Now my radio silence has been due to Lawrence and I being lucky enough to have 2.5 weeks in South India. Our trip was booked through the wonderful Maxwell Scott travel and the mix between tourism and leisure was perfect with all the stops organised perfectly making it stress-free, would highly recommend.
So first stop after a long flight via Dubai was into Bangalore. We were picked up by our friendly driver Shanta who was going to be accompanying us for the first 10 days. The trip from the airport to the Bangalore Club was our first experience of the rather hectic Indian driving. Three lines on the motorway become 6/7 as cars, mopeds, rickshaws squeeze into any space they can find. Was a little disconcerting when you see an ambulance at stand still trying to get through, but you learn to accept it as the days go on.
We were lucky enough to stay in the Bangalore Club which is a members only club that was started in 1868 for the officers of the British Empire. In 1946 the membership was opened to the public and it became known as The Bangalore Club. The waiting list for membership these days is 25 years and even then you can’t guarantee you’ll get entry so we felt very privileged to witness it firsthand.
On arrival there was a members BBQ on the lawn next to the terrace bar so we tucked in and had our first Indian meal and large Kingfisher beer. There’s a great atmosphere around and the food was lovely all for around 50p a dish, absolute bargain!
The next day the receptionist called our driver and he kindly took us around the sites of Bangalore so we could get a feel for the culture that was on offer.
Bangalore Palace was first which was impressive from the outside and inside was filled with stuffed animals, black and white photos throughout which you can’t quite imagine in Buckingham Palace!
Building work started in 1862 and was completed in 1944 and the palace is still owned by the Mysore royal family.
Next was the Dodda Ganeshana Gudi (Bull Temple), which is considered one of the biggest bull temples in the world. The bull is a sacred Hindu demigod, known as Nandi who was considered an attendant of Shiva. Every year they have a groundnut festival which lines the streets leading to the temple.
Our final stop on the Bangalore tourist trail was Lal Bagh Botanical garden, which was commissioned in 1760 by the Mysore ruler at the time.
It was beautiful and peaceful with plenty of monkeys playing up to the tourists along the way.
Bangalore is a busy city that is clearly going through major development and building works as you will see along every street. We were very lucky to be able to see it from the Bangalore Club point of view which was a calm right in the centre of the busy goings on.