The thought of sight-seeing didn’t really cross my mind as I prepared for my visit to Bangalore – the much-touted Silicon Valley of India. My three-day trip to this city was supposed to be a strictly work-related one. However, somewhere between those “codes” and “business solutions,” the city sprung a surprise for me as I managed to hop around some of the most interesting places I have seen in my life.
The “process” of my trip becoming touristy, as I look back upon my “program,” began from the very first day itself when I had a chance to visit the campus of Infosys – an Indian-origin IT giant. For all the dullness of a job of an IT professional, that workplace in itself is a spirit-lifter of a kind. The ingenuity of the architecture strikes you the moment you see the façade of their headquarters. The glass pyramid building inside strangely reminded me of the Louvre Museum of Paris. Perhaps, because what was common was art. My colleague Rajesh told me that their campus in Mysore (about 200 kilometres from Bangalore) featured facilities such as a movie multiplex, bowling alley, and rock climbing walls.
As we plowed through the work that day, I was fascinated to be told about Chai [Tea] Point – an enterprise aiming to make the humble Indian chai a “global brand.” The chain sold its “1 millionth chai glass” in October 2011. And sure enough, their chai helped me get my jet-lag lagged behind. The following day, Rajesh took me to The Heritage Centre & Aerospace Museum, which he described as Bangalore’s own version of Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in D.C. The museum, which I found to be rather cute, offers a cool glimpse of the history of Indian aeronautics.
On my final day, I had a chance to visit the gorgeous Lalbagh Botanical Garden. Really the highlight of the city for me, the garden, which boasts of over 1,000 species of plants, was a refreshing retreat to conclude a rather busy working trip. The flower show, which could have easily given Keukenhof in the Netherlands a run for its money, was an absolute show-stealer for me. I just couldn’t stop clicking pictures of a 17-feet-high, 40-feet-wide “vertical garden” showcasing as many as 5,000 pots.
As I packed my bags to return to Philadelphia, I was sure in my mind that I would want to explore this place more the next time I ever got to visit Bangalore.