Wednesday 18th September. 4.45pm
A day of positivism. I’ve just paid my bill, intending to bus to Ooty tomorrow at 5.30 or 6am – I must check the times. Whatever, new sights draw me: the prospect of riding the ‘toy train’ down from Ootamcund; the temple at Madurai – Sri Meenakshi, and then a nine hour apparently rural scenic ride to Quilon on the coast.
I’m allowing myself six weeks to meander northwards via the backwaters of Kerala to the lotus eating of Goa, and then onwards to Bombay and out of India and onwards. It seems that the travellers trails are drawing me.
This morning I was out of the hotel by 9, an early start. Those shops remaining open during the two day festival were still shut. Bus no.5 took me and a full load of pilgrims to the Sri Chamundeswari temple which overlooks Mysore from the 1095 metres high Chamundi Hill.
Not feeling in need of spiritual purification or indeed particularly virtuous, I wandered around and amongst the souvenir shacks which surround every monument, temple and bust stand here. The plastics industry has much to answer for.
Finding a convenient step to sit on, off the path but overlooking the plains and the city below, I started to breakfast on a bun. Started but did not finish as I was shortly joined by a couple of macaques. So photogenic, I thought, as I photographed the aggressive male eating every last crumb. It is fortunate that monkeys are venerated by Hindus – otherwise …
Back to Mysore by bus is a 13km journey. Walking down the 1,000 steps first laid 200 years ago and taking country lanes it’s a 4km walk. Observing the condition of the younger Indians climbing up the way I was coming down, I realised that I have learned to conserve my energies. I know I’m unfit!