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BLOG - ER Ramachandran

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Masala Dose at Vidyarthi Bhavan, Bangalore

Masala Dosas are popular all over the world now. But have anyone of you tasted the MD at Vidyarthi Bhavan in Basavanagudi ( or Gandhi Bazaar ) in Bangalore? Your life is incomplete if you have not tasted this! It must come in your list of' things to do before I die'!

It is a minute walk from the Gandhi bazaar circle. Started in early 1940 meant for students in the area , gradually it started attracting people from all walks of life. Since its dose became so popular and famous, the owner stopped making other dishes as people came from far and wide only for the masale dose. The accepted drill here is , you eat Rava Vade and wait for MD.

Vidyarthi Bhavan has a narrow longish hall which could seat around 35 to 40 people.Later as the rush became too much and space was a constraint, they arranged couple of benches at the 'sanctum sanctorum' - the kitchen where the Doses were made! You would get a first hand view of how the dosas were fried with pure ghee and after the 'masale' was put in, another dollop of ghee before the dosa took a golden hue colour. As the Dosas were served not one or two or even three at a time - it's more like 15 to 20s at a time with the server deftly carrying the goodies to disgorge to the eagerly waiting Dosa- aradhakas.The waiter balancing the dosas is carrying 19 plates!Chutney doesn't come in spoons but poured out from a vessel with refill available as soon as you finish the first helping.

Recently Vidyarthi Bhavan has expanded, but the result is the same. You still have to stand next to the person devouring his / her dosa before you can occupy the seat!

During our college days when money was always inversely prortional to hunger, we used to pool all our bits and pieces and order a 5 /8 Dosas, i.e., 5 dosas for 8 people. Even when you order 2/3 dosas, - 2 dosas served for 3 people, invariably one of the 3 would get two pieces. It used to be a suspense who would be the beneficiary of the waiter's largesse!

There was a time when customers fought over passionately which was the better Masala Dosa - the one you get at Mavalli Tiffin Rooms - MTR - or Vidyarthi Bhavan ? Later people realised you don't compare Shelly with Keats or for that matter Erapalli Prasanna with B.S. Chandrasheakr or GRV with SMG. Each one is unique in his own way.It's good we have a variety to enjoy the uniqueness of each. So it is with Dosa!

Just go there this week- end and dash for you seat. Those of you who are outside Bangalore, this should come in your list 'to do' when you visit there next time!

*** The photograph is courtesy of, Blog Churumuri and a mouth-watering article on Mosale doses by Ratna Rao shekar who has published the picture.


  • Oh yes, Vidyarthi Bhavan!! Which Bangalorian would not have heard of this?? It was close to our house, when we lived in Ghandi Bazaar...and comes attached with so many memories, especially for my father! He went to vidyarthi bhavan when he was in college, my grandfather loved the place too it seems...aha!! Dosas there are excellent....BTW, which college do you come from, in bangalore?

    By Blogger Lakshmi Bharadwaj, at 10:41 PM  

  • The way the supplier brings so many plates arranged on his left hand to serve on tables reminds me of Dagwood Bumstead [Blondie] who piles his sandwiches and brings them on to the dining table much the same way! Followers of this famous cartoon will know.

    By Blogger Dinakar KR, at 3:35 AM  

  • Thank you Lakshmi and Dino for your comments. It is indeed Dagwood when he attacks the fridge for his late night snack!

    Lakshmi, I am a product of National Education society from Primary, Middle, High school and National college.BTW, National college was also called as 'Kudumi' college ( Book worms ) as most of the ranks for the State used to come form there.

    I am glad you both have experienced The Vidyarthi Bhavan Dose.

    By Blogger ER Ramachandran, at 8:29 AM  

  • I love masala dosai. When next in Bangalore, I shall definitley make tracks to this students' haven. The picture of the balancing act by the server is terrific, too.

    By Blogger RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN, at 9:57 PM  

  • haha...national college the kudumi college! How amusing! Well, I was just wondering, I had the privelage of having 2 (retired) NC teachers coach me in PU...one of them was PLS who took biology at national coll, basavanagudi. The other was MSVR who taught maths in the same college....just curious, did they teach u also? My father is also from national college.

    By Blogger Lakshmi Bharadwaj, at 7:23 PM  

  • Thanks Lakshmi for your note .Glad to note your father also studied there. I do not know these teachers whom you have referred to as I was there much earlier. I was there when H.N. was teaching before he went to States for his Ph.D in Physics in early sixties.Others who were there the English teacher genius DR. K. Dwarkanath, Maths teachers BMS, KM, MSS KR etc.
    By the side of National college, near the petrol bunk a Maharashtrian by name Ghokale used to sell a special mixture of 'Kharada Kadale Kayi Beeja' on a cycle with light powered by the dynamo, which he called as 'Brain tonic'. He claimed National college students were bright only because of his brain tonic! I have written a post about Bangalore in sixties in churumuri. If you have time, would request you to read the same.

    By Blogger ER Ramachandran, at 8:45 AM  

  • I think I am from ER Ramachandran's era, 1959-61 high school and 1962 PUC in Nat. College. I know all the meshtrus he has listed and also the Gokhale brain tonic. We used to go to Vidyarthi Bhavan for lunch and with one rupee have one vade, one masala dosai, one coffee. when you get out we used to give 10 paisa to the boy who kept an eye on our bicycles, and then had one Wills plain for 6 paisa. After all this we would still have a few paisa left out of the rupee, those were the days ......... our golden days in Bangalore. I still go to Vid Bhavan everytime we are vacationing in B'lore

    By Blogger guru, at 1:47 PM  

  • I went through the NES system from 8th to 2puc. Great days. MSVR and PLS were in my batch. And I have heard of the great BMS (whose "Excellent" Text book we followed during 2puc).

    Coming to Vidyarthi Bhavan, I have written a short piece on it in my blog - http://woolee.blogspot.com/2007/11/favorite-hotels-in-south-bangalore.html

    @ERR - great posts on Churumuri, and here as well. I like your Ajji series a lot.

    By Blogger Tejaswi, at 9:34 AM  

  • Great Dosa's. their jamoon is good as well

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:41 PM  

  • I have eaten at VB many many times. I was HN's student, 1951-53! I was there in April, 2013 and the circle is dwarfed by the Metro and flyover intersection. The college, still intact but no longer an imposing building, barely seen amid the construction mess! Alas, the MD attachment makes many a Bangalorean a Mama's boy as they never venture out of BLore for jobs or IIT's. I have been teaching there since 2010 (Guwahati, Mandi, and Ropar) and yet to meet a Kannada speaking undergraduate from Karnataka. Happy Deepawali to you all.

    By Anonymous www.iitrpr.ac.in/sreenivasan, at 3:01 AM  

  • Mr. Ramachandran - please delete spam and garbage posts

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:56 AM  

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