WORDS: AMRITA LALL
PHOTOGRAPHS: JYOTHY KARAT
GREAT FROM: Chennai, Pune, Mumbai
GREAT FOR: Discovering the city like a local
You’d think you’d know a city like Bangalore, but, unless you’re a local, the Garden City can still offer quite an interesting treasure hunt. There’s no better way of starting your hunt than by visiting Goobe’s – it’s highly likely that you’ll leave with a bagful of books and a smile on your face. It’s the brainchild of Ravi Menezes – a dusty little basement on Church Street converted into a small, quaint bookstore where you’re guaranteed multiple small joys. There’s that constant musty old-book-smell, a curious collection that includes the rare, the eclectic and the controversial, the promise of finding faded little dedications scrawled over old, yellowing pages, and the chance to swap book recommendations with Ravi, who strongly believes that engaging with fellow enthusiasts is crucial to successfully running an independent bookstore.
Continue your trail of feel-good experiences and head next to aPaulogy Gallery. But, don’t visit without first calling and asking when Paul Fernandes will be in. He has twinkling eyes, a warm heart and a humility only very few great artists have. Take your time as you marvel at paintings from his ‘Bangalore in the ’70s’ series’ and posters of scenes of Mumbai around Flora Fountain. For lunch, make your way to Avenue Road in search of the curious donne biryani. Over a century old, the New Govind Rao Military Hotel serves the delicious green chicken biryani, the green from pudina, paalak and kothmir, on donne, a dried leaf plate, the serving size more than enough for two.
Post the serious feasting, spend the afternoon at The Entertainment Store. Whether or not you think of yourself as a geek, you’ll be grinning silly as you wander the aisles. From original merchandise from Doctor Who and the Game of Thrones series to tees and miniature replicas of almost every character from the Marvel and DC Universe – it’s the sort of store that Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory would love. Make sure you set yourself a budget or you’ll find yourself with a gaping hole in your wallet. Call it a day with some excellent craft beer at Murphy’s Brewhouse. Done up like an Irish pub, it offers the perfect ambience to kick back and unwind. Try the famed “Paddy Poison”, a show-stopping chocolate-and-caramel tinged dark beer.
The moniker “Garden City” is very well-deserved, and there’s no better way of realising that truth than by waking up early to go on a Green Heritage Walk through Lal Bagh with Bangalore Walks. During the easy stroll, you’ll peer at pointers to Lal Bagh’s megalithic past, at veerakals (hero stones, placed to honour the death of a hero in battle) and find out that almost 80 per cent of the trees in the gardens are exotic. You’ll also be treated to precious little nuggets of information such as the fact that the Battle of Plassey gets its name from being played out near palash (flame of the forest) trees since the Britons could not pronounce ‘palash’. The walk ends with a scrumptious breakfast at the Mavalli Tiffin Rooms. As you scarf down your rava idli (they claim it was invented and first served here) and take a sip of the glorious filter coffee, ponder over how there’s a lot more to Bangalore than its thriving dining and drinking culture and the reputation of being the country’s technological hub. All you need to do is go, see and do as the locals do.