mysore road exit takes you just past Kengeri. I was like Wow. That is sweet. No BSK. No Mysore Road junction. No Metro work progress. And No Kengeri. The rest of the journey is characterized by continuous random successions of these three incidents:

  • large speed bumps (good quality ones, but large)
  • small towns – 6-7 of them, in quick succession and all going through the town.
  • two-wheelers whenever you neared a town, which was everywhere.

So, basically, you would go dodging two wheelers to clearing a town to slowly inching up to a 100 kmph, and then you would site a bump, and slow down and back to dodging two wheelers ! This was how the journey was all through from Kengeri to entering Mysore.

Kamat Loka Ruchi was breakfast stop at 7AM. Steaming hot dosa/idlis/puris. It was not too crowded at 7AM. It can get pretty crowded as the day progresses.

Back on the road, we were on the outskirts of Mysore around 9ish. Our check-in time to the resort was 12 Noon. So we had decided to head to the zoo. This was planned. And so, I had already purchased entry tickets, parking permit, and the electric buggy tickets – all online. This was the nearest I came to Planning Nirvana. What more can you ask for. No standing in the ticket line after driving for 3 hours. The site advises you to take two copies print out of the tickets. When you enter, you show the two copies. One of them gets taken away and they stamp up the tickets for you on the other one.

We headed straight for the buggy ride. This is super convenient, especially if you are travelling with a kid. We have had bad experiences in Hyderabad Zoo, where my kid basically flat out refused to move unless carried – in the middle of the zoo, and we had to lug him everywhere. The buggy ride is a one hour guided tour of the zoo. The driver stops at all the main attractions so that you can get out, see the animals, take photos etc.

We found the mysore zoo to be one of the most clean and interesting zoos that we had visited. Wow. So many giraffes. Hippos. Rhinos. Cheetahs. Elephants. Yep. I was as excited as my 4 year old son.

zoo1  zoo2 zoo3

zoo4 zoo5 zoo6


It was still only 1030AM. We tried requesting to check-in into the resort – which is pretty close to the zoo. Unfortunately they did not have any early check-outs and the reception person said, they could get us in only at Noon. So we asked if there were anything else that we could see nearby. And we were informed about Karanji park


Unfortunately we did not take too many pictures here. Go here for some pictures.

Karanji park is basically a large lake, and a small lake front park. The lake is pretty big, and there is a boating facility. So we did that. And the park is a childrens park, which is very nicely maintained. So my kid had a blast for about an hour there.

We then returned back to the resort (which is about 5 min drive from Karanji park). And we were shown to our rooms.

The resort and the rooms

We loved the resort. Nice resortish feel when you get in itself. A large open open to air reception. Life size chess. A long artificial water body with artificial palms and coconut trees on both sides to give it a tropical feel. There are two rows of suites/rooms on both sides of the water body. The premium studios have a water front facing facade.There are a dozen ducks that keep wandering here and there – this provided quite a bit of amusement for my son. The screeching parakeet in the reception area is another attraction.

There is a small sit out and deck chairs facing the water. The rooms are well appointed. NIce wooden flooring. Big four poster bed. Wooden paneling. Nice luxury bathrooms.

resort8 resort6 resort7

resort5 resort4 resort3


The restaurant and the food

There is a central restaurant which you can walk to for food. The deal that I got gave me Rs. 1500 of resort credits that you could use, including food. Breakfast is free. Stick to the south Indian breakfast. The North Indian breakfast was terrible.

The regular a’la carte food (both in restaurant and room-service) was very good. The only drawback being it took forever for the food to come. It was so bad that after the second day, we ordered the starter from the room half hour earlier and then went in, so that we wouldnt need to wait. It was really that bad.Food quality was good though. And I would venture to say that, compared to some of the Bangalore restaurants, food is cheaper too. Stuff like hot/warm milk is available for room service 24 hours – this is info for families taking kids with them.


We did not want to travel too much. The second day, at the insistence of my son, who was in no mood to relax, we had to head out somewhere. So we went to the “Mall of Mysore”, a mall which had opened very recently. This is pretty close to the resort. Very typical mall. Nothing spectacular to see here. The next day, again, we had to head out, and this time we headed into town to the Cauvery Emporium, and bought our mandatory purchase of wooden key chains and agarbathi holder !



Return was an uneventful journey. We left around 10ish. Check out is 11AM. We had a hearty breakfast at the resort itself. So by the time we hit Ramanagara (Kamat Loka Ruchi) at 12 Noon, we were just about hungry. Had sumptuous North Karnataka Jollada Roti meal. We were back home by just before 5PM. And this was because of traffic closer home.

Good trip on the whole. Relaxing for the most part. Highly recommend Windflower. They are a tad bit expensive – so keep a look out for their deals on their website. They have deals like spring deal, winter deal, summer deal etc. I have heard good things about their other resorts in Bandipur, Coorg, Pondicherry, and Wayanad. Hope to visit them some time later.

Hope this travelogue has been useful to you. If you have any questions, ask them in the comments, I will try to answer them as best as I can.

Road-trip report … continued

We reached Sterling Elk Hill around noon. The location of this resort is amazing. Near the city center but not too real. It is on top of a hill (Elk Hill?) which overlooks the bus stand. So it is about a half hour walk (or 10 min drive) down the hill to reach the bus stand. The resort has some beautiful rooms. The one that we had was a deluxe suite. It had a living room, with an attached dining table and a kitchenette, and an adjoining bedroom. I personally liked the rooms. The rooms are a little old, and show a little ageing, in terms of plaster etc, but very comfortable. They had a room heater, which we could use. What more do you want ? Good clean bed, clean bathroom, neat sheets, and a room heater!. (Yes, it was pretty cold in Ooty/Coonoor – sub 10 deg cel).


We stayed in Ooty for 2 days. Both R and me had already seen the sights in Ooty. So the first day, we did not do anything. We just chilled in the hotel room. The biggest mistake we did that day, was to have dinner at Sterling. One point of advise – avoid the food here. Very substandard fare. It is not unpallatable or anything ; but if avoidable, nothing better to have a better holiday. The next day, we took the car for a spin around the Ooty lake. The lake is huge, and the road is lonely at points. All in all, a nice drive. Had lunch at the Cafe at Hotel Nahar (Charing Cross). They have excellent wood-fired pizza. Delectable. Brilliant. Both R and me are big fans of pizza, and this pizza tasted great. We then did some shopping/mindless wandering around Charing Cross area. Went to Khadi, bought some stuff etc. Then in the evening, again went for a walk. The pizza was so good, that for dinner, we went to Nahar too. They have a North Indian restaurant at the back. Decent food. Went back to the room and crashed for the night.

Wood fired pizza at the Coffee Shop in Nahar, Charing Cross, Ooty
Wood fired pizza at the Coffee Shop in Nahar, Charing Cross, Ooty

We left early for Coonoor the next day morning. The road to Coonoor from Ooty passes through Charing Cross. So we thought we would have a quick breakfast at Preethi Palace (a hotel recommended by the Concierge at Sterling). Again, please avoid this place – Preethi Palace. Very shabby place. The tables are not even cleaned when people get off. And the food sucks. Anyways, after that bad gasstronomic experience, we headed down the awsome Ooty-Coonoor highway – this is a national highway, and the road quality is something that matches international standards. However, having said that, I hated this road. Why ? you ask. When the moron drivers in our country see good roads, they dont kick back and settle down for a nice drive ; they put on their F1 race car helmets. Why ? Why ? The buses and lorries, and ofcourse the tourist Indicas/Sumos/Qualis/Innovas become rakshasaas on the road. And this was relatively early in the morning. We reached Coonoor at around 10AM ; and checked in to Velan Ritz in Upper Coonoor, one of our favourite places. Despite the slighty ageing interiors of the rooms, the location of the hotel is the best ; and the staff are very helpful and nice.

We stayed the full day that day in Coonoor – walked around mindlessly. Coonoor is a place which is perfect for mindless walking. Awesome climate, nice people, nice winding mountain roads, fresh chill air. We started our journey back early the next day. Grudgingly I drove that stretch between Coonoor to Ooty on the national highway. We had breakfast at the Garden restaurant at Nahar (we completed all three restaurants in Nahar with this – and yes, the food here is also good. Traditional South Indian breakfast of Idly/Dosa/Vada). I had already decided to take the shorter Masinagudi route down to the plains. I did not want to take the smooth national highway. I dont like big trucks/buses overtaking me on curves in the hills. The Masinagudi route was so peaceful. Saw so many spotted dear near the road.

Masinagudi route between Ooty and Bandipur
Masinagudi route between Ooty and Bandipur

Down on the plain, we crossed Theppakadu, Mudumalai, Bandipur – we were making good speed, since the traffic was low. Then the dreaded no-road stretch arrived after Bandipur. Midway through this no-road stretch, we saw this arch which said – Himavad Gopalaswamy temple. We had heard of this temple from Ombalan (at the Secret Ivory). On a sudden whimsical decision, I swung the car into this road (yes there is a road). It is about 11 km from the main road, and about 7km of it is steep ghat section. Just before the ghat section, there is a forest department checkpost.  The temple (as the name suggests) is of Lord Krishna.

Himavad Gopalaswamy Temple (image: wikipedia)

Very pretty nice tall statue of standing Krishna, playing the flute. He has the snake (naagam) over his head. It is around 700 yrs old. The temple is a regular temple – no cave etc ; but the miracle here is that, from somewhere, there is water trickling down above the God throughout the year. The pujari takes some of that water with this finger and sprinkles on you. Interesting. From the top of the hill, you can practically see the whole Bandipur/Mudumalai forest all around you. Great view. By the time, we finished the dharshan, it was about 11:30ish. We raced back to the no-road stretch, and thankfully covered it fast, and continued racing towards Mysore – we wanted to catch Chamundi dharshan as well.

Palace gates, Mysore
Palace gates, Mysore

I like Mysore for being such a good tourist friendly city. There are boards everywhere to every tourist spot. We found our way to Chamundi hills very easily. Again, the road laying is awesome. We took the Rs100 dharshan, which basically circumvents the queues. You are dropped close to the sanctum-sanctorum, and from there, it is the regular ‘jargugandi’ push. We were out in 10 minutes. Good dharshan though.

Back on the road, we asked for directions for Dasaprakash, my favourite eating place in Mysore. Been here innumerable number of times, when we used to go on road trips with my father. Good clean simple food. Had full plate mealsu. After that, it was Mysore palace dharshan. Both R and me had been here before, but it had been quite a few years before – so we did a revision study :-). Full crowd. So we milled around the palace pushed gently in a rapid fire tour of the palace. The palance still never fails to impress me though. What richness. What grandeur.

After the palace, it was back on the road to home sweet home. The trip back was nice and uneventful – Mandya, Maddur, Srirangapatna flew by. And we were at the BMIC confusion area around 7PM. There are absolutely no menafingul sign boards here for direction here. So I just kept following traffic ; and I realized pretty soon, that was not a very good idea – I ended up inside Kengeri Satellite Town. So I did the next best thing, hopped off the car, went and asked the nearest shop owner. And he said – “Straight hogi, Hoysala cirkal, right madi, straightu hogi, railway bridge, straightu hogi, mysore roadu“. Beautiful directions, except, I went straight and kept searching for a circle, and could not find one. After about 1/2 km, I asked someone else – about Hoysala circle. And it seems that small lamp post in the middle of the road, where one road branched off was the Hoysala cirkal. God, please teach these people what a circle is. Ask them to see the roundabouts in Mysore. Anyways, once I found the ‘cirkal’, I was able to find my way back to the main road. It joins just before the Raja rajeswari arch on Mysore road. Took the right turn on to the Outer ring road, and painfully made my way up to Deva gowda bunk, and then to Bansankari, Jayanagar, Bannerghatta, Diary circle, and then ….. home to Koramangala.

3.5 hours – 165 km Mysore to Bangalore Outer

2 hours – 30 km from Bangalore Outer to Koramangala

Not surprised. All entries to Bangalore are like that – Chennai-Bangalore resembles the same pattern as above. Hosur to Koramangala takes 2 hours.

All in all a great trip. I hope you guys enjoyed the trip report.