An Offbeat Day Around Mysore
If you are really planning something offbeat around Mysore, you have several routes to plan for. One is STSR, a codeword I created for my ease i.e. Somanathapura, Talakad, Srirangapatna and Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. But the trick is you should start the tour in reverse order and I learned this after doing it in the way mentioned above.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary: One of the best places to experience hundreds of exotic birds at a single destination. This sanctuary is heaven for bird watchers and nature lovers. Several small river islands are shelters for birds as well as crocodiles. While on the boat you can experience both with a mere distance of a few meters. The best time to visit is early morning as birds are there and not so many people, although you can plan for any time of the day, but if in any case you are about to enter the sanctuary around 05.00 pm, I will suggest to not do so; as the closing time of the sanctuary is 05.45 pm and you will not get the boats to experience the birds and crocodiles from a close distance due to huge number of tourist. Your entrance fee and parking will get wasted. The suggested season to visit is October to March. I visited the place in January, which is considered as best time to visit. If you really love capturing birds in your camera, carry your lenses and get ready to click some of the best shots of your life.
Srirangapatna Island: Considered as one of the biggest river islands in the world as well as one of the most populated river island. Capital of the mighty Tipu Sultan as well as pilgrimage of Vishnu followers since ancient period due to Ranganatha Swami Temple, dedicated to lord Vishnu. This island has lessons of history for you, from cruel detention centers to monuments and from Temples to confluence of rivers. Remains of fort of Tipu Sultan are still speaking their history and gain knowledge about his innovation of modern rocket science and how his war poster is celebrated at NASA’s head office. You can also visit Ranganatha Swami Temple, some 1200 year old temple. Temple is an amazing example of ancient architecture and devotion. I will suggest an amazing restaurant for lunch, Hotel Mayura River View; you can ask anyone for way or search on GPS. It is a government organization, choose your table near Cauvery River and feel the flow of water along with good food. By the time your food is served, go and sit on stairs and put your feet in river, let go everything and feel fresh.
Talakad: A cursed town near Cauvery River. A story says a queen of neighboring state gave three curse to king of Mysore and one of the curse was that, “Let the town of Talakad, submerge in sand”. Scientifically the river takes a Sharpe turn at that point, which is enough to deposit its sand over a period of time and submerge everything near that place. However, you can believe whatever you want science or story. Walk on the sandy beach, do the coral boat ride and then visit all the temples excavated by the Archeological Survey of India, which is still working at few sites there. The best time to visit is before 03.00 pm as the area is really offbeat and you can miss few other places on your list if you are too late. If the place is last in your list you can visit till sunset.
Somanathapura Temple: An amazing example of Hoysala Architecture, I cannot write in words to describe the beauty of this temple. You have to experience yourself, somewhere around 900 years old and made up of soap stone. This temple is still capable of hypnotizing you with its intrinsic designs, interiors as well as exteriors. The timing is 09.00 am to 05.00 pm, so plan accordingly. There is a post office in the village from where you can send some postcards to your loved ones and office will put stamp with temple design; ask anyone for address and people will love to help in that small village. I am not writing in details about this temple; because I consider myself incapable to describe the beauty in words, so visit and write to me how you do feel about it.
Add On: Yes, there are few other places which you can add to this day; but for that you need to deduct few places. One place is Brindavan Garden, a beautiful garden famous for its light and sound show with fountains in evening, but it is an attraction of 60’s and we are in 21st century. So, if you really want to visit, make sure you are there early morning as in evening you will even not find place to walk inside garden especially during holidays and weekends. And I am sure that you must have seen better or equally beautiful gardens somewhere. Garden is beautiful, fountains are good but I like peace also, when I am in Garden. So personally not my favorite, but yes, its backwaters are my favorite.
Another place is Shivasamadura Waterfalls; you can plan it at the cost of Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and Srirangapatna or customize according to your love. Plan for this early morning and carry on with the normal remaining destinations. Best view of the waterfall is in monsoons, when the water is white like milk. In other seasons, the view is not best but you can enjoy the time inside water, so carry some extra cloths.