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Interesting India: A Week in Bangalore (Part 2) - Out to the city center

>> Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Warning: This is gonna be one, long, blog post with loads of photos to share...

Some people have been wondering if I was in Bangalore for work or for vacation as it looks as if I had just 'too much fun'! To be honest, the week of work there was quite a challenge & every possible weekend or free time that I had was used to the best I could since it's my 1st time there.

Here's the plan for the series of posts on Bangalore:
Part 2 = Refreshing church service + Day trip to Bangalore city center
Part 3 = Mehfil Restaurant, Barbecue Nation Restaurant, Jalsa Marathahalli Restaurant
Part 4 = Excellent food & services at the Marriott Hotel Whitefield (plus a private kitchen tour!)
Part 5 = Day trip to Mysore

My "2 stooges" arrived late at night on the day of my arrival at Bangalore, so I didn't get to meet them 'til the following day i.e. a Sunday. You know, sometimes strangers can end up as good friends, & this was exactly what happened to myself & the 2 stooges, J & D. J & I been colleagues who have been speaking online (I've never spoken to D before last week), but have never met face to face, so it was quite funny to walk past each other without knowing before we finally recognize each other's voices & start conversing as if we've known each other for years :)

I have to say that that Sunday was a truly blessed day. I woke up earlier in the morning to attend a nearby church service (Calvary AG), where I emailed the Rev P.S. Kumar for more information prior to the trip. As there were no photos found on their website on how the church looked like, I imagined that a stand-alone church building with a group of excited, passionate church members, but it was way humble than what I've imagined.

The church is located at a housing area, with most of the church members residing around that same area. Most of the church members walk to church & the majority are from the Telugu service instead of the English service. When I arrived in the morning for the English service, I was quite surprised to be part of the handful of worshipers with 1 worship leader, 1 backup singer & 1 musician. When the 1st song started i.e. Thank You by Hillsong (Beautiful Exchange, Hillsong 2010), I felt totally at home. It's such a familiar song that I sing back in Malaysia & not realizing who has walked into the service or what's really happening, I was just soaking in God's presence :) The last song, which is a new song to me, At Your Feet by Casting Crowns, was stuck in my mind 'til now. Truly blessed!Everyone was worshiping with all that they are, all that they possess. I'm really thankful for the message shared by Ps. Naveen John, son of Rev P.S. Kumar, about "staying in the ark". This is one church that I'll certainly attend if I visit the Whitefield area next time. Each visit to a church when I travel gives a fresh experience of God's presence & great memories to cherish.

Right after church service, with the help of some church members, I got back to the hotel safely via Uber. My Sunday continued with more memories to store, with J & D all ready to meet up with me for the first time & head out to the city center together (we've gotta start our work week well :D). The journey to the city center took almost an hour. Thankfully traffic wasn't that bad, so we didn't need to sit in the Uber for more than an hour. We got off at Commercial Street, where we spent pretty much half the day exploring the area.

From the up-markets to the humble-looking shops to the slum areas, you can see all of it at Commercial Street area - it's a journey with myriad of colors!

Our approximate walking-route/map

Not knowing where exactly our end destination is, we just started walking wherever the road took us. We weaved through rows of shops, small lanes, throngs of people & even the massive traffic as well.

The humble-looking shops

Up-market shopping mall in the same area 

Came across an auto with stickers that say "Jehovah Jireh" & "Praise the Lord" :D 

ENT clinic *eek* Looks a bit scary, no? 

Setting up of a street-side stall

It was still quite 'early' in the day, so there weren't many people on the streets yet 

Hehe...aunty, you look so 'cute' here...

Stuffed toys are sold either by placing them on vehicles or on the ground/mat 

A peddler trying to sell some bells ornaments to me

Ceramic cups & jars, anyone?

We walked & stopped to check out the clothes, jewellery & sights of all sorts, thus spending quite a bit of time at that busy part of the city center. I was pretty much the one shopping for clothes, especially the kurtis as they were very affordable! The 2 guys were like my 'body guards', waiting outside the shops for me to finish shopping...hahaha...

More colorful clothes at affordable prices 

Didn't purchase any fanciful sarees as I don't see myself having any occasion to wear one 

My bargain buys: 150 rupees for the kurti on the left + another 150 rupees for the thights, & 400 rupees for the embroidered, & stretchable kurti on the right
Note: 100 rupees = RM6.10 

Love the bangles (40 rupees for a set of 12 bangles!)

As we walked along the streets (we were kinda lost, but we just kept walking & weaving through the various lanes), more & more people appeared as it was mid afternoon. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, autos, humans & even cows were everywhere on the streets!

A rare sight in Malaysia, but a common sight here...what do you notice from this photo? :P 

Even their pasta are colorful 

Something that caught our eyes...ahem... 

We came to the intersection where the beef market is & oh boy, it's like some mad, cartoon, traffic flow! I think there were 5 different intersections merging into 1 common area & there was no traffic light nor was there a round-about. Every auto, motorcycle & humans were just moving forward, wanting their way, so we just have to go with the flow & weave through whatever gaps we could find to cross the road!

Credits to J for the photo. I was too busy trying to cross the road & not get knocked down by autos/motorcycles/humans! D spotted in the photo :P

Weaving through some lane filled with motorcycle spare parts shops on both sides of the lane 

Wood-fire bakery! I didn't buy their baked products although I was quite tempted to do so... 

Finally something 'Malaysian'! Wait...it's not a restaurant??!
We discovered that this is just a furniture mall *lol* We were truly disappointed as we were getting quite hungry by then...hahaha...

Thanks to the "Durian Furniture Mall", we found a good restaurant next door i.e. Mehfil, to have our lunch. I'll share more about the food & restaurant in my next post ;) We had a satisfying meal before continuing our walk around the city like some lost/nomadic tourist, rejecting every invitation from auto drivers to take their vehicle to get to our destination. Frankly speaking, we weren't exactly sure of our destination, so we just set the map to Cubbon Park & walked all the way there for approximately 25-30 minutes. On our way there, we came across the post office, new metro/subway stations, the High Court of Karnataka, & the Vidhana Soudha - state assembly chambers/something like the Parliment building, before arriving at Cubbon Park. The weather was cloudy & windy, so it was very nice to take a walk in the city.

No point taking the auto when the traffic is kinda stand-still, eh?

Post office - looks so 'grand' 

A young boy getting his cows home :D

The Vidhana Soudha - reminds me of KL city center somehow...

Are these baby's breaths?? They're growing everywhere along the streets!

High Court of Karnataka - reminds me of A'Formosa Fort in Malacca *lol* 

One of the new metro/subway stations. Caught J in the frame as well :P 

The old State Assembly Chamber

This "wow-ed" me!
I totally agree that governing a country needs to be taken with greater integrity & morale. Knowing Who is more supreme will guide the individual's acts in judging & making decisions with righteousness - for the well-being of the country on the whole, not just for self-interest. It's a calling, a mandate, an appointment, not just some majority of votes from the people.

The new (left) & old (right) buildings of the State Assembly Chambers 

Right after the road of majestic-looking buildings, we took a left turn into Cubbon Park. It was evening by the time we got there, so there were quite a lot of people walking in the park; we saw just ONE person jogging at that time, so I guess it's probably not a norm to be jogging in a city-center park in Bangalore?

The State Central Library in the middle of Cubbon Park

Fruit stalls like this are common sights in Bangalore, but I didn't dare buy in views of hygiene concerns :( 

Steamed/grilled sweet corn 

I LOVE arching trees like what they have at Cubbon Park! 

Pink cotton candy for sale 

We thought that the best place to hail an Uber was from a hotel, so JW Marriott Hotel was just opposite Cubbon Park & was the perfect spot for us to end our day's walk-a-thon :P I've to say that we had a really great time in the city center. The sights, sounds, smell, taste & touch were eye-opening & an experience that I will treasure.

Up next, it's a blog post dedicated to the food & dining experiences, here at Bangalore :D Stay tuned!

Won't trade the day's experience for a day of luxury,


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