If you’re anything like me you love looking around local markets. For me it’s often more about the people and less about what their actually selling. Although I have to say that the produce was amazingly colourful, vibrant and pungent (in a good way!)
This large market selling vegetables, flowers, essential oils and some ironmongery items (strange bedfellows I thought,) in downtown Mysuru opens at 6:30am and stays open into the night.
The aromas of garlic and herbs wafted on the warm evening air. Sheaves of coriander, parsley and fenugreek tantalising our olfactory senses. The vibrant colours of the vegetables; dark purple aubergines, bright orange carrots, the deep purple onions…
The sheer volume somehow accentuating the colours.
Drifting down the alleyway, the sweet perfume of flowers which we could smell long before we could see them. Jasmine, roses and to a lesser extent marigolds.
I have never seen so many flowers.
Garlands being made by threading the delicate flowers from huge coils of brightly coloured, perfect flowers. These adorn the ladies’ hair, are presented as offerings to the gods in the temples and garlands swing from the necks of both young and old alike.
One of the ladies beckons me and she drapes both my wrists with bracelets of jasmine. How much should I offer I quickly ask Jon? 40 rupees she immediately tells me but I only have 30 (not quite 30p!) No problem she says with a big grin.
The sound of the market is quite something.
Loud, melodic calls beckoning you to purchase their produce, urging you to buy as you walk past.
Lokesh the rickshaw driver from our hotel had warned us when he dropped us at the market, not to buy sandalwood oil or any other oils. “It’s no good” he told us explaining that it’s not the real deal and how he would take us to the official government factory. I couldn’t help but wonder, perhaps a little cynically, if he received a payback.
A young, confident lad aged around 14 with excellent english and the “gift of the gab” told me about his family’s factory and proudly showed me their range of oils. Before I knew it he had daubed orchid and cocoa oils on my hand and arm and beckoned me inside his stall to show me how he made incense sticks. Would I like some? “No, no thank you” I replied (I seem to be saying that an awful lot these days!)
Stalls of exquisitely beautiful paints and kumkum (used for bindi dots) provide a riot of vivid colours.
After just over an hour of wandering up and down the market aisles we reluctantly tear ourselves away carefully negotiating the cows and tuk-tuks now that it’s dark to rejoin Lokesh.