Road trip into the wild – IV – A Garden for all ages !

“What is life, if not a series of unexpected journeys?” Thus spake a wise member of our group ! It couldn’t be truer in the case of this trip, at every turn our plans had changed, starting with replacing Bandipur with Gudalar a few days before the trip because Karnataka Tourism decided to give us the proverbial “hand” and then thanks to our Vento, we replaced our journey to Gudalur with Mysore.

Musings over coffee

Another wise member said, “what happens, happens for the good !” If you are wondering where these profound thoughts came from, we partly blame this beautiful sunrise on our second morning at Kutta !

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It happens when you sit to have coffee on a fresh morning overlooking these views.IMG_2521_1024edited

That is why you need to take a break and travel, to simply let your mind think straight !

The coffee thoughts were broken by a breakfast that left no scope for our mind to work, the Appams and Potato curry disappeared even before they settled on the table ! We will not forget the taste and flavours of the food at Jade as long as our sense of taste is alive !

Breakfast done, it was time to take leave of Kutta, before that, one more picture of the lovely heritage home.

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We had a wonderful time at The Jade Homestay and would like to thank Mr.Kabir and his family for their great hospitality.

Thank you, Nagarahole !

By 11 AM, we were driving out of Kutta and for the third time through the Nagarahole National Park. We were now familiar with the sights, the thick forests, deers grazing at every corner and the green cover even in the peak summer.

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You can only get familiar with the scenery but you can never get enough of it ! We were still looking out for animal sightings and when the Nagarahole National Park gate appeared, we did not want the drive in the National Park to end !

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Once you cross the gate, you feel like you have returned to the real world. Nagarahole National Park and the village beyond seemed to be some magical green world, it is amazing how the forest disappears just outside the gate ! We don’t remember seeing the usual “Thank You, Visit again” board, well, it is our turn to actually thank the National Park and the flora and fauna within it !

The rest of the drive to Mysore was eventless and slow, despite the good roads. Slow because our Vento couldn’t be accelerated beyond 50 km/ph, with most of the driving happening on neutral gear and the Figo had to keep pace with the Vento ! It was almost 2 PM by the time we reached Mysore, it took us close to 3 hours for a 90 kms stretch !

We drove straight to Volkswagen service centre, left the Vento in their care and checked in at Moriz Inn, Boutique Hotel in Mysore. We had reserved rooms the previous evening after some frantic search on the internet. Thank God for mobile phones and internet services ! We managed to get a decent deal of Rs.2000 per room, every where else in Mysore was way beyond our budget or full, what more can you expect on a long weekend?

The hotel is located in Devaraja Mohalla, probably part of old Mysore, the narrow, noisy, dusty streets made us wonder if it was some ancient hotel but Moriz Inn turned out to be a pleasant surprise. A good place for a quick stopover in Mysore.

Back to the 80s in Mysore

A late lunch at the hotel’s restaurant and some rest later, we decided to go to that one place which to this day is the icon of Mysore, Brindavan Gardens. Before that, it was time to take a walk around to get some feel of the old city and some strong tea.

Around 5 PM, we drove to Brindavan Gardens, we were not too keen on the touring the entire garden, we wanted to check out the famous Musical Fountain. May 1st was a public holiday, so we expected a huge crowd but we were not prepared for the ocean of people ! There were thousands of cars in the parking lot that stretched for miles and even found a parking place, remembering the spot was difficult ! We were almost tempted to go back but one of our guys hadn’t ever been to Brindavan Gardens, which in a traveler’s life is a huge insult, so we decided we would just watch the fountain for a few minutes and leave. It was anyway getting dark and cloudy.

Any avid follower of Indian cinema of the 70s-80s will know the superstar status of the Brindavan Gardens, every other film had songs shot at the Gardens and all the songs looked the same, same gardens, same music and same dance steps !

We had visited Brindavan Gardens way back when we were little kids, we don’t remember much of the place except that we had to walk a long distance to reach the fountains and had to literally run the entire distance because we were getting late for the bus, a run that earned us a reward from our parents for being well behaved children !!

Back to the present, there is now a boat facility that ferries you across the lake to reach the other side of the gardens where the fountains are located.

In the fading light, we managed to click a few pictures of a cross section of the Gardens. That is the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam around which the Gardens were developed in the 1920s.

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It must have been quite a feat to layout and develop gardens of this scale 80 years ago, one should appreciate the maintenance too, for 8 decades, they have managed to capture tourists’ interest.

As the sunset, the path leading to the fountains was lit up and hundreds of people thronged the place to see the dancing fountains.

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While people rushed to grab seats to view the show, we took a minute to look at whatever little we could see of the gardens. They might be old fashioned but they still carry the charm that people of our generation grew up admiring.

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The viewing gallery was already packed when we reached the spot, so we sat down on the ground and waited for the show to start, we were wary of venturing too far into the crowd because it would be difficult to leave in the middle. There was a lot of noise and buzz around and then all of sudden the fountains came to life !

It might sound silly to be in awe of a musical fountain but seriously, the musical fountains of Brindavan Gardens have the super star value ! The atmosphere was electric as people cheered the dancing fountains, it started with Vande Mataram and then the fast paced Spirit of Rangeela, it was like the fountains were real beings, dancing in abandon ! Something to be experienced once.

We were just beginning to have fun and were in two minds wondering if we could stay a little longer, all of a sudden there was light drizzle and people began running, so we grabbed a chance and found our way out of the crowd fearing it would get chaotic. Luckily it did not but we decided it was time to leave, considering the traffic that we would have to negotiate outside Gardens.

Back near the boating point, the Gardens and fountains were beautifully illuminated, everything looked gorgeous, no wonder, Brindavan Gardens is still a must visit !

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We had thought we would just visit the place to tick it off our travel list but it turned out to be a great evening at the evergreen tourist spot !

The evening was made even more unforgettable by the massive traffic jam with vehicles coming to a standstill for more than a kilometre and then it started drizzling. There was nothing we could do, so we simply sat in the car and listened to music, moving only when the vehicle before us managed to nudge ahead in centimetres ! A few good samaritans including one from our car got down and began organising the chaos and we managed to get onto the highway after an hour.

Back at our hotel, it was time to wind up, we had an awesome Andhra meal at a nearby Mess. We needed nothing else.

Info tidbits

– The Musical Fountains show starts at 7 PM during Summer and 6.30 PM in the winter months, the show usually lasts for an hour or so. Details of other timings and entry fee can be found on the internet.

– There is a gallery for viewing the show but on weekends and public holidays, the place is jam packed, so you will have to go there atleast half an hour early.

– If you are visiting the place with small children, be alert, it will be hard to find kids in the crowd.

– Visiting the entire place will take atleast 3 hours including the fountains, so plan you trip accordingly. We were there just to see the fountains, we did not explore the rest of the place.

– There is a food court available inside close to the entrance.

– If you want a pleasant experience go on a weekday.

– Brindavan Gardens being a popular tourist spot, finding buses or local transport should not be problem. It is about 45 kms from Mysore.

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