It can be a fun to be a tourist in your city. And explore the areas that you usually do not get to go to. Most days courtesy the traffic, you would not even dare to go. This Sunday morning, along with two of my friends, went exploring the heart of Bangalore or the Old Bangalore Trail. Though a larger number of people wanted to go. But I guess getting up on Sunday morning is as big a deterrent as it can be.
Old Bangalore Trail
We started our excursion with Tipu’s palace, which is obviously located on Tipu’s palace road, close to the city market. Now we reached there at 7:30 AM. Only to realize that the palace opens only at 8:30 AM. Our research said that the Bangalore Fort is also very close by and you can see it only from outside as you are not allowed inside. But interestingly we saw a kid jumping around in the fort compound. Upon enquiring came to know that the Fort does open at 9:30 or so. So we walked around the place, trying to go around the fort wall and see where it extends. But to our disappointment, it ended very soon.
And was surrounded by the crowded marketplace which was beginning to wake up at that time in the morning. We had breakfast in an Udupi restaurant and reached Tipu’s palace just as it opened.
The person at ticket counter took his time to do his morning Pooja. Before he gave us the tickets and made us enter through the gate. As we were the first ones to reach the palace, it felt almost as if the palace belonged to us. We read the details on the information board, which was written in a somewhat amusing language. Palace is a two storied structure. Which looks like a single storey from the outside. Built mostly from Sandalwood, though there is no smell left anymore. It’s a simple small palace with a place for the women of the palace. And a place for the king to see the public and run his kingdom from.
Right next to the Tipu’s palace is a Venkataswamy temple, which has existed at least long as the palace has existed. Now is this not a perfect example of secularism where a Sultan’s palace almost houses the temple, or the Sultan chose to be so close to the temple. As far as the temple is concerned, to me, it appeared just like any other temple. Which must have been beautiful at some point in time, but has been destroyed by commonplace iron accessories. And no so great new construction. But we got to see the ‘Abhishek’ of the idol with milk, curd etc, as it was still morning, and none of us had seen this earlier.
Some distance away from the palace is Bangalore fort. Which we discovered does open to the public. Though the portion that is open is very small and hardly tells you anything about the hey days of the fort. But amidst the busiest and filthy part of the city, the fort is very well maintained. An information board at the entrance tells you about the gates of the fort and the brief history. There is a Ganesh temple inside the fort. I think this temple is the only thing that you can see inside the fort. The entrance walls to the fort have nice carvings, which have shades of a hybrid culture.
After this, we drove down to Bull temple, located on the road named on the temple. Nandi bull statue in this temple is the second largest bull sculpture in the world. Next only to the one at Lepakshi. This particular bull is said to have perfect proportions of a bull, and is supposed to be ‘Swayambhoo’. That is something that happened naturally and is not man made. The temple is located amidst a lot of natural surroundings. Giving you a feeling you are out of the city and probably in some jungle. The terrain is also a bit hilly. There are gardens and there is a musical fountain in the premises.
There is a monument that has the sculptures and names of all the Gyanpeeth award winners of Karnataka. It is very interesting to see a monument dedicated to the literature personalities of the state. But it is sad that probably not many people know about this.
Almost across the road from Bull temple is Rama Krishna Math. And huge premises with the usual serenity of Ramakrishna Mission. It was almost lunch time and it was closing time for the math. We could only visit the book shop and buy some books. I think I will have to visit that area again for the math and for the Dodda Ganesh temple.
All those people who have recently made Bangalore their home, and have not seen these places, this half day old Bangalore trail is definitely recommended.