There’s always something quite special about travelling when you’re able to share it with a friend or loved one creating memories to cherish for life. With the majority of my time in India to be spent travelling on my own, luck was on my side, my friend Majo was to be in India for work around the same time. Majo is the New Zealand Operations Manager for Fair Trade Australia & New Zealand. She studied international law and human rights at university which led her to work for the United Nations in countries such as Vienna, Afghanistan and Bolivia. She’s a wife, a mother to two gorgeous girls and someone I feel very lucky to call a friend. Unsure of when we would get to see each other again, I happily worked my itinerary to fit in with her so we could spend a few days together in Bengaluru.
Bengaluru or previously known as Bangalore, is one of India’s major IT hubs. As I drove into the city it was a refreshing change after Chennai to see buildings resemble what a cosmopolitan city should look like. I spent three days in the city. While Majo worked during the day, we had the evenings to venture out and about. For our first venture, we visited the Krishnarajendra City Market. We were blown away by the colours of the spices and flowers as cows roamed the market and streets feasting on the fresh vegetables and fruit available. A local took it upon himself to show us around the market which was appreciated but then proceeded to share our tuk tuk ride with us. At one point we thought he was going to follow us around all night! We ended the evening with the Fair Trade crew at a great little restaurant called Koshy’s. If you’re in Bengaluru make sure you visit this place.
Our second venture was to Bengaluru Palace, the private residence of the Wodeyars (royal family). There were glimpses of how grand this building would have been in it’s day, but it was a shame to see how this piece of heritage has been poorly neglected over the years and is in need of some restoration. From here we headed across town to the Krishna Iskcon Temple through Bengaluru’s bustling traffic, being caught unaware by street sellers on the road as we came to a halt. One person appeared out of the blue catching Majo off guard causing her to scream which we roared with laughter afterwards once her heart rate returned to normal. After being blessed at the temple and spending some time there we finished the night with another great meal, this time at Karavalli in the Gateway Hotel, followed by the search for some street art in the dark which sadly we couldn’t find, but that’s another story.
Our last day in Bengaluru was a memorable one. We were lucky enough to be in town for the Holi Festival. The festival often known as the Festival of Colours, celebrates the arrival of Spring. After a disastrous morning of being led around by auto rickshaw drivers wanting to take us to emporiums (beware they are rife around Commercial Street) and who said they knew where we wanted to go, but didn’t, our day turned thankfully into one of laugher and celebration. Our inner child emerged for an afternoon where we immersed ourselves literally in colour. All inhibitions were put aside and we enjoyed meeting lots of people and experiencing this Hindu festival. More on this in my next post.
After trying to get ourselves clean from Holi which was literally impossible, we ended our wonderful day from one extreme to the other with a touch of elegance enjoying the view of the city from the roof top bar Bang at the Ritz Carlton. It was nice to be able to enjoy a glass of wine with great company and reflect on our day and what we were about to experience over the weekend, a holistic treat at Shreyas.