I just saw the dam and water garden. It was dark by the time i arrived so i was a bit pessimistic about seeing a garden. Well it turned out that the best time to see the garden is at night. Basically its a collection of fountains illuminated by colorful lights. It was difficult to take the photos in the dark, hopfully adjusting the shutter speed to a full second helps. The cost to enter was only 15 rupies and another 50 cause of my camera.
Somanathapur: The cost to enter to the temple was 20 rupies, and once i arrived a young man advised me to pay another 20 to bypass the lines, a very good idea. I was also given gift items to give to the god. I was lead to a shrine where a made my offerings and a priest placed a mark in my forehead. My guide lead me further and I passed another line and saw another shrine. On the way out i tipped my guide another 50 rupies (though he initially asked for 100). I also picked up three sets of postcards (initial price 150, bargined to 50). On the way down the hill i got great pictures of Mysore and we stopped at a gigantic bull god statue where i made friends with a group of indians.
(later) Ok, let me tell you about my experience in Mysore on friday night. After visiting Somanathapur we drove to Mysore. We arrived around 8:30, that’s when the search began.
When preparing for the trip, my friend Lohit made the car and driver arrangements. When I asked about hotel, he said not to worry, that the driver would find something and accompany me into the hotel and inquire so I wasn’t given the “tourist rate.” When the trip started the driver asked where I would be staying, I said I didn’t know that I assumed we would find something. He seemed a bit perplexed and said I should have booked a room from Bangalore. That worried me a bit, but what could i do.
Anyway, so after getting to Mysore we stopped on the first hotel, very nice but they wanted 4k rupies! I thought whooh, that’s alot, lets look around. Well let me tell you, it was downhill from there. The next place was 3k but no vacancy, next was only 700 but no vacancy, another 2.4k, no vacancy. Another place, the viceroy, 1.8k no vacancy. We drove around and tried a few more, finally one place had no vacancy but the manager said he could take us to another place which apparently had 2 rooms left. The warning bells should have rung when he asked how much I’d like to spend and after replying 1.2k he said ok, the room is 450. I though, man, that’s pretty cheap. So he got in my van and we drove over to the other hotel. If ever an ghetto existed in India, I had certainly found it. Still I thought, it’s just a night, I’ve slept in the wilderness before, how bad could it be. Lol, lemme tell ya, it was bad. So there are two rooms, the local manager takes me to see the first, he says it’s 900r, I say, hey man, the other guy said 450, he replied that this one was more, it has air conditioning. That was the first turn off, especially considering the fact that it was around 10pm and I was leaving early in the morning so I didn’t need it. With that in mind, and unimpressed by the room, we left to see the other one. It was in the dungeon, caugh caugh, i mean basement of the hotel. Aside from the.. interesting… well i don’t know what that was on the walls but they were dirty to the extreme and the ceilings looked like it was going to cave at any minute. I then thought to myself, “Paul you’re not a 15 yo boyscout roughing it anymore, you are a successful professional” kicked in. As I expressed my distaste and turned to leave, he said, ok, you can stay here for free, tomorrow I can show you a better room. That just gives you a sense of what we’re talking about. Ok, more driving around. On the way back to that first hotel, crossing my fingers that they still has availability, my driver pulls into one more place on the way. The lobby seemed ok (remember I just stepped out of “hotel mysore armpit.” and was excused from my long day. I think I got the tourist rate (my driver never ended up accompanying me in any of the hotels) but it was still quite reasonable at about 1k. Well the room was still very bad. The tv didn’t work, no toilet paper, no shower curtain and the mattress or pad was about 3″ thick and left like… rubber?
After that stay I really questioned what I was getting myself into. Oh and I forgot to mention, the reason that all the rooms were sold out was that Infosys apparently had a 3 month long event and there was also a conference this weekend.
(later) I just returned from chamundi hills where i got a hillside view of mysore, visited a temple, and saw a massive statue of a bull.