Hampi is over 500 miles away from Munnar ! It was our next destination after treks on tea fields. We wanted to get there, but not in one go, just slowly, town by town. We had to find tourists attractions on the way worth to stop for. Here is the list of places which we can easily recommend. If you don’t don’t know what to see between Munnar and Hampi just check out this post.
We heard that not visiting Mysore was like not seeing South India. It was big, over-crowded and polutted place. We don’t fancy places like that, who does anyway, but uckily we managed to find some nice spots there!
St. Philomen’s Cathedral
It was nice to walk inside and sit away from noise and crowds and very hot weather. We know church is the place of worship, but for us was a shelter keeping us away from all those people asking where we were going and offering us rickshaw or asking for another picture with us or just trying to sell some stuff we would never buy… Place looked very old but it was built in 1936.
Big Ben wanna-be
There will be newer and bigger Big Ben in Mysore soon. They plan to build Big Ben even taller than the real one in London! Clock tower in Mysore will have 19 floors – 135 metres high. The base of the tower will feature a dimension of 22×22 meters…
For the time being they have Big Ben wanna-be which is about 40 metres tall. Isn’t it funny?
Palace of Wadiyar dynasty in Mysore. Palace is like mentioned church, look of it doesn’t correspond with the date when building was completed, 1912. We heard whole palace is full of lights after gets dark – so it’s probably worth to go there in the evening.
Chamundi Hill and Temple
We took a bus to Chamundi Hill to see temple of god Durga/Chamundi. It was very nice, well looked after place. It was build in 17th century.
After visiting temple time for a coconut bigger than Anna. 🙂
Bylakupee – Indian Tibet
Bylakupee is a settlement nearby Madikeri in Coorg region. Our stay in Coorg mountains wasn’t our best time. Chev didn’t feel very well, most of the time he spent in a bed trying to get better. Weather didn’t treat us good too. It was nice at early mornings and raining for the rest of the day and whole night. We barely walked out from our hotelroom. We learned that travelling aren’t days filled with fun and sunny weather only, there are bad moments too. There was big NO for Indian food for a while and we had to find something we could prepare by ourself. The only eatable food was rice powder for infants. It saved Chev’s stomach!
When Chev got better we went to see the biggest Tibetan refugee settlement in India – Bylakupee. Tiny Bylakuppe was among the first refugee camps set up in South India to house thousands of Tibetans who fled from Tibet following the 1959 Chinese invasion. Over 10,000 Tibetans live here (including some 3300 monks), making it South India’s largest Tibetan settlement. Village is called Indian Tibet sometimes. We wanted to see Namdroling Monastery which was somewhere in the middle of the village. Foreign tourist are allowed to stay overnight there, but only with PAP (Protected Area Permit). It is hard to be obtained. Must be applied minimum 6 months in advance and through office in New Delhi. Once you have PAP it will cost you only 125 rupiees per night per person, food included. Easiest way for us was just visiting it over a day and staying overnight in Madikieri.
First temple in Namdroling, view from entrance:
Buddha’ statues from inside:
Another temple was the meditation place for Tibetan monks.
Music in Tibetan buddhism has very important meaning. While prying rituals monks repeat sutra verses and play instruments in the background.
Golden Temple – the biggest one with 3 huge Buddhas. It wasn’t looking special from the outside, but it was hidding 60ft gold-plated Buddhas. From the left: Buddha Amitayus, Lord Buddha, Guru Padmasambhava ( Buddha Amitabha).
Temple had walls covered with murals too:
Stuning handmade door handles:
Belur and Halebidu
Belur and Halebidu are villages known from 12th century temples built under Hoysala Dynasty. We were amazed! Great workmanship of that times. Walls were covered inside and outside the temples with small sculptes. Even cellings!