India is such a wonderfully colorful place. It’s actually one of the first things I list when Indians ask me what I like about their country: “The COLORS!” Everything, from clothing to houses to food to landscapes, comes in a wider and brighter range of colors here than at home.
Mysore, a quintessential city in the southern state of Karnataka, was no exception — especially at the markets, where vendors sold huge piles of brightly colored powders to use as paints.
Down another row were the fruit vendors, with their massive piles of lemons, pomegranates, apples, bananas, mangoes, grapes, pumpkins, squash, jackfruit, pineapples. Erin and I loved it:
From the top of Chamundi Hill overlooking Mysore, where there is a huge temple patronizing the local favorite goddess, Durga, there is a long set of 300 steps leading down to a huge idol of Nandi, Shiva’s bull. Some Indians making the trek back up were blessing the stairs by thumbing tikkas, spots of the powder used in religious ceremonies and blessings, on every single one of the 300 steps:
The statue of Nandi himself was, like all idols and shrines in India, garlanded with flowers and covered in colorful pastes:
And here’s the delicious thali (full meal) that we had several times at a restaurant in central Mysore, where our only plates were banana leaves. There are a few types of vegetable curry, two kinds of dahl (lentil soup), a few different curds (yogurts and buttermilk), and rasam, a thin spicy soup.
These were the chutneys and condiments on the side: coconut chutney, Indian pickles, some orange powder whose name I don’t know but which was very tasty, and plain old salt.