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EXPLORING INDIA : From Kaziranga to the Himalayas to the desert of Jaisalmer to the backwaters of Allepey to the sun baked coral beaches of Lakshadweep....A first hand account of exploring this beautiful country.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008



The only place one feel comfortable in Delhi is right under the fan. Temperature is just 30 degrees. But humidity is 80%. There was hardly any summer this year by Delhi standard. In fact Delhi had only a few, may be a max of 5 really scorching days this summer. Yet the weather is not pleasant by any means.

I was spared of this torture for last 15 days. These 15 days were spent in the fantastic weather of Bangalore. All my colleagues from Delhi could not stop appreciating the beautiful weather at Bangalore. Even in the peak of summer, one can sleep without fan; forget about ACs. It was cloudy, but rains were sporadic. But the best aspect was that there was no humidity.

This was my second visit to the Silicon Valley of India. The first was in 2004. This time I landed 50 km off the city at the new BIAL airport. It probably is more near to Kollar than Bangalore. The trip back to the city by the AC Volvo Bus service of BMTC, called the Vayu Vajra, was pleasant. One can take this buses to the nearest convenient point. It is comfortable and economical. It cost me only 150 rupees to Sarjapur Junction on the Outer Ring Road. The cabs charge @Rs.15/- per km. A cab ride to the city will cost you at least 700 rupees.

The urbanization in Bangalore has been very rapid. Take for example the areas on the outer ring road. When we visited Bangalore in 2004, the outer ring road was a deserted place. In these 4 years many housing and SEZ projects have come up in that area. This has changed the landscape of the area drastically. This rapid urbanization has also brought massive traffic congestion, even at the reasonably wide enough outer ring road. Same was the condition at the inner ring road and the Bannerghatta road. Bangalore needs flyovers. It fact it needs many of them. Unless something is done on this, it would almost be impossible to drive. There seems to be no traffic planning in Bangalore.

To compound to the woes of traffic, Bangalore do not have a good public transport system. I was fleeced by the autowallah on day 1. The ones standing on the auto stands would straightway ask for 1.5 times of the metered fare. The ones you catch on the running will not charge that much and often go by the meter, rounded upwards to next multiple of 5. It cost me nearly 300 rupees on my to and fro trip between Sun City at Sarjapur junction and Domlur on day 1. But then I became wise and decided to give the BMTC buses a try. In the next 9 days that I had traveled between Suncity and Domlur, the lowest I had spent was 23 rupees. In fact, I found that the BMTC bus service is not as bad as it appears. The bus transport system is complemented by the staff vehicles of IT companies. I had liberally used the staff buses doubling up as city buses on its return journeys. The drivers of these vehicles make quite a lot of money this way. I am told that many companies prohibit this practice as they pose serious security threat to the employees and also the organization.

Anyway, like all good things the pleasant stay at Bangalore has also come to an end. Back in Delhi, it is terribly humid. Even at 30 degrees we had to keep the AC on overnight to cut out the humidity.

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