The Park Bangalore

5 out of 5 stars5 Stars

14/7 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, 560 042, India

1 Review

The Park Bangalore
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Hotels.com Booking.com Travelocity

89%

Satisfaction Very Good
Excellent
43%
195
Very Good
32%
146
Average
14%
64
Poor
5%
25
Terrible
4%
21

Value Score Great Value!

Costs 37% less than similarly rated 5 star hotels

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Good For Solo
  • Families80
  • Couples66
  • Solo84
  • Business72
  • Decent expense account hotel

    by

    Typical business hotel, nice staff. Modernist aesthetic.

    Unique Quality: Nice ambient DJ at the pool on Sunday afternoons.

    Directions: MG Road, around the corner from the Oberoi

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Bangalore Butterfly Park

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Bangalore Butterfly Park at Bannerghatta National Park. There is a conservatory dome which has a 10,000 sq ft enclosure filled with flowers that draw the butterflies in to stay still long enough to get their picture taken. The entry fee is Rs. 20 for adults and Rs. 10 for children. There are 25 varieties of butterflies during the summer with winter having less butterfly diversity.

Karnataka Diary: Nandi Hills - Hampi - Bangalore

by MichaelFalk1969

24st January, 2009
In Nandi Hills I stay at the Silver Oaks Farm. The accomodation is more basic, compared to Gitanjali, but the owners Praveen and Meera make up for this with their fantastic hospitality. The farm is located in landscape of hills dotted with giant boulders; the earth is scorched red, like on the planet Mars. I get along well with a couple of Indian visitors, a Jain journalist-airforce-pilot couple and a extremely friendly doctor-dentist couple from Bangalore. We have a great conversation on several topics, including the meaning of the word "homely" in Indian matrimonial classifieds (Kontaktanzeigen), meaning "must not necessarily look good if she can cook and organize the household" and Indian TV. It seems that German gameshows of the late 70's like "Einer wird gewinnen" and "Spiel ohne Grenzen" (games without frontiers) were the rage in India several decades ago. The whole family would gather around the TV because there were only few channels and the program selection was crappy. I happen to think how desperately bad Indian TV must have been if the best choice were German Gameshows. I also find out that there is an Indian equivalent to the German casting shows (Indian Idol), but without the verbal abuse which has made it so popular in Germany. I wonder where's the point in watching it if you can't ridicule someone, but then I had no Indian TV in ANY of my accomodations.

25th January, 2009
This morning I climb the roughly 1.000 stairs on the pilgrim route to Nandi Hill. On the way I have nice aerial views on the surrounding landscape, some derelict temples and shortly before the top an interesting Shiva temple. The hill had been a former stronghold of Tipu Sultan at the end of the 18th century, and the outer walls remain.

It is interesting to speculate how world history would have turned out if Tipu had not been defeated by the British and their Indian allies (maybe a French-Indian empire?). Tipu is still seen as a capable Indian ruler of his time, had assistance by the French, who were at that time in permanent conflict with Great Britain, and he had a formidable army. One of the reason of the Mysore wars was that the British feared a French intervention in the English subcontinent. The outcome of these conflicts was not so clear at the time, and England lost several battles against Mysore (but, as usual, not the war).

The top of Nandi Hills has also Tipu's drop, a place where he dropped prisoners of war to the death. I am scared of heights, so only a short look down the gap in the walls where Tipu gave flying lessons to his prisoners.

I relish at the thought to have an ice-cream again and buy a "Nutty Delight" at one of the market stalls (it is a pretty touristy area up here). From there, I walk through a little wooded path, maybe 500 meters to Tipu's Drop. The first monkey comes running towards me and wants my ice-cream. It is small and I stamp on the ground, shooing it away. The same procedure with the second, third, and fourth monkey, but I realize I don't really enjoy my ice-cream anymore. As the fifth monkey (almost baboon-sized) comes huffing and puffing towards me, ocassionally snarling and showing its long teeth, I think that a 60 rs.-icecream is not worth a fight even if I belong to the superior species. The evil monkey gets the chocolate core of my Nutty Delight, but nothing more. One day I will catch him and sell him for animal testing (just joking). Lesson learned: No more food stuff when monkeys are near.

26th of January 2009
Today some wild hiking in the boulder landscape of the Nandi Hills, opposite the farm and the Nandi village. There is no real path, you just go where you want to and the landscape looks promising. If there is no way, it helps to look for goat droppings - where a goat can roam, there's a way. Some of the giant boulders are just cut into halves like by a giant butcher knife. I hike for several hours and even see my first mongoose (little predators that prey on snakes). While climbing a boulder, I tear a big hole in my trouser at a strategically most inconvenient place. On the way back, my sun hat covers the hole as an improvised ivy leaf so that the good people of Nandi Village don't have to throw stones at me. It is a good thing that tomorrow I will be in Bangalore where you can do practically nothing but shopping. I'm down to my last trouser and will make a complaint to the quality management of H & M.

I don't sleep well due to my cold, and in the middle of the night the sound of a barking German shepherd dog and soon after that a small explosion wakes me. Burglars? I try to turn the lights on, but nothing happens. Powercut again, at an unusual time, and I sleep again. Next morning Praveen informs me that his dogs chased a monkey away from the farm premises, who then made the fatal decision to climb up an electric post. As he tried to escape by the electrified power line, he deep-fried himself in an instant and thus caused the blackout.

Transfer to Bangalore by taxi, with my friendly driver Mr. Rao, who starts a discussion over Hindu philosophy which turns out to be pretty interesting. One of his wisdoms: "Don't blame God if something bad happens. If you visit a theater play which you dislike, you don't go on the stage and yell at the actors. God is not the director, he is just a spectator. Men create the good and the bad in the world, by making the right or wrong decisions ...".

Traffic in Bangalore is crazy, especially if you sit in an autorikscha. One bus left to you, one bus right to you, six rikschas in front of you and the same number behind you. Every hour seems to be rush-hour. The positive thing is that you can shop till you drop here, and I buy two Lee Jeans (no fakes) for but 40,- Euros total and eat at the Samarkand Restaurant, which specializes in food of the Northwestern frontier region (the Afghan border area). Great food and almost too good service - the staff seems a little underemployed. Almost like in a Monthy Phython spot, each time I try to feed myself a spoonful, a waiter asks if he can help me with anything, serve a little rice, bring another cocktail etc., so I have to stop eating or must reply with a full mouth. I'm inclined to say that I am perfectly capable to help myself, but after a while, their attention is dedicated to new guests.

In the evening I reach the train station, jam-packed with Indians. The one thing you instantly notice at a train station is that there is a great many of them (Indians, I mean). I'm a little unsure as my ticket is confirmed but no coach or seat number is shown. I almost panic as I don't see my name on the printout of train reservations for the Hampi Express. I visualize myself having to sleep at the train station or staying at some crappy overprized business hotel, but then I find a conductor he looks into a computerized reservation system, where my name is still confirmed. He points out the right coach, and I am on my way. Somehow train travel in India always works, even if it does not seem so at first glance. Sleep is surprisingly good on the Hampi Express, but I am looking forward to a real bed and a shower.

28th January 2009
Arrive in Hampi at the Shanti Guest House. Marvelous location, I look upon rice paddies, palm trees and giant boulders from my bungalow, I have a hammock again, the food is brilliant, and it really doesn't cost much. I regret that I only stay here three full days.

Hampi is famous as it was the capital of the Hindu Vijayanagar empire, set among an otherworldly landscape of giant boulders and hills. The ruins are still there and many in quite good condition. After the fall of Hampi, the city was deserted and remains to this day the ghost town of a fallen empire. That is, with the exception of crowded Hampi Bazaar.

In the afternoon, I visit Hampi Bazaar village, basically one long street crammed with tourist shops and restaurants. For a destination that is sold as remote, spiritual, and off the beaten path, Hampi is quite well-developed. Plenty of Indians in colourful clothing, and the same number of Hippies or would-be-Hippies in colourful "ethnic" clothing. Like the French rastafarian sitting next to me in this Internet Cafe, stoned to the hilt and dictating to his sunwrinkled girlfriend in the other booth "tell mamaaa weeee arrr in bjutifuuul Ampiii".

I visit the Virupakscha temple, and then climb Hemakuta Hill, with some temple ruins and huge boulders and a great aerial view on the Virupakscha temple. After that, I end the circuit with a visit at two huge Ganesha statues (the Elephant-headed god of luck and good fortune).

My accomodation is divided from Hampi by a river, and the only means of transport is a boat. Either a motorboat or - further upriver - a coracle, a primitive form of rowing boat formed like a bathtub. The ferry service stops with sundown, so you must never miss the last ferry at 6 p.m., or you have to swim. They say crocodiles live here, but no confirmed sighting. The only bridge project currently build near Anegundi has experienced a tragic setback only days ago, I read in a newspaper. The bridge has partly caved in, killing several workers. As I later find out from a rikscha driver, over 30 are supposed to killed, but only 8 found so far.

The most exciting feature of Hampi to me are not the ruins, but the bathing & washing ghats, a staircased access to the river where the townspeople wash themselves or their laundry, and the kids go swimming. As all the colourful laundry items are dried in the sun, this is a spot for spectacular photos. The best sights are not always those you can find in the guidebooks.

29th of January 2009
Today I explore the area east of Hampi Bazaar. This turns out to be a brilliant decision. The route eastwards leads to the Vitala Temple, famous for its musical pillars (which sadly cannot be used as this part of the temple is in renovation) and a massive stone chariot drawn by elephants. A detour leads to the Sule Basar, or "Prostitutes Lane", a line of former market stalls were jewelry was sold. Prostitutes must have been in high demand here, if this is true, as the ruins of the market stalls cover a wide area. But maybe the name was just given by some conservative who opposed to women wearing jewelry at all - we will never know. In the eastern areas, not many tourists are on the move, so plenty of time to explore the ruins at your own pace. After I finished my itinerary for this day before it gets too hot, I have a nice Thali and some fruit juices at Geetas Riverview restaurant.

Hampi is seriously the hottest place I've been too in India. Maybe it is because trees are scarce and the stones reflect the heat, but it is wise to do what you want to do during the early morning hours. After 1 p.m., the heat gets oppressive. I drink like a donkey but still feel dehydrated.

This evening, the steward at Shanti informs me that in a nearby pool sometimes a crocodile surfaces for sunbathing. I walk along the pool but it does not show up.

30th of January 2009
This day I got blessed by an Elephant. Or to be precise, by the Elephant lady "Lakshmi", named after the Hindu goddess of wealth, bride of Vishnu. It works this way: You go into the Virupakscha Temple in Hampi Bazaar with lots of small change (coins), wait until the crowds of schoolkids disappear, hand over one coin to the elephant who takes it with his trunk, and then Lakshmi hits you forcefully over the head with her trunk (just joking, she does it quite gently). I gave her pretty much all my coined small change so that the french tourist who took my photo had plenty of opportunities to shoot a good one (which he did). I feel very blessed today.

By the way: I find that small change in banknotes (5, 10, 20 and 50 rupies) is extremely useful, while coin change (1, 2 and 5 rupies) is more or less only useful for 1. buying a newspaper 2. paying the shoe cloakroom guy at the temple or 3. getting an elephant blessing.

The monkeys of Virupakscha temple also had a good day. Warned from past experience, I had nothing edible with me. When you enter the temple, you have to through a sort of alley which might have been devised by a ingenious monkey architect, because as you can't evade them, anyone with food is easy prey. They robbed several children of their bananas and some Indian families of their picnic lunch packets. Indian monkeys are not cute, they are big rats, just with longer tails.

I then saw the so-called "Royal Centre" of Hampi, at first glance the most touristy place in Hampi. This area contains an impressive elephant stable and the Lotus Mahal, most likely a court room. After that, a visit to the Krishna Temple (my favourite temple in Hampi) with plenty off well-preserved mythological carvings.

I decide that one can only see so much temples in one day, and depart for the Mango Tree, a well-known river-view restaurant. Lovely location, gorgeous food. I am amazed that here you can get a three-course meal & lots of fruit juices for the equivalent of 4 Euro.

The sleeper train department I share with Markus from Duisburg, who is here for professional reasons (steel business). He shares some Mumbai and Calcutta stories, and I'm glad that those places are not on my itinerary.

31st January 2009
Maybe I just got off the wrong foot, but I just hate Bangalore. When I arrive, the taxi is not there. Call to Terrace Gardens guest house, they didn't order a taxi (though I confirmed the arrival the day before). I organize one myself, several taxi drivers almost get into a fight over the question who has the privilege to transport me, and I finally get to Terrace Gardens.

I do some sightseeing (Cubbon Park, Lalbagh Gardens, Bangalore Palace, Assembly Hall), visit a boring art gallery to escape the heat, and do some shopping, but somehow I don't connect to Bangalore. The city seems dedicated completely to business, and there is not one single honest rikscha driver in this town. The moment you agree on a price, they show you their business card and suggest some souvenir shopping in the arts emporium of some distant relative. There is no-one who would just take you from A to B at a reasonable price. I tell them I have already bought all the silk scarves and stone elephants I can possibly use in this life. If that does not work, I get out and rely on walking. Only, Bangalore is too big for walking. And these imbeciles complain that they get no business ...

Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens is a nice spot, though. The landscape gardener must have been a big Disney fan, as there is a flower clock with the seven dwarfes (but no snowwhite), and a lawn where Bambi and his rabbit friend Klopfer ("Thumper") frolic. Klopfer (or "Thumper") looks pretty aggressive for a peaceful bunny - either he is in attack mode, or he is squatting painfully. Judge yourselves once you see the photo. And Bambi has no spots.

I also pay a visit to the Bangalore Palace, built in the style of Windsor Castle. This is the only real rip-off tourist trap I encounter as they charge 500 Rupies for the photo permission. Some rooms are attractive, others are completely rundown and in dire need of renovation. Maybe that is why they charge such outrageous rates here. The guide tells me that the current Maharaja has no heir so it is likely that the palace will fall to the state government after his demise.

The last rikscha is ripped off by me, in a way. We agree on a price: 100 rupies for Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, Bangalore Palace including waiting time and drop-off at MG Road. Not a bad deal, I think, as including waiting time this is over two hours rikscha use for the price of merely 3,- EURO. I get suspicious, as I don't believe I accidentally found and honest rikscha driver, and soon after the Palace visit he suggests a detour to Infantry Road to a crafts/silk emporium ("just looking, no buying"). I insist that I neither want to look nor to buy, and tell him in no uncertain terms to go directly to MG Road, which he does, reluctantly. These guys really bring out the ***y side in me. I would have given him a tip if he hadn't presented his bloody business card, but now it is no more than 100 rupies, which is not a bad bargain for me considered that you can pay as much for 1 hour rikscha hire, but a bad deal for him.

Accidentally I stumble upon the NASA pub (the interior is styled like a spaceship), have some cheese pakoras and chilli mushrooms and two mugs of Kingfisher Beer. After two mugs of this excellent beer, Bangalore seems rather nice again !

Terrace Gardens at least has a nice room, and my first TV here. I zap through some Bollywood movies and learn from the news that Sri Lanka has a "Minister for Disaster".

Tomorrow I'm off to Mahaballipuram (Tamil Nadu). The last leg of the journey begins.

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 The Park Bangalore

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The Park Hotel Bangalore
The Park Bangalore Hotel Bangalore

Address: 14/7 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, 560 042, India