Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bangalore - First Impression

Bangalore - also known as Bengaḷūru - is the capital of the state of Karnataka. It is also a city of many names, most famously Garden City as well as India's Silicon Valley. It is the latter which is why my colleague and I are now on a business trip there.

My first impression of the city is that there are so many trees everywhere. After all, Bangalore is known as Garden City, and apparently was previously a vast forest area which was cleared in the name of urbanization. This probably explains why the skies are not so dusty as compared to the northern parts of India. Here, one can still see clear blue skies or dark clouds indicating potential rainfall.

Secondly - and most notably - is the traffic in Bangalore. Certain key areas such as Mahatma Ghandi Road (M.G Road) are perpetually congested, especially now due to the construction of the Metro similar to Malaysia's LRT system. Peak hours are a nightmare, one would not know if the lane is one-lane, two-lane or three-lane. Cross-junctions are the worst, there are cars from all directions who wanted to turn to the other lanes in an absence of a traffic light. Imagine while keep right and trying to turn into a right junction, one is being faced with cars coming from the opposite side of the road, trying to turn into your lane. Add in a few more motorcycles, a few auto-rickshaws, and other cars blaring their horns, you'll be dead meat if you don't start moving.

Speaking about horns, it is a common and acceptable practice to be constantly blaring your horn when driving. It was quite a shock for us to see our cab driver blaring their car horn when driving, even if there's no cars obstructing traffic. I guess it must be their style, even it is painted on the back side of the trucks!

Lastly, the city is filled with yellow coloured auto-rickshaws, also known to the locals as autos. These are like mini-taxis. Auto-rickshaws are available everywhere at any time of day. While they are a fast and cheap way to get around the city, tourists are widely advised against going on a auto-rickshaw on their own unless it is being supervised by the hotel or a local.

We had the opportunity to take a ride on the auto, thanks to our colleague who was more than gracious to tag along with us for shopping. This particular driver is friendly to us, but very impatient and reckless on the streets. Sometimes I was so worried for our safety, judging by the way he turns, cut corners and basically going against the traffic flow. I'm so thankful when we reached back the hotel in one piece!

Here's a little video clip I made while taking the auto along M.G Road. One can see what I meant by the traffic observations above :

More on Bangalore to come!


Lilium said...

Interesting trip to Bangalore..

mangomoon said...

beep beep :)