A day tour of Bangalore with a difference
“I want to see a different perspective of Bangalore”, that was the request from a friend as we sat across each other in the Shangri La hotels lobby. He was in the city on business and had ear-marked a day to spend with me and get a slice of Bangalore too in the bargain. He left it to me to decide on the itinerary and the experiences to be on the menu for the day. I pondered for a while as I ran through the various options. Indeed Bangalore was a potpourri of sights and experiences.
There were many Bangalores that merged seamlessly into a cohesive whole. There was the Bangalore of the upmarket Malls and IT companies, there was the old Bangalore which still treasured memories of the colonial heritage, there was the Bangalore of the temples and old world charm. Choosing from the mind boggling array of options was not an easy task. But having known my friend well, I knew his tastes and inclination and so it did not take me time to chalk out an itinerary. Soon we were out on our exploration of Bangalore, a different Bangalore as my friend would have it.
Bangalore is a city with different facets. Here we explore some unknown experiences that Bangalore offers.
Delectable Breakfast at Brahmin’s Coffee Bar
Our first destination was a small hotel in one of the by lanes of Shankarpuram, a quite residential area in South Bangalore. The small outlet was set up way back in 1965 and has been silently drawing loyal patrons with its tantalizingly soft idlis and exhilarating coffee for decades. My friend absolutely loved the pure taste of the idlis dunked in coconut chutney which we washed down with some traditional, hot and steaming filter coffee.
We relished our breakfast standing outside the little eatery, as we watched the early morning activity in the area, young and old on their way for a jog in the park, a bus conductor hurrying to report to duty, a schoolboy trudging hesitatingly to school. Wow! this is life, uttered my friend, beaming with satisfaction as he polished off yet another plate of idlis.
Marveling at the mystique of the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
In the southern part of Bangalore is located a 16th century temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is a temple built in a natural cave and is cut into a monolithic stone. The architecture of the temple enthralled my friend as he listened in fascination to the unique feature of the temple. I explained to him that on the day of Makar Shankranti, the first rays of the sun pass between the horns of the Nandi statue in the temple and fall on the Shiva Linga. This phenomenon is watched by thousands every year. The mysterious stone discs in the forecourt of the temple was another source of intrigue to my friend too.
Experiencing Meditative Serenity at Pyramid Valley
As you travel about 30 kilometres away from Bangalore in the southern direction, you reach an oasis of serenity set amidst lush and well landscaped gardens. This place is the Pyramid Valley and it houses the World’s largest meditational pyramid. A giant pyramid structure emerges in front of you as you walk through a coconut tree lined walkway, serenaded by little artificial streams. The benevolent faces of Buddha statues create an aura of peace as you approach the structure. Inside the pyramid is a huge hall where one can sit and meditate. Meditation workshops are also organized regularly. We spent some time here and were overcome with a strange feeling of peace and bliss. We also had lunch cooked using organic ingredients grown in the farms of the valley, which tasted like ambrosia to us. My friend absolutely loved the place, he described it as an oasis of peace and serenity so near to the bustling city of Bangalore and yet so far away.
Getting Lost in Art at the Chitrakala Parishath
Our last and final destination was a place in the heart of the city, a place that is a hot spot for artists and connoisseurs of art in the city. The Chitrakala Parishath is an arts complex that also houses a network of art museums. The organization also houses a college of fine arts and is at the forefront in encouraging the fine arts in the state. The highlight of the place are the paintings in the Roerich Gallery. The paintings of Svetoslav Nikolayevich Roerich, a Russian painter who had made Bangalore his home, come to life in vivid colour. The museum here houses 117 paintings of the Russian master apart from other paintings from local artists. My friend was lost in this world of art and artists and I had to literally drag him away from the place. After all he had a flight to catch. He had informed me that he was flying to Jaipur on Air Costa in the late evening.
We had dinner at the Rajdhani Restaurant and then I bade farewell to my friend and hoped he had enjoyed his day in Bangalore. He thanked me profusely for showing him a different and fresh perspective of Bangalore and assured me he would be back for more. I turned away thinking what should I plan for his next visit. But I knew that this would not be a problem at all, given the versatility of Bangalore.
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