It is Day 9 of this long trip in Bangalore, India. I am ready to go home…in two days, Yay!
Someone asked me today what do I like Bangalore the most. It’s a tought question and I am not sure how to answer it. This is not my first trip to India but it is the first time to Bangalore. The people here are very nice, as in Mumbai or New Delhi.
Bangalore is called the “Garden State” because there are a lot of greenery, trees and plants everywhere, especially outside of the city center. The climate here is very mild and nice year around I was told. As I am here during July/August and everyday the temperature is about 82 high and 65 low, not humid.
Just like everywhere else in India, Bangalore has a lot of construction and the roads are in bad shape with a lot of potholes. There are hardly any traffic lights and people just drive where they can. Crossing the street is a big challenge and it is a major health hazard as in you may get hit by a car or motorbike.
Bangalore is a big city and if I have more time to explore, I think I may really like it. However, since I only have half day to see the city (although I am staying at Bangalore for almost 10 days), I didn’t fall in love with it as I did with Mumbai. I felt like there was not much to do or see in Bangalore.
I planned a full day trip for Sunday to visit Mysore. We left the hotel a little after 6:30 in the morning to get a head start.
Mysore is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka after Bangalore. It is located at the base of the Chamundi Hills about 146 km (91 mi) southwest of the state capital Bangalore with population of more than 880,000.
Our fist stop is the Jamia Masjid, a mosque in Srinagar, in the middle of the old city. We didn’t go inside the mosque but only walked around and outside. Our next stop was The Ranganatha Swamy Temple. The temple has fort like walls and an intricately carved Gopura in Vijayanagar style of architecture, a mixture of the Hoysala and Vijayanagar styles. The main entrance has Chaturvimsati (four) pillars has the cravings of the 24 forms of Vishnu.
Then we visited the St. Philomena’s Church, a Roman Catholic Church built in AD 1840. The twin towers of the church stand at 175 feet in a gothic design with stained glass windows. Next stop was the Chamundi Hills. The hill is 3,489 ft above sea levels and is only 12 km from Mysore city center. The drive up the hill was fun with lots of turns and our driver was going fast with confidence (I had the seatbelt on). On top of the hill, there are great views of the city below.
The last stop and highlight of the trip is the Mysore palace, the Maharaja’s Palace. The palace was designed by an English Architect named Henry Irwin and it was surprising only built between 1897-1912. It was a huge palace and a very grand one. I can only imagine what it was like living in it. Unfortunately no picture is allowed inside the palace but I did take this picture from the outside with the big cloud on the sky. Soon after this picture, the sky opened up and downpour the rain.
Maharaja’s Palace (Mysore Palace)
The way home was a long drive with traffic not moving. We left the Palace around 5:30 and didn’t get back to the hotel until past 11. We were so hungary and tired that we needed to stop for a quick late night snack at A2B, a very popular restaurant chain that serves very affordable and good south indian food. My first meal in a local Indian restaurant that’s not in a hotel and I really enjoyed.
Today is Saturday and I left the office after 3 in the morning but have the weekend off. The plan for today is get a bit of sleep then go into Bangalore city center in the afternoon.
Got up around 10 and went for breakfast at the usual place around 10:30. I was surprised by how busy it was in the hotel and restaurant today. It seems during the week days the people in the hotel are mostly business people staying for work. The weekend seems to have more local people coming in for a little treat for the weekend perhaps…more kids and more ladies, almost all indians except me and another gentleman.
The hotel has a travel desk that can provide a driver and car to take people for sightseeing trips for a fee. I booked one for 8 hours today to see the city. Two people from my company’s supplier are also in Bangalore helping me on the project. It is their first time to Bangalore even though they are Indians and both from Mumbai. I thought it would be nice to invite them on my trip. Good for them to see the city and good for the company.
Frist we visited the Shiva Temple in the city center. When we drove past the front entrance, I couldn’t tell that there was a temple anywhere. All I saw was construction and building materials on some store front. Then we went through a parking garage and paid a small fees to go inside. Took off our shoes and walked through some narrow and dim tunnels. We walked pass a lot of glass cases on the wall and small statue of various forms of Shiva. Then we got to the outside and there it is…a very large statue of Shiva. This is a very popular temple, especially on the weekends where people come for prayers and pray for their wishes to come true. I can’t remember what I wished for.
After some fun shopping and nice lunch at the Tandor Restaurant, we headed to the Bangalore Palace. It is 350 Rps to go inside the Palace but it’s free to see it from the outside. I started to take some pictures but the security guard right away told us “no picture” unless we buy tickets to go inside the Palace. Our guide and driver told us it is not worth it to go in as we will be going to Mysore where there is a much bigger and grander palace built by and for the same family with virtually the same architecture design. We took his advice and settled to just sit and admired the palace from the outside. I did take a couple of pictures before the guard stopped us.
Today is the best day of this trip so far. I got to see the city of Bangalore, visited some nice places, and more importantly, I did some mandatory shopping and brought some very nice silk stuff for myself and the girl.
It is Friday night at 11:30 PM and it is day 5 of my trip to Bangalore. It’s been a long week and I am so glad it will be over and the weekend starts soon.
I am still trying to finalize and firm up my plan for the weekend. I love to go into city center for a short visit and shopping tomorrow. Since I am getting out of work Saturday morning around 2am, I plan to start the short trip around noon. Then plan a full day trip for Sunday.
There is a city called Mysore not too far from Bangalore. It is the second biggest city for the state of Karnataka, after Bangalore. It is said to have some of the best palaces and produces some of the best silk products in India. It is a two hours drive from Bangalore so it will be a full day trip if I go.
I am hoping to meet up with a couple of people from work to go together. They are from Mumbai so it’s also their first time to the city. I will be better if I can go with someone I know on such a long trip just in case.
I hope the weather is nice tomorrow and Sunday. It is forecast to rain tomorrow but cloudy for Sunday. It is hard to believe that India is actually cooler than NYC. It is only about 82 high and 65 low. I have not use the hotel pool yet because the water is too cold. I love hot weather and much prefer Mumbai’s temperature.
It is day 3 in Bangalore and I am slowly getting into a routine. I was at work at 7 AM EST for both yesterday and today. That’s 4:30 in the afternoon local time. Yesterday was a long day. When I got back to the hotel around 4 in the morning, I went straight to bed. Then I got up a little after 9 (about 5 hours later) and made it to breakfast before they closed at 10:30.
I took a two-hour nap and went to the gym for an hour. Then I went to work. I can’t wait for the weekend. It is a good thing that I only have to stay for another week. Everyday just going between office and hotel and sleep is not fun. Then have to work the grave yard shift makes it so much worst.
Two more days until weekend!!! Then it will be shopping and sightseeing!!!
I landed at the airport yesterday around 5 in the morning and checked into the hotel Vivanta by Taj at Whitefield. My first impression coming out of the airport was it is cool (as in not too hot temperature) in Bangalore in July. I learned that unlike Mumbai or Delhi, Bangalore has much milder weather and mostly pleasant year round. And the new airport is about one hour from city center or much anything else.
This will be my longest stay in India so far for a total of 13 days, including travel time. Plus I will be working (or trying to) the 9 to 5 U.S. hours. I really hope this will be the last trip to India for a while.
I didn’t do too much on my first day here other than checked into the hotel and went to the office until 1 in the morning. I did had breakfast/lunch at the hotel around 3 in the afternoon before heading out to the office. I checked out the pool and spa facility and plan to use them during my stay.
I plan to do some sightseeing on the weekend. Stay tuned.
In a few days, I will be going to India again for business. This time, I am going to Bangalore, the silicon valley for India where most international tech companies have presence in the area. I will be staying longer this time too, 13 days including travel time.
This will be my third visit to India so there shouldn’t be any surprises. Since it will be the first time to Bangalore, I plan to have time for some sightseeing and be a tourist on the weekends.
I hope it is not a bad omen that I am having issue to get an international phone before the trip even started. I currently have the iPhone 4 from Verizon and it is not compatible for international use. So I have to request an international loaner phone. I followed the company procedure and filled out the request more than 8 business days ago. I asked to have the phone to be delivered to me by Wednesday and today is Tuesday. I finally got a confirmation after 6pm that a phone will be fedex from Chicago to me by tomorrow. I hope I will get it tomorrow. Good thing I deliberately put in one extra day just in case. My last day in the office is actually Thursday, not Wednesday. So if necessary, I can still receive the phone on Thursday.
Let’s hope all will be fine for the trip and the project is successful.