India – the land of spices and fragrant smells wafting on the tropical breeze, with men and women dressed in brightly coloured clothes – a spiritual country with smiling happy people. This is the often held view of particularly the erstwhile British colonialists.
The more real view – in the cities at least – is one of constant noise, traffic, perpetually sounding horns, touts trying to sell tourists anything from a woman (or man) to sandalwood chess sets. I mean, how many Pashmina scarves does a person want? – or is this like women with their affection for many pairs of shoes….mmmhhhh…can’t talk myself …
On Saturday I set out to walk to the Planetarium and the Indira Ghandi Park, which are opposite each other …..about 30 minutes walk away from my hotel. As I set out, I couldn’t help but notice the many places in the pavements where there were gaping holes or mini Mt Everests to disturb the composure of the pedestrians. No wonder that so many people walk along the road. The pavements can be full of accidents waiting to happen, or puddles that nobody in their right mind would want to walk in. Sometimes piles of rubbish and cows take pride of place. The thing I dislike the most however are the dogs. They roam – sometimes in packs – as wild dogs. I would have to be bitten by one of them – and they can become very territorial at times…..I have not even wanted to take a photo of them!
So up past Cubbon Park – Park I said? Well more a basin of red earth, with concrete risers either side. Cubbon Road itself is closer to the political centre, so the roads are wider, the pavements cleaner and the views nicer. Lots of trees here with branches coming out at improbably angles – a paradise for anybody who wants to sit out of the bustle and watch the world pass by.
Past the M. Chinnaswamy cricket stadium, home to the Bangalore Royal Challengers and then a detour around the newly emerging metro system that is currently being expanded at a huge rate – long lengths of concrete scars upon the surface of the earth – I suspect going underground around the embassies and houses of parliament….which BTW I was not able to get close to – “unless you have an official reason to go there….” More on security in India another day…..
So I arrived at what I thought was the Indira Ghandi park – only to find it is TWO parks – go in one gate and you are in the Military park. you can just see the two identical gates on each side of this photo.
India is a country at a stand-off with China over the northern parts of its borders and the bombing in Mumbai a few years ago by Pakistan is still a fresh wound in the side of the country. The military presence is a necessity here in India – lots of advertisements to ‘join the army’
Go in the next door gate and you are on the Indira Ghandi Park. No way of telling where one begins and the other ends. In the end you realise they would be unlikely to have missiles and tanks etc inside the Indira Ghandi Park – in fact I think it is an unfortunate side-by-side setting. I doubt that the Ghandi family would be impressed that the two parks are so close in proximity. I did go and look at the musical fountain that plays in the evening, but it looks somewhat less than impressive in the ‘warm’ hard light of day.
Across the road from these parks is the Planetarium and the Science Park. I did not feel the urge to go into the Planetarium as there was quite a massive queue of people at the time.
I spent some time wandering around the Science Park though. it was full of people – mostly adults pretending to teach their youngsters, while in reality playing on the activities there for themselves. A really interesting hands-on experience, which may look a little old-fashioned in some respects, but still a most enjoyable experience. it was great to see so many families out enjoying themselves as a family – and no touts trying to sell me something. The Kaleidoscope was particularly interesting. So here are some photos for you science boffins.
However it was soon out into the real world and the walk back to the hotel. Returning a different way, I eventually needed my phone GPS to find myself as I wandered somewhat randomly through a myriad of little streets – mostly full of the dogs and rubbish and cows.
I did see a couple of temples and was asked eternally by Tuk-tuk drivers if I wanted a ride…..what’s so difficult to understand about the word no…!??
I also saw St Andrews Church and the ‘Army School’ to where no doubt many people would like to send their children – behind high fences and locked gates.
After nearly five hours, I arrived back at my hotel and rested for a while before noticing the crepuscular moon gazing down upon my room – a warm tropical evening with the spicy aromas of Indian food wafting into my room….a good way to end my Bangalore meanderings.