Moving on from Mysore

Well if you must move on….. 😉

We’ve received a few recommendations from local friends and previous guests about where to go.

National Parks

We’re often asked which is the best national park to visit (there are so many) our good friend Tanu suggests that Kabini is often considered the best in terms of sighting wild animals. Here’s a selection of places to stay, we’ll provide more info as we receive it from guests. Prices vary widely but it’s not cheap!

Jungle Lodges

Evolve

Serai

Waterwoods

Red Earth

The Bison resort

Kaav

Kannur Beach House

We’re just back from there for our fourth visit (so must be good!) we’ll do a posting soon on this great place to stay and local things to do. In the meantime any questions email Stephen tours@mycycle.co

Wayanad, Kerala

Here are two suggestions from Dennis and Katja, originally from Germany and currently living in Bangalore.

Both places are in Kerala. The first is in the countryside of Wayanad

Tranquil Resort

Kuppamudi Estate, District Wayanad, Kolagapara, Kerala 673591, India

“Lovely Homestay thanks to Ajay and Nisha and their wonderful staff. It really feels like home every time we visit, great place for hiking, amazing accommodation even tree houses, cute dogs, our paradise in India 🙂 “

Web site is here

Check where it is here

Kerala coast

and the second is further north and offers a combination of sea, sand and backwaters. It’s away from the hustle and bustle associated with the backwaters further south near Cochin.

Neeleshwar Hermitage

“Excellent place to relax and make the world around you disappear. They have beach and garden cottages, which are very well maintained and equipped. The vegetarian restaurant serves amazing food, there is also a seafood restaurant which we did not try. Staff are very attentive and friendly. It feels like heaven 🙂 “

Kerala 671314, India

+91 467 228 7510

Check it out here

Check where it is here

The Guardian Newspaper an addtional suggestion for cruising the northern backwaters here

Silvia from Germany via the Canaries has now visited India once a year for three years. She’s got the bug! Sylvia’s recommendation in one of the closest national parks is Jungle Retreat. “ every person who likes nature must make this trip at least once in your life “ Sylvia stayed in the tree house.

Check it here

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BHS

Belur, Halebid and Shravanabelagola (BHS) …..

Belur and Halebid are small towns where you will find Hindu Temples constructed in the Hoysala period. Belur is that bit larger but maybe Halebid beats it for the intricacies of its carving.

The towns themselves are quite ordinary

Shravanabelagola is a Temple town with the original ‘Prince’ represented in a giant monolithic statue at the top of the hill, there are other temples dotted around the town. It is one of the most important Jain Temples in the world so this is a religious town. There are places to stay and eat frequented by the pilgrims.

Melkote is a Hindu Temple town with atmospheric street, two main Temples, Tank (Temple pond), ruins and Khad cotton, hand spinning and weaving project. Again this is a small religious town.

If you have a taxi it is feasible to do this trip en-route to Coorg or Chigmaglur and in that case it might be possible to take in Bylakuppe.

As always, number one tip: don’t try to do too much!

Most tourists don’t visit these gems because of the limits on their time.

One day or longer? using taxis

Those that do will usually complete the three places in a day trip in a taxi from Mysore. It’s called BHS takes 10-12 hours in total so it’s a long day and costs in the vicinity of 3000 Rs and that’s with a driver who is not a guide. It’s a round trip of about 400 kms. I’ve done it a couple of times. It’s a full day but perfectly manageable.

Occasionally people will extend their trip and stay overnight in one of the places. This can also be done in a taxi, likely cost for two days is 4700Rs or for three days is 5700 Rs Prices will vary depending upon the final route, the type of car and are likely change. These are only intended as a guide, they were good in August 2017.

Other transport

There is a train, reservations are not necessary (or possible.?) and I’m told it’s not too busy or hectic but we don’t really know.

Buses there are both direct and indirect, it takes over three hours to Hasan and maybe another hour or more to Belur. We’ve never done it so not absolutely sure. They do exist and can be sorted once you’re in Mysore.

There is a bus between Belur and Halebid. We’re talking local buses that could be a real adventure with great insights.

Accommodation

Check the suggestions for accommodation at the BHS update here

Places to stay are limited. If you do use a taxi and take more than one day it is also possible to include the Temple Town of Melkote. These towns do not have much in the way of facilities for foreign tourists. There are now AirBnB places and government ‘resorts.’ Most pilgrims in places such as Shravanabelagola and Melkote will stay in lodging or guest houses. Some might not be able to take foreign tourists.

Please recognise our knowledge is limited. In any case, in India, expect the unexpected. 😉

Other more local options

For those who don’t have the time or the inclination to do the full thing it’s also possible to:

– combine Shravanabelagola with Melkote as a day trip. Our good friend Tanuja provides a tour of Melkote that includes the Gandhian Khadi cotton project.

– fit in a Hoysala Temple as there is a smaller but perfectly good beautiful alternative, Somnathpur, an hour or so from Mysore Bed and Breakfast which can be part of an auto rickshaw tour, passing through lovely countryside. Most guests at Mysore Bed and Breakfast manage to fit this in if they stay more than two nights and are not overcome by Temples.

For those who don’t do a MYCycle cycle tour of Srirangapatnam (shame) it is possible to combine Somnathpur and Srirangapatnam as a day trip in auto rickshaw.

Tibet in a day!

One of the popular places to visit for a day, from Mysore, is the Tibetan Settlement of Bylakuppe near Kushalanagar. A great friend of Manjula and Stephen’s is Ani Samten, originally from the States she is a Buddhist nun (that’s what Ani means) who’s lives at a Monastery in the settlement.

Some of our guests have been really lucky to be able to meet up with Ani and get a personal tour!

Let’s hear from Ani Samten herself about that very tour.

“One of my fave jobs at the monastery is giving tours to visiting foreigners.
We have our original, traditionally built/decorated temple, a new temple under construction, an incense-making factory and a statue maker.
I’ll take you on a virtual tour, in the same order I take visitors, starting with the old temple.

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Welcome to Drikung Kagyudpa Monastic Institute, known as Kagyu Gonpa in the settlement.

Everyone enters through the main gate. The original temple is up the steps, in the background

 

 

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The double entry door to the temple.

Notice the rich, vivid colours and how every surface is painted…often in a different colour.

In Tibet, where the landscape can be so stark/barren, it is amazing to see richly painted temples such as this emerge over the crest of a hill.

 

 

 

 

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Inside the shrine room.

As in most temples in Tibet, every inch of wall space is painted/covered with thangkas, wall hangings of deities/lamas painted on canvas and framed in brocade.

Left rear is a throne for HH Dalai Lama. Rear of the room is a huge, red Buddha Amitabha statue, encased in glass. To the left of the statue is a photo of our lineage head.

Two of the three drums used in our ceremonies are in the photo, as are both types of cymbals. Three types of horns are used in our ceremonies, but none are in this photos.

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A huge thangka of Buddha Amitahba in his Pure Land.

Buddha Amitabha is the Buddha of Infinite Light, and very important to the Phowa practice. Phowa is the transference of consciousness at the time of death. Our lama, H E Choeje Ayang Rinpoche, is a Phowa master.

The two black items are two of the very long horns used in our ceremonies. They telescope out to be very long when used

On the table in front of the horns is tsog (blessed food) offering, which will be distributed to the monks and lay people after the tsokpa (prayer service).”

 

 

Do check Ani’s facebook page to contact her and for more details of her life here in India

If you’re fortunate there may the opportunity to meet up with Ani if you choose to visit the Tibetan Settlement. For details of how to contact Ani and to arrange a day trip to the Settlement where you’ll also find: the Golden Temple, other monasteries, Thangka, carpet and prayer flag workshops. shops in Camp One and restaurants for Tibetan meals.

Farrell Factoid

It isn’t admissible to stay after dark in the settlement without a Goverment pass (takes ages) but its prefectly possible to visit for a day trip either from Mysore or Coorg (its just on the edge of  Coorg). We can arrange a taxi and if you wish to stay overnight (nearby) we can suggest places.

Do check the map of the settlement drawn by one of our previous guests to help you find your way around.

Ani doesn’t charge for her tours but I’m sure a donation to her work at the Monastery would be appreciated.

Do be sure to check out the workshop where they make the statues, it’s one of my personal favourites.

Hampi

 

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Many of our guests visit Hampi and I have visited a few times. It’s where Manjula and I had our second holiday together. More details can be found on our blog, journal thing: http://www.meandmycycle.com

Here’s a few suggestions from our trip and we’ll add more as we receive them from guests.

I was nicely surprised, this is the first time I’d visited since they (who are they?) had demolished a fair amount of Hampi. They have shifted many people from the place, adversely affecting their livelihoods and in places it looks like a bomb has hit it but Hampi is still a very special place.

IMG_4292In this brief we don’t mention the ruins themselves as they are so well covered in the various guides.

Travel

We travelled on the Mysore-Hubli Hampi Express (train No 16592), in first class. It leaves Mysore every day at 18.40 and arrives 07.10 in Hospet. Auto Rickshaw from Hospet to Hampi is 150 Rs less or more depending upon your haggling skills.

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The ferry across the river to the other side, known as Israel and is, in fact, an island. I’ve stayed in both places. In Hampi you can get to the hills to see the sunrise and sunset, across the river you can get a beer! The hassle is the ferry stops around six and it does involve some waiting around but then again it is laid-back Hampi.

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Getting Around

We hired a scooter when we’d crossed on the ferry. So we scooted around and visited a lovely village (more below). It’s also easy to get to a lake, places for climbing and the monkey temple on top of the hill.

It’s not possible to rent a scooter on the Hampi side. So choose between an Auto rickshaw tour and cycles (the same white ones we use on our Srirangapatnam tour can be hired at a shop, half-way between the Mango Tree restaurant and the gate to the car park.) Some of the sites are accessible by walking but others do require transport.

Places to Eat in Hampi

Mango  Tree, established over many years, has now had to shift from its river side venue to the centre of Hampi. It’s just down a back street from the Temple. IMG_4352

A lively, happening family placed frequented by both foreign and Indian tourists. Whatever you choose to eat, you can’t go wrong. They also prepared a parcel (take out) for us for the return train journey.

Sagar  is really a street food stall with a couple of tables and benches set up by a group of ladies. Check the delicious Paddu or Dosa balls.

Places to eat across the river.

Top Secret, provide the usual mix of travellers fare: Indian, Mexican, Israeli, juices and much more.

Places to Stay

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dining at Top Secret

We stayed across the water and whilst we didn’t stay at   Top Secret  we would  recommend it. Frankly most of the places seemed to be pretty much like each other. We did eat at Top Secret, most evenings and the view is superb. Just don’t ask about how they created the view!

 

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the view from shhh, don’t tell anybody

 

Ros and Paul, previous guests at Mysore bed and breakfast, recommend Rocky’s  in Hampi itself.

Something Extra

Bouldering and Climbing

Anegondi, a lovely village to wander around, buy crafts and stay in renovated village houses.

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making new friends in the village
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Driver, booking clerk, tour guide (doesn’t know much), coolie…

 

 

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