I’ve written so much about our month on Stuart Hill in Madikeri town of Karnataka (in the linked memoir) that I’ve reserved this piece for photographs of the hill and Madikeri town.
Living, Writing, and Traveling Slow on Stuart Hill in Madikeri Coorg, Karnataka
We have been here in Stuart Hill in Madikeri town for almost two weeks. The popular Coorg viewpoint Raja’s seat is near Stuart Hill. I’m seated in the garden of our homestay to write.
I don’t know the origin of the name Stuart Hill. The place must have a story from British times. I could go to the Madikeri museum to get a glimpse of this town’s history. But on this trip, I’m not hungry to know.
Even though we were here on our first wedding anniversary, we didn’t make any big adventurous plans. In the morning we walked down the path going in front of our house. That trail is fringed by jungly plants and trees on both sides. Few houses peek out of that path here and there.
Some of the Best Bangalore Hotels — From Personal Experience
As my partner and I left our rooftop terrace in Bangalore to start our indefinite road trip, we started searching for budget hotels in Bangalore. Our car was still not delivered (more on the chaos in a separate piece), and we had to stick around the city a bit longer.
The most challenging thing about finding a good guest house in Bangalore is that in big cities hotels are expensive, even if poorly maintained. I have run into a lot of guesthouse owners who overestimate their property’s worth and charge exorbitantly. They calculate their property’s per day rent in terms of how much the building values but not on the services they provide and the current state of the hotel or homestay.
I stayed at a homestay in Bangalore where we almost went crazy fixing the place and handling the hosts. You can read more about this Bangalore Airbnb experience in my family-run guesthouses of India guide. At times, some of the stays at Bangalore were so dirty we checked out from the place the same day.
This Indian accommodations guide has extensive write-ups on my hotel experience in India.
And I understand the hosts’ apprehensions about Indian guests. A lot of us are notorious for making the place dirty, breaking others’ stuff, being rude and noisy, and not caring at all. But if we look beyond, the Bangalore hotel industry is run by staff most of whom aren’t trained in the hospitality industry. Well, that’s a problem in all of India I guess.
In a big city like Bangalore, I have realized it makes more sense to stay at a known or reputed hotel. Smaller and cheaper hotels in Bangalore offer poor services (maybe because their costs are high but can’t be recovered in budget pricing? or they just don’t know any better). And star-rated hotels in Bengaluru have to function well because they cater to a wide audience. Homestays in Bangalore are a gamble.
In the above two guides, you will read me discussing more on such Indian hospitality problems. Today I want to write about these three guesthouses-cum-best-hotels in Bangalore I loved staying at. I booked them on different occasions and here sharing my honest reviews.
Please note: This is not a sponsored post by any of these accommodations in Bangalore. They don’t even know I’m writing about them.
Going Back in Time in Basavanagudi in Bangalore
Spread symmetrically around parks and temples, Basavanagudi in Bangalore was a surprise to me. I was taken to this old locality of Bangalore by a dear friend Julia.
Julia is a French woman who married an Indian man mostly for her love for Kolkata (sorry Sudipto) — she met her husband there. As destiny had it, Julia happened to move into the flat below our rooftop abode in HSR Bangalore. From my terrace shed, we stalked the blood-red moons together. Christmas was celebrated at her home and Diwali was at mine.
In December 2020, when the lockdowns had been lifted and the cases were receding, Julia took me to Basavanagudi. I hadn’t explored the locality. If Julia hadn’t suggested, I may have never visited the ancient lanes, intriguing parks, and the historic temples in Basavanagudi.
Memories From Cubbon Park Bangalore – City’s Wildest Escape
I cannot give a guide to Cubbon Park Bangalore. I mean why would I? One has to explore a park at her speed and manner.
What’s there to a park anyway? You may ask.
My Favorite Restaurants Near MG Road — Places to Overeat
I first created a draft for the restaurants near MG Road Bangalore when I was staying at the boutique hotel Casa Cottage behind Richmond Town. Sitting under the avocado trees, I would read books on Bangalore. Sometimes midday, I would pack my Kindle, pen, and notebook and head out. A few days, I stopped by Koshy’s and Indian Coffee House, and other days, I walked on. Towards the evening, my partner would join me for dinner, and we would explore different restaurants around MG Road (It’s close to Richmond Town). And many of those adventures of my belly found their way into this article.
I lived in Bangalore for quite a while and ate at many restaurants, kiosks, food stalls, and cycle vendors. But I never wrote about those eateries. I was scared of indulging in my food obsession. In Richmond Town, I was eating out at a new place daily because we were soon leaving Bangalore(for the nth time). Our Karnataka adventures were coming to an end. And so, I decided to record my food experiences in this MG road restaurants’ guide.
Here they are all. Enjoy.
A Colorful Introduction to South Indian Dosas
I love South Indian dosas, and I enjoy talking about these crispy crepes even more. You have to bear with me as this article on dosas in India will be long. Like my piece on some of the best visiting places in Karnataka.
What’s a Dosa?
Dosa is a thin crispy or soft savory crepe, sometimes it is even thick and soft like a pancake. Dosa could be rolled and stuffed or it might be plain and open — with all other variations not out of the scene. It is served with sambhar (a curry), chutneys, garlic-chilli powder (podi, also known as gunpowder among the uninitiated), and other paraphernalia. Though now dosas are eaten throughout India, and the world, they are still a staple only in South India.
Where Did Dosa Originate?
No one knows where the dosa — known as dosai in Tamil Nadu, dose (dough-sey) in Karnataka, and dosha in Kerala — originated. But the ancient Sangam literature of the Tamil area mentions dosa as early as the 1st century AD. As per Wikipedia, a dosa recipe is said to be found in Manasollasa, a 12th-century Sanskrit encyclopedia compiled by the Chalukya king Someshvara III of Karnataka. Originally the South Indian dosa is said to be of a softer and thicker form. But later in Karnataka, dose took a much crispier and thinner avatar.
Unseen Bangalore Photos From a Plethora of Day Outings in Bangalore city.
These are not your usual Instagram Bangalore pictures.
My motive behind this piece on Bangalore images — which is really nothing but a collection of day outings in Bangalore — is to show real Bangalore. Not the cosmopolitan Bangalore city of the Manyata Tech Park, Cubbon Park, Forum Mall, and Koshy’s that every outsider like me knows. I wish to bring forward the old city, the city dense with flower shops, colorful food, coconut stalls, cycle hawkers, chaotic streets, and ubiquitous hot chips corners. Bangalore would be incomplete if we don’t mention its giant trees jutting out of buildings and breaking out of concrete roads, multicolored Hindu temples with a cornucopia of deity sculptures towering above, the most random stuff being sold in bazaar shops, old-style South Indian dosa joints authentic to their practices even 100 years later, and the feeling of the night during the day when thick Bangalore clouds threaten the residents way more than they would like.
In this essay of Bangalore photos, I share moments that have sparsely studded almost ten years of my life. Starting in 2010, I arrived in and left Bangalore so many times I won’t dare to count my shift outs. Irrespective of how much I wanted to let go of the city, Bangalore (and karnataka state) didn’t leave me, not so soon.
(Phone-Based and) Online Organic Stores in Bangalore That Deliver Fresh, Natural, Preservative-Free, and Personalized Food Items to Your Doorstep
Grocery stores in Bangalore line every street. But we can never tell the origin of the fruits and vegetables there. Is the grocery we buy pesticide-free, or are we eating vegetables swathed in medicine?
I love to cook. And, I love to shop for groceries. I will not survive a cloth retail store, but I will be so lost in a vegetable market you won’t find me for hours.
Something about the fragrant vegetables and their vibrant colors pulls me towards them. My attraction to the farmer’s markets and organic stores in Bangalore could be attributed to my foodie nature. Food is a blessing in my simple life. I’ve been cooking since I’m a little girl. And I’ve been overeating ever since I opened my eyes.
For the past 4-5 years, I’ve been focusing on eating healthy food and living a conscious life. I’m being mindful of the source and content of my food. My diet has shifted heavily towards vegetables, fruits, whole grains, juices, nuts, yogurt, and other light food products. I try not to purchase items with liquid glucose, edible color, all-purpose flour, palm or vegetable oil, flavor enhancers, and other such redundant and unhealthy items. You would be surprised to know how little you can purchase if you vehemently avoid these ingredients.
We all have been stuck inside homes for about six months now. Though usually, I am planning a birthday trip around this time of the year, as September approached I got anxious that I might want to go somewhere. But would I be able to step out of Bengaluru or even my house?
Then I remembered the article I had written on traveling in the Pandemic. For those who have read the guide know that I only suggested traveling by car to an isolated homestay or a guesthouse near the woods. Thus you can change your view, hike around, be in nature, and even work with the lush forest swaying in front of you.
Remembering my idea, I decided to travel in Karnataka and started searching for isolated hotels in the state. But as I pored over hundreds of hotels and guesthouses over various websites, I decided to dedicate an entire guide to isolated hotels in Madikeri, Coorg as most of the properties I liked were from this area.
Hampi Photos: Stories in Stones.
I visited Hampi twice, once in 2014, and then again in 2019. Though I have been to Hampi two times and have spent about ten-eleven days in the area, I am still nothing less than dazed by not just the ruins and temples of Hampi, but by the green Hampi villages, the crispy dosas that have a different flavor in that part of Karnataka India, the variety of animal life that is running around Hampi fearlessly, but now more so in national parks such as Daroji, and how it all just dovetail so perfectly together.
My Bangalore to Hampi road journey was no less than an adventure. In the linked guide you can read all about that Bangalore-Hampi road trip studded with aesthetic windmills. This 7,000 words guide is also almost a Wiki for exploring Hampi monuments, its surrounding villages, experiencing its local life and food, and understanding Hampi’s history.
As I have already written about the logistics of traveling and the history of Hampi in the aforementioned travel guide, allow me to jump right into Hampi pictures. I clicked most of these photos with my Nikon DSLR and Google Pixel. Other photos (mostly old Hampi photos) have been taken from around the internet to contrast between the past and new Hampi. I have also added some ancient photos just to give more context to a temple or a carving or a view in case I didn’t have enough relevant pictures.
I hope you enjoy these Hampi images for I had a lot of fun putting this Hampi photography essay together. Machu Picchu could be one of the world’s wonder, Bali is on everyone’s bucket list, Himachal Spiti’s Valley is a craze amongst travelers, but Hampi stands right there in the line.