Fifth generation stone carvers, the most intricate inlay art I have ever seen, amazing street food, and the busiest, most insane market I have ever been to.

I had just one day to explore the ancient city of Mysore.

The typical tourist spots aren’t what I am usually after, so with the help of my friends at goMowgli, I was able to get off the beaten track in Mysore and really see a side of the city not many get to see.

I had driven my Royal Enfield motorcycle from Hampi to Mysore, which included a small accident in an Indian city. There is no rest for the wicked, so I was up the next day ready to explore.

Visiting a Silk Factory in Mysore City

We left early in the day, as it would be a long one.

Mysore has so much to do but with only one day to it, we had to move fast to fit it all in.

Fist stop was a silk factory where the main focus was on producing the finest quality saris available in south India.

This factory was massive. It went on for ages and was actually very clean, modern, and in order. Not what I would have expected visiting a factory in India.

I was lucky to be in the company of my guide, as we just walked right in like we owned the place and were able to explore every corner and watch the process from start to finish. It was quite fascinating, like watching “How It’s Made” on TV.

Only downside, no cameras allowed in the factory, this means you have to come to Mysore to see it for yourself.

Checking out Soapstone Carvers

When pulling up to the building there were 2 men outside using a big hand saw to cut through a giant piece of soapstone.

stone carving in Mysore

They were working hard but had huge smiles on their faces, back home if you put a couple of guys in this situation they would not be happy like these fellows. I don’t think I would either! Seems like one of those situations were the novelty wears off rather fast, but these guys were into it.

We walked in the small courtyard where more men sat on the floor chipping away with hand tools at soapstone.

Some of these pieces can take up to 6 months to make and are massive. The owner is a 5th generation stone carver and his father’s fathers have carved for many kings that have ruled the city.

stone carving in Mysore

We hung out a while with the stone carvers chatting and learning about the process, prices, and the family history that went into this small factory. This is about as off the beaten path in Mysore as you can get.

Amazing Inlay Wood Art in Mysore

 

Inlay art is a process of creating what looks like a painting but is actually all carved wood with acrylic pieces inserted in. Its very impressive.

Inlay wooden art in Mysore

The owner of this place was a friendly older gent that was more than happy to show us some of the fine work he does.

What blew my mind the most was a teak, hand carved table. This was the most incredible table I have ever seen. It took over 6 months to make and if I had a home to put it in I would have bought it on the spot. He was willing to ship to Canada.

Inlay wooden art in Mysore

His showroom was filled with little treasures, and if I were into buying souvenirs this would have been a gold mine. But I am not about to lug around a wooden elephant with me as I drive my motorcycle through India.

Watching the Sunset from Chamundi Temple

Chamundi temple isn’t exactly off the beaten path in Mysore. In fact it’s quite the circus at the top of the hill where it sits. There is even a guesthouse.

That doesn’t detract from the view of the city as the sun sets.

getting off the beaten track in Mysore for one day

This part of my tour I was back on my bike driving at night. If you have read my other posts you would know that driving in India at night was the most terrifying experience of my life.

The city isn’t as bad as the highways and the drive up the hill to the temple was actually great.

This is a must do when you are in Mysore for one day.

The Market at Night in Mysore

This is where things got real. This was full on Indian madness.

mysore market

There was a holiday festival the next day and everyone was at the market picking up the necessary supplies.

The market has everything you could ever want, including the raw oil they use to make perfume as well as incense.

We sat in this man’s shop drinking chai and talking smells. He showed me how to hand-roll incense as well as tried to sell me oils. I’m not one for cologne so unfortunately there were no sales in the cards for him this day.

I would have loved to check out the market a bit more but the sheer volume of people made it far too hectic and we decided to take off in search of some street food.

Street Food Street in Mysore

I love street food in India. It may scare some people off but I swear by my iron stomach and just go for whatever looks good.

It was now dark and we were hungry. Food street in Mysore would be the last stop on our one day tour.

Mysore street food

We hung around sampling all the treats they had to offer. It was busy and you could see the crowds flocking to most popular stands.

I was the only tourist here and that’s a good sign that I was off the beaten path in Mysore.

By now it was late and the day had been long, we called it a night. It was back to the apartment where I was staying to relax, as the next day I was to be on the road again to Bangalore where I write this now, slightly behind schedule.

I wouldn’t have been able to see these sites with out the fantastic guidance from my friends at goMowgli. I wouldn’t recommend them unless I truly enjoyed my time. I spent some time with them in Hampi as well, have a look at this list of things to do in Hampi to see what they offer.

If you enjoyed this little tale of Mysore and are interested in following as I travel by motorcycle through India please subscribe to get latest posts directly to your email inbox!

Have you been to Mysore? Let me know if I missed anything by commenting below!

 

6 Responses

  1. Mark Hammond

    More incredible adventures in India! Excellent post Alex, thanks and best wishes.

  2. Deepak

    good one Alex,
    I grew up in Mysore, I lived there for 12 years did my high school, college and Engg.. you have covered a beautiful part of Mysore, keep exploring.. One of the best thing is bike ride trips to KRS back waters, Balmuri bike trip, climbing chamundi hills early morning in the mist,viewing Mysore palace lighting from chamundi hills.. And the best thing is city lighting during Dasera in the month of October…

  3. Pramod

    I stayed in Mysore for a good 25 years of my life.. I now live in Seattle and miss it. The people, the shops, the street side food and ofcourse the offbeat places. way to go Alex, stay a little longer at Mysore and experience its rich cultural heritage.

    • Alex

      Hi Pramod,

      Unfortunately I only had a couple of days but must make it back for sure!

      Thanks!