Bengaluru is often referred to as the IT capital of India and Mysuru is renowned for its yoga teacher training classes. With this in mind, I was worried that the two cities may have little to offer for a backpacker. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised and my time spent in Karnataka’s two main cities was good fun.
Whilst I purported that my time in Bengaluru was ‘good fun’, half of my stay there was actually riddled with Delhi belly! Weirdly enough, this one of the reasons why my stay was enjoyable. Getting ill in India is pretty much guaranteed if you’re the least bit adventurous with your food. When it happens you have to hope you’ll strike lucky and be in a relatively agreeable place. I was in a Western hostel that was a short walk away from a large supermarket. Being the IT capital of India, my wifi was also really strong. This all combined for comfort food, Netflix and a generally pleasant place to recover from my illness.
Aside from the time I spent nursing my stomach, I did manage to get out and explore Bengaluru. If you visit, be sure to walk along the famous M. G. Road and from there mosy on towards Cubbon Park. This large open space is a nice place to roam around and people watch for an afternoon. During one of your evenings be sure to visit VV Puram food street and try all the glorious food the vendors have to offer. If you fancy a long day expending energy, try walking for hours around the city lapping up the tourist attractions. You can head towards Banglore Palace to have a look at the architecture, visit one of the many art galleries and walk around Ulsoor lake.
Certainly, Bengaluru does have something to offer a holidaymaker who isn’t interested in the IT scene. However, you needn’t spend more than three or four days here (unless you have Delhi belly). The fast pace of the city reminded me of a quieter Mumbai and was surprisingly enjoyable. Unfortunately, with that fast pace comes litter – there is lots of it! If you need to get around avoid rickshaws at all costs and instead opt for uber which offers far cheaper rates.
Mysuru is only a three hour train journey away from Bengaluru. Whilst it is only a short time away from Bengaluru, Mysuru is completely different. For one thing it is smaller and slightly less populated. This combines together to create a lot less traffic and noise.
I wanted a taste of Mysuru’s yoga whilst I was here, so I spent a lot of time trying to find drop-in yoga classes online. However, there was little else but teacher training courses advertised. It was only through a friend at the hostel that I found one-off classes at the Mystic School. However, she only found this by emailing the school directly. I attended the Hatha and Ashtanga sessions. It was good fun and the teacher was very likeable. However, the classes weren’t catered towards beginners and towards the end of the Ashtanga class I could do little else but watch!
Mysuru has a lot more to offer other than yoga. If you have three days to spare here there are a number of things you can do. On one day you can visit the incredible Mysore Palace and then walk around the nearby markets afterwards. Another day can be spent visiting Karanji Lake where you can go full tourist mode by taking a pedalo out on the water and honing in on your photography skills at the bird sanctuary. On the third day you can wake early to climb the thousand steps of Chamundi Hill, at the top you can visit the temples and take in the view. After a well deserved rest you can visit the mall and go to the cinema. We went and watched the revered Bahuballi 2 – it was as epic as everyone keeps saying it is!
Of the two cities I certainly had a better time in Mysuru. The main reason for this was my stay at Mansion 1907, which was a huge, relaxed property that housed plenty of other solo travellers. Both cities are worth a visit; even if only for a brief stopover whilst you head towards somewhere more exotic.