Friday, July 19, 2013

Tourist in our own city

Vacations are a time when we all look forward to getting away from the rut of life. The first thing even before vacations start, is planning your getaway. We all look forward to catching a few days of rest and come back rejuvenated to our routine, hectic life.

But the hitch with families whose children are in those two crucial years of 11th and 12th grade, vacation is a distant dream, what with all the coaching classes that they have to go to and simply cannot miss.

Hence when my son had just a couple of days holiday during his vacation, we wondered what could we plan for such a short duration? Going to resorts was out of question as just one and half day did not seem  worth the trouble. Then we hit upon an idea - why not take a tour of our very own Bengaluru? As is the case, most of us feel that since we are living in this city there is always time in future when we can visit places that we ought to visit, which believe me does not happen.

So we planned our itinerary, and started at 6.30 am. Children were also quite enthusiastic with this novel idea. Our first stop was the Dodda Ganapati Temple in Basavanagudi. This is a huge monolithic idol which is 18 feet in height and 16 feet in width. Close by, is another monolithic idol of Nandi - which is 15 feet in height and 20 feet long built in 1537! It is astounding when you see it looming right in front of you.

Next from there we went to one of the ancient temples famous in Bangalore - the Gavi Gangadhareshwar Temple again in Basavangudi built in the 9th century and is in a cave. It is as the name suggests a Shiva temple with the Shivlinga with a small nandi in front. The special feature of this temple is that once a year in mid January, the sunrays fall on the Shivalinga for one hour as it passes through the horns of the Nandi. Just imagine the knowledge our architects had, not only about designing and sculpting but also of astronomy? Isn't it amazing? When we were inside the cave we could feel the vibes and could feel such spiritual contentment which is indescribable! We finished visiting these temples in the morning - I think the best time for divine communion.

By this time we were all hungry and went to a nearby restaurant - The Kamath Bugle Rock and had what Bangalore is famous for Idli, Vada and Upma. We had a long time before our next meal so we really hogged. After rejuvenating with hot cup of Filter Coffee, we were back to the next destination - the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum. Children had a good time working out the gadgets displayed and thoroughly enjoyed the Fun Section where one could learn science the fun way. After this the next stop was the Bangalore Palace.

Even after being here for so long somehow we had missed visiting the Bangalore Palace. The best part is the narrowcast instrument we are provided with, with which we can go around the palace and get to know the history of each and every room or some of the significant items that is on display. This was  an enjoyable experience seeing the beautiful columns and arches, rooms with wooden rafters and stairs, the beautiful Chandeliers , the ornate furniture and the artefacts displayed, photographs of the royal family, the paintings of some famous artists and so on and so forth which made us travel back in time to royalty and riches.

By this it was lunch time and lunch was at Cafe Masala at Eva Mall. It was a buffet and all of us enjoyed the wide spread and the food was also good. After a leisurely meal we walked to the Metro Station on M.G Road. Yes you guessed it - our next program was to travel by Metro. Though it has been operational for a long time we never had time to experience it. I must say the people who were involved with the designing and execution of this have done a simply superb job. We bought tickets for the last stop and the ride itself was just 12 to 13 minutes but absolutely enjoyable. Specially when one thinks of the time that one would have taken for the same distance if one were to go by car or bus or bike...... just can't imagine. Once we got down we visited the Gopalan Mall which is quite good I must say and picked up a few things though shopping was not on our itinerary! This was turning out to be better than we expected. We then took the Metro back to M.G.Road and as was our custom when we were teenagers loitered from one end to another on Brigade road. Finally we called it a day and reached home at around 9.30.

I guess all of us had a great time being "tourists" in our own city for a day. It was a spiritual, intellectual, gastronomic as well as a fun experience. Well isn't this what a holiday is supposed to be - a balance that caters to all the senses? Atleast for us this turned out to be the best holiday that we had in a long time. Until next holidays ciao...  

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