Monday, October 7, 2019

South India - Bangalore/Bengaluru (Nava K Explored)

Finally! Oh My God! Must be the blessings showered upon me from afar, from the gods in South India. After years of faulty failures to planning and literally coaxing my other half-half for years as well. Hah! In the end, I gave a damn to every damn thing aside. Let alone this man I have been married to for donkeys years who wouldn't move his butt in accompanying me for a trip to South India. His reason. Mmmm! Plain simple and nothing new. Work commitment. Nevermind I told myself and instead of still keeping my fingers crossed, hoping things will change on my home front, I gave up. I went ahead by joining a tour. Tour of 8 people and mind you, except for knowing one person, the one who organised this tour, the rest unknown. Like it mattered to me anyway? Like you are friends needy for travelling and me, already crowned as a solo-traveller.

Our 9 nights and 8 days South India tour. Up in the air on this particular early Friday night for landing in Chennai airport and due to the long-long queue for e-visa clearance, a separate counter mind you, it took us at least 2 1/2 hours for clearance, and prior to stepping foot in S Hotel at about 2 am. To my room thereafter, yea, me single occupant by myself in my room, and after washing up, I hit the bed at about 2.30am. Next morning. Hotel buffet breakfast to which I was prepared on what to expect. Remember, I am South Indian origin as well? Breakfast items? Thosai, Idli, Vadai, Chutney, Puri, Sambar and what not South Indian breakfast. Of course, nothing like a cuppa or more to a cuppa of South Indian Bru Coffee to start your day. Oh yes! Especially if you are a coffee lover like me. South Indian Bru Coffee let me tell you is akin a magical flow for punch waking up your palates in the morning. Wondrous I must say.
After breakfast, at about 8.30am, our 7 hours plus drive to Bangalore/Bengaluru. Sensibly there must be a pitt-stop for peeing right? And at about 1.30 pm, lunch taking place in Royal Palace. The exact location of Royal Palace? Sorry guys, I can't tell because I didn't take note. But I vouch along the main road same route and let's say most probably 3 hours before Bangalore. Royal Palace Restaurant? Few tables, half a shoplot and choices to lunch? Fairly a fair bit and me opting for Mutton Beriyani paired alongside curry and raita, which I shared with my tour buddy. Unless of course if you are big eater? But for a small eater like me, or even if you are a normal eater, way too big a portion. How did mutton beriyani go? Truly a delight. Yum. What about the rest of the items tour buddies tucked into? They were as well pleased with tucking into Vegetarian Fried Rice and Fried Fish alongside rice. Bru Coffee again? Sure. Especially after a spicy meal.

Lunch and subsequently, we continuing our Bangalore road tripping, until van started having hiccups and we standing by the roadside whilst driver putting his expertise in finding out what is wrong. Well, I guess, one of those unexpected as part of travelling? The hiccups that can catch us off-guard? Indeed. 45 minutes gone by and by the time we arrived in Bangalore. Goodness me! Traffic jam. Like the free willy driving, simultaneously, honking, honking, honking. Madness! Anyway, our first sightseeing opening up in Lalbagh Botanical Garden. Mamma-Mia! What a scene on this Saturday, Plus, considering the long weekend due India's Independence Day and also Lalbagh Flower Show 2019 for the same reason. Flower Show in the Glass House and we being amongst the thousands in viewing the different arrangements of flowers into meaningful admirable things and figurines. Lovely!

To the main entrance of Lalbagh Botanical Garden thereafter, and at the insistent and persistent of the tour guide, well, must be for his commission earning, we going along in visiting a retail outlet. Did anyone buy anything? Nope. Nothing eye catchy, furthermore, the cocky owner mentioning that they are not desperate for sales. Huh! Up next? By late evening. Shivoham Shiva Temple (Old Airport Road). My first ever and foremost visit to a temple in India. Oh, oh, not actually. My Kerala trip and Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Remember (Trivandrum Kerala)? This one however the more classic version. Standing in the never ending queue whilst sweating profusely in the cave, or, what is express lane for? Your short cut lane to reaching out to god by money paying. Indeed, money matters when you are visiting temples in South India. Yea. Of course. We paying and into Shivoham Shiva Temple. Fantastic! Marvelous! Meaningful. Especially the 65 feet Shiva statue. You taking a look at Lord Shiva and he in return, calmly, as though looking at you back. Goose Bumps! What about paying for the pooja? Really up to you. For me personally, a clean heart is a god's heart and not pooja for cleansing your body, mind and soul.

Shivoham Shiva Temple and later, to the next door Kemp Fort Mall for shopping moment.  Honestly, I couldn't care less because shopping definitely was not the main reason for this South India trip of mine. While the rest were frantically trying to shop, I on the other hand slurped into McDonalds ice cream. Wah! Super creamy and super milky ice cream. Must be the super milk from the super cows in India. Where to next? We ending our day by checking into Hotel Akshaya Aura for our Bangalore overnight stay. My room? Nothing to trash, neither must I award any kinda fault. What about dinner? Skipped.

Of course, next morning, I made sure I filled up my tummy. Not to the extent of pigging out though. Just ample so that I have enough energy for our visit to Sri Radha Krishna/ISKCON Temple next.

Sri Radha Krishna Temple (ISKCON Penang). Decency to dressing of course must be abided, plus photo taking restricted in certain areas, and shoes not allowed, we taking the long walk from the entrance and up the stairs till the main alter. Quite a calm way to worshipping god, but those policemen and policewomen on stand-by. So close to pushing you to get you moving instead of especially crowding in front of the alter and specifically following the direction to exit out.

We prayed and within an hour, out of Sri Radha Krishna Temple, before journeying to Mysore.
Next change: Mysore/Coimbatore.

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