A Slice of Food History at the Oberoi Bangalore – Recipes from the Bygone Mughal Era

    If Kitchen archaeology were a profession, I would have probably taken it up , last night. Unearthing the recipes , the techniques , the tools, the ingredients that are lost in time. Unraveling the hidden culinary treasures of the bygone era. Bringing them back to life, one by one.

Imagine the challenge of creating ( or recreating) something that you ( or anyone you for that matter) has never seen, tried or tasted before. Imagine the excitement of having successfully revived a lost piece of culinary puzzle ( and yet be retrained about that because there is no measure of that success. No benchmark to tally it against)

Imagine the joy of doing that…pretty much everyday.

Osama Jalali ( along with his mother Nazish Jalali) do exactly that. Prolific Food Historian, Food Journalist and Chef Extraordinaire Osama Jalali, is one of the few people in our country who is extensively working on towards reviving lost recipes of India. He has taken up baton for bringing them back into the present. He, with his mother, have become champions of such lost genre of culinary experiences.

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One of his collaborations is with The Oberoi, Bangalore where they are showcasing some of the culinary treasures from the bygone era, straight out of the Mughal Kitchens.

The Mughals beautifully synergized elements from their Mother land with the indigenous aspects of India. This same marriage happened in their food as well. Since they were great patrons of art, finer aspects of living and retold definitions of luxury and opulence, the same sense of indulgence and generosity were seen in their food and their feasts.

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For Oberoi Bangalore , they have created a menu that gives a glimpse of some of the cherished dishes which once found pride of place in the Mughal kitchens.

This menu has tapped Khansamas who had retained these recipes for generations tapped to. Locals from Old Delhi, Rampur and Lucknow have also been consulted to gain insight into these dishes which had found a place in local markets and homes including food historians such as Salma Hussain who has extensively researched on Mughal cuisine and have written books on the era too.

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The show casing menu

Appetisers

Murgh pateeli kebab : Chicken pockets filled with raisins, pistachios, apricots, mince, pepper and saffron cooked in a “taambe ki pateeli” or a deep vessel usually of copper. This kebab is from the table of Bahadur Sha Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor.

Yakhni kebab : Lamb cooked in Yakhn or broth flavoured with cloves. The meat is pulled apart and pounded on a “silbatta” with saffron and caramelised onions. These are combined into patties and pan fried.

Kebab e burghul : Broken wheat, pepper, coriander and lentil kebab served with a spicy mint chutney. This is a vegetarian version of the original as Aurangzeb was vegetarian towards the end of his reign. The khansamas employed were not Indians as there were revolts all over the kingdom during his reign.

Mewa shahi kebab : Babur loved dried fruits and this rich kebab of cheese, khoya, yoghurt, spices and dried fruits is an ode to the Emperor.

thali-full-mainMain Courses 

Piston ka qeema : Lamb mince cooked with Afghani pistachios and spices. A creation from the era of Bahadur Shah Zafar who was captive at The Red Fort.

Murgh zameen doz : Chicken marinated with almonds, yoghurt and spices, wrapped in dough,cooked in a earthen pot under the earth, Zamin Doz. Influences of this style of cooking may be traced to Akbar’s alliances with the Rajputs.

Amba qaliya : Braised lamb with ‘kairi’, raw mangoes, onions, ginger, coriander, dry fruits and saffron. The fondness of the rulers with mangoes at varying stages of ripening is evident. This recipe is from the tables of Jahangir.

Mutanjan Pulao: Layered rice and chicken pulao with cloves, orange, cardamom, dates and figs. The unique taste of spices, meat and sugar is interesting. Bahadur Shah Zafar was fond of creating new recipes; however, he hardly ate them and enjoyed feeding his guests.

Murgh Mussalam: (whole chicken) This is a rich dish in which a whole chicken is marinated, stuffed with eggs, prepared with spices like saffron, cinnamon, cloves, poppy seeds, cardamom and green chilli, and decorated with almonds. It is considered a gourmet dish in the book of Moghul cuisine Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh, where it is described as lending a certain majesty to the dastarkhwan (tablecloth upon which the dishes of a meal are places).

Arbi ka saalan : Fried spiced colocasia in a gravy of fried onions and toasted nuts

Khandaiyan : ‘Katliyaan’ or diamonds of cooked chickpea paste in a yoghurt and Qasuri methi gravy. A dish of Afghani origins that also finds variants in Rajasthan. A recipe handed down by the ancestors to Nazia Jalali.Qubooli : Rice and bengal gram cooked together with saffron, spices and dry fruits. Another vegetarian creation from the era of Aurangzeb. There is also a meat variant of this dish.

Desserts

Maleedah: Pounded ‘makke ke rotis’ with almonds, dates, apricots with sugar, cinnamon and cardamon powder

Gosht ka halwa : Meat, spices and sugar cooked together to create a most unique halwa

Pricing : INR 1600 – INR 1800 per person.

For reservations call 2558 5858.

 

Drifting Focus : My vintage soul

For the vintage soul in me.
For memories of romance and desire.
For emptiness and pain

A little photo experiment to do something vintage…and try to evoke the a feeling of lost romance, a void, the pain ….and searching for hope & strength. vintage-flower1a

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Having seen the post of Facebook, a friend shared this with me. And I think this makes perfect sense. 

” Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way” 

~ Janet Fitch, White Oleander

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An Afternoon at Soda Bottle Opener Wala

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  The beauty of Parsi Cuisine lies in its simplicity. The eclectic mix of Indian & Iranian flavours, blend of mild sweetness and spiciness, an occasional surprise of tartness , makes it interesting.

Soda Bottle Opener Wala  (SBOW) is just the place for this.

A place that not just offers this easy-on-the-palate delicious parsi delicacies but also lets you soak in a bit of a quirkiness, a little mad yet, relaxed and laid back moments of a typical Irani Cafe. The place has a character that can seen in the food, the decor , the way the food is presented , the serving staff etc. Something that demands to be experienced.

Having been around for a while, SBOW has just introduced a new menu. Their in-house chefs – the talented Chef Danish & Chef Manbeer have tried to bring in the experience of the street food, popular food legends and food re-inventions and put their culinary spin on it and devised this new Menu.

A bunch of us got an opportunity to try out a few of those new set of dishes and cocktails.

Thank you team SBOW for having us over!

Here is a glimpse, in the form of a photo journey, of what the new menu has to offer:

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Adu-Tedhu Babycorn fry with Cheese sauce
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One of the cocktails

 

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The quintessential Parsi .. Kheema Khari Par Eedu ( Egg on Mince)
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Aloo Aunty’s Vegetable Cutlis ( Veg Cutlet)
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Squid & Prawn Patio Served with Malai Parantha
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Falooda
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Parsi Style Jumbo Prawn with Curry and rice

 

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More Cocktails
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The incredibly good Tarela Rainbow Trout
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Mint Julep
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Matunga Coffee Cake . One of the best coffee desserts I’ve had in a long long time. Incredibly decadent.
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Spiced Raspberry Soda
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Lagan Nu Custard
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White Chocolate Orange Brownie …and a glimpse of the decor
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A paused moment
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The props
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The blue vespa…almost a mascot

 

Get to know more about the place and for reservation – Click here 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Yogurt Chicken / Dahi Murgh

Spicy Yogurt Chicken / Dahi Murgh

There is something extremely comforting about curries. And there is no reason to stress out to make most of them, for they are real simple to make.

Our Indian cuisine boasts about a number of curries, from all regions. There are traditional recipes , popular recipes  and heck, in many cases, every household has its own versions of those recipes. Chicken curry is one such dish. Chicken in yogurt based curry is hugely popular and I believe it is one such curry , for which the recipe would vary from region to region, kitchen to kitchen.

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This post here is about my version. A version that I picked up when I started making chicken curries , back in the day with my ma.

I love this because it is extremely flavourful. I love the rich intense aroma when it is cooking. I also love it because it really easy. And you can’t really go wrong with this.

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 The flavour, the heat of the spices blends so well with the mild tang of the yogurt. It tastes gorgeous. ( Yogurt also keeps the chicken very tender) 

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 This can be made with lamb too, if one prefers that.

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Recipe : Spicy Yogurt Chicken / Dahi Murgh

Ingredients – For 2 -3 servings

  • Chicken – 1/2 to 3/4 kilo chicken ( I used curry cut. Feel free to use boneless. Although, chicken with bones are so much more flavourful than the boneless.) 
  • Dry Spice –
    •  Coriander seeds – 1 & 1/2 tsp
    •  Dried red chillies – 6-8 (depending on how hot they are)
    •  Dried Ginger – 1 inch ( or use the powder – 1 tsp)
    • Jeera / cumin – 1 & 1/2 tsp
    • Cinnamon – 1 inch
    • Cardamom – 5-6 pods
    • cloves – 3-5
    • Yogurt – 200 – 250 Ml
    • Turmeric – 1 & 1/2 tsp
    • Garlic – finely chopped – 1 &1/2 tsp
    • Salt – to taste
  • Onion – 2 small to med size
  • Bay leaf – 1 -2 med
  • Oil & Ghee (optional)
  • Garnish – Almond flakes & mint leaves ( optional)
  • Lemon ( optional)

Method :

  1. Make sure the chicken is clean and cut into desired size.
  2. Roast the dry spices ( coriander + red chilli + dry ginger + jeera + cinnamon + clove + cardamom) in a wok/ pan for a few mins so they lightly release the flavours. Let it cool for a few mins and grind it into a fine powder. Keep aside.
  3. To marinate the chicken , take a bowl large enough. Add the chicken, tip in the yogurt, salt, turmeric, chopped garlic and 2 -3 tsp of the ground dry spice blend. Massage it well and let it rest for anywhere between 2 hours t 24 hours. ( in the fridge)
  4. When ready to cook – In a pan, add a bit of oil,  the finely sliced onion  and bay leaf. Sauté it a little , or till the onions are a bit translucent.
  5. Add the chicken that had been marinating.
  6. Saute it gently in low heat. Add another 1-2 tsp of the ground roasted dry spice powder ( the one used in the marinade). If you like enjoy your curries with more heat- feel free to add a little more red chilli powder. Add half cup water, mix well and cover it. Let it cook for about 20-25 mins. Make sure it is in low- med heat throughout.
  7. In between make sure you stir it from time to time.
  8. I also added about 2 tsp of ghee in between, while it was cooking ( You could either use butter or oil or Completely drop the idea) There is enough fat in the yogurt already 😛
  9. When ready, garnish it with some almond flakes and fresh mint.
  10. Works well with rotis, naans, pav or just a bowl of good old rice.

Royal Rajasthan : Food Festival, Oberoi Bangalore

“Rajasthan, the mystical beauty & the land of the royals, is not only rich in its culture but also the food.” And Oberoi Hotels Bangalore is hosting a celebration of this rich heritage – The Royal Rajasthan Food Festival 

Two incredible chefs – Chefs Vipin Mogha and Rajender Joshi,  from The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur and the talented Mangania folk band have together to create a unique journey across this incredible state of India. An experience that is on offer at Le Jardin, Oberoi Bangalore.

I was invited to dine at this fest and through this post I intend to share a little glimpse of the my experience. Title Collage

The seasoned chef duo, have been specializing in cuisine from this amazing state of India. 

The interesting array of food ( roughly about 75 authentic dishes on a rotational menu) in this fest showcases the culinary strength of the duo and the nuances of the traditional rajasthani cuisine.

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What we get to savour are some quintessential foods of the state – like the Lal Maas, Ker Sangri, Junglee Maas, Safed maas, Dal Pithode, Gatte ki Sauzi, Mirchi Pakode, Dal Baati Churma, Jalebi , Ghewar to name a few.

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Fresh green and dry red chilli
Dal Bati chura
Dal Bati Churma

Some of the delicious dishes that this fest showcases are Amrood ki Subzi, Ambi Mangodi , Khad Khargosh , the incredibly flavourful Punchkuta ( It is a dry curry that celebrates the Ker, Sangri , and 3 wild berries) , Aloo Shorba.

What makes the dishes standout is not just the flavour, and technique but also ingredients that go on , the legend behind the dishes…and how the dishes came about. It was a delight to hear the stories, from the chefs, behind these signature dishes, while relishing them.

A satisfying dining experience lets you soak in a bit of culture and the royal rajasthani hospitality.

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Raw Ker Sangri

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Vegetarian Kabab and some fresh veggies as prop decor
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Vegetarian Thali
Steam dal
Piping hot Dal on a beautiful earthen chulha.
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Non-Vegetarian Thali
Ghewar
Ghewar
Jalebi
Jalebi ( and Rabri, not in the frame)

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Period of the FestivalAugust 30 th to September 10th
Timing : Lunch ( 12:30pm – 3pm) and Dinner ( 7:30pm – 11pm)
Format : Buffet ( with a rotational menu)
Pricing : INR 1575 plus taxes per person / INR 1775 plus taxes per person with one domestic beer
Prior bookings preferred. Call at 080 2558 5858 

Drifting Focus 3 – Catch of the day!

Drifting Focus Part 3 – Catch of the Day!

Last month I took off to my sister’s place in Pune and also happened to make a quick trip to Mumbai. While In pune I wanted to experience the bazaar life and that’s exactly what I did. An opportunity for another Drifting Focus.

 Because I went all out crazy with camera – I ended up on a clicking spree. I decided to group the photos and split into two part. This post here is first part in the two-part series. (Coming up in the next part is food and other eats )

This 3rd Drifting focus ( & first in the two-part series) takes you a witness some still (ocean, mostly) life at a bustling Fish market in Pune.

When my sisters and I were little, sundays meant accompanying my ma or appa to the fish / meat market, because sundays were designated non-veg days (irrespective of fact that we may have had it during the week). Then in my teens I stopped it because, sadly, you know back then like a typical teenager, it was ‘not cool’ to be shopping with parents , let alone be seen in the fish/meat market. And then I was sensible enough understand and look through that shallow attitude, life happened. And I was all grown up and busy and away from parents. *Sigh*

Memories work in a strange way!
This time when I was in Pune for a couple of days, every time I would pass by a certain fish market , It brought back those childhood memories. I think it the sound of marathi amidst the smell of fish. Because my most earliest memories of fish market was of those market in mumbai, growing up in Vashi, Navi Mumbai.

So here is a glimpse of that Fish Market (and the ocean life it offers) in Pune, through my lens.

I stepped out to explore it and came back with some lovely little memories of meeting some super friendly fish-butchers, some incredible vada pav, and some of these – photos and some good catch ❤

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The wait.
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For the tones of red, blue and green!
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Fresh ‘handpicked’ prawns
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Crowded crabs
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“Why me” !!!

 

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Tray full!
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Tell ‘Tails’ – The long & short of it!
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Catch of the day!
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Pink & beautiful!
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Some dried ones
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Herbs & Other greens
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Fresh, as fresh can be!
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Barely there tomatoes 😛
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The bargain!
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The line-up

 

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In case you are interested to visit or revisit the Drifting Focus so far:

Busy Bazaar – https://lingeringaftertaste.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/drifting-focus-bazaars-of-bangalore-part-1/

Walk in the park – https://lingeringaftertaste.wordpress.com/2016/03/31/drifting-focus-part-2-a-walk-in-the-park/

 

 

Southern Grandeur – The Launch of Grand Mercure, Mysuru

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 AccorHotels and Brigade Group, Bangalore today announced the opening of   Grand Mercure Mysuru in South India’s popular growing tourist destination, Mysuru. Set in the historical city’s heartland, north of the majestic Mysore Palace, the hotel boasts 146 spacious and well-appointed contemporary rooms and suites and is located within close proximity of all major tourist attractions as well as the central business district. 

A few of us bloggers were invited to be a part of the launch of the hotel in mysuru. This post is an attempt to take your through the beauty and offerings of the hotel though my lens.

The warmth of the hotel staff can be felt the moment one steps in – the traditional royal mysuru welcome sets the tone for everything that follows after.welcome

In this beautiful business hotel, the guests can enjoy and experience the strong local connection of Mysuru and Karnataka’s culture and heritage.

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The vibrant interior décor gives one a taste of the celebrated Royalty of Mysuru in a whole new contemporary way. The chandeliers on display exude a holistic and soulful concept of ‘bringing stories to life’ for the hotel. The philosophy of embracing the local culture and traditions is further reflected in the names of the hotel’s exclusive restaurants, delicatessen, meeting rooms and banqueting facilities.

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sweet treat

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dessert

Inspired by Mysuru’s rich culinary legacy, guests can feast on an extensive selection of cuisines at the hotel.  La Uppu serves an eclectic mix of global cuisine and local delicacies, is an all-day-dining multi-cuisine restaurant with an option of indoor and al-fresco seating;  By the blue, the rooftop specialty restaurant which overlooks the pool, serves Northern Indian cuisine; Silk Bar, by its name narrates the story of the famous silk in Mysuru and serves a mix of single malts, cocktails, mocktails, spirits and wines; and Deli Shop, a delicatessen at the lobby, serves the finest bakery and confectionary creations by talented chefs paired with an array of Indian coffees.

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The aesthetically designed and tastefully done up interiors reflects the seemless marriage of traditional art and craft of mysuru with the contemporary. The use of silk saris, mythological artifacts, flowers, b&w and muted tones of vintage photos of historical places against the high contrast vibrant piece of complementing decorative subject – exhibits the thought behind bringing the hotel’s vision to life.

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Strategically located, in what could arguably be the best location for a hotel in Mysuru. A hotel that guarantees the best seats for viewing the coveted Dussera procession, without having to the step out of the hotel. A definite clincher for tourists in the festive season.

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“The Grand Mercure brand prides itself as being a cultural touchstone in each destination that brings local stories to life. The Grand Mercure Mysuru will be the epitome of our vision, combining rich local traditions with renowned French touches to deliver a fresh perspective on world-class service” ( Jean-Michel Cassé, Senior Vice President, Operations, AccorHotels India) 

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This upscale network of hotels and apartments combining rich local traditions with renowned French touches to deliver a fresh perspective on world-class service. Grand Mercure is a cultural touchstone in each destination, capturing guests’ imagination and bringing local stories to life.

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cuteness

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The grand opening was graced by the esteemed presence of the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri Siddaramaiah , who inaugurated the hotel.  The Minister of Heavy Industry and Tourism for Karnataka, Shri R. V. Deshpande ,  M.R. Jaishankar, Chairman & Managing Director, Brigade Group, Jean-Michel Cassé, Senior Vice President, Operations, Accor Hotels India & Vineet Verma, Executive Director, Brigade Hospitality were the other dignitaries present on that evening. 

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 To celebrate the opening, the hotel is offering a Deluxe rooms stay with breakfast for two inclusive of any one main meal from INR 7250 per night. This offer is valid from now until 30th June, 2016. The rate for a Standard Room is from INR 6000.

For more information on the Hotel and for inquiries , click here – Grand Mercure Mysuru