Vibrant Devaraja Market in Mysore – A Photographer’s Paradise
Mysore is one of the most flamboyant places in South India and an essential stop on any South Indian itinerary. Mysore is most famous for the majestic Mysore Palace, one of India’s most spectacular royal buildings, but there is much more to explore in Mysore, other highlights include ascending Chaumandi Hill and, when in Mysore. you cannot miss Devaraja Market
This market is over 1oo years old and still vibrantly bustles with life, colour, noise and a good dose of chaos. Devaraja Market really is a feast for all the senses and a photographer’s paradise.
Devaraja market is open from sunrise till about 8pm. You can just wander in and explore on your own but I went with goMowgli as part of my indepth Mysore Day Tour and learned alot more about the products on offer and the history of the market this way.
The spectacle begins outside Devaraja Market where flowers and fruit are sold, women chat, scooters jostle for a parking space and students sketch the scene under the elaborate clock tower as people come and go to the popular market.
Exploring in the late afternoon is best when the fresh flowers have arrived and the bazaar is buzzing with activity. There are about 800 traders in here and the market is quite well organised into rows of similar products.
One of the first rows you see as you enter Devaraja Market is the colourful fruit stalls and the way the piles of fruit are arranged is quite a sight. Look closely at the fruit on offer and you may spot some fruit that you haven’t tried before and usually the vendors are quite happy to give you a taster but be prepared to haggle if you want to make any purchases.
One of the prettiest and most striking products for sale in Devaraja Market has to be the heaped piles of colourful powders that are used to make rangoli patterns outside houses.
Next you will probably come to the vegetable section. Most vegetables should look familiar but look closely and see if you can spot something different – vendors are quite used to tourists in the market alongside the local shoppers and are usually happy to explain to you.
Don’t be surprised if you see heaps of rubbish from the fruit and veg – in the evening they let the cows in to feed (recycle) so that nothing is wasted but sometimes one or two wander in for a snack while trading is still going on.
Of course, no market in India would be complete without curry leaves, spices and chillies for sale. These are Kashmiri chillies, they may look fierce but actually they are quite mild.
Probably my favourite section of Devaraja Market was the flower section. I have never seen so much passion, chaos and excitement over flowers, nor so many colours, varieties and smells. It seemed like ladies were almost fighting sometimes to get hold of the best flowers.
Many flowers are also made into garlands to decorate the house, for weddings or special occasions or as offerings for shrines and you can see the men making the garlands one petal at a time.
The colours, smells and activity of the market are perhaps the most vibrant in this section – come around 4pm when the fresh flowers are delivered from the surrounding countryside.
There is also a section for other household items, shiny pots and pans, a huge range of interesting objects for pujas (prayers) and so many other items. If you feel like something sweet you can ask to try a bit of the huge blocks of jaggery (sugar)
It’s not just food items that are sold here, Devaraja Market is also a good place to shop for bangles and bindis.
But be prepared to haggle if you want to buy!
If the flowers were not enough for your sense of smell then check out one of the perfume stalls. Mysore is famous for sandal wood and other flower oils. Many stalls sell incense sticks and even pick up the scent of your favourite designer perfume here for a fraction of the price. This guy was really nice, he will show you how to make incense sticks and explain how your favourite perfumes are made – honestly I couldn’t smell the difference and he didn’t push me to buy!
If after all the buzz of the bazaar you need a pick me up then you are in the right place. Mysore is famous for a special kind of sweet called Mysore Pak and the best place to try is of course from the ancestors who invented it!
Head over to the Guru Sweet Mart and 20 rupees will get you a sweet, buttery, almost powdery slice of delicious Mysore Pak. It’s hard to describe exactly how it tastes but I have never had anything like it before so you just have to come and try it for yourself!
Hope you enjoy visiting Devaraja Market as much as I did. Thanks so much to goMowgli who showed me around the market and shared their indepth local knowledge and tips on Mysore and if you are visiting Mysore make sure to check out my Backpacker’s Guide to Mysore.