We explored the "City of Palaces" more commonly known as Mysore in the state of Karnataka.
Mysore is about 2-3 hours by car from Bangalore. My host arranged to have one of their local staff accompany us. Not only did he help with any language needs, but he was a bit of a history buff and gave us a fantastic rundown of our agenda for the day wrapped around a review of the history of Mysore.
Our first stop was to the city of Sri Rangapatna. This city is important to the history of Mysore because it was the home to Tipu Sultan who had wrested power from the Wodeyar Dynasty near the end of the 18th Century. Tipu Sultan was eventually defeated by the British, but his summer palace, tomb, and gatehouse survive. Additionally, the Ranganatha Swamy Temple which was built in 894AD and houses a statue of one of the forms of Vishnu.
Next, we visited St. Joseph's Cathedral (now, more commonly known as St. Philomena's) in Mysore. It is built in the same shape as St. Peter's Cathedral in New York and is one of the oldest and largest churches in India. The church contains catacombs and a shrine to St. Josephine which is purported to contain a relic of her.
After this stop, we drove the Chamundi Hill which has a statue of the demon Mahishasura, a temple to Chamundi who slain the demon and a very large statue of Nandi. In addition to these sites, the hill provide beautiful views of Mysore at the base of the mountain.
Following lunch, we visited the Palace of Mysore. The reigning Maharaja still uses portions of the palace, and we paid for a guide to explain to us particular aspects of the temple. Seeing the receiving room, the great marriage hall, and the rest of the palace was amazing. Apparently, the Wodeyars were rulers of the people and their kingdom flourished until Indian independence in 1947. We ended at an art museum which contained a great deal of paintings and artifacts from the period of the palaces.
It was a great day only marred by traffic in Bangalore that did not move. It took us about 3.5 hours to return to the hotel - at one point we had moved about 1.5 km in 35 minutes time. It was bad even for India's normally bad traffic.
However, that was the only issue with a wonderful day. The pictures above are from our host and I will upload the many that I took when I return to the States.