One of the highlights of my recent trip to India was a short visit to Mysore. It’s a smaller city about 146 kms southwest of Bangalore and I hadn’t been there in many, many years. Whilst we were in Kochi, we met a lovely couple that had settled in Mysore a few years ago and started their own business called Earth Loaf, creating gourmet handmade chocolate with Indian ingredients. Something about their enthusiasm for the city made me want to go take a look for myself— some quick research later, we had rooms booked at the lovely Green Hotel, a very unassuming name for a beautiful heritage property. Built by the Maharaja for his daughters in the 1920s, it features tastefully furnished rooms and a lovely garden - a great place to stay when in Mysore.
We decided to make a family trip of it, and my brother and mother kindly took turns driving. Once there, we joined a lovely heritage walk and one of the stops on the way was the Devaraja Market. Over a hundred old, this covered market was an incredible experience: filled with colour and bustle and all sorts of things to buy. The different types of products are kept separated from each other, so there was a section with fresh flowers (so fragrant and beautiful!), one with vegetables, another with fruit (with a separate aisle just for bananas!) and so on. Our guide told us that the fruit and vegetable vendors threw their leftovers onto the ground every evening and once the market closed, cows from the neighbourhood were let in to graze on them, which sounded wonderfully communal and very sustainable! The vendors were all so friendly and extremely patient with the constant photo-taking - and all in all, it was a very immersive and beautiful experience. We returned the next morning to walk through the market again and ended our visit with a cup of coffee in one of the outside alleyways. The only downside was not having an apartment to return to with armfuls of fresh vegetables and herbs to cook a giant meal.
So if you’re in South India, I’d definitely recommend a trip to Mysore - and to the Devaraja Market. Such a wonderful experience!
Images: Vatsala Murthy & Falko Pfitzke