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.

Postcards

We’ve published high quality postcards of scenes from Mysore and Srirangaptnam, many found on our cycle tours. These are available at Mysore Bed and Breakfast and selected local stores including Dhatu near Kalidasa Road.

 

All our proceeds go to Asha Kirana trust to support their work in their hospital, clinic, through offering ART and outreach work for people who have AIDS or are HIV+

Mysore Weather

I’m British and we like to talk about the weather (we’re usually complaining). Here, in Mysore, I’m denied that dubious honour as  the weather is pretty good throughout the year.

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Even in the main Monsoon period of June, July and August, we mostly receive just limited rain, maybe one shower per day.

After Monsoon and throughout winter is the best weather. It’s in the 20’s and sometimes might reach the 30’s with a cooler evening and night.

It can get quite hot, into the 30’s and sometimes at the top end of the 30’s, that’s in Summer which is April, May and June.

Whatever, the heat is quite dry so we escape the humidity that’s often found elsewhere in South India and especially on the coast in the summer months.

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Having said all that, India is anything but predictable so it can change. Over the last few years we have experienced earlier summers, even less rain and cooler nights, but it’s still really good.

So, Mysore actually is a great all-year-round destination.

 

 

Our roof top sit-out is available to enjoy it!

So, what is there to do in Mysore?

How long to stay?
We are asked so often that we thought we’d show what visitors have experienced and thought after staying here.
Our current guests are an English family living in France with mum and dad and two pre teen children. It goes without saying they are a lovely group, gang, team….. They ARE staying here 😉  ALL our guests are great.

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They have been here three nights and have covered the following:

Walk up Chamundi Hill followed by dinner in one of our favourite roof-top restaurants Hotel Roopa.

Next day after breakfast at our place, Vasanth in his auto rickshaw took them to the Silk Mill, followed by the Maharaja’s Palace and then the idiosyncratic art gallery at Jaganmohan Palace. Royal Mysore Walks provided a walking tour to introduce the city, market and street food. Dinner was veg Indian feast prepared by Manjula.

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On the third day, it was equally packed. Pancakes for breakfast. A MYcycle tour of Srirangapatmam that lasted most of the day followed by late lunch at the riverside restaurant. Vasanth then helped them sort out their bus tickets to travel on to north Kerala on the fourth day.

Their verdict? We’ll let them speak for themselves.

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To us, it has reinforced one key fact. They’ve had a wonderful time and managed to fit a lot in during their stay. As with most of our guests they wish to stay longer. Once people spend time here and realise it’s a lovely easy-going accessible city with year-round great weather and much more to do than they first thought, they all feel that. If it was possible to stay (it isn’t) our family might fit in another trip to the island, see some of the local artisans, art museum, sand sculptures, more of the countryside and even do a bit of shopping.

Please note: you can find more details of the highlights listed above in our page of ‘things to do in and around Mysore.’

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…

 

 

So who does stay at Mysore BnB?

The numbers are in for the last year. We’ve counted how many guests have visited the BnB from the various countries. Fact is….. What matters, above all, of course it’s been a rich mix of wonderful people who have helped create great conversations and happy times. We are so lucky! Thank you for making it happen. image The countries that the largest numbers of our guests come from are the UK, India, Australia, France and Germany. In that order. This year both the numbers of people from India and France and how long they’ve stayed has significantly increased. These are closely followed by the numbers of guests from US and Italy. The mix is absolutely amazing with guests also from Belgium, Taiwan, China, (and Hong Kong), Ireland, Holland, Spain, Canada, S Africa, Switzerland, Israel, Russia, Sweden, New Zealand and Austria. And we have a special mention ….. (You know who you are) ….. for our trailblazing guests from …. Moldova, Estonia, Russia, Greece (my fave island of Crete), Japan, Turkey, South Korea, Finland, Argentina, Nigeria and Nepal. The ages of our guests are from young babies through to elders that are even older than Stephen.

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What an amazing spread. The total number of guests is 400 and we like that. Not too busy and not too quiet. It’s good to get balance in life. As many of you will know I often describe it as sitting on the beach with waves varying from gentle tickling of the toes to sudden surges. As at the BnB it goes from gently quiet to hectic. But thankfully we’re never quite overcome. Just as I like it. Manj on the other hand prefers constant busy busy busy 😉 forget it 🙂 for me the concept of ‘slow business’ is where it’s at. For me that means we can provide a better quality experience and service. Our busiest period is late December, January and February, our quietest is April, May, June and for some reason September.
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Most guests now come through recommendations from friends and people they meet whilst travelling or Trip Advisor. A fair number return more than once. Our record is held by two people (separately) who have been here for over four return trips! We’re thinking of a loyalty scheme….;-) P1010716People are staying longer generally 3 or more nights. It’s now relatively rare for people to stay one night and they are usually Indian guests enroute to somewhere else. Others will use the BnB as a base and maybe stay 7-10 days. We now have some cyclists basing themselves here for half of their holiday and doing daily circular tours.

So, to those of our previous guests reading this…

we thank you for visiting and spending your precious holiday time with us. We know from your feedback you have a great time and want to come back and that’s all that we ask.

for those who have yet to visit and become friends we hope to see you soon and look forward to our future adventures together.

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