For me, one of the most satisfying experiences of a trip are the memories you make. Thats why, whenever I plan a trip, I look to find out somewhere that is not regularly visited, may be mot mentioned on social media, or something that is like a hidden gem locked up somewhere is the deepest corner of a cupboard.
Today, is an era when shopping is done on a click or at your fingertips. Convenience is the name of the game. In such a time, visiting a market may seem passe; but I believe if you wish to understand the ethos of a place, or its culture, you must visit a market.This post is about my visit to Mangalore’s Hampankatta market. This wasn’t my first visit there, I had been there on my earlier visits but this time I spent enough time there to document it on the blog. To give you an idea, Hampankatta is to Mangalore, what Pettah is to Colombo or what Crawford is to Mumbai or what souks are to Dubai.
Now Hampankatta is about an hours drive depending on where in Mangalore you are. As you reach, you can see the imposing Milagres Church (Milagres is Miracles in Konkani and the church in the British era was called ‘The Church of Our Lady of the Miracles’). At certain times, you can hear the rhythmic chiming of the bells to the Angelus prayer. Its almost like the Lord is watching over the happenings there.
I reached the market and I grinned. Almost like a kid in a toy store. I could almost feel the vibes and I knew this was going to be a memorable visit.
Right opposite Milagres church is the Milagres bypass road. A small shop here is known as the Milagres Stores. But entering the shop you would feel like Ali baba entering the den of the forty thieves. It literally has everything you need. Household items, Groceries, Masala’s, Ready to eat meals and the likes. They have a particularly wonderful range of masala that you can use like the Bafat masala, Chicken sukkha masala and list goes on. Ask the very friendly and cordial owner. He will recommend some to you and my word you wont be dissappointed. Here is my stock of Bafat masala for the next few months.
The Taj Mahal Sweet Shop
Mangaloreans claim that you cant come to Mangalore and leave without purchasing from Taj Mahal sweets. This place is diagonally opposite to Milagres church.The shop it self is about 90 years old and the star product is the ‘Mysore Pak’ or as the locals call it ‘Mysore Pa’. I was recommended this place by my cousin on my last visit and I had absolutely loved the Mysore pa that time. Again, simple ingredients like ghee, besan and sugar combined to form a delicacy that simply melts in your mouth and may times even in the palm of your hand. That is the true test of a genuine Mysore pa. My request is dont miss out on this.
Ideals ice cream parlour
I had mentioned Ideals in an earlier post on Mangalore. I have had ice creams, Gelatos and desserts,but this chilled dessert simply warms the cockles of your heart. The flavours are simple and fresh.What they usually do is to create a particlaur ice cream using a combination of flavours. So simply you would have a vanilla combined with Gajar halva. a I’d had a late lunch and so i didnt really want to overly stuff myself. But though the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak. we walked in and settled ourselves. After a discussion, we went in for the parfait. The combination was vanilla, orange and pista ice creams with choppped fruits and nuts. Salivating already? We did too. This is how the icream looked when it was served.
This is me attempting to finish it off.
We spent nearly 2-3 hours in the market and we had to rush back. But I guess, I did more in that time than in my earlier visits. However, each time I visit the place there is something new to experience, something new to see. Like they say, a joy of a journey isnt measured by the amount of money you’ve spent on it or in the miles per hour. The joy of a journey is in the experiences you gained in that trip.