Mahararajas & Markets in Mysore!

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After the wilderness in hippy Hampi, Mysore feels quite posh at first sight…
Mysore is a city that is home to the Maharajas Palace. From the outside it looks like something from a Disney movie…lots of gold shinny domes tower above with coloured windows below and large intricate gates welcome you…inside the colours are vibrant especially the murals on the ceilings and the corridors house thousands of paintings. Some of the doors are made with ivory carved into the wood and apparently these doors were entered into a competition in England many years ago and displayed at the Royal Albert Hall.
Everywhere you go in the palace it just ouses opulence and wealth and it really is hard to get your head around how rich some people were and still are in India when there is such poverty across each state of India. But it certainly is beautiful.
We are told we are not allowed to take photographs inside the Palace yet half way around I notice lots of teenagers giggling and then they ask us for a picture. They are all snapping away and asking us about ourselves, keen to speak English with us. So I join in and get a couple of pics on my phone…One family even gave me their baby to hold for a picture! And she was so cute…
In most places in India you have to remove your shoes before entering. As we all went together into the Palace they put all of our shoes into a big bucket…but unfortunately only gave us one ticket….This caused many problems when we were trying to leave as they wouldn’t give us them back…I was just planning my shopping trip for more flip flops when they caved in…a few people were tested that day on the art of ‘patience in India’…
But off to the market I went anyway…and so far this was the best market I’ve been too. Not because of what it sold but once again because of the people, the vibrant colours and the atmosphere…
From the minute I stepped into this market…I was surrounded. A man with a paint stall insisted on showing me the colours…and drew a little painting on my hand…this paint is also used for bindis and the beautiful colours are all those that are used in the festivals…towers of powder paint, all perfectly sculptured and in bright contrasting colours…
Then it was ‘ all things sandalwood’ in the end I brought a couple of fans…as it was getting so hot and I just wanted those sellers to move on…then I stepped into the most beautiful displays of fruit…towers of oranges, apples, grapes etc etc…gorgeous…I wanted to buy some as it was lunch time and I was getting hungry but then the smells of the perfume caught my attention…incense…oils…perfume…” please mam…you try…?” So I tested some of the perfumes and the stall owner asked me where I was from…” oh England! I come with you…I live there for free…yes?” Errrr noooo!? I made the mistake of telling this man my name…and once they know your name …repeat…repeat…
They were lovely though, we had some Chai and chatted as a few of the sellers who surrounded us earlier were still there and we all took a few photos. I also noticed that the sandalwood fan seller, who earlier said ” please mam, I only have these two fans left to sell” was now clutching 3 more fans.. I joke with him and pretend to chop his head off in a picture…that caused a bit of a stir as woman here aren’t really opinionated and don’t touch random men…and here I am in this market with this guy in a head lock…they saw the funny side though…
Next we came to the flower market…and wow was it an assault on the senses!
Big mounds of roses, geraniums and big strands of jasmine flowers that have been individually and patiently threaded onto cotton…such strong lovely smells and they were all heaped everywhere with people sitting crossed legged in every gap turning all these flower heads into beautiful offerings…there was a festival on that day ( I’m still not sure exactly what the festival was….there are so many in India but it may have been to honour the monkey god as we found out later on)
So many of these workers stopped to say hi and asked for a picture, I was given flowers and some people put them in my hair and the smell was just lovely.
A couple of boys stopped to chat to us, practice their English and explain what was happening…it was just such a friendly place and none of us expected that a market hidden in Mysore could create such face ache from smiling all afternoon!
The day then took a slightly different turn as I decided to find out why my 3G on my phone had stopped working…I found the Airtel mobile phone shop and then basically spent nearly 2 hours getting pretty much nowhere!
Sarah had joined me as I didn’t think it would take long and she fell asleep in the shop…she can sleep anywhere…and slept through all the raised voices and chaos in that shop!
They said it was because I was crossing different states and that the people in Delhi should have told me and also that my phone is NOT 3G compatible…even though it had worked fine for 3 weeks!!!
In case i haven’t highlighted this before…when you are in India it is very rare to have any personal space…and if you do…then it will be invaded. The whole time I was in that shop, I had people yelling at each other over my head, people talking to someone on the other side of me…therefore yelling in my ear and putting less than desirable armpits in my face! I could feel myself starting to loose it…so I just had to admit defeat. There was no way my 3G was going to work again…unless I brought a sim card in every state…another rant over!
The day finished off on a better note with a light show at the Palace and a festival in the Palace temple for the Monkey God which was lovely to witness.
For dinner that evening I ordered something that was so spicy it nearly blew my head off!
I had to admit for the second rime that day that ‘ firery’ gets me nowhere and I chose something much more mild…

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