Another relaxing breakfast on the 1st Floor Terrace this morning and then off we went to tour the Palace of the Maharajah of Mysore.
This is a huge building with manicured lawns and gardens, impressive sculptures and the like. The Palace itself, unlike most others we have seen, shows no signs of degradation - in fact, for all we know it is still occupied.
For all the splendour of the exterior of the building it is the interior that impresses most. Unfortunately photo's are not allowed inside and to attempt to describe the wonder and the opulence is an impossibility. In short, it is the most fantastic thing we have ever seen.
Intricate ivory inlays in huge teak doors - check
A 750 kg gold Howdah (the seat that is perched on the back of an Elephant) - check
Chairs made of cut glass - check
Chairs made of solid silver - check
Huge paintings of ancestors - check
Massive halls with ceiling paintings of the 10 aspects of Vishnu and the Zodiac - check
Enormous multi coloured and inlaid columns holding up stained glass ceilings - check
First floor terraces big enough to stage a cricket match - check
and much, much more.
Back outside the Palace we came across a trained Elephant and her handlers - if you approached the Elephant and held out a note, she would take it from your hand, pass it back over her head to the handler and then gently reach back down and place her trunk on the top of your head "blessing you".
Desley and I both had a blessing and in my case the Elephant took the cap off my head for me first. Great fun and given the high cost of keeping an Elephant, a good way to bring in the rupees without over-working the animal.
From here we took an auto rick-shaw to St Philomena's Cathedral, a gothic style structure that looks like Batman may appear on one of the spires at any moment.
Certainly worth a look if for no reason other than it looks so incongruous within a short walk of an elaborate mint green Mosque and in the midst of an otherwise typical Indian town.
The several fully occupied and very large beehives attached to the upper windows are impressive too. You wouldn't want to be under one when it eventually drops to the ground.
We had a special dinner at the Hotel Restaurant in honour of Desley's birthday - managed to consume a couple of Old Monk rum & Thums-up drinks for me and Des had Pina Coladas with all the requisite fruit and umbrellas.
The Restaurant is very popular with locals and tourists alike. There would have been 100 patrons or more with new groups streaming in regularly during the evening.
Live music in the form of a Flautist with Tabla player was provided by the Hotel and set just the right mood in the background.