India is not included in some tourists’ must-see places bucket list. However, having been exposed to souls with the same passion, my yearning for the new and undiscovered led me to agree in taking on a wild and unexpected journey to one of the world’s most diverse and populous country.After about five hours of travel time from Kuala Lumpur, our plane finally landed quietly in Bengaluru International Airport.
Before the wheels touched India’s landmass, I had a glimpsed above how vast the country of India really was. All I saw were plains, tiny buildings and curving rivers as far as my eyes can see. I did not have a window seat so I just got content in getting flitting glimpses from the tiny window. The clouds partly hid the view but it still was breathtaking at first glance. The feeling was like falling in love. Exciting, thrilling but always with a hint of uncertainty.While proceeding to the immigration counters, the below sign greeted us. Visa-on-arrival were given to some ASEAN countries including the Philippines. If we had known this, perhaps we would consider not applying for a tourist visa back home. But it is also convenient since you no longer have to spend more time at the airport when all you want to do is drop your bags at the hotel, jump on the bed and sleep. Bangalore is also known as the Garden City because of the presence of public parks. To our surprise, Bangalore’s rather cool temperature greeted us the following day. We were a bit surprised since India is known for its humid climate. Not far from our hotel, we visited Lal Bagh Botanical Garden at INR 10 per person only.
The Lal Bagh garden, or Red Garden in English, is one of more popular gardens in Bangalore. Inside, one can find various members of the plant family, local or from abroad. The presence of wildilfe are also present since monkeys and squirrels are abound. They scatter and play and climb up the trees. Watching them was really relaxing. It reminded me of a scene in a fairy tale story.
It was really nice appreciating nature inside this garden. There is an aquarium and a lake inside as well. I noticed many couples lounging under huge trees which led me guessing this must be a choice spot for dating couples as well. Privacy can be found in many parts of the park.
|These trees are home to Lal Bagh’s many monkeys|
I am attracted to flowers. Colorful flowers are also cultivated inside. The sun shone brightly on this day. My eyes were feasting on the splash of golden yellow, pink, white and red colors perfect for the romantics at heart. The flower beds were fenced and stepping on them are strictly prohibited.
|Colorful saris donned by Bangalore women|
After starting our day at Lal Bagh Botanical Garden, Marx and I hopped on a tuktuk and visited Big Bull Temple. Shoes are not allowed inside the temple. I was a bit hesitant to go inside as there were locals who were paying respects. The interior was quiet, peaceful and only a handful of worshipers were present. I thought photo-taking was not allowed but I clicked my camera away as soon as locals started posing for some.
|No entrance fee|
|The curious girl, me and Marx|
After admiring the Big Bull, we rested a bit on the side and noticed a group of Indian teens looking our way. Maybe she was curious, the girl in pink above asked us where we came from and I said we hail from the Philippines. After a exchanging a few pleasantries, she requested to have a photo taken with us before we bid goodbye to them. This just proves that they are also friendly people.Even back in the Philippines, I had Bangalore Palace listed in my must-see-sites in Bangalore. Marx did include this our itinerary. Here is where the most irritating part of our stay in Bangalore comes in. After dropping by at Lal Bagh Garden and Big Bull Temple and getting a quick lunch at nearby KFC, we hired a tuktuk and asked to bring us to Ulsoor Lake. Per our research Ulsoor Lake looks like this.
|At St. Mary’s Basilica|
We were unable to find it even after asking directions from locals and aided with screen shots from google maps. They were not familiar where this place was. We just had one day in Bangalore so we decided to just proceed to Bangalore Palace. Our tuktuk driver was not very adept in the English language so we communicated through one-word replies and several word instructions. After some time, he even called his brother who was working in a government office to ask help about the places we were wanting to visit. We dropped by at his office and watched them converse for a few minutes. Basing on the brothers’ conversation and watching closely their facial expressions and hand gestures, it was clear that our driver understood what we were looking for (i.e. Bangalore Palace, St. Mary’s Basilica, Cubbon Park). His brother intimated to go at a certain direction, nodded his head towards us and even told us to enjoy our visit and the rest of our day.
Confident that our driver is now knowledgeable of our next stop, we regretted spending the next hour sitting in that trike. We wandered and wandered around the city with him babbling words which most of them we could not understand. After some time, I guessed he was just playing dumb with us. Pretending that he could not understand what we were trying to tell him! Sure, he was nice but he has not been very helpful.
We were slowly becoming frustrated as the meter was already running close to INR 400. This made us decide to quickly hop off and search for the palace ourselves. Luckily, a young girl directed us to the right path and we were able reach Bangalore Palace before dusk.
After seeing a life-sized castle earlier, I also experienced a Once-upon-a-time moment in another cool park of Bangalore, the Cubbon Park. We were greeted by towering bamboos and old, over-sized trees. Walking beneath the canopies turned me into a princess again! It is a public park and guests are expected to maintain its cleanliness.
My first whole day here proved to be beyond what were my initial thoughts on India was. It helped me further my brave thoughts and get ready for the hardcore India we will encounter in the later part of our journey.
We turned in at around eight in the evening and took sometime resting before packing our bags. We left for Goa that same day, absolutely loved the night we spent in a sleeper bus.