Arriving in Mysore from Bangalore airport is a 3-4 hour taxi journey along the Mysore road. We pass through many villages and countryside. Along the road you pass Ramnagara, where there are enormous boulders by the side of the road which looks like they might have landed from space and then been weathered down to leave a smooth finish. In reality they are granite outcrops and the region is popular for bouldering and trekking. More detail on the 140km journey can be found here:
Mysore is the 3rd largest city in the state of Karnataka, South-West of the state capital, Bangalore. Bangalore is India’s very own Silicon Valley. Narendra Modi referred to India’s tech wealth in his speech last month in Maddison Square Gardens: historically India may have been a land of snake charmers but now we charm the mouse!
Given that the population of Mysore is almost a million, I am pleasantly surprised to find a tranquil, pleasant pace of life. The people are very spiritual and content. Every morning we walk from our apartment to the guru’a house where we practice meditation and at 5.30am we find locals on their morning walk. With the sunrise, households place a daily rangoli – pattern made of white powder – outside their house, to welcome the goddesses in.
The food is typical of what you would expect in South Indian cuisine- infinite dosas and idly with sambhar and coconut chutney. On the first morning, after an intense 2 hour yoga session, we were ravenous and therefore delighted to find somebody serving breakfast of dosa and idly from their front lounge. The mother makes food from her heart and the son serves us whilst the husband talks to us and practices his English. This was washed down with sweet, milky, masala chai.
I am, however, stuck by the architecture of the houses in the area. The yoga school (Shala) is in a very residential and wealthy area of Mysore, Siddartha Nagar. Between lessons, I enjoy wandering around, looking at the buildings and soaking in the pace of life. The other day I saw school kids playing and doing Bollywood dancing in the street.
One week in and I am really enjoying my time in Mysore, the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga, a wonderful, spiritual place!