As the monsoons arrive with a bang in India, leaving the country green and beautiful, we are enjoying our explorations. This month we were wandering in the culture rich city of Mysore, explored its culture, cuisines and hotels. The city has many surprises in stock for its first time visitors. Take a small tour of the city with us- the places to see, rich Festivals, food to try and a palatial hotel to stay at for the ultimate Maharaja experience.
Hope you would enjoy reading it!
Eyed By Indian Zing
Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, Mysore
Built in 1933 on a low hill, just outside the royal city of Mysore, stand a shimmering white palace - a splendid Italianate palazzo, double-columned and domed - set in sparawling terraced and landscaped gardens. This is the Lalitha Mahal Palace, built by the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore to host his most important guest, the Viceroy of India.
The Lalitha Mahal is now one of India's most opulent hotels, a palace hotel that offers an experience of princely living in a real Maharaja's palace.
From rooms to Banquet and entertainment, it is sure to please you and make every minute of your stay worth it.
Gowri Habba or festival is celebrated a day before Ganesh Chaturthi . It is a significant festival in parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu. Goddess Gowri, wife of Lord Shiva, the mother of Lord Ganesha and Lord Subramanya is worshiped through out India for her ability to bestow upon her devotees power, courage, valour.
On this day, Hindu women and young girls were in new traditional outfits and either make idol of Gowri using turmeric or buy beautifully painted and decorated clay idols and bestow her for Puja. The goddess' idol is mounted in a plate, with a cereal (rice or wheat) in it.
Unique to the festival, at least 5 baginas (packets) are prepared as part of the fasting ritual. Each bagina usually contains a packet of turmeric, vermilion , black bangles, black beads (used in the mangalsutra), a comb, a small mirror, toe-ring, coconut, sari-blouse piece, cereal and jaggery cut in a cube form. The bagina is offered in a traditional mora (winnow painted with turmeric). One such bagina is offered to Goddess Gowri and set aside. The remaining Gowri baaginas are given to married women. A festival unique in it's beliefs!
When: August-September Where:Karnataka
World Heritage Listed, Mysore is the culture capital of Karnataka and known for its royal heritage, forts and palaces. It's also a thriving center for the production of premium silk, sandalwood and incense.
Built in 1912, the beautifully decorated Mysore Palace is a must-visit. Constructed in the Indo-Saracenic style, it is one of the most splendid buildings and is certainly a beautiful sight when illuminated on Sundays and festive occasions.
St. Philomena's Cathedral
The then king of Mysore Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV laid the foundation for this church in 1933. The cathedral has beautiful stained glass windows and two lofty 175 feet spires. Designed by a French architect in the Neo Gothic style, its architecture is said to resemble the St. Patrick's cathedral at New York and a church at Cologne in Germany.
Sprawling over a large area of about 150 acres, Brindavan Gardens are considered to be the best in Mysore.
The most notable thing about Brindavan Gardens are the beautiful fountains that look wonderful during the night when they are lit up.
Kabini Dam is a remarkable engineering marvel built on the Kabini River in Mysore. This massive structure rises up to an altitude of about 2284 feet and has a storage capacity of 19.52 thousand million cubic feet.
Mysore is known for its lovely silk saris which are available in a variety of hues and in a wide range of designs. While the women are out buying saris, the men can shop for silk ties. Sandalwood crafts and articles doused with the scent of sandalwood are also sold widely. You could also pick up other knick-knacks like wooden elephants and trinket boxes.
On the other side of Khardung La lies the Nubra Valley. From Diskit to Hunder lies a huge stretch of white sand dunes. It's a sight that is bound to take your breath away. Here you will find the two hump camels too.
There are small Tibetan bazaars, general stores and some souvenir shops spread about in the many lanes of Leh Market. The market is also dotted with some amazing eateries.
From the Kitchen...
Rasam is a type of soup prepared in Traditional South Indian menu. Typically served with hot rice or all by itself as a soup before the meal.
Tur Dal -3 tbsp
Tamarind - small gooseberry size (soak it in a cup of warm water)
Turmeric Powder - a pinch
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry leaves -few
Salt to taste
Roast and Grind:
Coriander seeds -2 tsp
Bengal gram Dal (kadalai paruppu) - 1 1/2 tsp
Whole black pepper - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies- 1-2
Grated Coconut -1 tbsp
Ghee -1 tsp
Mustard seeds-1/4 tsp
Jeera/cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves -few
Coriander leaves -2 tbsp finely
Soak tamarind for 30 mins and extract the pulp. Add 2 chopped tomatoes, curry leaves, turmeric powder, a pinch of hing and salt.
Boil on low heat until it reduces and the raw flavor of the tamarind goes.
Then add the grinded paste, cooked tur dal and needed water. Switch off when it becomes frothy.
Heat a tsp of ghee, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, when it splutters, add curry leaves and pour it over the rasam. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.