Wednesday 4th November 08:00
The Metropole Hotel
Sitting on a large yellow painted verandah drinking tea, looking over a lush garden with a pool, beats most November mornings!
We have been upgraded to The Marajah’s Suite as we arrived early and tired from our flight and our original room was not ready! It is a very impressive room, with a huge old fashioned bathroom.
Here comes some sun, it has been wet and grey, but still warm, Mysore is not as humid as Cochin. We are staying in The Hotel Metropole which was a palace built in 1910 for The Maharaja’s European Guests.
Having been a little nervous of India, I had such a blast last year with my Sister and her daughters in Kerala and Rajasthan, I decided to come back with my Sister (minus the daughters!) It is a great place for women travelling on their own, as long as you have a good driver like Prakash, who is a guide/minder and very professional.
The road outside the hotel is rather vibrant this morning, horns blaring, Tuk Tuks charging about and behind us you can hear the mournful siren of a train every hour. I love the bustle and youthful exuberance of India, but it takes a certain attitude to manage it!
We are off to The Nargarhole National Park today to stay at The Orange County Resort by the Kabini Lake, a three hour trip which is the downside, but Kanataka is a large state and we have an air conditioned people carrier.
20:00 Aahh that’s better! On a terrace with a warm breeze drinking lovely Sula, Indian Sauvignon. This is an idyllic place, by a large reservoir fed by the River Kabini which is worshipped by the locals. No sign of a mosquito, they must spray the area.
The little thatched house where we are staying has its own small private pool with a Jaccuzzi! The Indians love these, it is like stepping into the Eighties again! We have a sitting room, huge bedroom, lovely bathroom and a lovely verandah facing the lake. I love sitting there soaking up the sounds of the birds and falling asleep.
The journey up from Mysore was not too long, there is always something to watch, cows and dogs asleep in the middle of the road and everyone just drives around them!
On the way we visited The Mysore Silk Factory and were allowed to wander around the very noisy factory floor with not a hard hat or high vis jacket in sight. The soft gleaming skeins of silk were spun into thread, then woven into plain cream silk material, some with gold thread and then dyed wonderful bright colours. The Saris here are famous and the ladies at The Metropole had stunning royal blue and gold ones.
We took a boat across the reservoir and were greeted by a local group from the village playing what sounded like a snake charmers music, luckily no snakes or my sister would have run back to the boat fast! The concept of service here is amazing, nothing is too much trouble and we have our own room manager. They have a lovely infinity pool with a lounge area which is the only place where you can get wifi reception, they discourage the use of technology in the other public areas which I think is a good way to make people switch off. They also have a separate pool and activity area for children and families as children are not allowed in the infinity pool. There is a Buffet restaurant and a Grill type bistro by the pool which I prefer, but no steak here owing to the sacred status of the cow in Hindu religion.
No sign of any fireworks, my sister says they are saving them for Diwali at the end of the week, when it will all go mad!
Hedonistic day, lying by various pools, reading and swimming, then an Auyvedic Massage to get rid of the stiffness caused by BA Economy Class! The specially trained ladies have a lovely gentle way but fingers of steel!
We went on a Boat Safari this evening, the Nature Reserve is across the Kabini dam, we saw loads of Elephant, Deer and birds plus two crocodiles. They limit access to the Reserve to one boat at a time and only at certain times. They ask people to be quiet and not use flashes or mobiles, a bit better than some Safaris in East Africa.
Off to another Orange County Resort in Coorg in the Western Ghats. This area is where The Coorg people originate and they are famed for their warrior spirit and beauty. Aishwarya Rai comes from here as well as several important generals.
This resort is set in a Coffee Plantation bought from a Scotsman in the 1920s.
There are dear little thatched cottages set around a lovely pool and some larger houses beside the lake. They have a golf buggy for the less energetic, but I love walking around, especially after a superb Vegetarian Thali lunch. I am avoiding the Buffet Style meals as it is too easy to eat too much! The best drink is a fresh lime soda with no salt or sugar, very good in the heat.