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Life’s simple pleasures should not be missed.  The one that I treasure most is the joy of walking through Basavanagudi on a weekend, especially during festival days.  Right from the Lalbagh West Gate, the serene trees envelope you with a cool canopy as you walk to the majestic Krishna Rao Park.  In the evening, a cacophony of birds welcomes you near the entrance to Gandhi bazaar. 

As soon as you hit Gandhi bazaar, the mad traffic amazes you.  But, the serenity and calmness of basement book stores, the freshness of roadside fruit stalls, the history of Vidyarthi Bhavan, Ganesh Bhavan and the revered Rayara Matha remind you that this is the heart of the peaceful old Bangalore.  During festivals the flower stalls are full, fragrances abound and the fresh vegetables with roadside vendors have a splendid color of their own.  The arrangements of “bendekai” with the pointed ends all facing one way, the   hills of apples each fruit delicately covered with a soft mesh of foam, so artistically balanced on rickety carts like fine Japanese Ikebana arranged by rustic traders from nearby towns.  You walk towards Vidyarthi Bhavan and nothing has changed, not even the signboard.  The wait is as long as ever. The dosas catered by waiters with 15 plates balanced on their hands, is as tasty as ever.

You can move on with wondrous daze at the modernity of Coffee Day and the ancient splendor of Vidyarthi Bhavan you turn into DVG Road towards Netkallapa Circle.  And you find all the essence of the South Indian Hindu traditions pouring out from the puje samagri shops that sell everything from  kumkum to archana and offerings to every type of Lord you can imagine.  Turn left into smaller lanes and you find picture of deities in all forms and sizes.  You can get good framing done for your own pictures here at 1/100th the cost of Michael’s.

Again the modern age takes over and you find street vendors selling Hindi and English movies on DVDs, all pirated for a few bucks each.  But ask for the one latest Kannada movie you want and you will not get it.  That’s a no-no. Once when I asked a vendor for Ghalipata a couple of years ago, he said “Saar, latest Kannada movies sigalla. Hindi, yes, but no Kannada!” period.  Piracy laws get enforced with remarkable selectivity. Wonders do happen, I thought.

Bats hanging upside down at Bugle Rock gardens

Basavanagudi is blessed with another beautifully maintained garden – the Bugle Rock Park.  The Dodda Ganesha resides here and so does the majestic Nandi bull built in the 16th century, measuring 4.5 m in height and 6.5 m in length.  Visit this garden between 7 and 9 am and you will notice a huge unbelievably loud  cackling noise from above all over the park.  Till you lift your eyes are peer closely you may not even notice the thousands of bats on all the trees hanging from the trees and cackling away all morning.

If the pangs of hunger hit you there are 100s of eateries including Dharwar Sweets, Davanagere Benne Masala, Upahara Darshini, Sreenivasa Bakery and the world famous roadside bonda shops to appease all tastes.  The best khaali dosas are probably made on the other side of DVG Road at MTR, no,  not “The MTR” – but the Mahalakshmi Tiffin Room.  The taste of the dosa and the peaceful looks on the faces of customers inside never change here.  You could finally complete the visit with boiled kadlekai and halasina tole from roadside carts and be at peace.  Never a moment of boredom at B’Gudi, anytime of the year.

– Originally written for and published by eDarpana  of www.nekk.org online magazine from the New England Kannada Koota, an invaluable resource for Kannadigas in New England.

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