Mysore and Kabini Trip
It’s the halfway point and India has offered a number amount of challenges but more opportunities to discover such a beautiful country with traditional cultures and values. After three back to back nights of pulling all nighters for our final exams and projects, the entire group was anxious to explore Mysore and Kabini. Though most of us had 10 hours of sleep for the last couple days, our excitement kept us wide awake; pumped of what we’ll see next as we traveled by bus through villages and vast fields. When we finally arrived at the Regaalis Hotel in Mysore, Dr. Umashankar hosted a wonderful dinner on the lawn. That night we took full advantage of the pool and delicious room service. Everyone at that point knew that this trip was going to be amazing.
We had to wake up pretty early the next morning but thankfully the fresh eggs and bacon were heavenly. To the people of India the word Mysore is synonymous with Sandalwood, silk and fine inlay-work using ivory. It is the home of incense sticks dipped in sandalwood oil perfume base and has two well known incense factories – the Aravinda Parimala and the Vasu and Cycle brand (together these two account for 70% of the incense stick export from India). Our first visit of the day was to the Infosys training campus. Infosys is a software testing company who obviously know how to take care of their employees. The campus was full of fitness centers, pools, movie theaters and even bowling alleys. The campus had restaurants and shopping centers for its 40,000 employees that the company could train in a single session. The 400 Infosys teachers train the employees on company values and other corporate information for a few months before they are official employees for Infosys. Overall, I thought the business visit was remarkable to see how much a company invests in its employees.
After the Infosys visit, we went to Chumundi Hill where people can visit the temple palace deity Chamundeshwari, a statue of Mahishasura the demon who used to trouble the people of Mysore. It was cool walking around and interacting with the vendors before reaching the actual temple. A lot of us got ripped off buying little trinkets that feel apart 20 minutes after we bought them. Many of us were blessed in the temple as we passed through the ritual customs of the Hindu religion.
~Chumandi Hill and Temple
Later that afternoon, we also got the chance to visit the Mysore Palace which housed the Wodeyars, a royal family in Mysore’s history who ruled from 1399 to India’s independence in 1947. Most of the architecture was carved Teakwood with lavishly carved frames surrounding massive portraits. We actually had to take off our shoes as we walked through the palace rooms. Although pretty dirty, it was cool walking around on cobblestone and tile built in the late 14th century. Again after we left the palace gates all of us were attacked by the street vendors. These vendors were selling all sorts of things ranging from instruments, boxes, fake jewelry, and sun glasses. The general rule of thumb is dived the price by at least 5 from the vendors who are trying to rip everyone off. There was a guy who literally followed me for a mile selling plastic sun glasses. Initially was to sell these aviators for 250 rupees but I bought the glasses for 50 rupees. Eller would be proud of all our newly learned negotiating skills. Our last night in Mysore was of course outrageous and extremely fun. With a month into school, most of us have gotten really close as friends and love hanging out.
Our bus ride to Kabini was ridiculously bumpy as we traveled on a dirt path through miles of fields for a couple hours. But when we got to our 5 Star Resort (Orange County Resort) all of us were besides ourselves. This hotel overlooked a river and the huge jungle full of elephants and tigers. All the food was inclusive with fresh ice cream, kabobs, salads, and pastas. All of our rooms were separate houses each with a Jacuzzi. That night my roommate and I threw a Jacuzzi party which was awesome. Although the water wasn’t initially warm, we dumped hot shower water to make it bearable. We were too happy to care about the mosquitoes biting us or the cool water…. We were in Kabini and having an amazing time. The next day we woke up to an amazing breakfast with custom omelets and fresh fruit. Although the weather was rainy, we all had a good time hanging out in each other’s rooms. Later that day, a group of us crossed the river and went on a Safari through Nagarhole National Park. We got to see a bunch of deer, monkeys, wild dogs, a leopard, and some elephants. It was pretty cool to see these animals without any fences like in a zoo. That night we had an amazing final dinner and celebrated knowing we had a long bus ride back to Bangalore the next morning.