While we do not think twice before crossing several mountains and fording many more streams to see an architectural marvel or a historically-significant site, we will always come up with excuses to visit a place close by. Maybe the thinking is we can visit whenever we want. Mysore had become one of those places for me. Apart from dutifully going as part of school excursions and gawking at the Mahishasura statue, I had never made the effort of going there. Of course there are the palaces, the brilliant, brilliant Ravi Varma paintings and the glorious temples but visiting Mysore was always kept for Someday.
Someday like Roy Miller said in Knight and Day is code for never and so when the chance came to visit Royal Orchid Brindavan Gardens in Mysore, I grabbed it with both hands and in no time at all was bowling down the highway towards Mysore.
As I got there I realised it is called Royal Orchid Brindavan Gardens for a reason—it right next to the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam, overlooking the Cauvery River and the said gardens! The hotel has the majesty and old world charm of its older avatar as a weekend vacation home for the Mysore Maharaja. The rooms are cavernous with bright balconies and canopied beds. The dark wood furniture and the airy drapes give a pleasing chiaroscuro effect. There is of course the nice fat flat screen television that you could watch if you’ve had your fill of musical fountains.
Alongside antiques used by the royals including a silver swing and nagada drum, you have high speed internet access—which segues well with the traditional modernity that typifies everything in Mysore. The Elephant Bar (there are wooden elephant heads on the pillars and a decorated umbrella as the centrepiece) on the first floor is an ideal place to relax with a drink as you have a splendid view of the gardens. The other food options include Garden Café and CK’s which mainly serves buffets.
And then there is Spa Maya with its specialisation in Kerala Ayurveda therapy. The massages are perfect stress busters. I reached on a Sunday evening and was immediately overwhelmed with the crowds thronging the Brindavan Gardens. After dutifully watching the musical fountain spouting colourful jets of water to the tune of the latest Bollywood number, I beat a hasty retreat to my serene room. The next day I was going to see the sights with a special detour to the art gallery to see the Ravi Varmas and Haldenkar’s Lady with the Lamp.
As I drifted off to sleep, I realised even if you don’t cross a million miles and many time zones, there is timeless beauty to be found very close to home as well!
(The writer was at the hotel on invitation)