I recently went on a little journey out of Pune, to the southern state of Karnataka in India. I promptly got sick afterwards, so this post is coming at you a little late, but nevertheless.
Mid-December I flew down to Bangalore, the tech hub of India, for a learning seminar for GCY. During my week stay there, I had plenty of opportunity to explore the city and notice all the differences from Pune.
No. 1: Public transportation actually works!! I took the public bus a few times in Bangalore, and they showed up on time and weren’t super crowded, which is majorly different from Pune’s bus system. Also the streets are wider in Bangalore, so there was a little less honking and traffic headache.
The city also had a lot more Christmas spirit than Pune!
No. 2: No Hindi in Karnataka! The official language of this state is Kannada, and that has a complete different script and sound to Hindi. Most people in the south of India are not big fans of Hindi, and would even prefer to speak English, so it was time to put my Hindi learning on the back-burner for a little bit.
No. 3: So many foreigners in Bangalore! Walking around MG and Church Street, the more commercial parts of the city, I noticed tons of foreigners. Some lived here, working at tech companies or studying, others were just tourists. The streets in this ‘hip’ part of the city were lined with trendy restaurants and bars, so I’d say the city is very tourist-friendly.
The city is full of tourist attractions, from Bangalore Palace (which I never made it to), to bustling street markets. The Ulsoor Market is well-known in Bangalore, and is full of fruits, veggies, flowers, and everyday goods. Surrounding the market is tons of beautiful, colorful Hindu temples. Oh, and lots of goats and cows!
Commercial Street is another one of those shopping districts, and it has everything from big department stores, to toursity shops, to street-side jewelry vendors. This was one of my favorite areas to explore!
Cubbon Park is a giant park in the center of the city, and right in the middle is the High Court of Karnataka. The park is an amazing green space, and it’s huge, so you could spend hours in there. There’s also an aquarium, a library, and a stadium in the park.
I also took a walk around the campus of the Indian Institute of Science. It is a giant campus, and I was impressed by all the research buildings. We took our walk at night, but apparently if you go in the early mornings you can see monkeys all over campus! We also stopped for some coffee, and since Karnataka is the leading state in coffee production, it tasted amazing!
While in Bangalore, I stayed at a center called Fireflies Ashram, and it was one of the most beautiful, calming places I’ve been to. It was super eco-friendly, and was centered around the Hindu goddess Sita, who is believed to have been born from the Earth and represents nature. It was a week of reflection and meditation, prompted by the surrounding nature, and it was extremely beneficial for me. The center also had sculptures all over the grounds, and I loved being surrounded by all the art.
After my week in Bangalore, I hopped on a 6 hour overnight bus to the east coast to visit Pondicherry! Stay tuned for that post!
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