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Bangalore Roadtrip

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My friend Neel was working in Bangalore at that time. He invited me to Bangalore. Never having been to the city before, I accepted his invitation and decided to take a week off. It would be a pleasant break from my daily routine.

I took an overnight bus from Mumbai to Bangalore. The bus played Kannada movies throughout the journey, a fact that pleased most of my co-passengers. I must have been the only one who didn’t understand the language at all. After a very short time, I lost interest in trying to make sense of the visuals. For me, it was a really long 18-hour journey before we finally entered the city.

As the bus entered the city of Bangalore, I noticed that most of the buildings around were residential; there seemed to be very few commercial sectors, at least nothing that I could see. I also noticed that the buildings are not more than four stories tall. The city has a distinctly Kannada flavour.

I informed the driver about the place where I wanted to alight as I was new to the city and they kindly halted the bus at the location where Neel had promised that he would meet me.

I was starving as I had missed my lunch. We decided to eat at one of the food outlets nearby. After having a heavy vegetarian meal, we decided to head back to his house.

Neel was staying as a paying guest in Bangalore. His place was very small, just a tiny room with an attached bathroom. The room was roughly 7 feet by 8 feet big. It was small but large enough for us. His window afforded us a very good view of the neighboring houses.

Me outside Neel's place of residence

As he couldn’t take time off from work to accompany me on my sightseeing, I chose to do a Bangalore darshan on my own. I had already done my homework regarding places to see in Bangalore while I was in Mumbai itself. I looked for these places on the map of Bangalore provided to me by Neel. After locating the places on the map, I decided to spend the next four days checking out these places as we had planned to go to Mysore over the weekend.

Bangalore, also known as Bengaūru, is the capital of Karnataka. It is a major economic hub and the fastest growing major metropolis in India

It was founded by Kempe Gowda way back in the 15th century by building a small mud fort around the city. It is located on the Deccan Plateau in the south-eastern part of Karnataka.

Bangalore is home to various heavy industries, software companies, and aerospace and telecommunications companies. It is the only city in the country to be called the Silicon Valley of India as it is India’s leading IT employer and exporter.

Vidhana Soudha

The climate of Bangalore is very cool, making it one of the best cities to reside in. Neel had advised me to get my sweatshirt along as I might need it, and it did come of use here.

The main languages spoken here are Kannada. English and Hindi. The signboards are mostly in Kannada so if you know how to read and write Kannada, you are in an advantageous position. I had a tough time understanding what was written on the signboards. Some of the locals very kindly directed me to the places I wanted to go to.

The best way to explore the city is by taking the bus. KSRTC {Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation} provides bus services within the city and the state. Their service is very effective and affordable at the same time. A Daily Pass costing Rs 30 lets you travel over unlimited distances and various destinations within the city. It cannot be used on the Volvo Bus and the Pink Bus in the city.

As I planned to cover more than one sight on my itinerary, I bought the daily pass and made full use of it. I was told by Neel that if ever I lose my way around, I could board any bus or ask someone to put me on the bus to Basaveshwaranagara. A name that big is a little difficult to remember but I tried my level best to or else I would be lost.

Attara Kacheri (High Court)

KSRTC Buses cover almost the entire city. Most buses here have two doors, one ahead and the other in the middle. I noticed that the ladies usually occupy the first half of the bus leaving the latter half for the guys. You will seldom see the guys using the first door of the bus to enter or exit the bus. Its like a taboo for the guys.

The pink bus is reserved only for the ladies. However, in the Volvo bus you can sit anywhere you like with no restrictions there but the ticket of the Volvo bus is a bit higher than that of the normal bus.

The buses here have the bus no. written in English with the name of the destination in Kannada, so it is advisable to ask the people around before you get in the bus.

Majestic and Shivaji Nagar are the two major bus depots here and to go anywhere in Bangalore I needed to board a bus from here to all the places on my itinerary.

The residence of the Chief Minister of Karnataka

The roads  here are named Main roads and Cross roads. Main roads are the main roads in that area and the small roads are called cross roads,  which are the roads which connect to the main roads. An area can have more than 10 Main roads and as many as 30 cross roads. It might sound confusing but it is a very good way to hunt for your destination. If you have the right place with the right main road and the right cross road, you just can’t get lost in Bangalore.

The next way to explore the city is by rickshaw. The minimum charge here is Rs. 14 and thereafter it increases by 50 paise per km. Most rickshaw drivers do not know the city well or they pretend not to know, so it would be advisable to be cautious or they might just take you for a ride.

You can also hitchhike on the way as the locals give you lift, if both of you have one common destination to go to.

The last option is walking to explore the city.

There are loads of small eateries here which provide good hygienic food at very low prices. Many people serve food even from home. There are many branded eateries and coffee shops here but it’s the small eateries which steal the show.

Another interesting thing here is that the parcels cost Rs. 5 extra and if you stand and eat it is a lot cheaper than sitting and eating. Most people prefer the first option and so do I. Most eateries have the standing option.

Here one will get various types of dosas, puri bhaji, akki roti made of rice, roti curry and South Indian thalis, which are staple South Indian dishes along with Chinese, Tandoori and Mughlai food which is now avaliable almost everywhere in India. But I will give a heads up to the South Indian dishes.

Neel, Santosh and me at an eatery

There are plenty of eateries which serve thalis {Andhra style}. The signboard of the eatery will have Andhra Style in its name so as to let the foodie know that they serve spicy food there.

The local ice cream shops provide varieties of ice creams at very affordable prices in comparison to the branded ones and always run to packed houses.

At every nook and corner, there are eateries, juice centres, and bakeries which cater to the food needs of the people here. Seems to me that the people of Bangalore love their food a lot and so do I.

One day on my morning walk around seven, I saw people standing in a queue on the pavement. I stood on the other side of the road trying to figure out what was happening there as there was no bus stop or rickshaw stand there. But I didn’t have to wait for long. A little while later, a man came there with a cow and started milking the cow on the pavement. People then lined up to fill their kettles with milk. I have never seen this in Mumbai. Looks like the people of Bangalore like to have their milk fresh from the cow.

There is lots to see in Bangalore including shopping malls and streets and forts and palaces. In fact, Bangalore has something for everyone.

MG Road and Brigade Road are the two roads in Bangalore where one can feast on international brands in clothing, shoes and accessories. If you step out on this street, you will feel as if you are not in the city of Bangalore.

I managed to travel to most of the places on my itinerary without getting lost. Bravo now I guess I can survive anywhere in the world.

The places to see in Bangalore are Vidhana Soudha, Cubbon Park, Ulsoor Lake, Bangalore Palace, Lal Bagh Gardens, Attara Kacheri (High Court), Juma Masjid, St. Marks Cathedral, St. Mary’s Basilica and Tipu’s Palace

So if you ever plan to visit Bangalore, keep the above places on your agenda. I could do only a few of them due to shortage of time.


Flature said...

Hey.. good to know information... Didn't knew Bangalore is a beautiful city.. with Lalbagh Gardens, Bangalore Palace, Tipu Sultan Palace, Ulsoor Lake... and your road trip must visit... what makes it more interesting is the way you write.... way to go buddy.. keep writing your post... very interesting.


B'lore is a beautiful city, you should pay it a visit.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir
We are an organisation publishing travel guides, presently we are working on a Bangalore project for which we are looking for some good photos of Vidhana Soudha. I was searching for the same when I came across your blog and found the photos truly awesome.We wish to use this photo for our project. Kindly give us the permission to use it. We will publish your name in photographer's column in our our editorial page.

Waiting for a positive response.
Rituparna De

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