…was awesome. And they’re coming back again, soon! 🙂
Semi-travellogue, this post is.
Relatives had come from Trivandrum. An uncle, aunt, and 2 girl cousins. What fun it was 🙂 It was their first ever trip to Bangalore. And I was excited to bits. Hehe, in the guise of taking them around, I planned an itinerary that included most of the places I’d either not been to in a long time, or hadn’t been to at all: Cubbon Park, Vidhana Soudha (because if you’ve been to B’lore and not seen Vidhana Soudha, then maybe you hadn’t been to B’lore at all :D), ISKON Temple, the 60-feet-high Shiva Temple behind Kemp Fort, LalBagh, Forum (only for the cousins’ sake), the Scary House at Garuda Mall, and farther, the Mysore Palace, Srirangapatnam (remains of the Tipu’s regime), Vrindavan Gardens, etc.
The girls were excited most about (read as only about) going to Commercial Street here in Bangalore.
The uncle and aunt were excited to be in Bangalore: excited to see a lovely park so close to the house; excited to be in a city with such ‘lovely weather’; excited to see a ‘sparkling city’. 😉
Day 1 was spent at Lal Bagh (most of the day was spent there) and then Forum Mall. We all walked continuously for almost 6.5 hours. Came home, had dinner and crashed 😀
Day 2 was planned for Cubbon Park, Vidhana Soudha and simple lazing about. Only the third happened. By evening a quick plan was put to visit another cousin who stays in Marathahalli, who’d recently had a baby girl (whom I hadn’t seen yet). Lil’ Avanthika turned out to be a real doll! 🙂
Day 3 was supposed to dawn early (by about 4.30) and we’d planned to leave to mysore by 5.30. But well, we managed to do so by 8 😀 After covering Srirangapatnam and finishing off lunch, we reached Mysore Palace. Oh! The beauty of it! I’d seen it once, about 10 years back, when we (Dad, Mom, Bro and I) had come to B’lore and Mysore. It still looks the same!
But we were a little disappointed. For instance, right at the entry, it said “Entry: Rs 20 for Indians; Rs 200 for foreigners”. How shameless, to sell something like that! They could at least write Rs 20 for Indians; $ 20 for foreigners! Anyway, we went in, and a lot of things we’d seen when we came last time were not on display anymore. Like the many clocks which were a sight to behold! Or the many swords of the King…
Anyways, after exiting the palace, we were forced to visit the “Original Palace”, at an extra entry ticket (of Rs 20 for Indians; Rs 200 for foreigners). Daylight thieving, I’d call it. Apparently, what we’d just seen was the Official Palace. My God, if what we were ushered into was the Original Palace of the Mysore King, the dude really must have been a Scrooge himself. It was the most pathetic building, ill-maintained and adorned at corners by bits and pieces borrowed from the Palace belongings. And, to top it all, not even lit up well. It was dingy and dark and oh-so-not-beautiful! And it was here, the swords of the king were displayed in the most uninspiring manner.
We were all royally pissed off by the time we exited. And to make matters worse, even at the exit, even though one need just take the steps to the left, they’d roped it all in such a way that we were forced to take some 5 steps up and 5 steps down to the right, walk along a corridor full of shops with salespeople who constantly yelled, take a u-turn, come back to the exit point, take the same 5 steps up and down again and go where we intended to go up on exiting. Bah! Humbug. I hate such commercialisation.
Post that, we went to Chamundi Hill, spent some time up there and rushed back to see the lit up Palace. They light it up from 7.00 to 7.30pm every Saturday. It was 7 already, when we left Chamundi Hill, and rushing back into town, after sunset, in an alien city is no joke. We lost our way and finally managed to reach the city a minute before 7.30. We saw it lit up, glowing like a piece of gold ornament, from a distance. And then, the lights just shut down. 😦 But it was a sight one shouldn’t miss. I’d go to Mysore time and again just to see the Palace lit up that way.
Day 4, which was also their last day in Bangalore, was the one they looked forward to the most. Because Commercial Street was slotted for this day 😉 The itinerary included the 60-feet Shiva Temple, Garuda Mall, Commercial Street and ISKON. And then, of course, the railways station.
We reached the Kemp Fort SHiva Temple at about 12. The big sign outside said “Haridwar, Rishikesh and two other places in just 2 hours! 😀 And I thought, “I hate commercialising God”. The entry did prove interesting. they’d created a pseudo cave with a thred of a stalagtite and everything. But as we went down some 5-6 steps, we realised we’d entered a shop! 😀 Like one of those plastics + vessels section of Spencers/Smart/Nilgiris or so!!! 😀 😀 😀 And then, we went through a queue, paid for our slippers, paid for our camera, paid for the flowers and a coconut, paid again to get them to accept it, pretended not to hear them offering to take us through the cave at just Rs 160 per head, again pretended not to hear them offer to take us through a smaller cave at just Rs 30, and finally, pretending not to hear them offering to let us go around the idol for just Rs 10. Bah. I hate commercialisation. That too, in a place of worship! Though the idols were dramatic and awesome, we felt like they’d built two majestic idols only to mint money. Go there to see the majestic Shiva, with Ganga flowing off his head and everything. Not to pray.
Well, we ended up spending a lot of time at the temple, what with the queues and everything. The girls were getting worried their shopping time was being eaten up, and wanted to skip Garuda Mall and head straight to Commercial Street. But, I insisted we go to Garuda Mall, just to see the Scary House and the Scary Maze. Am so glad I did that. It was the most fun we had in those 4 days. How much we laughed! The dark, pitch black walkways, where dead bodies who rise up to scare you; skeletons that make a beeline for you; huge monstrous beings that brush against you; and ghosts who heave their cots at you even while they’re sitting on them… It was constant screams of fear, peals of laughter and bouts of leg-pulling. At times when there was nothing to scare us around the corner, Amma and I’d simply scream, scaring the rest of the group and rewarding ourselves with their screams 😉 Hehe, screaming, laughing, and getting scared out of our wits, we literally fell out of the place with tears streaming down our cheeks. We still laugh like crazy whenever we think of that day. We’re waiting for our next set of preys 😉 Kunjamma, you’re next in line. You’ll have a lot of fun there! 😉
Then we went to Commercial Street. We had about 3 hours to spend there, and had planned to go to Iskon temple from there, and then drop them off at the Yeshwantapura Station. But like Dad rightly put it, “Thunikandappol deivathine marannu” (chose clothes over God :D). So, we ended up shopping from 3 to 8. My younger cousin went crazy! She could be seen flitting about like a butterfly from one shop to the other. Collecting her and her things was tough! 😀
And finally, we were at a stage where we thought we’d miss their train. We reached the station at 8.55 pm to catch the 9 o’clock train. And that too, only bacause an auto driver was kind enough to show us a short cut and block the busses to let our two cars weave through! We have no words left to thank him: he was just too good 🙂 Anyways, it was a mad rush. I remember sending people flying for cover as I rushed into the terminal like a bulldozer and ran through the platform with two huge bags trailing along on both sides 😉 God thing trains have so many bogies and so many doors 😀 😀 😀 They all boarded from different doors, and finally met at their seats about 10 minutes after the train chugged off 😀
Four full days of fun, travelling, shopping, weariness, photo shoots and what not.
Their first ever trip to Bangalore was super! And they’re coming back again in a couple of months! 😀