For a visitor to this city, Devaraja market is an apt place to get a flavor of the local people's ( Mysoreans, as they are called ) daily life. With more than 100 years of history, this market is well knitted into the heritage of Mysore. If you are new to the bazaars of India in general, do not miss Devaraja Market. This is a good sample of a traditional Indian market place that are colorful, noisy, vibrant and a tad chaotic.
So how do you plan a tour of the market? Just walk in...., as simple as that. Before that have an idea of the layout of the market and decide from where to start.
Devaraja market is oriented along the Sayyaji Rao Road, north entrance faces the Dufferin Clock Tower ( located close to KR circle) and the south entrance is on the Dhanvantri Road (just behind the Bata show room). Of course there are many smaller entrances along the length of the market. The ideal way is to enter the market from one of the two main entrances at ends, so that you can walk through the full length of the market and come out through the other end.
The northern side of the market is by and large filled with stalls selling fruits, mostly banana. The southern part is for selling vegetables. And there is a section in the middle where you find rows of shops selling the local flowers.
On top of it you will find a generous mix of incense shops, shops selling traditional household tools, beatle vine, banana leaves,seeds and even some souvenir stalls.
Inside the Devaraja market, you'll find three aisles along the length of the market with jam packed open shops on either sides. There are about 800 traders in and around the market. The central aisle seems the busy section.
In the vegetable section you'll find big collection of leafy vegetables to begin with. That includes coriander leaves, mint leaves, fenugreek sprouts, and a range of spinaches. All freshly uprooted and bunched. And then there is the legendary curry leaves, which is a must have for any dishes.
You will find in the market heaps of green chillies, ginger, gourds, beans, tomato, onion and even tapioca , yam and gigantic pumpkins.
With that hit of mixed aroma filled air, the flowers section is a delight to walk through. Mainly they sell flowers like Rose, brightly colored Marigold , Chrysanthemum and the subtle looking but fragrant Jasmin. The sale of flower is either as bulk or as garlands, that are used for weddings,festivals, rituals etc. The garland making is an artistic affair. You can see the making at the shops in Devaraja Market.
The fruit section overwhelms with stalls selling the local varieties of banana. Of course during the summer period the market is flooded with truck loads of mangos.
During the peak hours trading spills over from inside the market complex to the neighboring streets. You can see many hawkers outside the entrance facing the Dufferin Clock Tower.
Typically business starts well before the sunrise when the truck load of vegetables,fruits and flowers arrives from the farms located in and around Mysore, from the neighboring districts and even from many other states.
There is no concept of 'cold storage' here. Everything is raw, straight from the farm to the market to the homes.Traders in the market buy at wholesale rate, typically for the day's sales, especially the perishable items. Retail rates varies every day, and some times even during the day. It seams the 'discount' starts by the closing hours, with the intention of disposing of all the day's stock. Business continues for many hours well after sunset.
Prices shoots up dramatically during the festive seasons, especially for flowers and fruits, that is in high demand during the period.
Mornings and evenings are peak business hours with feverish shopping activities. So are the weekends and the days preceding the festivals.
The conservative estimates put the age of the Devaraja market about 120 years. The original market place could be much older, as old at the origin of this city as settlement. The place were people lived in this part of Mysore was called Devaraja Mohalla, named afer one of the two successive maharajas shared the same name (ie, Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar (1659-1673) or Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar (1673-1704)).
There was a small weekly market at the corner of this mohalla (village). Later during the regime of Chamaraja Wodeyar IX (1868 - 1894) this weekly market was expanded into the present form. The market retained the name that is associated with the village. The road that runs through this erstwhile village is Devaraj Urs Road.
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