The best way to experience a trip to KPJAYI is just to come.
It is however a wrench and a real adjustment if you have a tidy western mind – be patient and understand that it is different, not worse. Do not judge. You will rise to this little challenge; the more open your mind, the faster you will understand, the sooner you will see!
So here we have compiled what is hopefully a useful guide for newbies. It is not comprehensive but should help you land softly rather than with a bump!
1. Don’t bother about trying to walk on the pavements, walk in the road and they will drive around you.
2. If you need money immediately the ATM by the Shala is pretty reliable. If you bring euro’s or dollars then visit Shiva – his details are on the KPJAYI site. The Shala now takes credit card payment – note NOT debit cards.
3. Look up and smile at everyone, including the locals they will smile back! Talk to them and ask what you are looking for they will help.
4. The rickshaw drivers by the shala know and will help you.
5. Start yourself a diary so you can see when you are free, when you need to get to class, chanting, Sanskrit course, eat food, meet with friends etc.
6. Book onto the Sanskrit course with Lakshmish – it is definitely worth while. Lakshmish likes Belgian/Swiss chocolate :-).
7. Keep an eye out for the notices in the ante-room on the way into the shala daily! It is the way communication is made for changes to times, practice and chanting.
8. Shala time is 15 mins earlier than real time (shala clock is 15 mins fast).
9. Don’t arrive too early for your practice – Sharath knows and will send you out to the ‘naughty step’.
10. If you think some one is pushing into the queue ahead of you – let them, they have a reason to. (family commitments, Sharath told them to… lots of reasons) practice patience.
11. Top restaurants.
Breakfast : Kushi, Anoki garden, Chakra house, Santosha, Sri Durga, Idli man 😃
Lunch/dinner : Anu’s – find this place it is really worth it, amazing clean food, lovely staff. Depth & Green, Dhatu, Cafe Dias, Sixth Main, Jwala great north indian food. La Villa – near the old Shala in Lakshmipuram (Rickshaw), Green Hotel (Rickshaw)
Chakra House seems to be always open, the others are limited hours or days – check!
Anu’s smoothies and vegan chocolate cake early evening – a must.
Dosas: Original Hotel Vinyaka Mylari (Rickshaw here), Sri Durga, Green Leaf
12. Top hotel pools
Regalis – always quiet and plenty of sun loungers (closed – currently being renovated Jan2017)
Silent Shores – sometimes very loud music and limited sun loungers so get there early or you will be on the concrete.
Landmark – no sun loungers but ok if you are desperate for a change of scenery.
13. Top trips
Ganesh is Anu’s husband – he does taxis and can organise trips, he is very friendly and helpful and VERY reliable. He does the airport taxi also at the right rate – he also has a comfortable more expensive SUV available if you can afford it – 4 hours, it’s worth it. Message him on Facebook to book.
Chamundi hill – be brave and get dropped at the bottom of the hill and walk up the 1008 steps! Sunset or sunrise are good times, mid-day is very hot. Do not look the monkeys in the eye! Remember to visit the Swami when you get to the Shiva’s black bull half way up.
Mysore Palace in the day (go inside) but also on Sunday evening at 7pm to see the lights come on – get there about 6.30pm
Bylakuppe – Tibetan settlement.
Devaraja market – ask a rickshaw driver to take you there and stop at Regalis pool on the way back!
Cinema: Easy Day supermarket complex (close) OR Big Bizzare, next to
Internet: You can get a ‘stick’ for the internet, load it up with 10GB and it is portable wifi so you can have it wherever you go. Great for maps when wandering round town and researching places to visit. There are a couple of places in town to get this, most people used the one opposite the Ganesh temple near the main coconut stand, just past the fruit lady.
Supermarket: Loyal World and Easy Day.
Chocolate: Trupi the chocolate man.
Coffee: Jois coffee in the high street opposite Depth&Green – ask for the A & B mixture then you get pure coffee
Books: ‘The Greenhouse’ up Shala road – that’s where you can get sanskrit in 30 days book and lots more.
15. Maps – these are a little old now but still useful to get to know the rough layout of the place.