Updated: Jan 4, 2019
7 Sunday specials that are so very Bangalore! And, many more that you can catch on any other day. Experience the soul of Bangalore in the heart of Bangalore - Cubbon Park.
Exploring Bangalore has never been about ticking off the tourist destinations. Bangalore is a state-of-mind. A wind-down mode. There's a calm in its veins induced by greenery and nippy weather. A laid-back attitude that makes you slowly switch to work mode at 11 am and shut down for siesta at 2 pm. A place where people find time to nap in parks mid-day. A casualness that makes its citizens adore baggy jeans and flipflops so much, they even wear them to parties and weddings.
And, whilst the city has expanded, its space has shrunk. It's clogged with high rises, traffic jams and the rising impatience of its multi-cultural locals. But in the centre of it all stands the last frontier of verdure in the garden city of India - Cubbon Park.
Very few metropolises around the world can boast of a vast natural green cover right in its heart. There’s Tijuca Forest in Rio, Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town and Tiergarten in Berlin. And then, there is Cubbon Park in my backyard.
It is gorgeously green, holding a certain stillness that the rest of the city is losing to development.
On regular days, Cubbon park is the relief for commuters en route their daily routines. Passing through, we slow down our bikes and wind down the car windows to let the fresh air in, just for a couple of minutes, before rejoining the madness.
But on Sundays Cubbon Park becomes the last surviving piece of Old Bangalore. That is giving the new Bangalore a nice, warm hug.
My oldest memories of Sundays feature Cubbon Park. I recall a scrawny 7-8 years old me running furiously to keep pace with my jogging cousin as we circled the entire 5 kilometre stretch of the park. At the time it seemed like an endless dense forest to my tiny eyes. There were so many entrances to the vast park, I'd worry that if my small feet didn't keep up with my athletic cousin, I'd never find my way out.
Today, I can confirm that the park has 5 large entrances. And, on Sundays, they are all closed to vehicular traffic. The old timers come there to enjoy their stroll, aunties in their south cotton sarees and sneakers, uncles marching ahead discussing a straang desire for a straang filter coffee. And, the new-age Bangaloreans, in their Decathalon gears, bring in newer fitness cultures in the old, old Silver Oak, Gulmohar and Mahogany thickets.
Jugglers, tight-rope walkers, skateboarders, aerobics workouters, cyclists, marathoners, frisbee-tossing picnickers and dog strollers. Pros, aspirants and wishful-thinkers.
If I'm in Bangalore on a Sunday, I am one of the walkers here. It's a weekly reminder of why I love my city. The greenery and the buzz of activities is my much-needed recharge.
While I have inherited my love for morning walks from my dad, my fierce love for Cubbon Park was ignited after half a decade of living outside the city.
So I walk, I run, I stretch, I hang about till pure oxygen cleanses my lungs, the energy around seeps into my skin and thoughts of a plate of steaming idlis and a crisp dosa take over my brain.
The Band Stand inside is now a stage for classical music and dance performances on Sundays. Many an arangetram take place here. And, on important days, the army band performs ending with the National Anthem.
For 3 hours between 8 -11am, an enclosure is designated for dogs and their owners to rollick around and make friends.
Buy your weekly supply of fruits and veggies from the Horticultural department's stall. Enjoy fresh grape and mango juice through the year.
A spirituality group congregates here to sing bhajans and have breakfast together at 8am.
Between 7-9am, hit the Zumba corner, for a high energy, high on fun workout. For free.
Deposit a valid government ID and take a cycle for a spin for 20 minutes.
Swap books, borrow, donate, or just sit around and read. Meet other book lovers under these two tents by the fountain. Can there be a better environment for some mental stimulation?
Cubbon Park always has some sections of trees in flowering. These boards at every entrance tell you where to find them in which season, along with park route map, a bit of history and trivia.
The classic Europeanstyle red building with gables is the government public library inside the park.
The well-maintained rose garden, with at least 50 variety of rose, is the frontage of the library.
The bamboo trees avenue near Bal Bhavan is home to a lot of birds, especially crows, who are considered messengers of ancestors. Many people come here to feed them.
Silver Oaks were first brought from Australia
Lovers, age, caste and sex no bar, love the park.
And, while there are more and more people visiting Cubbon Park on Sundays, you'll always find a spot of peace and quiet.