Getting your bearings
The one thing that I struggled with when I first arrived in Gokulam was finding my way around. Most places (including many restaurants, shops and the post office) look like houses. Signage is generally minimal and unless you know what you are looking for and exactly where you are, you might be searching for a while.
In an effort to simplify things I've added some maps and have oriented everything around either the coconut stand (which sits at the intersection of Contour Road and 1st Main Road) or the Nirmala School (which sits at the intersection of Gokulam Main Road and 1st Main Road). You will find one of these intersections on all maps.
Here are some key landmarks which should help with getting your bearings.
Where to Eat ???
Listed below are a number of places within the Gokulam area that were operating in July/August 2015. These are places that I wouldn't hesitate to go back to.
I've listed opening hours (where known) and a rough range of pricing based on the time that I was there, these may vary depending upon the season.
Most places have a link to their facebook page or website (you can reach this by clicking on the title).
If you would like to confirm any details I'd suggest contacting them directly.
$ Local Prices (Meals < 100 Rs)
$$ Average Price (Meals around 100 - 200 Rs)
$$$ High by Indian Standards (Meals generally > 200 Rs)
Note: I've assumed that a meal would be a main dish with a chai
Khushi Cafe - Breakfast Paradise in Mysore
Where: 192, 1st Main Rd, 3rd Stage, Gokulam, Mysore.
Hours: Breakfast (8am until 12.30pm) with occasional special lunch days.
On the menu: Smoothies, juices, coffee, fruit salad, omelettes, pancakes and much more.
My personal favourites - everything! But especially the Addash Shake, Fruit Salad,
Energy balls and Ragi Pancakes with Peanut butter.
The guys at Khushi also have a small organic shop on the same road as you head south towards the coconut stand.
Anu's Cafe - Delicious smoothies you eat with a spoon
Where: 367, 2nd Main, 3rd Stage, Gokulam, Mysore.
Hours: Lunch (1pm to 3pm) and Dinner (5pm to 7pm)
On the menu: Vegetarian buffet lunch. In the evenings a selection of smoothies and cakes.
My favourite, the double chocolate banana smoothie with coconut.
Dhatu Organics - Organic Restaurant and Store
Where: No. 2826 D, First Floor, 10th Cross, V.V Mohalla, Mysore (Note: it's upstairs)
Hours: 10am - 9.30pm
On the menu: Check out the menu online by clicking the above link.
My personal favourites are the spinach, walnut, fetta salad and the palak pulav. Oh and how could I forget the cheesecake!
Price Index: $$$
They also have a shop attached to the restaurant selling, food, clothing and all sorts of goods.
Depth n Green - A great healthy all rounder
Where: 831, 1st Main Rd, Gokulam 2nd Stage, Gokulam, Mysore
Hours: Open for Lunch and Dinner. Closed Monday.
On the menu: Smoothies, juices, soup, salads, thali and great cakes.
My favourites, the gratitude smoothie, chocolate brownie and the lentil soup.
They also have live music here most nights.
Om Cafe - Good cheap food with lots of options
Where: Contour Road, Vijayanagar 2nd Stage, Gokulam 2nd Stage, Mysore
Hours: Open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
On the menu: Lots of variety including a buffet lunch option, thali, omelettes, kitchari, pancakes, smoothies, juices, dosa.
My favourites, the thali lunch set and the hummus sandwich.
Where: 1d Gokulam Main Road, Mysore
Hours: Open for Lunch and Dinner
On the menu: Home style Punjabi food, they have a number of dishes on display that you can select from.
Prices: $ - $$
Where: No. 829, 1st 'A' Main Road Gokulam, 3rd stage Mysore.
As you walk south down 1st Main Road towards the coconut stand, cross the intersection with contour road and just before the Ganesha Temple turn left, it's not too far up on the left hand side.
Hours: Open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Closed Mondays.
On the menu: A wide variety including smoothies, vegetable stir fry, fruit salad etc.
My favourites, the ragi wrap (minus cheese) and the banana/papaya smoothie
Nalpak - A Popular Restaurant for Locals
Where: 2702, 1st Main Road, Gokulam 1st Stage, V. V. Mohalla, 1st Main Rd, Vani Vilas Mohalla, Mysore
Hours: Open 7am - 3.30pm and 4.00pm - 10.00pm
On the menu: Traditional Indian Food (dosa, idli, curry, rice dishes, juices etc)
My favourite, the plain or green dosa and the rava idli
Price Index: $
Also a grocery store next door where you can pick up general goods.
Anima Madhva Bhavan - All you can eat on a bannana leaf
Where: 2790/1, 6th Cross Road, V. V. Mohalla, Mysore (Note: it's upstairs)
Hours: Open for Lunch and Dinner (12pm - 9.30pm). Closed Tuesday.
On the menu: A bamboo leaf style unlimited thali. Great vegetarian food with no MSG.
The 6th Main - Another favourite of the locals
Where: 6th Main Rd, V. V. Mohalla, Mysore, India.
Hours: Lunch and Dinner (1pm - 10pm)
On the menu: A wide variety of indian food including thali's (north and south indian), rice dishes, curries and juices.
My favourite, the north indian special thali
Corner House - Warning this is a place of indulgence, ice cream and sweets only!
Where: 2664, 3rd Main Road, Vontikoppal, Mysuru
Hours: 11am - 11pm
On the menu: A wide variety of ice cream flavours and some amazing desserts.
My favourite, the brown bomb, although Death by Chocolate seems to be quite famous.
Santosha Cafe - A Good Breakfast Choice
Where: 398, 2nd Main, Gokulam 3rd Stage, Mysore
It's located on the corner just opposite the entrance to the Lion School.
Hours: Breakfast and Lunch (7am - 12.30pm)
On the menu: Juices, Smoothies, Coffee, Fresh Bread, Pancakes, Eggs, Fruit Salad etc
Anoki Garden - French Crepes and Tasty Fruit Salads
Where: 408 Contour Road, Gokulam 3rd Stage, Mysore
Can be found just a few doors down after the piles hospital.
Hours: Breakfast and Lunch (8.00am - 12.30pm)
On the menu: Can be seen online (click above link)
My favourites, the fruit salads and the savoury crepe
Gokul Chats - Really good Dosa's and nice outdoor seated area
Where: No.1-2, Beemaiah Shopping Complex, K.R.S Main Road, Gokulam 3rd Stage, Gokulam, Mysore
Hours: All day (6.00am - 10.00pm)
On the menu: Typical indian fare, dosa, idli, chats, chai
My favourites, the plain dosa.
The Chocolate and Coffee Shop - A place you need to know
Where: 248, 4th Main Road, 7th Cross Road, 3rd Stage Gokulam, Mysore
Hours: Open after 4pm and maybe in the mornings too.
On the menu: Great quality and well priced chocolate and freshly ground coffee. Also stocking some other organic goods.
Not somewhere you can eat a meal but a place worth knowing.
Prices: $ (compared to the price of good chocolate elsewhere)
Hotel Original Vinayaka Mylari: Around 10 - 15mins drive away but so worth it.
Where: 769 Nazarbad Main Road, Shop No. 79, Near Police Station, Mysore
Hours: Breakfast (from 7am) and Dinner (from ~3.30pm). Closed Wednesday.
On the menu: Dosa, idli, chai and coffee
My favourite, the plain dosa. I've been told people travel from Bangalore to eat the Dosa's here.
After completing the 500hrs of Yoga Teacher Training I was left feeling pretty drained, I’m sure this is totally normal and most people experience it. A large part of me felt like I wanted to escape the yoga scene for a few weeks. My soul was craving time by the ocean drinking up the sunshine and frolicking in the waves, only I’m a long way from the beach here in Mysore and I’d made the decision to stay on in India.
So instead of hanging by the beach after all my new yoga buddies left Mysore I went into full-blown, demotivated lazy mode. I kept up my daily asana practice but was really struggling to find the motivation to do anything else. I found myself spending a lot of time watching TV on my laptop, catching up on sleep and wasting countless hours on the Internet.
After a week of this and several failed attempts at getting myself going again I came up with the idea of a self imposed spiritual boot camp. Setting my alarm for 4.30am and telling myself I’d wake up just wasn’t working. I needed some structure and a real commitment to myself.
You might be wondering why I'm not cutting myself some slack, taking an extended break, embracing the laziness, making some new friends and enjoying exploring Mysore.
If I’m to be honest I feel like I spent much of my time during the YTT doing just that. I didn’t find the workload to be overly challenging and while I committed myself to the training, I equally enjoyed the social aspects. I think I was far more social during the training than I normally am at home!
While I experienced some transformation during the two months of YTT I feel that I could be doing so much more in terms of going deeper within. This last month here in India seems like the perfect opportunity to do that.
So this idea of a personalised spiritual boot camp came to my mind, something that I would commit to fully as if I were paying for the service.
Here is my Week 1 daily schedule:
4.15am: Wake Up
4.15am – 4.30am: Surya Namaskar Wake Up
4.30am – 5.00am: Pranayama / Kriyas
5.00am - 6.00am: Meditation
6.45am – 8.45am: Ashtanga Asana Practice
9.00am – 1.30am: Breakfast and Chill Time
1.30pm – 2.00pm: Meditation
2.00pm – 4.00pm: Lunch and Chill Time
4.00pm – 5.00pm: Harmonium/Chanting (Lessons and Practice)
6.30pm – 7.30pm: Yin Yoga Practice
7.30pm – 8.00pm: Eye Exercises / Candle Gazing
8.00pm – 9.00pm: Meditation
My personal boot camp begins tomorrow morning and will culminate in a 10 day Vipassana Meditation that finishes on the 30th of August. That means I have today to finish watching the remaining few episodes of 'Chasing Life'.
My soul will then be quenched with the all the beach time and salt water it desires with my final few weeks of my trip spent in Bali.
When I go to bed tonight I’ll be placing my alarm clock on my yoga mat, far away from the bed. To make the whole waking up early experience more enjoyable/inspiring I’ll be setting my alarm tune to this:
I'll be sure to post an update on my progress in the next week or two. That is unless I fall into a deep meditation and reach samadhi (liberation)...