Thinking of our beloved Devaraja market, the first thing that hits me is the whiff of the age-old place. Of course, I know I’m an olfactoric person. But come on, the market smells great! I mean have you ever been there? If you have, then you know what I’m talking about.
It’s a crowded place with a buzz that’s perpetual – a nice kind of buzz though. Not the buzz you get to hear at big city roads – honks, screeches, thuds and thumps – basically where you can’t hear yourself think.
So yeah, Devaraja market has a healthy buzz. Vegetable vendors beckoning you to buy, customers bargaining, kids crying and shouting, people chatting, etcetera creates a reverberation that is reminiscent of rhythmic recitations of religious texts.
As you may expect, vegetables aren’t the only things you’ll find there. You’ll find fruits, flowers, coconuts, grocery stores, perfume bottles, variety of tools like knives and grating boards, vessels, bangle stores, Kumkum and turmeric powder and many other odd but delightful things. It’s quite a visual treat actually.
Devaraja market is unlike most markets you’ll find. It is carefully planned and architecturally sound. Built in the period of Chamaraja Wodeyar IX (1868-1894), it houses 842 shops and is spread over 3 acres.
It was meant to be one of the most important places for business in the state. The rulers of Mysore encouraged trade and commerce by laying good roads in the kingdom, introducing a unified system of currency and standardizing weights and measures.
The market’s location is quite interesting. It is placed very close to the Amba Vilas Palace – the headquarters of the Wodeyar dynasty. The south end of the market is close to the K R Circle and opens into the public space. Devaraj Urs road, which is currently the most popular commercial street in Mysore, is also very close by. The east side of the market has Sayyaji Rao road and at its north end you can enter the market from Dhanvantari road.
Today, the municipal corporation of Mysore looks after Devaraja Market.
My earliest memories include the trips with my dad on the mornings of Ganesh Chaturthi every year. It is customary to shop for Pooja essentials on the day of the festival. As for me, there’s no Ganesh Chaturthi without the trip to Devaraja market. Also there are times I’ve gone there with a friend of mine to just hang out. Wait, whaaat? Well, what can I say? We share a crazy fascination for vegetable markets! I don’t know if you’re like my friend and me, but a visit is a must.