Monday, May 19, 2008

India - Day 5 - Part 2

We left the 3 rivers and it was time to get lunch. We did not just go anywhere to get lunch, we went to a hotel whose slogan is, "We're not a palace, but we'll treat you like a king."

This hotel, Lalitha Mahal Palace, pictured on the right, was built in 1931 and is humongous. It was built by the Maharaja of Mysore to host the Viceroy of India. If you decide to eat here, make sure to bring your credit card (or take out a second on your house), as it is not cheap. The food is very good though.

We finished lunch and made our way to Mysore Palace - one of India's best kept secrets from the rest of the world - albeit it is very well known in India.

Now the Mysore Palace made the Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel seem average size. This palace was built in 1912. Before you can enter the palace, you must turn in your camera to a camera room, very similar to a coat room. You also need to take your shoes off prior to entering the palace, but your shoes go to a different place than your camera does. There is a standard fee charged for shoes here - 1/2 Rupee. I think I got more than my money's worth this time as they had a watch my size-15 shoes.

I got a kick out of walking around the palace and watching the reactions from kids and a few adults as I meandered the hallways. I already stood out from the crowd because I am white and it looked like I had not been in the sun for months - I live near Portland, Oregon, what do you expect? - but I towered over the majority of the people there as well. The little kids would look up and me and I would smile at them and they would smile back. The adults, on the other hand, looked like they were a little worried. The average height in India is about 5'5". The average height at the palace was doing good if it were 5'. There were many people shorter than than that, so those people were having to look up at least 18". My height was an advantage as I could look over the top of the majority of the people to see whatever there was to see in any particular room.

Words cannot describe the architecture and craftsmanship that was put into the building of the palace. Built way before the time of power tools, remarkable is not a strong enough word to describe it. I have no idea how they built the structure as tall as they did. If you ever go to India, I do recommend going to see Mysore Palace.

Our last stop prior to heading back home was to see St. Philomena's Church. The Gothic structure was built in 1956 and is a marvel to the eyes. While we were there, a wedding was happening. It was rather cool to see a historic building actually being used for what it was originally intended.

The trip back to Bangalore seemed so much longer than the trip to Mysore. I think the reason was that we were tired from our adventure and that we did not have any stops along the way to entertain us as we made the stops on our way out.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness. It could be as simple as showing someone the sites around your area.

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