Bangalore has amazing weekend getaways – with Coorg , Bandipur, Chickamagalur close by – its a paradise for travellers. That is well known.
I discovered after nearly 25 years in Bangalore that the city also has a plethora of amazing sights that can be covered in less than a day. We call it the 7.30 to 3.30 trip. Leave after the school bus departs and be back at home when the kids return. Thats what we have been doing for the last 1 year – discovering amazing places in and around Bangalore.
Energised ancient temples, architectural marvels , 1000’s of years old, lovely ashrams, treks, nature resorts all packed with simple and tasty food makes for a great day trip. Its a Fusion trip and thats the name of the group we gave to this team – which is me (1 man) and about a dozen women with a lot of positive energy. The trips are very cost effective and average Rs 500 – 750 / head inclusive of breakfast, lunch and travel. We travel on a Wednesday most of the time – mid week when the places are empty , and because we lave by 7.30 /7.45 and are back by 3.30 we beat the crazy Bangalore traffic.
In the last one year after I retired – I realised that one of the most frustrating and thankless jobs is that of an highly educated housewife. Housework ( especially kitchenware) is 24by7. Its monotonous and it never stops. Even if you are 40+ there is a child in you – and who doesn’t like to travel and see new places. A time comes when pubbing and partying becomes boring. So exploring the city is a good pastime. Its like a monthly holiday.
We started this about a year back – its been fun , in the last 12 trips we have discovered amazing places. This blog shares the itineraries of these trips so that you can replicate the same with your friends.
Trip – 1 : Pyramid Valley , Kanakpura Road
Pyramid Valley is a serene and peaceful place full of greenery. Its like an Ashram – you can meditate, be by yourself , even stay there and attend some programs. I have been wanting to attend their full moon meditation session. The place is the Karma Bhoomi of its Founder Brahmarshi Patriji.
Departure from Koramangla 7.45 AM , Arrival 9.30 AM ( We could have reached faster by the NICE Road – avoid the BTM / JP Nagar , Kanakpura Road – it was jammed – maybe better now with the Metro)
Google maps will take you to this place – its a small detour from the Kanakpura main road on your left – there are signs and it comes after you cross The Art of Living ashram.
Watch a Video explaining the concept of the Pyramid Valley and the meditation techniques taught there and then enter the massive 160 ft X 160 ft Pyramid – supposedly the largest in the world for meditation. They claim that the intensity of meditation inside a Pyramid is 3 times higher. And yes the Meditation is indeed intense at the topmost raft right below the cone of the Pyramid. Visit the store and then drop by at the Cafeteria for a wholesome snack. they also serve free lunch at around 1 in the afternoon.
We had some Upma & Coffee and then on the way back stopped by at JP Nagar – at a nice homely place for Pasta and were back home by 3 PM.
Trip – 2 : Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple , School of Ancient Wisdom (Near the Airport)
On the foothills of the Nandi Hills – an outstandingly beautiful temple with intricate sculptures that is over 1000 years old and was developed by multiple dynasties over centuries – The Cholas, Pallavas, Hoysala’s, Ganga and the Vijaynagar empire – and you can see their unique architecture styles in the three sanctum sanctorum’s of the temple that houses Lord Shiva in his 3 forms – as a child (Arunachala) , youth (Uma Mahesh) and Adult (Bhoga Nandeeshwara) The Chola Pillars, Pallava Stupas ( similar to the Shore temple) and the intricate carvings of the Hoysalas adds to the grandeur and peace of the temple. This temple is one of Bangalore’s best kept secrets – if in the US this would have been a UNESCO world heritage site.
The shrine of Arunachaleshwara representing Shiva in his childhood it was built by the Gangas, Uma Maheshwar was built by the Hoysalas and Bhoga Nadeeshwara was built by the Cholas.
A very well maintained temple, spotlessly clean, with a beautiful tank that is supposed to be the source of a small river – you can easily spend 90 – 120 minutes enjoying the beauty of the place.
We left Koramangla at 7.45 AM and reached our breakfast joint – Indian Paratha company at 8.45 AM. This place is located on the Bangalore Hyderabad highway just after you pass the Airport. Being a Wednesday it was empty – the Parathas here are outstanding and the service was excellent. (Weekends the place gets really busy)
From here the drive time to Bhoga Nandeeshwara is less than 30 minutes – we were at the Temple by 9.45 AM. Departure from Bhoga Nandeeshwara at 11.30 AM and reached our next stop – The School of Ancient Wisdom on IVC road by 12 Noon.
The School of Ancient Wisdom is a doorway to transformation and enlightened living. Its a mystical place that was founded by the saintly Manize Sait (Late) under the guidance of the masters. Its a centre where the belief is on the concept of energy – and Ram one of the founders of the place was an excellent guide. We had a lovely veg lunch here and left by 2 and were back home by 3.30. (You have to inform them before hand if you plan to have lunch here)
Trip – 3 : Brahmins Cafe – Ramkrishna Ashram – Gave Gangadeshwar Cave Temple – Jain temple
This trip was in the heart of Bangalore in and around Basavangudi.
7.45 AM we left Koramangla and we reached our first stop – the Legendary Brahmins Cafe . You have limited option of dishes – Idli, Vada, Upma, Kesari, Coffee. They serve only Chutney – but its the tastiest Chutney you can eat. A standing joint the food is tasty and the service is very efficient.
Less than a km from Brahmins Cafe is the Ramkrishna Mission Ashram in Basavangudi. A well maintained green enclave which has a large meditation hall , a rock commemorating the spot where Sarada Devi meditated, and a rock bench on which Vivekananda was supposed to have spent time when he visited Bangalore.
This is where we found a unique flower – which has a hood and a small Shiva Linga in it. The Couroupita guianensis, known by a variety of common names including cannonball tree is sacred to Hindus, who believe its hooded flowers look like the nāga, and it is grown at Shiva temples.
The centre also has a large book store that has an excellent collection. ( Budget 30 – 45 min at the Ramkrishna Ashram) – added advantages clean bathrooms and very convenient parking.
Next stop was the Gavi Gangadeshwar Temple – a rock cut cave temple of Shiva where the Linga is a Swayambu and every year on Jan 14th the light rays mysteriously fall on the Shiva Linga from a narrow gap in the windows . A narrow tunnel behind the Shiva Linga is home to many ancient sculptures of Gods and Rishis and the priest claims that there is a hidden tunnel between the temple and Varanasi. He also added that the temple was from the Treta Yuga and more than 5000 years old. The temple has astrophysical relevance and is highly energising. We visited the temple on Jan 11th on Thiruvathirai (Arudhra Darisanam) – surprisingly the temple was empty and getting ready for Jan 14th. It would have been impossible to visit a famous Shiva temple in Tamil Nadu on this day.
(For more details http://www.livemint.com/Sundayapp/X3uvXrojiRaPr31fhf6IQI/The-mysteries-of-Bengalurus-famed-Gavi-Gangadhareshwara-tem.html)
Right next to the temple is the Samadhi of Narayan Maharaj an enlightened soul. A short walk from here on a hilltop is a Hanuman Temple. During his exploration of the area of the town he was planning to build, Kempegowda-I came across the hillock housing the swayambu Anjaneya Swami in the Karenji area. He built the Gharbhagraham for the Anjaneya Swami and also arranged for the performance of the Pranaprathista of the deity. He made arrangements for the performance of the daily pujas in the temple. It is believed that Janamejayan, the grand son of Abimanyu, had done penance at the hillock in which Anjaneyaswamy’s idol is located. (Budget 30 – 45 minutes) and then we headed to our next stop – the Jain temple at Basavangudi. Budget 30 minutes here.
And we wrapped up the busy morning with lunch at Kamath Bugle Rock – a place that serves excellent North Karnataka food. We covered a lot of ground between 7.30AM and noon and could do justice to the excellent meal. Departure at 2 and we were back home by 3.