India, as we all know, is the second largest populated nation today and is expected to achieve the first rank very soon. The gap between the rural and the urban is also decreasing alongside day by day. Most of the Indian cities have kept up with this pace, and I was advantaged to visit one such ever growing city, one of the top 10 in India, the capital of Karnataka, Bengaluru.
Most of us still refer it by its old name ‘Bangalore’; however, as the name was officially changed to Bengaluru, the original name as kept by its founder Kempegowda, I shall refer the city by the same. Today, most of the official places bear this changed name. The name is pronounced in Kannada as बेंगळुरु. For more information regarding its etymology, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangalore#Etymology
Bengaluru is not just the capital of Karnataka; it’s the capital of multicuisine food, silk markets, IT industry, cleanliness, a high standard of living, etc. It’s different from Mumbai in a variety of aspects, yet it’s not as famous as a tourist city as Mysuru, its south-western counterpart. However, there are a variety of tourist places packed with different cultures, like those of the Vijayanagara Empire and the kingdom of Tipu Sultan. I would describe a few of the places which I felt worth visiting.
The photos you see below show the various places in the huge, 200 acres Lalbagh Botanical Garden. It was built by Haider Ali Khan, the predecessor of Tipu Sultan, and has since expanded a lot. It hosts numerous trees, brought from different parts of the world, such as Afghanistan, Iran, Australia, etc. Some of the 200 to 300 year old trees have spanned a huge area due to their unrestricted growth, which is uncommon in big cities. There is a floral clock, which is the first and the only one in the entire country. We also have a crystal house, i.e. a house made up of glass. You’ll also find a structure atop a hillock, the one in the fourth image, which is one of the four watch towers built by Kempe Gowda I protecting the medieval city of Bengaluru.
Bengaluru is also famous for its temples built during the Vijayanagara period by Kempe Gowda I to please the Gods. One of them is the Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, in which a Treta Yuga era shivalinga is worshipped. It is built inside a cave in such a way that on the day of Makar Sankranti, sunlight falls on the deity, which happens only once in an year.
Not far from this temple, we have the Dodda Ganapati Temple and the Bull Temple. The Bull Temple was built by farmers in order to free themselves from the curse of Lord Shiva. As Ganesha is worshipped before any other deity, it is a ritual to visit the Dodda Ganapati temple before proceeding towards the Bull Temple.
In the heart of the city, near my hotel, we have the Vidhan Soudha (state assembly of Karnataka). It bears the inscription “Government’s work is God’s work” and looks magnificent at night. The High Court of Karnataka is located opposite to the Vidhan Soudha and behind the court is the huge Cubbon Park (pronounced as कब्बन पार्क), a wide area spanning garden in the heart of the city! The Visvesvarya Technological Museum is located on the other side of this park and hosts a collection of interactive scientific, technological and industrial prototypes and models. You can actually interact with them and try them out!
Besides this museum, the Government Museum has also delighted visitors and tourists with a wide collection of historical artifacts dating to the Paleolithic Stone Age; excavated from various sites in India, Myanmar, etc. Most of them relate to the places in and around Karnataka.
Haider Ali Khan ruled the Kingdom of Mysore, of which Bengaluru was a part, for a while; he started constructing this brown palace, which was completed by his successor, Tipu Sultan and is today known as Tipu’s Summer Palace. There is a photo of Tipu Sultan on its ground floor, in which he always faces the observer, although it is looked upon from any angle. As the photography of this picture is not allowed, it’s not posted over here. Moreover, I encourage you to go and watch it live rather than relying on the images here. It also contains various gifts and toys of the Sultan, including an accordian in which a tiger is shown lying on a British officer.
Royal Challengers Bangalore emerged victorious in the qualifier 1 of the IPL and hence, they qualified to the final, which was also scheduled in Bengaluru. Hence, an unending line for tickets was seen at the Chimnaswamy stadium, which is also opposite Cubbon Park on 25th, the day succeeding the day when qualifier 1 was played. I also saw some crowd on Monday, 23rd, the day after RCB defeated Delhi Daredevils and proceeded to the playoffs; however that was nothing in comparison with the line shown in the image. The defeat of RCB in the final shed the hopes of all the fans, including my brother, who immensely loves Virat Kohli.
Karnataka uses its own unofficial state flag, the one with red and yellow colours; however, this flag is used on official government buildings, such as the one shown here (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.), flown alongside the national flag, at a lower height.
As a city, I felt that Bengaluru is a bit cleaner. I didn’t find a lot of slums, neither did I find people defecating on the railway tracks (my train entered KSR station at 8:15 am itself, a time when it is common to find such people in Mumbai). The Namma metro and the BMTC have provided a good public transport system; however they’re crowded at any time of the day. The city is growing; it has grown much beyond Kempe Gowda’s Bengaluru, and has turned out to be the third most populated city in India, with over 15% of Karnataka’s population residing there. Since its foundation by Kempe Gowda, it has continued to support various kingdoms, lifestyles, cultures, peoples and languages. My next stop was Mysuru, which has been described in the next write-up.