With a penchant for exploring the native spirit and culture of a place, I stepped into the renowned Devaraja market of Mysore on my recent visit to the city. Over 100 years old, the market is the epitome of vibrancy, activity and vivacity. A prominent landmark of the heritage city, this market is literally the “go to” place for all kinds of fruits, vegetables, items of worship, spices, baskets and all kinds of knick knacks.
Having visited local markets in other cities, I found the market here fairly organized in comparison with others. There are separate sections for fruits, vegetables, flowers and the like. So while I witnessed the typical chaos, there was certainly a method in the madness. A great place to soak in the local culture, tradition and customs of the city, the market is truly the delight of the offbeat traveler.
The best part of the market of course is the flower section that is a complete riot of colors and an eclectic mix of pleasant fragrances emanating from lilies and of course the delightful variants of jasmine.
The highlight of the market of course is the queen of flowers aka jasmine that is integral to the culture of Mysore. While there are known to be more than 300 varieties of jasmine, the “Mysore mallige” or Mysore jasmine ( whose botanical name is Jasminum grandiflorum) is famous not only throughout Karnataka but also the entire world.
Endemic to the region of Karnataka, these flowers are cultivated in and around the areas of Mysore and the nearby Srirangapatna. Patronized by none other than the royalty of the city, the flower continues to be an inspiration for many a poet and numerous artists. Extremely popular, they hold a special place in the life of Mysoreans and people of the state, be it festivals, weddings or special occasions.
Mounds of unstrung jasmine are devoured in bulk by resellers and retailers the moment the stock arrives. Interestingly, these flowers are so different from the jasmine of Mangalore that also is from the state of Karnataka.
A visit to the Devaraja market, proved, yet again, that flower markets in our country are a true reflection of India’s endless diversity. Ubiquitous yet unique, each of them offer an experience that compares to none other. To read about other Flower markets of India, read my article on Happy trips here.