A Travellerspoint blog

RUSSELL MARKET

Important food market in central Bangalore

Take a quick look at Russell Market in Shivajinagar, close to Commercial Street.

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 05:48 Archived in India Tagged india market bangalore bengaluru Comments (0)

COFFEE, WRESTLING, CAR PARTS, A SHOP, A MARKET,

A few off-beat delights in a vibrant city

Bangalore looks, at first sight, like an unruly city with little for the tourist to see or do. If you are looking for attractions like the Taj Mahal or The Gateway of India or The Caves of Ajanta and Ellora, then this is not the place for you.

Bangalore is a city that slowly reveals itself to the patient viewer. Hidden in the hustle and bustle of this hectic place, there are sights that will delight the sympathetic visitor to India. Although a modern city, it contains aspects of Indian life some of which are century's old: from the roadside shoe-mender to the roadside necklace re-threader; from the flower markets to the meat markets; from the remains of British colonialism to ancient temples.

Travel by auto-rickshaw to feel the city's pulse, and make sure that you drink South Indian 'FILTER COFFEE' rather than the newer and trendier espressos and lattes!

FILTER COFFEE - Bangalore's life-blood!

This is a description of the way coffee is made in South India.

A few hours before it is needed, hot water is put into the upper chamber of a coffee filter (see illustration). The water filters through a layer of finely ground coffee, producing a dark brown filtrate known as 'decoction'.

The decoction is far too strong to drink

When a coffee is ordered, a little decoction is put in a cup, and freshly boiled milk is added to it to produce a highly delcious coffee. Be sure to specify whether you want sugar or not (ask for 'sugar-less'). Watch my video to see how it is done:

Sometimes, the coffee will be served in a cup with a bowl.
The idea is that to cool the coffee you pour it from the cup into the bowl, and vice-versa. Watch other customers to see how to do it!

Bangalore is full of places that serve this traditional South Indian coffee. The Malleswaram area is a good place to find such a café, but almost anywhere in Bangalore will do. Just don't expect to find it in modern chains such as Coffee Day, Barrista, and Costa.

Address: Most cafés in Bangalore

Here are a few 'off-beat' things things that I have found in Bangalore

WRESTLING WITH THE GODS

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NB: This is very difficult to find. I was shown it when going on a guided walk of the Nagarathpet district of the oldest part of Bangalore, which was organised by the excellent BENGALURUBYFOOT www.bengalurubyfoot.com Our guide told us thast this particular place was called "Kunjanna Garai".

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The original city of Bangalore was a tiny proportion of what the city is today. A tiny cluster of narrow streets protected against attackers by a thorny hedge surrounding it and a huge fortress attached to it did not provide much space for games that required large open spaces. It was in the confined city that men kept fit by wrestling. They trained in special buildings known as 'akhara' in Hindustani. One of these may be found (with great difficulty) in the heart of Nagarathpet. When we reached it, the wrestlers had already long finished their daily practice session. The caretaker unlocked the building to allow us to enter.

CAR PART MARKET

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I last visited this in 2007, so I hope that it is still in existence. There are still plenty of references to it on the internet.

Various alleyways lead into what at first sight seems to be a giant animated scrap heap containing a seemingly random selection of car and motocycle parts. Well, I suppose that is what it is in reality. Numerous dealers display their wares in a large open space. I suspect that there is no car for which you cannot find a spare part in this market. Wend your way through piles of lamp-housings, spare wheels, engines, gear-boxes, carburettors, dynamos, seat-belts, radiator grids, and a multitude of assorted motor engine parts, and 'snap' away with your camera. This mechanical mayhem is a real Indian experience. What appears to be total chaos at first sight is really a highly sophisticated market place. It is almost an allegory of India.

It is always polite and wise to ask first before taking photos.

May be a little difficult to find at first, but be persistent and ask around!

Address: ASK FOR: 'Stephen’s Square', OR 'Shivajinagar gujri' OR 'gujri gunta'

A SHOP IN AN ARCHITECT'S HOME

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FABINDIA is a chain of stores selling a variety of goods, all supposedly exhibiting the best aspects if Indian handicraft. You can buy anything from soap to saris to sofas! And, on the whole, the quality is good.

The branch in Koramangala is unusual. It was the house of one of India's leading architects, CHARLES CORREA. Designed by him, it is a series of interconnected spaces, some of which surround small internal courtyards, which are open to the elements.

There is a small but beautifully designed café attached to the shop. Although this post-dates Correa, I am sure that he would have approved of it.

Stroll arund this attractive shop to appreciate its architecture

Address:
FABINDIA,House No. 54, 17th Main Road, Opp. Madivala Masjid, Koramangala 2nd Block, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560034

Phone: 080 4254 9000

A SMALL MARKET

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This market at the beginning (Richmond Town end) of Hosur Road specialises in food mainly.

Much smaller than the more central Russell and KR (City) Markets, this mainly indoor market is shady and therefore cool to explore on the hottest of days. Wander right through to its far end, along a shady corridor lined with vegetable and dried fish sellers, to see the beef butchers and fishmongers.

Next to the market is Fanoos (restaurant), which I have not tried, but it has a good reputation for grilled meats, kebabs, etc. Also, close to the market there is an attractive new mosque with a large golden dome.

Built in 1929, this attractive market building has some 'heritage' value in the city of Bangalore, and I hope that it won't be demolished as so many buildings are in this ever-changing city.

Best to visit in the morning.

Address: Hosur Rd, Bangalore, Bengaluru 560025


In other blogs, I will describe more of the delights of Bangalore

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 04:36 Comments (0)

NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

It takes time to get to know Bangalore. Some tips for the visitor, who likes 'recognised' attractions.

Bangalore is a place through which many visitors to southern India must pass in order to make connections. Few visitors spend sufficient time there to get a favourable impression of the place.

In Lal Bagh Gardens

In Lal Bagh Gardens

Unlike Paris, Manhattan, Rome, or London, Bangalore is one of those cities which like, for example, Belgrade or Milan, require time and patience to enjoy.

First impressions are of hustle and bustle, too much traffic, and excessive pollution. These all exist, but so do they in other cities. Bangalore has a few 'tourist sights' (listed below), but its real interest lies within its detail. This can only be appreciated by walking along its streets and, especially in its alleyways. The observant visitor will begin to enjoy seeing close-hand many aspects of Indian life, both traditional and modern. I will describe what I mean in other blog articles.

For those who feel that they must see 'recognised' tourist attractions, here is my list.
The best way to get from one to another is by auto-rickshaw. Some are close enough for walking between, but in the heat of the day, the open-sided autorickshaw saves you energy and cools you down as it winds its way adventurously through the traffic.

==ADAM'S CHOICE OF TIPS FOR THE ENTHUSIASTIC 'MUST-SEE' TOURIST==

Vidhana Soudha.

Statue of Nehru outside Vidhana Soudha

Statue of Nehru outside Vidhana Soudha

Cubbon Park including Seshadri Library (must enter).

Tippu Sultan's Summer Palace.

National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA).

NGMA

NGMA

Bull temple.

Commercial Street bazaar area.

Hindu temple near Commercial Street

Hindu temple near Commercial Street

Lal Bagh Gardens.

KR Market.

KR Market

KR Market

St Marks Cathedral.

Ulsoor Lake and Sri Aurobindo Bhavan.

Sankey Tank.

Chowdeiah Memorial Hall (see below).

Chowdeiah

Chowdeiah



Mayo Hall

Gandhi Bhavan and nearby Chitrakala Parishadh Art Gallery

Freedom Park

This is my list. It omits other 'attractions' such as the Iskcon Temple and the UB City, neither of which I particularly like!

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 03:41 Comments (0)

SPREADING OUT

An Indian Los Angeles?

I first visited Bangalore in 1994, when the city was known as 'Bangalore, rather than its current 'Bengaluru'. Since then, I have been visiting it on average twice a year.

Lily pond in central Bangalore

Lily pond in central Bangalore

I came to get married. My in-laws live in Koramangala, a suburb to the south of the city's incredibly diffuse central area.

In 1994, Koramangala was separated from the centre by uninhabited open spaces. Now, apart from some old cemeteries and the National Institute of Dairy Research (NDRI), the five miles of the Hosur Road between the centre of the city (say MG Road area) and Koramangala is almost entirely built-up. A large shopping mall was built, and then this was followed by others. they are separated by apartment blocks, mostly designed with horrendous architecture (see below). One complex reminds me of how the Romanian president Ceaucescu had hoped to transform/wreck his capital Bucharest.

Apartment block on Hosur Road

Apartment block on Hosur Road

Each time I visit Bangalore, it has grown. Koramangala, which was a sleepy suburb in 1994, is now a bustling township, almost as congested and polluted as the city centre. Koramangala used to be the last urban settlement on the way out towards Sarjapur and Chennai (Madras). Now, new suburbs and the IT hub, Electronic City, have ensured that Koramangala is separated from 'open country' by urban developments, filled with high-rise blocks, for at least 20 miles.

A few years ago, a new airport was opened near the village of Devanahalli, far to the north of Bangalore. Since its opening, the country side between Devanahalli and Bangalore has become rapidly eaten up by developers, who have planted yet more high-rise buildings and residential colonies in it. It seems that many people actually want to live close to the airport. Its proximity is a selling point.

Bangalore is spreading. It has become an Indian Los Angeles, but without the American city's excellent highway system.

Although it may seem as if I am painting a grim picture of a city, I must admit that I love Bangalore. In other blog articles, I will try to share my enthusiasm for this vibrant, culturally-rich, city with you.

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 02:46 Comments (0)

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