Long before the travel bug took me to exotic places, I was a young kid growing up in Bangalore, India. Today Bangalore has been replaced by Bengaluru, the cool untainted air has been replaced by the pollution from the IT industry but the one thing that has never been replaced is the childhood memories Bangalore has always evoked in me. The streets of Bangalore holds stories of my childhood, playing street cricket with the boys, crushes and puppy love and the place I spent the best years of my life with the man whose dimples made my heart flutter- my dad or Acha as I called him in my language.
Bangalore is often called the garden city of India. The city has many iconic parks such as Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh. Cubbon Park is Bangalore’s Central Park that sits in the bustling business district in Bangalore. The park is encrusted by the Vidhana Soudha, the legislative chamber of the state government, Central Library and High Court. My first memories of Cubbon Park includes going there from my school in kindergarten. We went on a field trip to the park which is India is fondly called picnic. I have been to the park several times in my years of living in Bangalore and recently introduced the Park to my husband when we visited India in 2009. It continues to evoke nostalgia in me. Lal Bagh is an Botanical garden in Bangalore which houses several varieties of trees and plants. The gardens spreads across 240 acres and was laid out in 1760 by Hyder Ali. I have spent several hours in Lal Bagh with my friends and family. I learned the species of plants walking through Lal Bagh holding my dad’s hands and in those moments I learned to love gardening.
Growing up in India in the 90’s, one spent most of their time playing with family and friends. During one such summer when my cousins visited Bangalore from the Middle East, we ended up visiting Tipu Sultan’s Palace in Bangalore. The Palace is well preserved with history and the artifacts are reminiscent to the era gone by. Tipu Sultan ruled over Bangalore 1800’s and was very powerful as a ruler. He is iconic to the history of India, and his palaces can be found in Mysore and Bangalore. Bangalore is iconic for shopping, and is one of the biggest metropolitan cities in India. MG Road in Bangalore has an array of stores and brand names. Today, there are malls all over the city but in the 90’s MG Road was the fashion hub of Bangalore. For kids like me, a trip to MG Road was similar to going to disneyland. Shops like Big Kids Kemp had people dressed up as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
While Bangalore is a metropolitan, there are several places around the city where one can spend a weekend enjoying nature or history depending upon their fancy. Mysore, near Bangalore is home to Tipu Sultan’s historic Palaces. If nature feeds your fancy, there are several waterfalls around Bangalore such as the magnificent Jog Falls, Shivasamudra Water Falls. Jog Falls is my absolute favorite. Labeled India’s second highest plunging waterfall, the drop is estimated to be about 253m. If coffee is in your staple, a trip to the coffee mecca near Bangalore called Coorg is an absolute must. Coorg borders Karnataka and Kerala. While coffee draws people to Coorg, the beautiful talakaveri brings the locals in heaps. River Cauveri that runs through Bangalore and is the main source of water begins at Talakaveri.
As I started writing this blog, I realized I had not seen many of the tourist spots of Bangalore having lived there for over 12 years of my life. Yet, I decided to write this blog because Bangalore is more than a city to me, Bangalore is home. It evokes memories of the days I spent with my dad before he passed away, it reminds me of a carefree time in my life. The streets signal memories of cricket. Irrespective of where the journey has taken me, or where my physical address resides, Bangalore will forever be home.