The month I spent in India was indeed magical. For the first time not running anywhere, not rushing to see everything possible, just living it, breathing it and practicing.
I lived on the street of the main shala. My morning started from a lazy 3 minute walk to Saraswathi’s yoga shala, a 1+ hour practice, coconut water, a bucket shower, a meditation and fruit for breakfast. The weather was comfortably warm, the days were sunny and life was chill. At noon I would go chanting, and in the afternoons I would work from home and go to sanskrit class. Day after day, my presence in Mysore was was stretching into a month, like a slowly chewed bubble gum.
What do people normally do in Mysore?
People practice yoga and eat. There are many places to eat in Gokulam, but most people go to the same ten little restaurants from day to day.
Chakra house – yummy food, good cakes, and the owner can organize anything for your, from a scooter rental and looking for a room, to a car ride to the airport and money exchange.
Depth and Green – have good thali, veggie burger and vegan chocolate cake that everyone is crazy about. Normally crowded in the evening.
Santosha cafe – open Sun-Thu 7 am-12.30 – since ‘santosha’ means contentment, you can definitely find contentment here. Yummy breakfast, beetroot bread, and smiles of the owners and their baby make you feel at home.
Khushi’s – another breakfast place with yummy toast, tahini, shakes and fruit salads. Open 8am – 12.30, definitely worth a visit.
Anokhi Garden – open for breakfast (before 1) only Thu-Sun, has very cosy outside sitting area, wifi, and vegan pancakes. At the weekends they also have outdoor market where they sell arts and crafts. Good place to have a chill breakfast with friends.
Sri Durga – my personal favourite and a place where I fell in love with yummy indian food – dosas, idli, vada. Come here for a masala dosa and your heart will stay here.
Tina’s cafe – a ten minute walk from the area where lazy people hang out, serves good Indian food.
There are more places to eat and enjoy, these are just the ones I liked and went to as a lazy person.
Where can I go in Mysore?
Normally you won’t go far, just hang out on the rooftops with friends, go to the swimming pool for lazy afternoons and drink thick banana smoothies at Anu’s. But of course there are some places worth visiting, even if you are very lazy.
Swimming pool – the closest one you may find in Regaalis hotel, 15-20 min rickshaw ride from Gokulam. Silent shores hotel has a bigger pool, with nice magical murals and fewer people, I recommend it as getaway for the day. Both places charge extra for wifi. You can order food and drink in both places. The pool I liked the most was in Lalitha Mahal palace hotel, surrounded by nature and away from the city, there you can suntan and watch monkeys climb the balconies of the hotel.
Chamundi Hills – once climbed, you can overlook the whole city, and enjoy visiting a crowded temple on top. As anywhere in India, there is an abundance of cows, coconuts and noise making sales people on top of the hill. While climbing we decided to keep silence and it was an interesting experience. Halfway or more up, there is a temple with a big black bull statue, take of your shoes to show respect here. Nandi, the bull, is the vehicle of Shiva, and there is a Nandi statue in front of every Shiva temple.
Mysore palace – a very big and somewhat unattended palace, with beautiful tiles and lights up on Sunday evening, which is apparently one of the main tourist attractions of Mysore. This is where many yoga demonstrations took place back in the day.
Big banyan tree – I have no idea how we got there, but the place is definitely worth a visit. The tree is amazingly big and very peaceful, with many monkeys hanging around. It is s little sad to see a lot of trash surrounding the tree and the whole area, which makes it difficult for the monkeys to survive. They seem to love the tree, and I felt like a monkey lying down on its branches too.
Sri Ramakrishna Ashram – just along the Gokulam main road, in Sri Ramakrishna Ashram you can find a very nice bookstore selling cheap books, you can listen to a lecture of a monk at the weekend, and you can join a puja, temple ceremony with fire and drums, where you shall also be given candy in the end. Very nice experience.
If you are feeling not that lazy and eager to take a trip out of town, you can also go to Bylakuppe Tibetan village, which is 1,5 hours away by car.
The cleanest city of India is there for you to enjoy with its mild climate, smiley people and delicious food. Enjoy as much as you can and smile to every new day in Mysore, even when it starts at 4 am.