|Traditional delicious food|
If you are a woman planning read this post first, it’s THAT important. And if you are a man read it too.
Mysore is generally safe but recently there have been some security issues, and is better to be safe than sorry. Now back to the post.
Ever since my first trip to Mysore I wanted to have a comprehensive list of information, as in: when to go, how to prepare, what to pack, places to stay, where to eat, etc.
I wanted it so much that I created one.
I am aware there are LOTS of other places, sight seeings, things to do, etc.
Lots of you guys have come to me with other interesting things to add, and I am grateful as it benefits all of us, so please keep it coming. Let me know if you find something that could be useful.
Before I say anything else about the Institute let me give your rule #1:Always check their website. Because things change all the time. And the latest information can only be found there. Also, call them, they pick up the phone, and you can talk to them.
Here are some things to consider before coming:
1.- When to register and when to go
2.- 9 tips to travel safe
3.- A suggested packing list
4.- Estimated cost break-down for the first month.
5.- How to avoid jet lag. Sort of, works for some, definitely not for me, but worth the read.
As of 2012 the main shala (yoga studio) was so full that studentswere split into groups, and Saraswathi was teaching in her own studio from 4:30 to 9:00 am. Here are directions to her shala (a photo essay on how to get there; from the main studio, to her place).
NEWS: Sharath built a home for his family down the road from the AYRI and he confided on friends Martina and Jen that he plans to, once moved, use the whole of the AYRI building not just for asana teaching but also for classes, maybe a library, etc. Thanks gals for letting me know.
The finishing timeline for his home was to be around July of 2012.
|Sharath’s new home, in construction as of Jan 2012|
And thanks to Julia here are the photos of the finished house as of 2014.
|Sharath’s house as of 2014|
|Thanks Julia for sending the photos of the finished house|
Also, when you come and are ready to register bring a passport picture and photocopy of your passport page and visa page.
As a matter of fact, bring many copies of both passport photos and passport itself, because you may need it for your landlord, and to get a sim card for your “unblocked” phone.
Interesting story: sometimes landlords are required by the government to show passport pictures of their tenants. It happened to me in 2012.
A good thing to know about the shala is that it has “shala time“, read why in this post, so always think that they are 15 minutes ahead, and for whatever time they tell you get there early.
How do you find these places? You may wonder, if there is no clear address for most of them?
Mysore is a different world. Here is how you get anywhere
a) find a rickshaw driver and ask him, he will know, and he will take you there.
b) If he does not know, then the place is probably not worth going to. Also, he may suggest something better, in which case, go, take pictures and let me know! 🙂 –
c) if the place is near the shala just ask any student, they will point you in the right direction. Enjoy the adventure.
Green Hotel is a beautiful and soft landing for the first couple of nights. A bit pricey, but worth the night. They also serve fine food. Make sure to take the tour of the main building as it has rooms with antiques worth watching and can transport you to another time. The gardens are also very beautiful.
Anokhi Garden Bed and Breakfast – They have a few rooms and a beautiful studio, again. They serve brunch and so you are guaranteed to run into yogis. Do make sure to reserve very early as this house seems to fill up faster than you could ever imagine.
Hotel Metropole. I Have not seen it yet, but I have heard good things about their food, and I heard that from locals, not foreigners, which is probably a good indication. Apparently it is a bit high-end, mostly for business people, so it might be a bit more pricey. It is a Rickshaw drive from the shala.
Hotel Paradise. My friends were staying in this hotel for the first couple of nights so I got to see it.
I was not crazy about the food, but the hotel seemed to have a lot of room. It did seem a bit expensive for what you were getting because it’s rather plain.
Urban Oasis Hotel. In Gokulam. See here for pictures and prices.
Many students just walk around Gokulam and knock on doors. Indian families are opening their doors to students more and more. Prices have been going pretty high these days ranging anywhere from 7000 to 20000 Rupiahs per month depending on how far from the shala you rent, which is very different from the 400 Rupiahs I paid back in 2008 for a room 6 blocks away.
Also, take a look at louloulovesbooks‘s comment below, she has a room for rent when she is not in Mysore.
Right by the shala there is a Rickshaw stand where you can find Seddu, one of the nicest and lively drivers around, he can take you to any of the places listed Ph 9880417398.
Another rickshaw driver is Appu, ph: 9900302645. For some reason they call him Papaya. He is funny and sweet.
In general a short drive (say from the shala to Loyal World supermarket) would cost about 30 Rupiahs. Wait-time is about 25 Rupiahs per hour if you want them to wait for you and bring you back home (recommended).
Airport Pick Up
Krishna arranged car rides for me and James (as well as lots of other students) to and from Bangalore Airport in great cars, with seat belts and all -at least some of them-.
E-mail: Rupiahs (as of 2012) each way. If you get to go in a group, negotiate in advance to pay for the group, instead for each person.
When in India ALWAYS negotiate. Great place to practice bargaining.
per ride because it is a brand new and clean car. Make sure that when you book, you clarify you want to go straight to the airport… no stops for food… +91 984 539 0597Rupiahs
Food and Internet
Sri Durga, or the “Stand Up Cafe”, Indian breakfast and lunch. The food comes out quickly (as in 15 seconds) and pretty much everything is tasty, the prices are very cheap, for example: a full meal could be about 16 Rupiahs.
Then there is THE OTHER SRI DRUGA, and in my opinion better than the previous one. It is right by the Nilgris supermarket on the main road of Gokulam. Make a left on that corner and you will see them only steps away. See here for pictures of their delicious food and to hear about how clean they are. A treat!
Anokhi Garden Bed and breakfast, has brunch every day except Monday and Tuesday. On Saturdays it gets very crowded as many other places are closed, so go early, other than that the food is very good.
Vivian‘s cafe, is open for brunch every day except Saturday, they are on the main road parallel to the shala, so it is nice to just stroll in after practice. Wireless is available.
Tina’s Cafe is a favorite for many students, and is open 1 to 10 everyday except Sundays on the Gokulam Road.
She also offers breakfast at her home from 8-11 (not sure of dates yet) only to shala students. Her home is located a few blocks from the shala, on the street of the Gokul Chats walking alongside the long park that starts right there, about two or three blocks, (no need to cross the avenue), it is her home after all, so you may need to do some detective work to find it. Exciting!
The Austrian Cafe, a bit of a walk as it is not precisely in Gokulam, they have burgers, chicken and tiramisu… certainly different. They are near Loyal World (the supermarket). – See the pictures here.
Authana Restaurant. A place I discovered in 2011, great dosas and Indian food in general, they follow the schedule of Indian restaurants where dinner is served at around 7 pm but during the day they have “snacks” which usually means Chinese noodles and dosa. – They deliver!
Anu And Ganesh Wi-fi food and smoothies [try the chocolate and banana one, my favorite!]. Great spot close to the shala. They serve lunch at 1 and drinks throughout the day. It is a buffet and Anu (who is a great cook) prepares fresh meals. Great way to get your veggies in. The seating area for food is upstairs and you sit on the floor sharing big tables with other (mostly) yoga students.
Green Leaf is an Indian Restaurant located about 15 minutes walking distance from the Coconut stand. We went at “snack” time, and so we only got chineese nodles and dosa but they have a very full menu for lunch and dinner. Seems to have a reputation for being noisy, but the food was very good.
Rishi’s Cafe is run by a group of Indian women. You can come in and they will serve you food between 1 and 7 every day, except Sundays. They have amazing shakes, the food can be a bit plain. It is on the main Road, see the link for the exact address. They also have computers and wireless available.
The Chai place on Main Street, Amruth… is a must try! It could be a little intimidating as it is always filled with men who smoke, but fear not, women are welcome, and you will love it. Me thinks I may be a bit addicted to it. Try not to drink it too late (not past 4:00 PM) as it might be hard to go to sleep afterwards and you may be tempted to snooze that early alarm clock.
The Gokul Chats has huge and amazing dosa until 11 AM and from 5 PM. Not to be missed, it is the real Mysore food experience, and delicious. They are on the KRS road close to Tina’s newest location. It used to be pretty dirty but they have cleaned up their act considerably.
Sixth Main. I have eaten lunch here once and really liked it. They go by the Indian lunch/dinner schedule. 1-2:30 or so for lunch and 6 to 7 for dinner. They are near the Loyal World supermarket. They deliver.
The internationally famous COCONUT STAND. This is it. Get your electrolytes for 10 Rupiahs. [NEWS: JANUARY 17th 2012] The police gathered around the stand this morning to take it down. Kino MacGregor organized a little fund raiser and gathered over 400 dollars from students to help them with relocation and new purchases (a Vitamix!). The new place ended up being right where it was, instead of a palm tree now they have plastic covering them and giving them shade, they now also have their own t-shirts… they are moving up in the world! God bless!
Barista, the Starbucks of Mysore, where you can find Indian locals smoking and playing chess, order a latte and have some sandwiches. It also has wireless but it was not working in 2012 and the place overall seemed to have lost its way a bit.
RRR. This is a cultural shock. It is a drive to downtown and there will hardly any foreigners at all. The food is served on huge banana leafs where they will pour rice, a bit of curry, a bit of some other thing, a ton of ghee (clarified butter), and you will enjoy eating with your hands. Skipetty went there and wrote a post about it. You can read the full article and see the pictures towards the end of this post. Thank you Skippetty!
Pascucci – Thanks to Helena and LI Ashtangi for mentioning this place which is very Italian and has a huge variety of coffee, sandwiches and salads, they also have wi-fi. Check out pictures of their menu. Here is the location.
Hotel Mylari Seddu (the rickshaw driver) took us to this place and I have to tell you it is an experience! The dosas are fluffy and fried in butter, delish! See the pictures in the link, and hear all about the chai, which was the best I have found in Mysore. For directions I would rather ask a trusty Rickshaw to take me but here is the address. It is rather far… (20/25 minute drive)
Sandhya’s House. This is a special treat. Sandhya’s House is in the city (a drive away) and if you would like to have lunch with her you have to phone ahead and reserve a space (phone: 99012 67189).
They cook for as many people as they know are coming and it is highly recommended. Kira sent me the info, thanks Kira!
Chakra House has moved again! as of 2012 they are in the old location (where they were in 2008), in the yellow building right by the chocolate man, and they are always open. They serve breakfast lunch and dinner following the indian “timetable” of breakfast from 8, lunch at 1 PM and dinner at 7 PM.
Vegan raw smothies? You can call Carla at “Amla” 9948 603019. They are in Gokulam at Sant Rupthi 1176 3rd Stage, 8th Main Monday through Thursday from 2 PM, close to the Gokul chats. I am not sure if they will continue to serve throughout the year so it would be wise to call ahead.
Gleato anyone? Gelato is Italian for ice-cream, and we just hear today (in May of 2012) from Kira (thanks Kira)! that the “Just Gelato” palce around the corner from the 6th Main Restaurant has opened.
The lady who owns it was trained in Italy and word has it that her dark chocolate fat-free sugar-free Gelato is “to die for” – go easy on it, remember there is always the next practice! Feel free to abuse on moon days.
CORNER HOUSE – Within Gokulam, was recomended by Alison (in Facebook, thank you Alison!). And guess what? it has its own Facebook page with directions, a map even! One to savor for sure. Have you been? I can’t wait to try it!
|Image from CornerHouse.In|
Home Delivery of Meals
Private Internet (USB)
Cell-To-Cell. You can get a a USB modem (30 G – 30 days free access) for 1700 Rupiahs. Nishith, who is at the store, mentioned that in future years (this was as of 2012) it is likely that prices will go DOWN, which is not the general trend in Gokulam for anythin else… guess internet is getting more and more accessible these days. After the first month you just go and renew. They are at 833 I Main Gokulam 3rd stage, but that is a mouthfull, it’s really a quick two block walk from the coconut stand. The are on the road of the temple, perpendicular to the main road.
Loyal World, a five minute ride in a Rickshaw, they have everything from electronics to food. Go there for your big shopping.
More. Used to be called “Fab City”, but now has a new name, it is near the market (10 minute rickshaw drive) The place is huge, has like 4 floors, akin to the “Target” or “Tesco” of Mysore. Whatever you may need, is there, except ear plugs, I have not found those anywhere.
Nilgris. This is the supermarket of Gokulam, relatively small, but pretty solid. They are on the main road, can’t miss them.
The Three Sisters. This is a place downtown where you need to call ahead and they will cook for you. I enjoyed a meal at their place in 2008 and loved it. They also offer ayurvedic massages! I heard that a book of their recipes has been compiled and published too. Will try and find a link for them, or if you have one let me know.
|The chocolate and coffee man|
The Coffee and Chocolate man. You gotta love this man, he and his wife run a small shop near the shala and they really try to have everything. I go to them as often as I can. Their coffee is grind-ed in front of your eyes and delicious.
The Ayurvedic Oil Man
When I was here in 08 a friend asked Guruji for some good oils to alleviate pain, and he sent him straight to this store.
I have used his products and liked them. He is used to students coming from the shala and will probably give you a mix of two oils to put before showering. Nice.
Coconut Oil Hair Massage:
Yes! you can get this treatment for 140 Rupiahs, and aparently it is delicious and leaves your hair soft and pretty, here is Martina’s account, with pictures. Phone Subbu at:2511799 They are in Gokulam. Thanks Martina for sharing.
Castor Oil and Ayurvedic Massages
Over at the Realizing Mysore Blog there is a bunch of Ayurvedic Massage and Castor Oil suggestions, you can check it out here!
Castor Oil. Judith mentioned in Facebook that she has purchased Castor Oil on the main street Pharmacy, somewhere in between the coconut stand and Nilgris (the supermarket), on the same side of the street as the coconut stand. That is if you are into having the castor oil bath by yourself, in the comfort of your own room. See here for instructions and here for a conference in Which Sharath talks about it.
Ayurvedic Doctor. Doctor Madhus was recommended to me by Helena (who teaches in Denmark). He does traditional consultations on the science of Ayurveda. Can be reached at phone number +91 93 42 18 37 92
Alison recommended the Swastha Ayurveda Mysore… she says you can get lovely ayurvedic massages and treatments there. How to get there? Walk pass Anu’s heading towards Contour Road then take a right on the street before the park. The are on the right. They have Facebook as well.
Tailors, Arts and Crafts
Reliance Trends is a great store recommended to us by our landlort and lady, (pictures coming). It is next to the Regalis hotel and has formal wear for men (i.e. if you wear formal button down shirts and pants this is the place to go). The lenghts are off but they have tailors on sight that will shorten them to your measurements. They also have t-shirts, sports wear etc. For women they have beautiful indian clothes some of which can be used as westerner dresses. Their customer service is impecable.
|A tailor at work at Rashinkar|
Krishna Tailor. He is in Gokulam close to the shala and has pre-made pants and shirts. He can also make things on demand, but they say he is a bit pricey. $$$
The Heritage – This is a house of handicrafts, they have amazing fabrics, jewelry, statues, carpets and more. They ship world wide. email@example.com ph: 91 821 4244069. #2928 1A B.N. Road, Mysore 570 001. It is on the expensive side.
Museum – Also a place of amazing quality fabrics, near the market. $$$ firstname.lastname@example.org
Ph: 9379671416 – #1A Hosabeedi 5th Cross. Opp. Mysore Zoo Indiranagar
Kauvery silk arts and crafts. They tell me that all the artisans working here are representing the goverment of India which supposedly means good value and great work. See for yourself, some of the art work was indeed breath taking.
Hotel Mylari. There I was thinking that the Gokul chats had the best dosa… but, Seddu, the Rickshaw driver who is in the know took me to the real place. See the link for the full story, they have amazing dosa, fluffy, buttery… nice
Sudha. I was told about Sudha by Kira, in Facebook (thanks Kira!). This is what she said about it… It is a place where you can buy shirts, dresses, yoga mats and bags, it’s on the same road as the shala going past the rickshaw stand and the benches, up the road on the right hand side. She has lovely stuff and the prices are reasonable.
Kira and Carla went to Pankaj Art Gallery and they mentioned they had beautiful bags and jewlery as well as crafts and lots of interesting things. Click here for info and directions.
Sapna, means “dream” and is perhaps the most “flashy” bookstore. A dream come true. They have 3 floors and it looks a little like a Barnes and Nobles, minus the cafe. I love their stationary island on the first floor and the amazing variety of mystic and craft books. The third floor is filled with text books. Very interesting. This is their website.
Rashinkar. Yes they are the tailors but they also have a good selection of books both downtown and in the Rashinkar “Mansion” across the street from the Mysore Lion’s school in Gokulam.
Ashok Books. I did not get to this place on this trip, but it is fantastic (was there in 08), follow the link to see directions, it is actually quite close to Sapna.
We found a great dentist, her name is Judith Pereira, and she is right next to Ganesh. She was really nice, and offered very cheap services, for example, a root canal is 400 Rupiahs. I know! Incredible ha?! – She was trained in Germany and has a daughter in the US so is familiar with the western culture.
The shala now offers free chanting after practice every day with Lakshimish. What a blessing!
Make it a point to arrive on time.
As of 2012 the chanting is happening near noon (always check of course as things change) on Mon – Wed – Fri for new arrivals or people who do not know the chants.
For people who know Sanskrit pronunciation and the way the chants go, people who are more familiar with them, there is Tue-Thu-Sunday. It is possible also to move up, from M-W-F to T-T-S once you know the right pronunciation.
The shala also has chanting, Yoga Sutras, and Sanskrit classes with Lakshimish in the afternoons.
You need to inquire with them for details. It costs about 700 Ruppias per month. (That was in 2011).
A student of M.A. Jayashree, named James holds kirtan, you can e-mail him to be included on his mailing list of upcoming events. By donation.
There is also of course the Anantha Research Foundation, where the famous Dr. M.A. Narasimhan and M.A. Jayashree can be found teaching yoga sutra classes. A treat. I learned their links and contacts through David’s blog, thanks David.
Sri Chakra: If you feel like painting your own image of a God, any God, Shri Chakra of Mysore can help you do exactly that, see his gallery. My friend Martina took his course to paint Visnu, and check out her project here. The cost depends on the size, detail, and amount of gold utilized. Martina’s Vishnu which you can see in the link to her project is 15,000 rupees, a smaller gayatri is 5000.
The Mysore Palace lights up every Sunday night, make sure to be there a few minutes before 7 PM, then get to sleep for practice! 🙂
Wineye Vinay is a shala student and also a tour guide in Mysore, this is his website. He can take you to the Mysore that is local, hidden and off the beaten path. And he is a yogi, how cool is that?
Silver Nest is the house of Meena, a very sweet Indian woman who makes incredible silver necklesses, toe rings and pendants with the shape of the Indian Gods… see for yourself by clicking on the link, I took pictures of as much as I could before Martina and I had to run back to conference. Enjoy! oh, by the way, the take credit cards, AND they also rent rooms. Did I mention they are one block from the shala?
The Regaalis Hotel used to be called “Souther Star” and is one of the swiming pools around. Make sure to go by before 5 as, who knows why the arquitect did not think of this, but after 5 the sun is blocked by the building of the hotel!. Anyway, they have great food and amazing cakes. The swimming pool is lovely and you will see lots of yogis striking a pose or two, it just happens.
Lalhita Mahal Palace – the second largest palace in Mysore, also offers a swimming pool. It is a bit of a drive, not as close as the hotel above (from the point of view of Gokulam) but worth the visit.
I believe in the comments someone mentioned the pool at the Mysore university, never been, if you go take pictures and I will link to you.
A Western Mall (?)
I know, hard to believe, but aparently a full Western Mall has opened next to the Zoo (no pun intended), as reported by the Mysore Napper. Warning: It also comes with Western Prices!
Helping the Community (Giving Back)
There is an orphanage for abandoned babies and children in Gokulam, near Saraswathi’s shala, to which you can bring food which they need. Rice, cooking oil, etc, see here for more info.
A few of us have been molested (slightly) while in Gokulam, I hope this does not happen to you (and if you are careful it probably wont), but should you encounter this situation, grab the license plate of the motorcycle or yell so that people further down the street can catch the guy, then dial the number 100 from any indian phone (borrow someone’s cell phone is free), and report it to the police. Let us all keep Gokulam safe!
For a full list of EMERGENCY and other useful phone numbers, see HERE, the list includes “snake catching”, should you need it, hope not.