Mysuru as mentioned in this post is a city of many facets. Though it is the second largest and populous city of Karnataka, it is a city with oodles of old world charm and one where life still moves at a pleasantly slow pace. A perfect weekend getaway from Bangalore, Mysore never fails to disappoint in spite of the number of times you visit. There are invariably new things I discover each time I visit this cultural capital. Here are some more places to visit in Mysore which are off the beaten track.
R K Narayan House
If you are a fan of R K Narayan’s inimitable style of writing that have resulted in characters and stories that have defied time, you must visit his house on Vivekananda road that has now been converted into a museum. Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayan prolific works have long enthralled readers all over and characters like Swami and his friends and Mr Sampath still bring a smile to many a face. His simple yet powerful style of storytelling interlaced with subtle humor is magical to say the least.
Tucked away in the quiet locale of Yadavagiri, the museum is small and houses numerous objects, books and memorabilia related to the author. Spread over two floors, the house gives you a sneak peek into the life and times of the genius.
On display are his collection of books, family photographs, clothes and other personal belongings. Detailed notes and information regarding his works and awards are noteworthy. There are also photographs depicting the making of “Malgudi Days” into a television serial.
Located in the heart of the city, adjacent to the Mysore railway station premises is the Rail museum. A perfect outing for children and adults alike, this, not so large, yet insightful museum is worth a visit if you are interested in the history of trains, carriages and coaches.
On display are numerous vintage pieces like the Meter gauge inspection cars, wagons and rail buses each of whose details are displayed in the “My story” boards that is placed in front of the piece. Visitors can climb atop and get inside to take a look at each of these heritage vehicles.
The Chamundi gallery has a large collection of rare photographs depicting the history of Indian Railways.
Set largely in the outdoor, there is also a small park and an enjoyable toy train ride for children. Tickets are the latter are available at the entrance. There are also other exhibits like a travelling crane and vintage motor vehicles in the campus.
The highlight of the museum is the “Maharani Saloon” that houses the heritage luxury train built by Hurst and Nelson. Built way back in 1899, the train costed a whopping sum of Rs. 29, 508/- at that time!
Replete with amenities like a writing table, attached bathroom and a kitchen cum dining unit, the train weighes over 25 tonnes. The train’s partner the “Maharaja Saloon” is currently housed in the Rail Museum of Delhi.
The museum also has clocks, furniture, telephones, fish plates and hand signal lamps that have been used over the years in trains and train stations.
If you are tired of museum hopping and want to unwind in solitude, the Ramakrishna ashram in the city is a perfect choice. A tranquil place set amidst greenery, the complex has a prayer hall, lecture hall as well as a book store. The centre also conducts periodical spiritual retreats for the benefit of the devotees. If you are interested in books related to history, devotion and culture, the book store is the place for you.
Mysuru is also the centre of Ashtanga yoga. It is here that great proponents like Sri BNS Iyengar and K Pattabhi Jois have their institutes. The Mysore Krishnamacharr Yoga Shala, Ashtanga Yoga Mysore and KPJAYI are some of the main centers that are dedicated to the cause of yoga.