THIS IS: MYSORE, KARNATAKA
NEXT STOP: VAGATOR, NORTH GOA
Not going to lie. I did not enjoy Mysore very much at all. A big reminder that it pays to do your research.
WHERE WE STAYED
Definitely in the wrong part of town. We stayed in Vidayaranya Puram at an Airbnb which looked waaaaaayyyy better online than in real life. Mould in water-jug, mouldy fridge and just a dirty vibe. Eek. I shall say no more about the place, but things were not off to a great start in Mysore.
I found that the heat was really dry and the pollution was particularly bad and perhaps there a build up of pollution in my system from Bangalore, but I ended up getting pollution-headaches for a few days at a time.
The food in Mysore was really good though! So big ups for that. We found Gayastri Tiffin Room (GTR) which did really amazing food, and we ate there for almost every meal. Sit upstairs for table service and a full menu. A local institution, everyone knows about it and the locals pack the place out in the evenings.
We visited the Shuka Vana bird sanctuary, but I’m in two-minds about it. Whilst there were some of the rarest, most wonderful, and beautiful birds we’ve ever seen – it seemed a bit money-hungry and zooey, which we had tried hard to avoid in India and it was an aspect that we did not expect based on the research we did. Whilst the outer aviary is actually a massive enclosed area (there are hundreds of doves, rainbow lorikeets and other birds flying around), others, like macaws and cockatoos are still locked in confined cages which I hated seeing, and I think all their wings are clipped. Perhaps they let them out on some days, or at different parts of the day so as to protect them from the many I-want-to-grab-that-bird visitors, but I couldn’t find more information about it. Based on lots of reviews and videos I watched before hand, we had expected something more along the lines of: a bunch of endangered birds living in a safe environment with the freedom to fly around the enclosure. There is a bird hospital and rehabilitation centre as part of the centre, but all-in-all, a bit of a let down and we much preferred the real birding in Thattekad.
We saw the Mysore palace too, which was very touristy but super gorgeous, so it is worth a visit.