I have been on another state of India than Kerala just three times, school tour to Mysore, to visit a family friend at Sumanahalli and when all direct routes from Wayanad were closed last rainy season. These don’t count since they never gave me a feel of what the place was really like, not a cent.
Hence going to Banglore meant a big deal. Unfortunately, the last two times I planned, it did not happen. My redBus canceled tickets stand proof to that. 😞It was then that my class teacher Bency ma’am asked if I would be interested to attend an aspiring women entrepreneurs conclave at Banglore, with duty leave. Who would say no to that ?😆. It was in two days and due to the tight schedule with PEHIA upgrade and work, I couldn’t plan the journey at all. I had to go with the attitude I ‘ll take when it comes.
So anyway, there I was September 2nd evening waiting at Palarivattom signal when I got a call from the driver asking where I was.
Suddenly I realized I forgot to factor in something to my blissful first trip — language 😂. I was only fluent in Malayalam and English when it comes to talking and hell yea! I was screwed. I couldn’t even convey that I was already at the boarding point. The reality hit me smack in the head and I had a worried and tired-of-the-week sleep. I’ll plan what to do over tea tomorrow, I thought.
During the journey I found myself asking, why is the road so good!?😂 Renuka ma’am, thank you for those geography lessons.
I got down at Madiwala at 5 in the morning. I sat to have tea and went through the 4 page double sided brochure that my teacher mailed. ( As you can see, I did massive research before leaving😐) .There was the second surprise of the day — event starts at 11 sweety and you are a just half hour away from college, or so Google maps said.
Knowing I had oh so many hours at hand, I did not want to waste it in a campus.( I mean where do we spend over 7 hours 5 days a week?)I loved history and went on to find where I could see a bit of history of Banglore. The only place opens then was the Lalbhag Botanical Garden.
Lalbhag Botanical Garden.
The Lalbhag Botanical Garden is no modern man’s work and has royal origins. It was commissioned by Hyder Ali in the year 1760 as his own private garden of over 40 acres. Though Hyder Ali initiated the project, it was Tipu Sulthan who completed it. For any nature lover in Banglore, this garden is pure delight.
The name LalBhag means Red Garden, attributed to the red roses that stay blossomed throughout the year. Today it is a large expansive garden encompassing of a lake set on 240 acres and is considered as the most diverse Botanical Garden in all of South Asia!
For someone whose most favorite place in Kochi was its parks ( Recently changed to Kashi Art Cafe and princess street), it was no surprise that I found myself walking through main gate 6 in the morning.
And saying it was beautiful or amazing is an understatement. It was pure bliss. I was lost emotionally and career-wise for some time now. I speak about that in my TWTW#3 August and I found myself there. The large expansive gardens and trees and flowers, squirrels walking with you, chirping of at least a dozen different birds, Bangalore wala jogging, running, doing yoga, meditating and what not through and around, finally gave my head the space to think without noise. I found myself again.
My walk through the never-ending garden was a continues to switch between two states ‘Wow’ and ‘Oh my God really??’. The first at the serene beauty around me and the other at the stray dogs that followed and tortured my poor being by just walking behind me.
Time passed so fast and it was over 8 when I left to have breakfast and soon thereafter the Kote Venkateshwara Temple.
Kote Venkateshwara Temple
I did see quite a lot of temples in the tourist places near me search and but was unsure as to if a Christian was allowed. So as I was waiting outside the Tipu Sultan Summer Palace,( don’t trust Google search’s opening hours), a fellow solo traveler like me pointed out that the temple is quite close by and I should give it a visit. Hence the temple.
The Kote Venkataramana Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Venkateshwara, a form of the loved Lord Vishnu. The temple was built in 1689 and the Dravidian and Vijayanagara style echoes in its shikara. Though built by King Chikka DevarajaWodeyar, then ruler of Mysore, it holds an interesting story with the ruler of the neighboring palace — Tipu Sulthan.
Story goes like this. Opposite to the temple, there was this large parade ground by the British Soldiers. Behind the temple was the summer palace of the then nawabs Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali. Now during the Third Mysore War in 1791, the then Governor General of India — Lord Carnvalis commanded that the Sulthan be killed. The killer bullet aimed at the Sulthan from the parade ground did not make it till the palace. The Garuda Gamba took the hit and saved the Sultan’s life.
Then on, both Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan had enormous reverence to the temple and it became a holy place to foster Hindu — Muslim unity. The temple witnessed poojas by many like Shri Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadeyar before special durbars at the Palace.
The Summer Palace of Tipu Sulthan
The summer palace that now stands today at Old Banglore was first initiated by Hyder Ali within the walls of the Banglore Fort. It too was completed under the reign of Tipu Sulthan. As mentioned earlier, the Sulthan used to conduct durbars here. After Tipu Sultan’s death in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, the British Administration used the palace as it’s secretariat.
What is left of the palace is not much, but still beautiful. A structure built entirely of teak with pillars, arches, and beautiful balconies. I couldn’t visit the museum since it was closed.
My little research ( I mean google search) gave me interesting tales of Bengaluru. All those stories somehow pointed to the Banglore Fort always. I had to give it a visit.
You know where the name Banglore came from? Of course Bengaluru. But where did that come from? Here is the most supported theory which is best put in this Quora answer.
“The name “Bengaluru” has appeared much earlier than the Hoysalas. The earliest reference to the name is seen in a ninth-century Ganga inscription, on a VIRAGALLU(hero stone) found in Begur village, about 14 km South West of Bangalore. This inscription clearly mentions the name “Bengaluru”, referring to a battle that was fought at that place. It states that the place was part of the Ganga Kingdom until 1004 and was known as “Bengaval-uru”, the “City of Guards” in Halegannada (Old Kannada).”
Kempegouda, a feudatory of the Vijayanagara temple built and fortified the city in 1537 and gave it it’s named. The place was leased to the King Chikka DevarajaWodeyar by the Mughals in 1689 AD. He expanded the fort and build the temple that we earlier talked about. Hyder Ali captured Bengaluru as Jagir in 1758 but was later again captured by Lord Cornivallis in 1791 AD. The city was handed back to Tipu Sultan when the Srirangapattana Treaty was signed.
The original was a very large fort but too little remains today. But I wanted to visit whatever remained. Hence Banglore Fort.
My lord the gate!! The Padmavati director had stunned me enough on the strength and size of a fort door, but this was gigantic! I stood amusingly surprised on the fort entrance ,stunned at its enormous size. As I walked in, I was welcomed by a small Ganesha temple and restricted entrance boards to the dungeons that held Sir David Baird and other Englishmen. Compared to the forts back at home — Bekal Fort, Kannur Fort, there isn’t much to see.
Comparing the forts original expanse and today’s size, it’s just pure regret that we couldn’t preserve our heritage.
Though I really wanted to visit the Banglore Palace too, Ola and traffic — you can guess the rest. I canceled the Ola and caught a few buses with the little Hindi I knew to Jain Univerity.
Sweety, A single university can have multiple campuses in the same place.
I was perfect on my time of arrival. Registration starts at 11 and I was on the campus at 10:45 am. Except that I was on the wrong campus.
The mistake I made was not to crosscheck the address of the campus on maps with that on the brochure. Google Maps showed just one Jain University, so I did not bother to check. My bad. I had caught three buses and the battery was at 3% by the time I reached the wrong campus. ( I had extensively used GPS throughout the bus rides). I was exhausted. The receptionist told me there was 40 km to the other campus — basically out of Banglore. I searched again and again with different names, different combinations, the maps just showed none. How is that possible?
I was at my wits. I caught an auto ( there goes my stipend) to the main university. Thankfully, unlike our auto drivers, they use maps which made me feel safe and this building I was looking for was known as JGI Global campus (not Jain University), a discovery after over 10 mins of discussion between myself and the auto driver who actually took pity on me. ( I was rejected by four, so yes! I am extremely grateful). I had just enough battery to ensure that I can call for help in case something horrid happens.
The auto ride started ( duration 1 h 30 mins). It was interesting to see how as we travelled the city was fading away and the village sides of Karnataka was opening up. As I started enjoying the village side, I remembered what Sal told in his TEDx speech. When you go to a place outside your hometown, the best of the place is seen with the locals. Instead of focusing on how you differ, focus on what is common between you to.
The only thing common between the both of us was that we were both confused as to where the destination was, and I started talking about that in a mix of English, Malayalam, and Hindi. He talked in Kannada but somehow we had a wonderful conversation. Is it really language that we need for conversation or the attitude of understanding? He spoke of his migration to Banglore, his family, why not to speak English to auto drivers ( He admits they charge you more) and most heart touching was his story of how the auto community there raised money for Kerala floods. We talked in lengths until we were in a state of comfortable silence. Whatever Kannada I learned to survive the rest of my Banglore stay, it’s all thanks to him.
Sometime later, all of a sudden I saw a man flying through the air, falling on the ground and lying motionless on the road. Suddenly the auto swerved and hit divider trying not to hit a driverless scooter. The bus traveling before me had taken a sudden break( I don’t know why), the scooter hit the bus and the man was thrown off his vehicle. I saw a dark liquid spilling from his head area and a lot of people screaming in a language I don’t know. Honestly speaking, I sat stunned. Is there anything I can do? No. I turned off all emotions, I was too shocked. Suddenly the auto I was travelling in , was surrounded by over 20 men, asking the driver to take the wounded to the hospital. The driver replied back I am a lone lady who doesn’t know the place, he can’t leave me here. To what reasoning I said I am okay and got off the auto, I still don’t know. The auto driver said wait exactly where I was left and that’s what I did. I waited. This was some really rural area. There wasn’t much I could do anyway, than to appear inapproachable and strong, so that I don’t attract attention.
He was actually gone for over 10 mins but I felt as if just 10 seconds passed by. The driver cleant the seat of blood, I sat in a corner that wasn’t smeared earlier of blood. I hope he made it. The rest of the drive was him talking and explaining that this was normal, but I was tuned off. Later on a call to my bestie, I was about to talk emotionlessly about the incident, when suddenly I started crying heartbroken as I described what happened. The mind works in weird ways. I think I am okay now. I hope I can sleep today.
Let’s get over that.
As you might have predicted, I was late to the destination. Tired, hungry and well, stressed. Fortunately, the charge was a Mr.Shine, a Keralaite and he got me in once I described the situation.
WeCon was one of the largest gatherings of aspiring Women Entrepreneurs. I came just in time to skip the inauguration, have a delicious lunch and two awesome sessions. I left before the cultural events. I had a family to catch up with.
A teacher from Acharya Institute warmly accepted my request to drop me at the nearest bus stop. Look at the luck, when my seatmate was a Malayali too! She had quite a few stories to tell about the universities and college life in Banglore. We were laughing all the way. She told me about how the bus system was, the number system. Gave me some basic guidance as to how to use local transport. I got down at a bus station and with little Kannada, I learned, boarded the right buses. Thank you Google Maps too!
On my last bus, a Kannadiga tapped on my shoulder exclaiming ‘You were at the conclave too!’ and there was another amazing conversation about Banglore and the life in a city. She gave me some awesome tips for not getting lost in Banglore, how she learned the way Banglore was set. She was just a few months old to the city. We both got down at IIM Banglore and parted ways. I’ll miss you, Deena.
My uncle, Shiju Sebastion, whom I call as Kunjumon Uncle welcomed me at the spot to a warm home. The night was all old family stories and some really interesting ones about my dad. I can’t wait to pop some questions with Papa. It’s going to be fun. I spend my night there and was woke by a really lovely ayya more of my grandma’s age. She made some amazing breakfast and blessed me as I left. Kunjumon Uncle is also the assistant registrar of Christ University Banglore and showed me around the vast beautiful campus before I left to Jain again.
After the main sessions there, I left early to my college teacher who could be described as the my first guide of my professional coding life — Jayarajan Sir. But unfortunately I got seriously lost and there wasn’t enough time for me to make it to electronic city.
I had heard quite a bit about Banglore CCDs and thought my trip best ended there. The Ola ride to Majestic was amazing! Not the traffic duh! The conversations. The Cab driver’s name is Sheik and his life journey is one hell of an inspiration. We had an amazing and beautiful conversation about his entrepreneurial journey and floods at Kerala and I kinda felt sad that the conversation had to end. This man would stand as the best examples of how people with passion fall down, get back up, dust themselves and run again. Never minding how many times.
Here I am writing down my short trip to Banglore in all honesty. Say what you may, I LOVED Banglore. Or as Sheik said
“The city maybe 90% bad and just 10% good. It is totally up to you to see if you want to focus on pickpocketing and traffic or the goodness and dreams that this city made true”
Fun note:I started writing the article when the bus started moving.The bus hasn’t still left Banglore city. Halleluya Traffic!