What is the connection between Mysore and Dan Brown's favorite secret society? How did the Maharajas of Mysore plan the city? Why does NASA, in its Virginia facility have a painting of Tipu and his soldiers of the war at Srirangapatna? These and hundreds of interesting facts plus an energetic presentation by Vinay plus a morning walk at the pleasant city of Mysore make up the experience called Royal Mysore Walks.
The walk starts at 7AM in the morning at town hall. You walk by century old cast iron street lights imported from London, then walk by the clock tower of Mysore and admire the mixture of architectural styles it encompasses, then get mesmerized by seeing unbelievable things (which until then I never even thought of in spite of being a Mysorean).
You then walk by a palace which still has a king, then walk through a 100 year old yet functioning market and visit some more landmarks. During the course of the walk, you get to eat what the Maharajas ate, you get to see whom the Maharajas worshipped and you get a sense of their far-sighted city planning too.
I have lived in this city for 25 years and yet I felt like I visited a totally different city during the walk. For a tourist to Mysore probably, this should be the first thing in his itinerary, for whatever he would do in the rest of the day could be seen from a whole new eye. The painting on the palace walls would now carry more meaning, the stone walls of the palace would now tell stories and stone inscriptions would now get you thinking.
About Vinay: He was a software engineer for a good number of years until his passion for history made him quit his job and start Royal Mysore Walks.
Towards the end of the trip, I saw an old house and started thinking if this could have some history as well. I was not sure if Vinay would have an answer for this because 'who could know every single building in a city?'. Yet, I asked and here's what I got: 'Oh. This is the house of the owner of Freemasons lodge'. I was bowled over.