Friday, March 5, 2010

Our Weekend Trip to Bandipur and Mysore

Finally after a long time Dileep had planned for a trip to Bandipur:) Hip Hip Hurrayyy..But it was left to me to research more on the places and come up with a plan suitable for us.So i spend nearly half day to research on the places and yeah i made a customized plan for us:)

We were planning to go in our Innova - our new posession.
Our route : First to Bandipur and then to Mysore and back to Bangalore (3 days)

Checked out for Forest department cottages as it was cost effective and also it's near to jungle..But seems those cottages gets booked pretty fast.So we booked a room at Bandipur Safari Lodge for one day - (Friday 12.00 pm check-in and Saturday 11.00 am check-out.Head towards Mysore and check-in at KSTDC Mayuri Hoysala Saturday 12.00 pm check-in and Sunday 12.00 pm check-out)

Bandipur Safari Lodge: (You can do reservation online)

Reviews :

KSTDC Mayuri Hoysala : (Reservation online)
Reviews: Not much reviews available ,you can read mine here.
It was decided that we will start from Bangalore at around 5.30 am in the morning and on the way visit Chanapatna to see how the toys are made..but we got so lazy and got up by 7.30 am and started from home at 8.00 am:)

Then started our journey in our Innova.

1)Welcome to Silk City -Ramanagara

On the way ,we had our breakfast from KAMAT LOKA RUCHI hotel on the right hand side of the Mysore highway,very near to Janapada Loka.The guys who were serving were wearing Gandhi caps and dhotis.Nice hotel with very good waiters and fast service.

 Kamat loka ruchi,Janapada Loka, Archakrahalli, Bangalore Mysore Road, Ramanagara.

Please find few reviews of hotel below

We had piping hot and soft Ramanagara idlies (kotte kadabu - cylinder shaped idlies wrapped in coconut leaf) with coconut chutney.It is very soft and yummy so one idly won't make much effect so ordered more.Manikutty also loved the idlies so much that she took two idlies in a stretch :).

Some one has mentioned to try the jola roti meals they serve variety of items , sweets , jola roti , baingan curry and masala buttermilk as it seems they are very yummy there.I will try next time.

 Details:Receipe of Kotte Kadabu (idlies)

Didn't get to see Janapata Loka as i didn't know much about this place.But do try to see.Janapada Loka or "Folk-Culture World" is a world of simplicity and art. Janapada Loka, a subsidiary of the Karnataka Janapada Parishath, is dedicated to preserve and promote folk art and culture. The complex has an art gallery, an open-air theatre, a studio and a museum. Situated 53 kms. on the Bangalore-Mysore highway, this 15-acre complex is a treasure-trove of Karnataka’s folk heritage.

The museum, drawn from the life and arts of a large number of tribal and rural folk across Karnataka, has an amazing collection of 5000 artefacts that represent the essence of Karnataka’s folk culture. The display includes an array of agricultural hunting and fishing implements, weapons, ingenious household gadgets, masks, dolls and shadow puppets.

Bangalore-Mysore Road, Ramnagara, Bangalore - 571 511, Tel: 080-7271555.
Timings: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays

Please find one review here

2)Welcome to Toy City - Chanapatna
 I am detailing about this on my way back.

3)Welcome to Sugar City - Mandya
I couldn't see much in Mandya.But it seems ,it has the biggest sugar factory in India.

4)Welcome to Historic Town - Srirangapatna
So much to see but no time :(

5)Welcome to Heritage City - Mysore
We passed Mysore and entered Nanjangud and we are on our way to Bandipur Safari Lodge.We didn't face much difficulties in locating the place though we had to stop in-between just to verify whether we are taking the proper route.

We reached the resort around 1.00 pm..Check in time was 12.00 pm.

It's a nice place full of greenary and all the cottages were looking very pretty.We parked our car and went to the reception and filled up few forms.We got our cottage key and he briefed us about the activities .

Our cottage was very near to reception and it looked like a newly build one.(They normally name each cottage with animal or bird names - Elephant,Leopard,Peacock etc..Also they will draw the magnified picture of the animal/bird in theme in the room.So if you are getting Elephant cottage ,Elephants picture will be drawn near to the bed rest.) As ours was new one ,there was no picture:( but the cottage was clean and had a balcony which opens to the greenary.Bathroom is also as huge as the room.If you are coming in groups ,you can take double cottages where you will get more space and cots.

1.30 pm - lunch will be served at the lunch hut after which we can go and take rest (Lunch was just horrible ,no taste and all curries were like water)..4.00 pm ,we will get tea,coffee from same place..then we will be taken for Safari which is the main activity...After coming back ,we will get snacks at the hotel (Jungle Lodges and Resorts own a Pugmark Restaurant which is also inside the same campus)..Campfire around 8.00 pm and food will be served at the same time .

After having lunch ,we just roamed around the resort and then took bath and slept for sometime.Got up and went for Tea/Coffee..

Then we got ready for Safari.You are requested not to wear any dark coloured clothes. So we were wearing light shades ,took our caps and camera. There were different types of vehicles -one bus ,few jeeps..Most of the people went in Bus and we saw that jeep was empty so took our seats in the backside of jeep which was open..

The front seats in the jeep (covered) was occupied by a mallu family.One couple also sat along with us..The guy had a very good camera and the girl was having a telescope..They looked as if they were very much interested to learn wild life and they are totally into this..and we are going for such a trip first time in our life :) so we got perfect companions:)

I already read reviews mentioning that spotting a tiger is very difficult and a few lucky ones get a just thought of enjoying the trip though we may not spot anything..

Our Jeep driver was a very nice guy and he was stopping our vehicle for few seconds whenever we spot any animal so that we can take enough pictures..

First 10 to 15 minutes ,we didn't spot anything ...Then we saw a Wild Boar drinking water from a small lake..aha..atleast we could spot Wild Boar..we were really happy..After a while ,we spotted few Sambha deers and deers,Wild cocks,monkeys but no tiger...

Our Jeep driver was a very nice..Inbetween the rides ,few jeeps will be overtaking you ..some from same resort ,some others from Country club,MCC etc..Whenever some driver overtakes ,our driver also will stop and they both will discuss what they have seen ..this helps all the drivers as they won't miss any animal..Even they get calls on their mobile too.

During one such chat ,our driver got to know that someone spotted tiger..So he drove super fast to reach that place..Imagine it's a jungle with bad roads and with no arrows or directions..still these drivers could easily locate the place..The roads were so bad that each gutter made us jump ..We had to hold Manikutty tightly otherwise she would be flying out of Jeep:)

Finally we reached a place.We could see few pug marks which are recent ones..just few minutes...but again we missed the tiger...Driver was also feeling bad and then he started in the other route.

While going ,he got a call and suddenly he stopped the vehicle.He stopped the engine too..Both sides are covered with long ,tall grass .Now in-between the silence ,we could hear some sounds as if someone is coming from inbetween the grass...Just few minutes,before we could even realize ,we saw a big elephant coming out of the bush and moving to the other end..It didn't see us ,after few seconds small one followed..we thought it's over..But still driver was not starting the vehicle..Few more seconds passed ,one more big elephant crossed..The elephant just stopped inbetween the bushes and it was looking at us..

The lady next to us was really scared and was shouting at our driver to start the jeep..
Elephant waited for sometime and came out suddenly..We were so scared.Manikutty almost shouted..i just held my hand on her mouth so that she won't shout again..I forgot to take snaps..For a moment ,we were all lost..Elephant is just few cms ahead..if it moves little front ,then it can touch us..few seconds ,i was back and then i was about to take picture..then i remembered that flash light will scare the animals and then they will disturb thought of not to take..within seconds ,we heard a big roar ,,,elephant was trying to scare was such a nice pose ,if i would have taken a video at that time ,surely i would have won some award for the same.

But at that moment my mind was blank..After this ,the elephant left suddenly...Our driver also started our vehicle and we are on our way god...we still feel that we didn't utilize the oppurtunity we got..But we all were so scared that we forgot everything...We need to train ourself  so that next time ,we won't miss it:)

We were all so satisfied and went back to hotel ,had our snacks -yummy onion vada's....Went back to our room and took bath...One guy from reception told us about a wild life movie being shown in Auditorium..So we went for the movie..It was a nice one --real video about a wild life photographer checking out the lifestyle of wild dogs....We finished the movie and went for campfire..noone was thought of taking dinner..Dinner was again same type of curries as lunch..all watery watery..very pathethic...So finished fast and went to sleep..

Hotel guy already mentioned that wake up call at 5.30 am after which we will be taken for trekking to a nearby temple.So we got a wake up call exactly at 5.30 am ,got ready and went near teh reception.We are the only ones who came for trekking ,all other have opted for Safari...So we were happy ,we also went for safari..this time also similar seats but in a different jeep..One foriegner and a Tamilian father and daughter shared seats with us..It was so boring to sit without i decided to talk about Elephant incident..Then we checked whether anyone has seen ..everyone missed...But atleast we had this elephant incident.

On the way ,we spotted Wild Boar,peacocks ,peahens,parrots,kingfisher ,many wild flowers and many elephants..over all it was worth it...No tiger :(

We were back to hotel after an hour and  had breakfast.Yummy breakfast -puliogare,bread-jam,toast,egg roast,upma etc..everything were so yummy so had so much food as the day before we were actually starving..After this,we went to buy sovernirs - caps and one T-shirt for manikutty.Vacated the cottage and back to Mysore..

On reaching Mysore ,we went directly to our hotel
Mayura Hoysala is government approved hotel which is very near to the Mysore Railway Station and Mysore Bus Stand. The hotel is owned by the Mayura Group of Hotels.Just next building in the same compound  is Mayura Yatri Nivas which is a low end hotel.Also you can find a Mysore Silk showroom ,KSTDC tour booking center all inside the same compound.Inside the hotel ,you will et brochures on Mysore tourism which was also good for locating th places of interest.

The hotel looks like a small palace from outside.The corridors are also very beautiful with plenty of plants on both ends.Once you enter the room ,you change your mind.

Old coat and old style wooden almarah ..yeah ,TV and AC is also there as we booked for the AC Suite. AC Suite has 3 rooms -one with bed and TV and other one with 2 chairs where you can just sit and talk and a huge bathroom with bath tub.Bathroom is bigger than both the rooms and not so neat.

As our aim was to see places around ,we didn't pay much attention to these details.So kept the luggage inside and went for lunch at the restaurant which is also inside the hotel.Lunch was okay...We took meals and chilly fish..Meals was fine..chilly fish was nothing but fried fish with capsicum...After the meals ,we went to see Mysore zoo.After having real life adventures in Bandipur , we were not ready to come in terms with animals or birds inside cages.So we took it as an initiative for a good walk and started walking ,in-between peeping into some cages.It was really long walk 2.5 Kms to reach the main gate.

Our next venue was Mysore Palace.We saw a tonga waiting outside so asked the guy to give us a ride to Mysore Palace.He charged us 80 Rs for a Tonga ride ,though palace was nearby.But we were not worried about the money part but rather was really excited to do a horse ride:) On the way ,everyone was looking at us and smiling ..we also took it in that spirit..after few minutes ,we reached Mysore Palace ,thanked the tonga wala,took some photos and went inside palace.

Please note camera is not allowed inside the palace.So you have a camera storing place near to the gate on your right hand side.They keep your camera safe for 5 Rs.So keep the camera there and get ready to enjoy the palace.Also you have to keep chappals outside.There are many places which takes 50 ps for chappals and keep it safe until you return.So keep change ready.

As i already did few searches in google about palace , i knew about the audio guide system they introduced in palace.But didn't see much reviews on the same.So surely i will write my experiences :)

Audio guide is a light weight MP3 player by Narrowcasters India with headphones.There is also a keypad  which lists numbers from 1 to 21.Right now ,the explanations are found in the following languages -Hindi, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese.For taking the audio guide ,fees is 100 Rs and we have to submit our ID proof  or 2000 Rs which will be returned once we give back the device.When you enter any place in palace ,you can see a number written on the wall.This denotes the number that we have to press on the MP3 player so that we will hear about the importance of that particular room or the paintings.

As we didnt know much about the audio system ,we thought to make use of one.So we took one and entered the palace.Whenever we reached different place ,we were pressing the required numbers and could hear information about the place but as crowd was moving ,we moved along.So we had to stop the playing inbetween and move on to different numbers fast.

We should have opted to stand in the same place until the audio is over.But as there was only one audio system ,though i gave enough explanations ,Dileep and Manikutty was getting bored and were moving fast.Same with me as well ,when i shared the system with Manikutty or Dileep :) .So one lesson learned is to have separate audio system for each one of us which will make sure that none of us misses the details of the palace.

Once i came out ,i was feeling so bad as i felt i didnt utilize the audio properly.Dileep and Manikutty was tired and were taking rest.So i thought to listen to the audio again.This was the best time as i could recollect the details and match it with the information provided:) But i could hear only major ones as we had to move for elephant ride.But we decided to visit Mysore palace again next time on  our trip.It was really worth.

On the way out ,i saw few govt stalls selling photos ,books and CDS about Mysore Palace.As i was already excited ,i bought the book (The Mysore Palace - A Visitor's Guide -15 Rs ) and a documentary CD (The Mysore - Pride Of Nation -100 Rs)..Both were worth as it explains most of the details.

About the palace:
One main information i got is that the palace was completely destroyed when a fire broke off during a marriage ceremony conducted in the palace.Palace at that time was build of wood.But the temple - "Atmavilasa Ganesha" was not affected and remained intact.So they had to reconstruct the palace with fire resistant materials.The palace we see today is not with wood.

You should really see the glasswork and the tiles.We will really wonder ,at that time how could they do everything so perfect.Mysore government is also doing their job pretty well by maintaining it.There is also a good garden on both sides of the palace.

Also during dussehera celebrations , it seems we can see all the processions going on similar to how it was during the good old days..So surely don't miss out the Dussehera celebrations.We will also plan for one trip during that time.

Outside the palace:
We took back our camera and chappals.Took few photos of palace (outside) ,had pineapples :) yummy ones:) .The person who sells pineapples wont give you any paper or tissue as he say that as per rule ,he is not allowed to give papers as people will make the place dirty.Yeah ,that really makes sense.

Bathrooms are really pathethic..better not to mention..If it is really urgent ,then use the bathrooms.

It seems there is another small palace once you come out of the big one.It has separate entry fee.We didn't go as it was small and we saw very few people moving towards that.Instead we chose to go for elephant ride which is held just behind the palace (once you come out of the main palace inside the same compound).It was 50 Rs per person.We had to pay for Manikutty too..Elephant ride was the one thing which Manikutty kept on telling on our journey.So she was the happiest among us..Dileep was mentioning that elephant ride is not so good ..hihi:) thats mainly because you can't sit on the elephant properly :)

There was a helper who was taking photos of people going on elephant ride.We can give our cameras to him and he will take as much as pictures that we like, in different poses..The ride was only for 10 mts and we are back.Dileep tipped the guy riding elephant as he felt that guy won't be getting much.Sometimes Dileep gets so emotional and tips the people who really don't require money:).

We were planning to go to Brindavan Gardens..There were may small shops on the right handside of palace which sells caps,wooden articles etc..just saw few but didnt buy..went out and checked with an auto guy..Garden is pretty far away..As we already heard that there is nothing much to see there other than musical fountain (due to the poor management) ,we chose not to see it ..

Went back to the hotel.There was no god..we payed for AC room and we don't have even fan?? but still it was not so hot inside.We complained and the lady in the reception mentioned that they will put on generator after waiting for 1/2 an hour.So we took bath and meanwhile they switched on the generator.We planned to go out for a walk.Hotel's front lawn had changed its look..There were many people having drinks and a panwala making yummy pans..So had mitta pans and went out.

We took few roads nearby and reached a shopping area (similar to one in Brigade Road in Bangalore .But roads are little wider).There was a huge crowd infront of Tiffany's to get the chats.So thought to have dahi puri and Kashmiri chat.Both were good.There were many sweets also on display -mysore pak,one sweet made of cucumber.But didnt buy anything as at that moment we became calorie conscious :) There was a small juice shop nearby.So had juice and returned back to hotel.That was enough for dinner..

There was a nice person sitting at reception.So we asked him about Sandalwood factory and silk factory..It seems both are closed on public holidays.We would have gone in the afternoon itself :( It's okay..we will try next time.But he told us to go to KAVERI ARTS & CRAFTS EMPORIUM which will open on Sundays and it's nearby too..He also gave us a Mysore Tourist Map which had a map on one side and explanation of the tourist spots in Mysore on the other side.(I will try to scan and attach for your reference)

Had a nice sleep and got up and packed our luggage.As breakfast is complimentary ,we thought of having break fast from the restaurant inside the hotel..It was Masala Dosa/Dosa for the hotel inmates..But if you are paying from your pocket ,you will get other items as well.One masala dosa was not enough so we ordered for one more dosa.We finished ,they didnt give any extra we thought govt is so nice ,they dont charge extra..haha:) (Once we reached back to hotel after our purchase at Kaveri,the security was waiting for us with this extra bill :))

It was 10 O'clock.So thought of walking to Kaveri Emporium..It was nearby but was not open..there were many roadside vendors selling old coins ..yeah the very old ones during tippu's time along with our old 5 ps coins..But we have to bargain a lot...The guy starts the tippus coin price as 3000 Rs and reduces the price depends on your bargaing power..As i am not an expert in identifying pure coins from the fake ones ,i didn't have much interest.But he got another customer who was really interested in few coins and very good in bargaining.Let us call him Mr.X.Mr X selected few coins and told some price.This guy didn't agree.So Mr.X kept the coins there and walked away.Then the next vendor went behind him and asked him to come back..Mr X came back and took 10 coins - big one of tippu's era and paid some 300 to 500 Rs..I couldn't see clearly as Kaveri shop was open by that time.

One thing we should know is ,though the vendors are sitting there with separate coins ,they all report to the same person.All are from the same gang.It's their tactics to attract more customers.Meanwhile we also saw an very old man selling few of his old coins for 40 Rs..The old man looked like he was in real need of money.As we were standing there looking at him ,the vendor couldn't bargain much with this guy as otherwise we will think that he is quoting more money..Very clever guys and the old man is benefitted because of us.

Kaveri emporium is pretty similar to the one in M.G.Road,Bangalore..But as we went to Mysore,we thought we will get something:) So bought few soaps ,sandalwood perfume,one small keychain and a toy for manikutty (from chanapatna stall at the entrance),sandalwood chain for Dileep.Price was okay not less and not too costly..There we met many mallus like us..i guess mallus make most of the trips to Bangalore and Mysore.

We walked back to hotel and checked out ...So now to St.Philomenas church..It was nearby but didn't have nothing much to see other than the reason that it's the largest one in the country.There was a sovernir shop nearby. All mallu sisters :)..So i checked whether i can have a book on St.Philomena..but nothing was available..Govt should really print and keep some book or brochure similar to the one i got about Mysore Palace.We took some photos and came out..

There was an old guy selling cut pineapples and cucumber with sprinkled salt and chilli powder -each plate costing you 10 Rs..We had 2 plates of pineapple and 1 plate of was yummy and enough for lunch..As it was hot ,we were thirsty more than getting hungry..So these mini snacks kept our stomache full.
Now back to Bangalore..

We were still in holiday when we saw the board Ranganathittu Bird Santuary ,we just turned our car into that road:)..On the spot decision making skills :) We heard about this place from friends but didn't do much homework as we thought we will visit this place next time on our visit to Mysore.

Once you enter ,you have to pay entry fee ,car parking fee which is around 10 to 20 Rs..The place has well maintained gardens and all we saw was a board about a hotel and way to boat ride.We were confused ,its a bird santuary and no boards ? Finally we decided to go for boat ride.We reached there by around 12.30 and the boat ride is closed from 12.30 to 2.00 pm.As we didn't want to spend so much time ,we decided to go for boat ride.Thank God..It was a right decision as they closed the counter for lunch just after we bought tickets (For boat ride ,we need to pay separate entry fees - 10 to 20 Rs).

After we got our tickets ,we got to know why the place is so popular.The place has small islands with trees and all the trees are occupied by bats ,pelicans and different variety of birds..You can even see nests of birds..Boats are rowing boats and not the mortor ones as motor sound will disturb the birds.As the boat is taken near to the islands ,you can watch all the birds so close. None of the birds seems to be bothered to see many of us peeping in ..:) I guess they are used to it...There are also two crocodiles in this lake but it never disturbs anyone...

We finished the boat ride in 20 mts and then just roamed around and took some photos..then went to the restaurant for getting some water..The hotel even sells a CD on Ranganathittu by Karnataka Forest Department (150 Rs and worth it as the print was very good and it was showing birds ,nesting etc) ,a small booklet -A Field guide to Ranganathittu Bird Santuray (15 Rs) which details about the birds you can find over there and also few postcards (15 Rs)..You can buy these as souvenirs.

So now back to Bangalore -Mysore highway

Saw the board -Welcome to Toy City - Chanapatna and decided to visit.

We were planning to go to the village and see how the toys are made.But we couldn't as while going ,we didn't get time and while coming back from Mysore ,it was on Sunday where all the workshops will be closed.All we did was to purchase few toys from the "Kaveri Emporium".

a)Chicken toy which contains 5 chickens around a circle shaped wood and a small ball hanging from down.All the chickens will bend their head to eat and come up depending on the movement of the ball.

b) Worm toy ..Very cute one with a very good work..once you move the toy ,it really looks like the worm is jumping and coming..too good.. Also the wheels on the both ends are painted with circular lines which itself looks pretty when it moves...Toy was 350 Rs..little high price..the shop owner told me that it was made by a blind person which is why the price is high.

We checked with him about the procedure for seeing the toy making process in live.It seems the toy artists wont allow anybody to see their work if they are in-between something as it reduces their concentration.If we really need to see ,the we need to wait for 30 mts and when the person starts a new toy ,then we can see the process completely.I have to plan for this next time.

Madhur Vada

While traveling through Madhur ,dont miss out Madhur Vada (onion vada) ..Its yummy ..They serve it with coconut chutney.Its crispy as well..It seems we need to put chutney on top of vada like a paste and eat it together..anyways if you add chutney or not ,it is very tasty.We bought this from a small tea shop..but later i saw that at all the signals ,the guys were selling Madhur Vadas in packets.

I got a yummy looking Madhur Vada receipe here

While entering Bangalore ,we thought of taking NICE road...It's really nice road ..You have to pay toll on entering the road will feel you are traveling in a foriegn country with hills on both can't even spot any vehicles or any person on the road ..Drive super fast :)

But we felt the directions were creating confusions as there are boards which shows wau to bangalore ,then way to Banerghatta we took few roads and finally reached another toll..paid the amount and asked the person and he told us to take left..We took left and within seconds ,we are out of NICE road ..:( Paid so much toll for just coming out :(..We came out somewhere near JP Nagar and took few shortcuts to finally reach Sarjapur...Back to our own Suncity..

But the trip was so nice that we wanted to go for trip again..but what to do ..Back to routine job --office..home..


  1. Hi Smitha,

    I am a travel writer based in Bangalore

    I enjoyed reading about your trip to Bandipur.

    With warm regards,

    Sanjay Sivadas

  2. Hey Sanjay,
    Thanks a lot..Yours is the find comment after i posted about Bandipur Trip:)

    As you are experienced ,you can surely suggest improvements:)

  3. HAts off to you to write such a big piece ... How madam do you get time to sit and write .. :)

  4. Thanks Sudha..
    I love telling stories about the places i visited:)

  5. Very good .. liked it ..Do keep posting... it was like visiting the place :)

  6. Thank you for posting your experience, Guys like you are the reason we can still believe in the mankind, I am proud of you !!!

  7. Tat was nice well illustrated experience.. Tanks Smitha. I m plannin to visit Bandipur next weekend.. Any suggestions.?

  8. Sorry Vijeth. Read your post now only.Hope you had a nice experience at Bandhipur.

  9. Thanks for the post Smiths... really interesting... Would like to plan a trip sometime next month. :) May I know how much the overall cost it may come up to..??


  10. Hi Darsh,
    This was a economical trip I should say.But don't remember the rates. But when you plan , plan to cover all places nearby.

  11. This was perhaps the most detailed review of the place that I ever read. Planning to visit Bandipur this Bandipur Glad that I read your article. :)