16: Mysore to Alleppey

by - January 26, 2014

With the Indian trip passing the two-thirds mark, we would be heading back west towards the Arabian Sea.  We would start by visiting the state of Kerala, one of the most unique of the states of India – with a very high literacy rate and an almost even amount of Hindus, Muslims and Christians. 

Masjid E Azam
Our journey to Kerala would be by overnight train from Bangalore; however that would come later as we started the day in Mysore with a morning to look around the bits that we had missed so far.  While we had seen the palace, we hadn’t really explored the rest of the city much, so made our way to the central market.  As the smallest city we had visited thus far, Mysore was (relatively) straightforward to walk around – yes, you still had to be constantly on your toes to stop yourself being plastered over the front of a rickshaw, or from falling down a random hole, but the pavements were generally better and the traffic generally lighter than our experiences elsewhere.  The central market is supposedly one of the best places to see in Mysore, but we both found that it paled slightly when compared to the busier and more interesting market in Bangalore – maybe we had arrived at a quiet time.  From here we walked north to a junction where the city’s main church sits opposite the city’s main mosque – with a temple just down the road.  While the religious intolerance and strife caused after the partition of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is infamous and well documented, from what we had seen the country actually now seemed to be a real beacon of tolerance, as shown by the interesting mix of religious buildings at this junction.

St Philomena’s Church
The three-tier bunks in 3AC class
After grabbing some lunch we made our way over the Mysore station where we got the same train back to Bangalore as we had arrived on two days earlier.  We had a fair bit of time to kill between arriving from Mysore and departing for Kerala and also would have to change stations, so decided that we might as well go into the city centre, where we eventually found ourselves at the steak restaurant that we had ate at previously.  Our train left from Yesvantpur station in the north of Bangalore at 9.00pm and was set to arrive at Ernakulam (a district of the city of Kochi) the next morning at 8.30am.  We were in the ‘3AC’ class, which was the best class available on the train – the ‘3’ refers to the fact that three bunk beds are stacked on top of each other and the AC stands for air conditioning.  While the train was crazily cheap, it was also reasonably uncomfortable – far less comfortable than the sleeper buses ironically, but it was good to experience and I suspect that many of the other routes on the Indian rail network would have more comfortable trains.

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