While staying in Mysore I had the opportunity to visit the Nandi Bull temple on Chamundeswari Hill. The bull, Nandi, is the vehicle of Shiva, an important god in the Hindu religion. All of the gods have animals that act as vehicles. For instance the elephant headed god Ganesha – known to break through obstacles – has a rat as a vehicle. I was told that when you enter a Shiva temple you are supposed to whisper in the ear of the Nandi bull and he will ask Shiva to grant your wish. The Nandi bull statue in Mysore is the second largest in India and is carved out of a single rock. It was quite impressive.
My guide for the day, Vicky, a new friend that works at Jag Therapy, is friends with the Swami that lives in the cave at the Nandi Bull Temple. We visited him in his cave and had an enjoyable conversation and a cup of tea. His cave was enclosed by two walls, had a tile floor, and cable television! Like you would imagine a Swami that lives in a cave to do, he told us stories about personal enlightenment and faith. In one story, he told us that a bull used to spend every night sleeping next to the Nandi Bull statue. A few years back the Swami saw a jaguar in the forest above the cave and noticed that the bull stopped coming to sleep by the statue. One morning, around 2:30 a.m. , he went to do early morning puja (prayer) at the small temple next to the statue and felt an eery feeling, like the jaguar was watching him. He thought about the bull that used to sleep at the statue and how big and strong it was and he wished it were there with him. Minutes later the bull appeared at the statue and waited for the Swami to finish his prayers and accompanied him back to the cave. It was a very enjoyable afternoon listening to the Swami tell this and other stories.
After we said goodbye to the Swami we rode the bus back into the city, walked through the market, and saw Mysore Palace lit up at night.
Mysore is truly a beautiful city with its wide boulevards and a unique mix of architecture. More than one traveler told me that they came to Mysore and stayed longer than they expected, and truly my time there became a vacation from my vacation.