It all started when these beautiful pictures of Mysore city started popping up on my friend’s Instagram feed and she suggested a trip to the city. I had already visited the place once when I was in high school but I loved travelling and I knew going there now (since I’m all grown up) would be quite different.  So we went to a travel agent and got our bus and train tickets. Since, this was a last minute plan and now being the holiday season, finding tickets by ourselves was quite difficult.

The Journey to Mysore

We were three girls, me and my 2 friends (who are from Malaysia). We met up at the railway station and boarded the train. We had a lovely old couple sitting next to us who were more than happy when they found out that we were planning to sleep early. We were supposed to reach Mysore by 4:45 am. The three of us couldn’t sleep properly, we kept waking up. Finally, the train reached at 5:15 am and we got down. The next thing we had to deal with was the utter madness of auto rickshaw and taxi drivers who were literally chasing us down (not exaggerating) to board their vehicles. “100 Rupees ma’am, okay fine 60”, numbers went up and down in the 100 scale.  After finding a rather quiet spot to discuss whether we should go directly to the hotel or call our friend’s dad who had generously offered to help us with transportation, we decided on the former and took an auto.

The Hotel Experience

After going through numerous websites like Travelguru, Goibibo, Trivago etc., trying all permutations and combinations to see what fits our budget, we finally booked a room in a hotel called M B International. My friend told me it was a budget hotel and since we needed a place only to crash one night we were more than happy with our choice.

So, here we are at 5:30 am in front of the hotel and the weather was quite chilly may I add. The entrance of the hotel was not visible at first because the lights were out and cars were parked in front. In my mind I was wondering whether we had made a mistake in booking a room here. Then we went to the front door, quietly opened it and found the staff in a beautiful state of slumber. Now, normally anyone would just wake them up but, did we? Nope. Well, we wanted to wake them up but at the same time we didn’t. So, we sat on a small couch near the reception, giggling and staring at our phones. By 6 one of the guests came down for check out and she woke up the staff. We were still sitting there giggling at our own silly jokes. By 6:15 am we got temporary rooms to rest and freshen up. It was so cold that we landed up on the bed and under the blanket for a little snooze. By 8 am we went to have breakfast which was quite good. Boiled eggs, toast, upma, coffee etc was on the menu and we filled our little tummies.

Being a Tourist – #1 St Philomena’s Cathedral

My friend’s dad had arranged a vehicle and a driver for us and he reached our hotel by 9:30 am. The first place we visited was St. Philomena’s cathedral (Asia’s second largest cathedral).  It was a beautiful church located in the city. Sadly, we couldn’t see the inside of the church as some renovation was going on but we were able to go to this underground chapel where the walls were black with thousands of names engraved onto it. To reach the centre we had to walk through this narrow passage which was dimly lit and in the centre was a statue of St Philomena in reclining position enclosed in a glass and wooden case.  The whole atmosphere was eerily pleasant with a slight gothic feel to it. It was worth visiting and I loved it so much that I’m getting goose-bumps typing about it. I wish we were able to learn more about it but sadly we could not find a guide. So after taking some pictures, video and of course some funny Boomerang shots for Instagram we left for our next destination – The Mysore Palace.

[Church timing: 5:00 am – 6:00 pm]

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Thank you for reading. I’ll update the next three parts as soon as possible. mysuruMysore city ( view from Chamundi Hills)

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