What do the people of Bengaluru usually eat
Blogger Alexandra Lattek does not shy away from long journeys or the travel destinations that many otherwise miss. This also includes Bangalore in India. She tells you vividly about this interesting city and dispels the prejudices that the city has nothing to offer! If you want to go on an adventurous journey yourself, write to us and we will make it possible!
Bangalore in India - or rather Bengaluru, as the city has been called since 2006 - I have always neglected on my previous travels. My only experience was limited to Bangalore Cantonment station where I had to change trains on the way from Mysore to Hospet. For me, Bangalore has always been just one thing: the location of multinational companies that have software developed here or operate call centers.
A city that seems almost impossible to grasp - that's why I go on an exploration tour to see for myself what Bangalore is all about
From my colleagues, with whom I worked for a long time in one of these corporations and who temporarily ended up in Bangalore as an “expatriate”, I only ever heard one thing: traffic chaos and insufficient infrastructure for the eight million inhabitants due to the IT boom grown city. Most of my Indian colleagues, however, felt at home here; they had a driver who drove them through the unmanageable traffic, wore western clothes and went to eat in Italian restaurants.
Shopping and eating is really good in Bangalore. On our adventure we admittedly spent a good part of our stay in Bangalore doing it. Because you don't come to Bangalore primarily for sightseeing - sights are few and far between. As a tourist, you either come here to enjoy a little western comfort during a longer trip through southern India, or to take advantage of the good transport connections and the geographically favorable location of the city.
Bangalore is pretty much halfway between the east and west coast of India. If, like my co-blogger Aminata and I, you are mainly traveling by bus and train in southern India, it is an excellent stopover if you don't necessarily want to sit on the train for 15 or 20 hours at a time. Ami and I stayed here for two nights on our way from Mysore to Pondicherry.
There are shopping malls on every corner and almost makes us forget that we are in India. Photo: Alexandra Lattek
“Eat & shop until you drop” - i-Bar, Hard-Rock-Café and UB City
"I-Bar, please. At the park. Park Hotel. ”“ I-Bar? Park Hotel? No, ma’am. ”We toss this ping-pong ball back and forth with the rickshaw drivers on St. Marks Road. Nobody seems to know The Park and the i-Bar, although according to our research in an online city magazine it is one of the top 3 nightlife locations in Bangalore, India. Perhaps it is because the Jeunesse Dorée does not rickshaw to the city's It bars.
At some point a driver is found who has actually heard of the Park Hotel before. Unfortunately we are the only ones in the stylish bar from which an ice-cold stream of air and bum-bum bass blow towards us. The waiters are bored and happy about customers. We would have loved to stay there, apart from the over-the-top air conditioning, the i-Bar is really a great location, with access to the hotel's terrace and pool. But to spend the evening in a deserted bar? This is not how we imagined the legendary nightlife in Bangalore. We also want to eat something and there are only snacks here. Are we just too early? Or is it because it is Monday evening and not the weekend?
Even the view of the pool cannot convince us to sit here alone. Photo: Alexandra Lattek
Back on MG Road we run into a French man who works in Bangalore. He recommends that we go to the UB City. This is India's first luxury shopping mall. In addition to all the designer brands that one can only imagine, a plaza with international restaurants beckons. And a bar on the 13th floor. So on to UB City. What, only 30 rupees? Great, we're lucky with our rickshaw driver. "First we go to my friend’s shop!" Happy too early. "No shopping. City UB. Please. "" First we go to the shop. Only looking. “Our arguments that we don't want to buy anything anyway don't bother him. We're hungry and get out. No shopping in any jewelry store from any friend.
The next rickshaw driver brings us straight to our destination. Once again I am amazed at the contrasts in this country. UB City, pure luxury. Every shopping center in Germany can hide behind this pompous, mirrored temple of consumption. A liveried porter shows us the correct elevator. Everything shines and shines, the tiles on the floors and walls are freshly polished. On the plaza, we smell a wide variety of food smells, Belgian waffles, Italian wood-fired pizza. Chili con carne. I love Indian food, but in between I find it a pleasant change to eat pasta or pizza instead of rice, daal and chappati.
However, be careful where you land. Our lunch in a café near our hotel on St. Marks Road was unfortunately a total failure. Instead of a crispy base from the wood oven, a frozen pizza landed on our plate. And the spaghetti pesto drowned in a green, creamy sauce. The café is apparently not one of the top restaurants in town. We choose Mexican. And will not be disappointed. It feels a little weird to eat burritos and enchilada in India, but the Indian guests around us seem to enjoy it too. For dessert we treat ourselves to a portion of churros covered with cinnamon. Delicious!
Such a luxury is not to be expected from India - but we are always up for a surprise (Credit: Ashwin Kumar - Flickr)
After our dinner we wanted to end the evening in the Skybar. When we get off the elevator on the 13th floor, the doorman calls out to us to close. Isn't it only 10 p.m.? For a bar, however, these are strange opening times. We probably didn't do proper research beforehand: In 2008, the conservative local government imposed a curfew on the city's bars and clubs. And a ban on dancing. It was found that rhythmic movement to music was disreputable and would contribute to the decline of morals. Likewise, the increasing appetite for pleasure of the young Bangalorians, who invested the money they earned in the IT companies in alcohol in the numerous pubs, bars and clubs of the city.
They let us in for a nightcap, but they point out again that they close at 10.30pm. It should be enough for a fresh lime soda. The dozen businessmen swinging their hips in a corner of the terrace are not taking it seriously with the ban on dancing. As I read later, the ban on dancing was loosened some time ago and in the hour before the gate closes most bar owners turn a blind eye. We watch the goings-on and meanwhile enjoy the view over the city. And the fresh air, because Bangalore has a pleasant climate compared to the rest of South India. The city is located at a good 1,000 meters, in the foothills of the Western Ghats. And has numerous green parks, which provide a little air exchange, but otherwise seem quite dreary in our eyes. We believe that Cubbon Park cannot keep up with either the English Garden in Munich or the Jardin du Luxembourg. But only marginally.
We're lucky and are allowed to sip one last drink in the Skybar
During our two days in Bangalore, of course, we cannot try all of the recommended restaurants. Before we continue our journey, we end up - I hardly dare to say - in the Hard Rock Café. Yes, Hard Rock Café. Until recently, I could not have imagined that I would visit such a place in India and then eat a beef hamburger. Usually I don't like necklaces like that at all. And I don't actually eat meat in India, especially beef. That’s very rare anyway. However, the hard rock café in Bangalore is one of the hippest locations in town. Not only because of its excellent food - besides burgers, there are also salads, excellent desserts and some Asian dishes - but because of its stylish decor and the historic building in which it is housed. The stone building with the high vaulted ceilings once housed a library. We do not buy merchandising products from the Hard Rock Café, even if the attentive staff repeatedly points out the shopping opportunities in the restaurant.
Maybe not exactly the India I imagined, but still worth a visit. Photo: Alexandra Lattek
In the footsteps of Tipu Sultan
There is one or the other sight in Bangalore in India. Those interested in the Hare Krishna movement can visit the Sri Radha Krishnar Mandir. Or drive out to the Bull Temple, which is known for its huge statue of the mount Shiva (Nandi). When I read that the way to the temple is paved with snake charmers, I renounce ... Instead we go back to the footsteps of the Muslim ruler Tipu Sultan, whom we have already visited in Mysore and Srirangapatnam. The Summer Palace near the main bazaar is similar to the one in Srirangapatnam, but less grand. We still spend some time there, strolling through the corridors with the thick wooden columns and taking a look at the neighboring Hindu temple. A little oasis of calm before we walk towards the bazaar and the Friday mosque.
A real pleasure is the pleasant calm between the pillars of the beautiful palace. Photo: Alexandra Lattek
Appointment with the street dentists in front of the Jama Masjid
As modern as Bangalore is in the orbit of the large shopping malls and luxury hotels, the hustle and bustle around the City Market and the Jama Masjid, the Friday mosque, is just as traditional. On the way to the mosque we apparently landed on Schuhstrasse, with countless traders crouching on the floor with huge piles of sneakers and sandals waiting for new owners. From a distance we can see the whitewashed mosque, a huge building. The streets around the mosque are chaotic with buses, heavily laden oxcarts, rickshaws, mopeds, corn on the cob and fresh lime soda sellers. The square in front of the mosque also seems to be a stronghold for dentists. We immediately discover two “street dentists” who give their patients new teeth or a filling in their open-air treatment room. Not only do we watch curiously, doctors and patients are surrounded by dozens of onlookers. Incredible India.
The attending doctor proudly shows us his patient's teeth. Photo: Alexandra Lattek
Conclusion - not a “must see”, but a pleasant change on a longer trip to India
Bangalore in India - top or flop? That is the question. You don't necessarily have to be in Bangalore on a trip to India. Nevertheless, I am glad that I finally got to know this city personally, which I only knew from hearsay and as a business location. Like most Indian metropolises, Bangalore is a little “schizophrenic” - luxury shopping malls versus bazaars, wood-fired pizza in a posh restaurant versus greasy samosas from a street cook, Audi A8 versus ox cart, designer dress versus sari. It is precisely these contrasts that make India so interesting for me. And which also make cities like Bangalore an interesting destination for me.
The Jama Masjid in the heart of the market towers over the chaos in its white. Photo: Alexandra Lattek
Are you curious to see these contrasts, which make it clear how Bangalore represents India? Then just write to us and we will help you plan a great trip in which you can marvel at both luxury and market activity.
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