Shopping in Mysore for souvenir or anything else can be done in plenty. Tourists, locals and rural people living around Mysore make a beeline to the shopping centers like Landsdowne building, Gandhi Square, Krishnarajendra Circle (K.R.Cirle), Sayyaji Rao Road, Dhanvantri Road and Devaraja Urs Raod because these centers are close to the city bus stand, railway station and the suburb bus stand. Now, due to the expansion of the city every residential area have their own shopping centers like Kuvempunagar double road, where a Westside mall has come up, Kantaraja Urs Raod, where factory outlets like Megamart and others have come up and in Jayalakshmipuram – Kalidasa Road, boasts of some extremely fashionable outlets catering to the hip and the young. From Silks to Sandalwood to Khadi to Jeans to Sweets and Savories, everything is available in these centers.
The Mysore silk saree is famous for its pureness and the silk factory is located on Manantvady road with a retail outlet. You can buy authentic sarees as well as take a tour of the factory to see how the sarees are woven. The Jari/gold border used is 100% pure. Printed silk crepe sarees without Jari border are also available. There are many KSIC outlets all over Mysore, one is conveniently situated in K.R.Circle and the other near zoo. The other types of silk sarees can be bought at Bhojayya Silks, Simha Silk, Rama Vilas Silks, Kadaiah etc.,
Picture2 – Mysore Silk Sarees
Books and stationary can be bought at Landsdowne building (actually a street) shops and Geetha Book House in K.R.Circle, Mysore.
If you are in Mysore, then you should sweeten your taste buds by digging your teeth into a slice of Mysore Pak – a rich delicacy of the region at Bombay Tiffanys or Indra Sweets on Sayyaji Rao road. It just melts in your mouth. I have heard innumerable times my dad and his friends saying that Dosa and Coffee tasted best at Indra Bhavan during the 50’s and the 60’s and it was their favorite meeting point. Now, for Dosa’s you can try at Mailari at Nazarbad, Gayathri Tiffin Room(GTR) at Chamundipuram or Nalpak on Kuvempunagar double road or Ramya the drive in restaurant next to Cosmopolitan club. They serve delicious Mysore Masala Dosa and the ubiquitous filter coffee.
Picture3 – Nalpak Paper Masala Dosa (up), GTR Masala Dosa (right)
In the evening catch up with some Churmuri from a street side vendor. It is only in Mysore that you can taste the spicy tangy Churmuri.
Picture5 – Mailari Hotel
For people who need North Indian food, they can try restaurants like Samrat on Dhanvantri road, Paras on Sayyaji Rao road and for coffee and sandwiches Café Coffee Day on Devaraja Urs road or Subway in Jayalakshmipuram and there are many Pizza outlets in the city too like Pizza Hut and Dominos in Jayalakshmipuram, Pizza Corner near Suburb bus stand and US Pizza on Narayan Shastri road. Multi cuisine restaurants like Hotel Kings Kourt, Metropole, Southern Star, Ramanashree Comforts, Sandesh Prince, Dasaprakash Paradise, Hotel Adhi Manor, etc., dot the city with some amazing food. These places also have comfortable rooms for staying with all modern facilities.
Picture6 – Devaraja Urs Road
To shop for the best of Mysore region snacks like Chakkali, Kodabale, Karchikayi, Shankarpole, Khobbari mithai and other condiments like pickles, puliyogare gojju etc., Sri Krishna sweets is the best situated in Kuvempunagar near Apollo Hospital.
Picture7 – Sri Krishna Sweets
All kinds of fruits, flowers, vegetables, pooja/ritual items and knick-knacks are arranged in an orderly manner in the Deveraja Market. It is one of the best-planned markets in the country and a heritage building, built by the Maharajahs/kings.
Picture8 – Devaraja Market
Don’t forget to taste Nanjanagudina Rasabale (Bananas from Nanjangud), it is very sweet and has a unique flavor. If you love having flowers on your hair, then buy Mallige Hoovu/jasmine…there is no jasmine in this world that can beat the fragrance of the ones available in Mysore. Much poetry has been written about Mysoru Mallige.
Picture9 – Banana Stall inside Devaraja Market and Mysooru Mallige
Vangibhath using Eeranagere Badnekayi, which is a type of blue long eggplant will make the eggplant vegetable hater asking for more. If your idea of completing a meal is with a paan (a digestive with betel leaves), then buy Mysooru Chiguru (a type of betel leaf grown in this region) and chew your heart out.
Picture10 – Eerangere Badanekayi and Mysooru Chigaru
Hand crafted items, sandalwood items, rosewood items with ivory inlay work are very popular in this region. Pick these up at Cauvery Emporium on Sayyaji Rao road. It is a government run showroom and is again housed in a heritage building. For packaged food and other modern curios, shop at Mohan Bandar an up market store situated on Sayyaji Rao road.
Agarbathis/Incense sticks are also popular as there are some famous factories producing export quality incense sticks. These are available in any of the stores. As Sandalwood is extensively grown in Karnataka, Sandalwood oil is extracted here. There is a Government Sandal Oil Factory situated here extracting sandalwood Oil, which is widely used in Ayurveda for healing and beauty benefits. This is also available in Cauvery Emporium. You can also visit the factory to see the process of sandalwood oil extraction. All the heritage buildings in Mysore are painted Sandalwood color to signify its importance in this region.
Picture11 – The above 100+ years old Mysore painting belonged to my grandfather and is now displayed at the Rama temple built by him in Kurtakoti (North Karnataka)
If you are a collector of paintings from different regions then shop for Mysore paintings. These paintings use gold leaves and watercolors. The paintings depict images from mythology and the puranas/stories of gods and goddesses and they make a striking piece on the wall.
With so many options for shopping what else can one do but “shop until you drop exhausted”.