I have decided to leave India as only one page because I can safely say that I will not be visiting any other city in India apart from Bangalore. I travel to Bangalore for work and have absolutely no desire to visit any other part of India for pleasure. I think after living in Dubai for three years provided me with plenty of up close and personal experiences with India to last a lifetime....if you know what I mean!
I recently visited Bangalore for the first time for work. I arrived at 5am and was greeted by my driver from the Leela Palace Hotel that I was staying at. Yep, I knew I was in India with the "good morning madam" accompanied by the renowned head wobble. Thankfully the hotel is only a short drive (about 10 mins) from the airport at that time of morning. Since Bangalore is know as the Silicon Valley of India and an upcoming worldwide IT hub, I was expecting it to be quite modern - WRONG! It is extremely underdeveloped with absolutely no infrastructure in place for its 6 million inhabitants.
The Leela Palace hotel is beautiful (so it should be at $US400 per night). It is a peaceful piece of paradise among a very chaotic city. As soon as you enter off the bustling main road, you can take a deep breath and relax. The hotel is set among lovely landscaped gardens, with a large pool as the center piece, a very well equipped gym and a fantastic spa offering a full array of Ayurvedic treatments. If you are on business then it is the best place to stay, and if you are on leisure and want to splurge, I would definitely recommend the Leela Palace Hotel.
Going about their daily life
Selling everything and anything on the side of the road
Much needed construction
Traffic, traffic and more traffic...
On my last evening in Bangalore I did manage to visit the city center of Bangalore and do a spot of shopping. I bought a lovely bed cover with matching cushion and pillow cases all in silk. My driver took me of course to a very touristy shop, so I'm sure I paid too much for it, but I was in a rush and it really wasn't too much compared to what I would pay for the same thing in Europe. The center of Bangalore has some lovely colonial building but none of them have been maintained - everything is Bangalore is falling apart and if it is standing then it is holding together with pieces of wire, rope or just good luck. There are some potentially lovely public gardens in Bangalore (Bangalore is known as the garden state), however again not exactly manicured.
One thing going for Bangalore is the weather, in winter it is a lovely 22 - 29C with very little humidity. In summer it doesn't get much hotter than 30-32C, however the humidity does rise a touch.
Next time I visit I'm hoping to have a little more free time so I can really explore the local shopping experience rather than being taken to the tourist traps.
All in all, as I mention above I wouldn't visit Bangalore out of choice for leisure, but I am grateful to be able to experience it as a business traveller - I just hope not to often. Once every six months will be fine.
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