Mysore South India
I arrived in Mysore South India after a long journey from Mahabalipuram and Bangalore. The reason to visit Mysore were the stories I had heard about the palace of the Maharaja.
Mysore is the second largest city in Karnataka state. I was not on time for the Dasara festival which attracts always a huge crowd of tourists but it didn't matter. There was plenty to see anyway.
The name Mysore comes from the Mysore mallige, the Mysore style of painting, the sweet dish Mysore Pak, the Mysore Peta (a traditional silk turban) and the garment called the Mysore silk saree.
South India has a significant amount of Christians living, hence the beautiful St. Philomena's Church in Mysore city center. As usual it was easy to get friends in town.
Mysore was also the place where I found the delights of the south Indian Dosa's, a kind of pancake eaten in many variations, with dahl, sauces, potatoes and vegetables.
Apart of the palace of the maharaja there are more palaces in the city to visit. The Mysore Palace was the one I was particularly interested in as it is nowadays an art gallery. When walking around it's hard to imagine this was once private property in a land so poor.
If you are interested in wildlife, visit the National Parks at Bandipur and Nagarhole, the wildlife sanctuaries at Melkote and B R Hills and the bird sanctuaries at Ranganathittu and Kokrebellur. Other tourist spots near Mysore include the religious locations of Nanjanagud and Bylakuppe and the waterfalls at Shivanasamudra.
In ancient times, at many places in the world, parents found the "right" partners for their children. Arranged marriage doesn't exist anymore in Western countries but in many Asian countries it is still part of the culture.
In one cafe I was chatting with a guy called Jobi. He was at the point of getting married. He told me a story about his own arranged marriage. He had married some years earlier, had a child too. But he was not married with the woman he loved. His parents had chosen him a bride when he was 6 years old.
Unfortunately when 15 years old he had fallen in love with another girl. His parents were unmoved and forced him to marry the girl they choose. I asked him why he didn't refuse. "I can't refuse", he said. "If I marry the girl I love, I have to move to another town, far away from friends and family, take another name because my family will disown me."
"When I make love with my wife, all I do is think of my old girlfriend", he said.
Despite illegal, arranged marriages is still widespread all over India. A really sad story.
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I've spend a week here at the south Indian coast in Tamil Nadu. It was a beautiful place and a good place to rest.