Dasara brings craving takers for Mysore's taste

Mysore pak, Nanjangud Rasabale, betel leaves see rise in demand

 ‘Amma banni, Mysorele thaane kodtini’ (Ma’m please come. You want Mysore Veelyedele, will give).

Stand for a minute in front of any shops selling betel leaves at Devaraja Market on Sayyaji Rao road in the city, this will be the common dialogue everyday. The dialogue though has turned a cliche, sounds redundant during Dasara every year, such is the popularity of the leaves.

Mysore’s famed Mysore veelyedele (betel leaves), Nanjangud rasbale (a variety of banana), Mysore Pak (a sweet dish) and Mysore Mallige (jasmine) see increase in demand during the Nada Habba.

Apart from locals, who form regular customers, outsiders who make Mysore their itinerary for Navaratri, prefer to taste Mysore’s popular products that have also become synonymous with the city of palaces. Some of the produces also have geographical indicator (GI) tag, another reason to arouse interest.

Substantiating this, Mahadev who is into selling of betel leaves for the past 30 years told Deccan Herald, when compared to regular days, the demand for leaves during Dasara surges by 30 per cent.

However, he is apprehensive about the demand this year too with Cauvery river water sharing dispute already casting its dark spell over the festival. “It’s only after 11 am during weekends, the peak hour begins”, says Mahadev with pride. The leaves are grown at ele thota from M G road to Nanjangud road.

Basavaraj, who sells Nanjangud rasabale among others for the past 65 years at the market says; “Most hotels prefer to buy the variety of banana to introduce the taste to customers. Though it costs Rs 10 to Rs 15 per fruit, the lingering taste surpasses money for many customers. He readily agrees that for Dasara he receives more quantity of fruits to cater to the rise in demand.

Shivanand who has continued with the legacy of his forefathers, being a reputed Mysore Pak maker says; apart from domestic tourists, visitors from other states too make a beeline for the particular sweet. They (outstation tourists) will be either regular customers or those who are lured to taste the sweet after hearing from their friends.

The particular sweet is made of besan flour (Kadale hittu), butter, turmeric and sugar.
It was his great-grandfather Kakasura Madappa a cook for the then Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar, who became an instant hit for his new found recipe — Mysore Pak. 

However, it was his son Basavanna who opened a shop on Sayyaji Rao road (which has remained the place till date at the corner of Devaraja Market) and spread the fragrance among sweet lovers. Shivanand is the fourth generation sweet maker.

Mysore Mallige and Erangere badanekayi (brinjal) too are still in demand, but the production has depleted owing to shrinking land holdings.

There are also curious tourists who soon after learning about the specialities of the land try to taste them.

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