Last week I returned to Bangalore for my annual visit to the NetHealth workshop, which is always a fascinating combination of academic research and real-world insights from Indian health-care and public-health experts. Unfortunately my visit was constrained by other commitments so I was in India for 72 hours (at the cost of 54 hours to get there and back).
Nonetheless, I enjoyed the chance to visit my favorite Bangalore places, such as the dosa and sweet shops on Sampige Road in Malleswaram, my old neighborhood at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the crafts at Cauvery Emporium, and favorite restaurants like Tandoor and Mahesh Lunch Home. The weather was beautiful and I spent a lot of time walking the IISc campus and poking around the marketplace with my camera.
Sunday I finally made a visit to the Nandi Hills outside of Bangalore. I’d heard about these monolithic granite mountains years earlier, but had never managed to visit. They rise sharply from the otherwise-flat plains around Bangalore (at about 3000′ elevation) into the clouds at 4850′. I was fortunate to get a tip from a local friend about a little-used trail up the backside of the hill, allowing me to hike up instead of driving up the hairpin turns and dodging crazy motorcyclists. This trail is impressively maintained, and consists primarily of hand-hewn and hand-laid granite steps (each step being a solid slab of granite about 6 feet long by 2 feet wide by 6 inches high) leading steeply upward for several kilometers. This hill has centuries of history, and this trail takes one past several old structures, through the fortress walls, and past a Hindu temple before reaching the top. The top is laced with gardens and trails, many outlooks, and elegant homes dating from the British and pre-British rulers of the area. It being Sunday, there were many happy families strolling about and picnicking in the sunshine. Quite a contrast to my previous climb of a 4800′ mountain, the weekend before!
One has to be careful of the monkeys, which are known for snagging your lunch right out of your hands. Here’s one who showed up within 60 seconds of the moment I opened my sandwich, although I’d scanned the area for monkeys before I dared pull it from my pack. I decided not to even pull the double-wrapped bag of bananas out of my pack lest she grab for them.
I hope you’ll check out my other photos from the streets of Bangalore, the nooks of IISc, and the hike on Nandi Hills.
All too short a visit, and I hope can I return again sometime soon.