This is a continuation of my first post about weekend trips that you can do while in Mysore. You can read the first post here. The first trip I took involved climbing a mountain, a wildlife sanctuary, temples, and a beautiful view for lunch. The second trip I took was just as wonderful. My friend Roni and I had such a good time on our first trip we decided to book a second one, this time we had some friends who came along too.
The second trip we booked through GoMowgli was: Mysore-Talakad-Shivasamudra Waterfalls-Somanathapura.
We left again early Saturday morning and headed for a Mysore village where they grow silk worms and process the silk. On our way our guides had a nice surprise for us, the ancient Banyan tree that grows just outside the city limits. I had hoped to make it there before leaving and was pleasantly surprised that we got to go! After a few minutes and some pictures we were on our way. Typically there is a temple keeper at the tree, because there is a temple inside, but he was not there so we moved on. If he is there though expect to pay some rupees to enter hte tree temple.
Back on the road we drove for about 20 minutes to a small village outside Mysore. We spent time walking from house to house where we saw the many stages of silk production. It was fun to walk through the small village as people came out of their homes and children followed us as we walked through the town. The silk producers showed us around their work, showing off silk worms and their transformation from tiny worms to really big ones! We spent about 30 minutes in this small town and then continued on our way toward Talakad.
Just outside of Talakad we stopped at a tiny village for chai and a masala dosa, I won’t lie, that dosa was amazing. We then made our way to Talakad which is a temple town covered in sand near the Kaveri River. When we arrived our guides had a surprise for us, we walked down toward the water. There were tons of locals playing in the water and some out in these small circular boats called Coracles. Coracles are primitive, light, bowl-shaped boats with a frame of woven grasses, reeds, or saplings covered with hides and while it seems their original use was transportation up, down, and across bodies of water, they were being used for entertainment.
Our guides encouraged us to get in and we took a ride across the river and back, on the way back to shore our boatman using the long pole he was steering with spun us in fast circles. It was quite fun! After recovering from the spinning we exited the coracles and made for the sandy path to the temples. I was kind of amazed at how deep the sand was inland and how much energy it took to walk toward the temples. On our walk our guides told us the story of the curse of Talakad which you can read more about here.
There are several temples in Talakad some for Shiva and some for Vishnu. While some of the temples original structures remain intact, many were destroyed by the meters of sand that covered the town for centuries. While walking around the area it is apparent that renovations are underway and many of the temples are in need of repair. One thing to remember in India is it is impolite and rude to keep your shoes on, not just in people’s houses and shops, but most especially in temples and places of worship. So you get used to taking your shoes off every 10 minutes, but that sand was hot!
After spending some time wandering around the temples and listening to stories from our guides we walked back to our vans and grabbed our sack lunches and had a nice picnic lunch before leaving for our next destination, the Shivasamudra Waterfalls on our way to Somanathapura.
Since it was Winter in India the fall themselves were quite small but it was easy to see how massive they would be during the rainy season. It was also the Christmas holiday so the waterfalls were overrun with people and trash. One of our party got in the water, while the rest of us wandered the grounds. After about an hour we were back in the vans and headed to our final spot, Somanathapura.
Somanathapura is famous for the Chennakesava Temple or the Keshava temple. The famous temple was built by Soma in 1268 CE and is one of the finest and most complete examples of Hoysala architecture. The Keshava temple is a government owned temple now so it isn’t used for public worship in the same way local temples are, this means that the grounds are nicely kept and there is a shocking lack of trash everywhere. Roni and I kept commenting on how amazing it was that there was so much trash everywhere around these holy places. We had a government contracted employee who gave us quite the tour, explaining every sculpture and story and left with heads full of knowledge. We were even convinced to buy postcards to mail (mine arrived in IL about 4 weeks after I got home). After spending close to an hour and a half we wrapped up our tour, thanked our guide and made our way to the vans for the ride back home.
Again I was amazed at how much GoMowgli was able to fit into the day and how smoothly everything was. Since we paid for most of the entrances as part of the total cost the whole trip itself cost about Rs2300 = $35 US. I was grateful to the Go Mowgli team for providing us with a nice mode of transportation, wonderful stories, and a fantastic adventure!
For more information be sure you are part of the Ashtanga Community in Mysore Facebook page, GoMowgli will post tour updates there specifically for that community. You can also like them on Facebook, follow them on Instagram, and check out their website.