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Landmark restaurant shuts shop in Mysore

A landmark that heralded a new era in the hotel industry in Mysore has pulled down its shutters after nearly eight decades of serving Mysore.

The Bombay Indra Bhavan on Mysore’s main royal street of Sayaji Rao Road, that was being run by third and fourth generation of its founder, Badriprasad, suspended its services last evening. Today, they were seen removing kitchen equipment and furniture, while customers were seen returning disappointed.

Badriprasad migrated from Uttar Pradesh in 1900s to then Mysore State and ventured into restaurant business in 1936 by founding the Bombay Indra Bhavan in Mysore, after serving in a few places in Tamil Nadu and Bangalore.

It was the first modern style restaurant then in Mysore that served eatables of quality and taste that won the hearts of Mysoreans. It was the meeting point for veteran politicians like Minister K Puttaswamy, Congress leaders B N Kenge Gowda, B C Lingaiah, Somasundara Sharma and other leading personalities, over breakfast and nourish tasty ‘kesari bhat’ and ‘idli-vada sambar’ with ghee. In the evenings, customers’ favourites were ‘bajji’ and ‘masala dosa’.

Badriprasad was the first to introduce north Indian sweets in Mysore when for most people of the royal city the only favourite sweet was ‘Mysore pak’. He also introduced a choice of dishes. It was a must eating place for tourists. Those who went abroad took with them its popular ‘Bombay mixture’ and ‘doodhpeda’.

Its fame and popularity continues even now. Unhappy customers were seen expressing their disappointment over missing their favourite dishes while lauding its service.

Even then Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar was getting eatables often from this leading restaurant. For almost all the ‘state tea’ parties and public functions Bombay Indra Bhavan was the only preferred choice to serve the dishes.

Supported by his five sons and nephew Omprakash, he branched out to Indra Bhavan Boarding and Lodging in 1950 that became the most preferred place to stay for almost all tourists coming to Mysore, and later Indra Cafe and Indra Vihar restaurants.

Badriprasad, who promoted hotel and tourism sectors, was a veteran freedom fighter. He died in 1984. His generosity of offering free food and shelter to students and to his associate freedom fighters, like Thagadur Ramachandra Rao, was maintained with religious regularity till yesterday.

Gopal, who has served for over three decades, recalled how film producer S.S.Vasan, who had camped in Mysore to shoot a film, tried to woo a cook by offering him double the pay and the cook remained loyal to his master rejecting the offer. Prakash, another worker serving since 23 years, said even yesterday about 30 Sanskrit students were offered free breakfast and evening tiffin.

“We had to close down after a 20-year legal battle. We are looking for a suitable place to relaunch our business. We do not want to lose the tradition that my grand-father nourished with devotion and dedication,” Badriprasad grandson, Mohankumar told Business Standard.

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