India

Hello, I am back. Yeah, I know, I was gone for a while, and I am sure you guys were wondering why.

I was in India, more precisely in Bangalore, the IT city of the country. My human dad was there on a business trip for two weeks and I was allowed to accompany him.

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If you are looking forward to pictures of elephants, tigers and co. at this point, I have to disappoint you. I met elephants, but not in the wilderness. We always were on the road in cities. Also with the photos this time it is a special thing. Some were taken only with a smartphone. My human dad just could not take the camera everywhere. However, I hope that you can still enjoy my little story.

India – What ideas would you associate with this country? Yeah, sure, we already had the elephants. And otherwise? Maharajah palaces, Hindu temples, traditional clothes, street vendors, heat, monsoon? This is all right, but it is quite different than what one would usually think of.

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What struck me immediately after arrival on the airport: It is always loud and everywhere there are a lot of people. Considering that Bangalore has about 12 million residents, this is not surprising. The city is just huge and everybody seems to want to go somewhere all the time. All kinds of things are happening on the streets. For me as a resident of a small village in the Ore Mountains this is an inextricable chaos, but it still works somehow.

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Yeah, it always takes a lot of time to get from one place to another. The most amazing thing about all this traffic, however, is that there are virtually no accidents. Even the smallest gap is closed by cars, scooters or three-wheeled taxis. In between, of course, the pedestrians are still meandering and now and then there is also a cyclist too. However, Indians seem to have a seventh sense, which allows them to avoid collisions even in the greatest tangle. The fact, that in this concept the horn plays the main role, cannot be overheard. It is constantly honked: When you want to overtake, when you are actually overtaking, when someone is in your way, to tell the others that you want to go in a certain direction and when you want to make pedestrians go off the road.

Monday to Friday, my human dad was busy most of the time, so that I had not seen many other things than the hotel room and the office. Fortunately we were in Bangalore for two weeks and so there was a weekend in between, for which of course excursions had to be organized. In the end we decided to visit the old royal city of Mysore on Saturday and take a trip through Bangalore on Sunday.

On Saturday we got up at 5am to take the taxi to Mysore. It is only 130 km away, but 130 km in India take way longer as you may guess.

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Our first destination was the Someswara Temple. This is one of the oldest Hindu temples in the region. Its first segments were built over 700 years ago. This meant shoes off and then we entered. Surprisingly, there was hardly anyone there. What happened? Usually there is no place here where people do not accumulate. Now we could take a few more photos of bears and elephant sculptures with and without trunk, undisturbed.

Next we had planned to visit a really busy place, the famous Sri Chamundeshwari Temple. Today was the preferred weekly visiting day for Hindu in this temple, which is why many faithful had gathered. Besides the faithful, cows are omnipresent. And of course also the street vendors, who offer all kinds of gifts for the gods, were there.

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After the temple the next stop was Amba Vilas, the Maharaja Palace in Mysore. Mysore used to be the capital of the kingdom of the same name. The former ruler’s palace can be visited. Wow, that palace was big! Here I also met the elephants. Have a look!

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As our third destination in Mysore, we visited the Catholic Church. Yes, you can find that here too. Only about 3% of all Indians are Christians, but three percent of 1.2 billion is still a huge number! The decoration in the church reminded me a lot of the typical souvenirs that you can buy here on every corner. From inside the church there is only one photo because it was disliked to take pictures here.

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Afterwards we went back to Bangalore and had a long night’s sleep for the first time. But to come back was not as easy as it sounds. It took us 4 hours; the traffic, you know.

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On Sunday an Indian colleague of my human dad offered to give us an impression of life in Bangalore as a personal tourist guide. Many thanks for that! Our first destination on the tour through Bangalore was the ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna emple. While yesterday I was only an outside spectator, today we went inside and I could walk through the temple together with the believers. What an experience, for which every visitor should absolutely take the time.

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Everything begins with the obligatory removal of the shoes. Just like jackets in Europe, you hand it in at the cloakroom. The way into the temples interior to the main god worshipped here runs over many steps and thru some small other rooms in which even more gods are worshipped. The path there is made up by stone slabs and all visitors step on one after the other from one slab to the next along the whole way. The believing Hindus pray the same prayer verse on every plate, with which they worship the god of the temple. It takes some time to reach the main room. Inside there are figures of the god Krishna in his various incarnations. The faithful offer gifts to the god in the form of fruits and flowers. A priest mentions the names of the donors and mediates the offerings to the God. God blesses them and gives it back to them, now in the form of a divine gift for them. That is how I understood it at least. Taking pictures inside the temple is unfortunately forbidden, so that there are pictures only from the outside.

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After lunch in a very nice Indian restaurant we went to one of the typical shopping districts of the city. It is a whole part of the city, one shop besides the next. Everything can be bought here. Our companion has led us unerringly to one of the oldest, but precisely for this reason very good antique dealers, where there were really interesting little souvenirs to discover. As a bear, I could not help but buy some small gifts for my family at home.

Because of the needed time for the heavy traffic, the day in Bangalore was over faster than expected. But it does not matter; at least I have already seen a part of the city.

During the next days my human dad was then again every day in the office and whoosh, we have flown back home already. Finally I have one more interesting photo for you. Every morning, women sweep together the leaves and dust that have accumulated on the street in front of the office buildings. It is a completely different world than at home!

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Your very ferocious Grizzly

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