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

So why choose a homestay?

and why choose ours?

Its sharing our home……

which is clean, comfortable, with a great atmosphere, home cooking, continental or Indian breakfasts, an outdoor sit out and roof sun terrace with lots of plants, two lounges, small library, fast WIFI, in a quiet residential area with super amenities next door and which is just ten minutes from the action in the city, such as the Palace and Market.

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we provide insights into India with information and advice on what to see and do, from the perspective of Manjula (from Mysore) and Stephen (from the UK) to help you make the best of your time here.

 

 

we have a lovely dog, Lucie

 

 

a series of over ten parks starting opposite our house

a house with wonderful art from around the country

MYCycle tours, scrumptious meals and cookery lessons

oh, and we’ve been no 1 in Mysore on Trip Advisor for five years

according to India today these are the ten top reasons to choose a Homestay here

 

Top Tips

The first of our tips focus on how to deal with some of the challenges you might face, particularly if you’re a first time visitor to India.

So if you’re aware, take your time, and follow the simplest traveller rules you’ll find India the richest of experiences where you’ll wish to return for more.

Number One: Everything, always takes longer than you expect.

Check here

Number Two: India will change you, so be prepared.

Check here

Number Three: one night stands aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

Check here

Number four: is about tipping.

check here 

More top tips will follow.

Follow us

Minor’s Mysore

things to do for children and the ‘young at heart’

this is just a quick list as its occurred to me, I’ll add links and images, in due course,

Parrot rescue centre and Bonsai gardens. Ask for details

Karanji Lake: birds, butterflies, walk, play area, boats (not up to standard), 20 mins walk from the MysoreBnB

Sand Museum, sculptures of sand, located on the road to Chamundi Hill, where there’s a few other attractions for the tourists. 15-20 minutes walk

Lalith Mahal Hotel: check out the entrance hall, the restaurant decor (what style?) is also amazing, after 7.00 there’s a Raj bar and restaurant. It’s 20- 30 minutes walk from MysoreBnB. The swimming pool might not be accessible as it’s been renovated for ever. It’s possible to visit the bar and get street food on the way home.

Zoo, its a zoo after all but reputedly one of the best in India. Ten minutes away in Auto Rickshaw

Ransoms (its a shop opposite the zoo) where they often have exhibitions in the basement of dolls and board games (of course they are also for sale)

Parks, immediately outside the Mysore BnB is the first of a series of twelve small parks, each with a slightly different focus, that offer places to sit and relax, play on climbing frames, even roller blading ….. is that what it’s called?

Natural History Museum, need to go check that one out myself as when I first went years ago I was not impressed.

Wax Museum: bit basic but some have liked it. There’s even a blog entry from previous guests ten minutes walk

Festivals, depends, on the time of year but there’s Dasara around october time, Ganesh september/october, Diwali (mainly in people’s homes) and many many more throughout the year.

and of course there’s all the regular stuff which are also great for we younger ones: Mysore Palace (looks splendid in the photos), Devaraj Market, so atmospheric with its smells and colours of fruit, veg and flowers; Chamundi Hill for Nandi the giant bull and wonderful views of the city, museums and art galleries; Silk Mill, fab foodartisan’s workshops (stone and wood) or just wandering around the streets to stumble across the hidden gems, like the yak man….. it’s a drama!

and of course… shopping!

and of course tara tara. our Mycycle tours of Srirangaptnam are all geared up for children with small cycles, tag-a-long and child seat for ‘toddlers.’

SF/17Sept2017

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.

Manjula’s Meals

 

Manjula’s cooking has become world famous! 😉

We love sharing meals with our guests (it’s the nature of our open house) and often Manjula will provide cookery lessons and demonstrations. After many requests we’ve now started posting recipes and begin here with two simple examples.

Recipe One Ragi Soup

Recipe Two Dhal

Future recipes will include: Roti, Soda Bread, a range of delicious Bhaji, pressure cooker cooking and more…

Do come and join us for dinner.

If you have any questions about any of the recipes or any special requests do write to Manjula and Stephen at tours@mycycle.co

guest photos now online

 

well what a wonderful time we’ve had….. same but different…. Now most of those who visit are returners, or those who hear about us via word-of-mouth, you are all our friends.

So its been the usual mix of fab guests from all around the world, with a significant increase in travellers from Canada. We’re now getting to the end of our busiest period and we’re feeling the heat a teeny bit. The photos taken of our guests on cycle (or other tours) and at our lovely home can now be found on flickr here.

Please just search for the album that corresponds to the date you were here (sometimes albums might overlap!) and feel free to download any photos you like. Any problems, can’t find or download please contact Stephen at tours@mycycle.co

 

lovely people, fab reviews

I’m just catching up and responding to reviews on Trip Advisor. Its such a nice job, its actually one of those we should all aim for, a job that’s not a job, because we love it so much. We’ve got exactly that here, whether its welcoming guests, helping them get the best out of Mysore, helping them solve problems (lack of Rupee notes, comes to mind), chatting over dinner, making breakfast and dinner, preparing for new guests, keeping it ship shape, sharing jokes, building bridges across oceans and cultures. super!

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Thank you so much to all of you who have left feedback and reviews wherever you’ve done it. Fact is we wouldn’t have been able to create what we have without it, our guests over the years have depended on fair, open and frank reviews. Thank you.

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.

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