Monday, August 27, 2012

Chamundi Hill, Mysore

With an open window of 3 hours in the city of Palaces - Mysuru - I had to think fast and clever. An SOS call later I had made up my mind. A third visit to Chamundi Hills seemed to be the most viable plan - with a twist. The idea was to climb the 1008 steps to the top and probably come back down in a bus. But as it turned out, the tables were turned and I had to do the opposite. Apparently the city buses do not go to the foot of the hill where the steps begin. That meant I was dropped at the top of the hill on the doorstep of Sri Chamundeshwari and a thousand hawkers. Since I was, ritually-speaking, not allowed to enter the temple - because of a death in the family - I wandered around the temple taking pictures and gobbling tender coconut water. Curiously, this is the third time I've been to Chamundi Hills but couldn't get into the temple. Now that’s a travel jinx that might take long to break, going by past experiences.

Apart from the Temple there’s also a statue of Demon King Mahishasura. If you are wondering what a demon king is doing in a place like this, then let me enlighten you that this demon was the ruler of Mysuru who was killed by Godess Chamundeshwari for wrecking havoc on people’s life. This is also why Goddess Chamundeshwari earned the title "Mahishasuramardhini" - Slayer of Mahishasura. Other attractions include a huge Nandi Statue and the Rajendra Vilas Palace (which I completely forgot to check-out).

With time running out for a personal appointment in Srirangapatnam, I started hurtling down the steps at a feverish pace – only to have suffer from aches the next day. By the time I reach ground zero, needless to say I was out of breath and energy. This feat of running down the steps can be achieved in less than 15 minutes. Surprisingly I saw quite a few people walking up the steps – some pilgrims, some morning walkers. So whether you are high on devotion or a fitness freak, climbing the steps of Chamundi Hills is what you should be doing in Mysuru on a bright and sunny Sunday morning.

Getting-there: City Volvo buses available from Mysore City stand to the peak of Chamundi Hills.

Must-Do: Try to go-up or come-down the 1008 steps. Gobble king-sized tender cocounts. Shopping at the hawker's market.

Must-Don't: Overdo the walking of steps. wandering in the hills after-dark (leapords have been spotted here in the past). Littering.

My Rating: 5/10