For me, Mysore is more than just a place…Every time a prospect of me visiting Mysore comes up, I feel ecstatic! And I am very sure it’s the same for many of us who have been associated with this magical city in one way or the other. The moment I see that bridge near the Columbia Asia hospital, that unmistakable Mysore feel kicks in! That’s when you start picking up your bags when you are travelling and get ready to experience Mysore, all over again!
My recent trip to Mysore made me remember my engineering days there. 4 years of my life, well spent! Pursuing engineering is one thing, but doing it in Mysore is another. This city has just everything that you can think of… It is modern, yet rustic in its charm… you have not so crowded malls and multiplexes, a zillion parks, wide roads with not much traffic, majestic palaces, pristine lakes, serene mountains, great education centers, a bustling student population and yet, an unparalleled sense of calmness that is so welcoming. Everything here seems so unagitated.
I have to thank my alma mater, The National institute of Engineering, for letting me experience this beautiful city. The city which has made me what I am today and has given me a lot of good friends, whose company I cherish. I thought of writing this post just to remember the things that we used to do as students of NIE and residents of Mysore from 2007 to 2011, before I forget them! May be, this can act as a ‘to do’ list for future/current Mysoreans!
Here are some of those memories attached to the places(Mainly eateries) in Mysore which may fade away unless I document it!
1. Shinith- oru egg buff!
This is what I heard from my mallu friends when they purchased egg puff from the small shop attached to the hostel campus. There used to be a guy called Shinith(He should still be around I guess) and he served brilliant lime juice and rasna, along with some delectable veg and egg puffs. For hostellers, ‘oru egg buff’ was a way of life!
This small yet notorious place, right next to the hostel, is known for its brilliant chai and a lot of other egg items. Egg bonda and toasts were among the dishes in great demand, along with the distinct egg burji that he prepared. If you are an eggitarian, this place is a must try! Don’t go by the looks of this shop, as the looks are quite deceiving. You might under estimate this shop, but trust me, it’s brilliant!
3. Srinidhi Sagar
This small hotel (Now he has expanded) right in front of the admin block, used to be one of my usual breakfast spots. Mangalore buns and that delicious bisibele bath, along with the parotas that he prepared have catered to a number of hungry souls of NIE.
4. The LH!
Code name for the tea stall near ladies hostel. It used to be one of the most happening places during our times and the best place for gossip! Some of our lecturers frequented this place for a smoke as well.
5. Chinthana Cool Parlour
This shop which is attached to the annapoorna hostel compound, started off as a juice centre. But in no time, he expanded and started to serve a range of different food items and was an instant hit among the NIEans. It was a custom for us to have a lime juice there after every exam, discussing in detail how the paper went and also a place for gossip and during the final year, project and placement discussions!
6. Aunty Juice Centre- RTO Circle
This juice centre specializes in grape juice and if this shop has survived serving only this for decades, that’s an indicator of the taste and quality! A must try for anyone visiting Mysore! A stop here was customary for us, every time we took that road to go to the city.
7. Chamundi Hills – Tender Coconut and Sugarcane Juice
Back in my engineering days, myself and one of my friends, used to climb the hill through the steps, a thousand of them. An early morning trek to the hills can be quite refreshing and as it was quite close by, we used to frequently visit this. The sugarcane juice near the Nandi bull and the tender coconut on the hill top are just brilliant. I don’t know if it was because we used to be tired, but the tender coconuts there were quite different and used to taste heavenly. Never have I tasted such tender coconuts anywhere else. The view of Mysore from those steps along with the early morning weather, it is something magical.
8. Devraj Urs Road- Dosa Corner
Amidst all the classy showrooms of world famous brands on the most happening road of Mysore, stands this almost unnoticeable dosa corner serving wide variety of dosas. We used to visit this place so much the we ended up befriending the owner, a peculiarly bald guy who was very friendly! Palak Dosa here is just out of the world and it’s a must try! Look for Bombay tiffanies on Urs road and this shop is right next to it.
9. Jayanagar Bajji Bonda
This one is my favorite of the lot! Sankethi hostel compound in Jayanagar, a stone’s throw away from my room, has this amazing bajji bonda stall, serving everything that you can imagine! It used to be one rupee per piece during our days, but now I guess its two bucks a piece. This is by far the best place to have bajji bonda, if you are a fan of it. This fellow along with his son, has been serving here for decades and has also featured in a lot of local dailies. Its crowded all the time and you need to wait for you to get your share. It’s worth every minute that you wait there.
10. Churmuri – Vivekananda circle
Mysore is known for this snack and has a number of stalls serving this throughout the city. This one stands out though; of all the places I have had churmuri. For me, this beats even the famous shetty churmuri near ballal circle. He is been around for quite some time and has perfected this art. Yes, I call it an art because not everyone can get to this level! He stands right in front of the big bakery in Vivekananda circle and it’s a must try for snack lovers like me! The other place worth a try is the stall in front of the palace. He is decent too!
11. Bonda soup – Mahesh Prasad- Ballal Circle
One of the oldest hotels in town, Mahesh Prasad is known for its south Indian delicacies. The bonda soup here is just amazing. It is served hot in the evenings. If you top it with a tea there, nothing like it!
12. Golgappa- Mysore University Campus
Take a stroll in the serene Mysore university campus, enjoying its green cover. Breathe in some fresh air, as if you were in some forest. Come out, and have this golgappa from the stall right opposite the entrance to the campus! He is the best in business by a fair margin! Next in the list would be the one below Purple Haze!
13. Masala Dosa- GTR and Mylari
If you are a dosa fan, these 2 places are heaven for you. These two places serve the best masala dosas in town!
14. KRS Backwaters
Back in the day, this place was virtually unknown! Now, there stands a majestic temple of venugopala swamy. It was one of our favorite getaways. It used to be a desolate and beautiful place! You need to travel beyond the KRS dam to get there and when there is less water, you get to see some windows xp wallpaper scenes! It’s worth a visit even though it has garnered some publicity off late.
15. Chats- Vidyaranyapuram
When I say the chats here are good, take my word for it. I am one of those who can live on junk food and have tried chats all over Mysore! (That includes the chat street there). I somehow liked this place a lot. It’s the first one of many stalls(opposite Paradise Bakery) that are there near the St. Thomas school. They serve masala puri in steel bowls and it tastes heavenly!
16. Sangeetha Bar and Restaurant- Vidyaranyapuram
Even though I’m a non drinker, I used to visit this place with my friends a lot. A lot of our crazy engineering memories are attached to this place. Egg chilli and Raja special were amongst my favorite dishes here! This place serves decent food and is quite reasonable!
17. A jog around kukralli lake
This is a must do! One of the many benefits of staying in Mysore is that you feel so close to the nature! A jog around this beautiful lake first thing in the morning will do a world of good to your mind and body! With beautiful sunrise and the music of birds chirping, it’s the best start you can get to the day. Top it with some fresh fruits just outside the entrance, and see for yourself how great the combination is!
Well, I can actually go on n on. These are the things that were at the top of my list! Am sure there are many other places which are entwined in our memories. I am glad I got to experience Mysore and its culture and I am very sure, that anyone who has been to this city or stayed there has only good things to say about it. Feels great to say that I did my engineering there and although I have moved out of the city now, I am proud to say that I am still a Mysorean at heart and no one can take that away from me!
To everyone who loves Mysore!