The Avenue of people… Avenue Road
One of the things that a “True Bangalorean” will have done is visiting the “busy-busy [or bisi-bisi that translates to “hot-hot” in the local language, Kannada.] “Avenue Road“, the ubiquitous paradise for any middle class household… or any person who loves shopping through an “avenue, minus trees that are replaced by humans, EVERYWHERE” who loves walking past the colourful name boards that stand atop 50 year old shops, who hates the falseness of the modern shopping options such as malls, who would love to bargain and bargain like mad, on ANYTHING and everything, truly a photographer’s haven to capture the spirit of a road that’s withstood all the tests of modernity, revelling in its own balance of a fast paced life, with all that was past.
Whoever said Bangalore was all malls, shopping arcades, and sophisticated lifestyles and people!
Locale: The Avenue Road is just 30 feet wide, and calling it an oxymoron of sorts, almost devoid of any trees lining it. But the crowd that FILLS the place as early as 9 in the morning, and stretches till about 11 at night, is what makes this avenue, one of people than trees. On any given day, you have the road packed to its strength. Attempts have been made to make it “Vehicle free” but cops realised its close to impossible, and thus the road is now a one way that extends from the landmark “Hanuman Temple” at the ‘Mysore Road’ circle, to the “City Market square”.
Variety: You were looking for that ancient “boiler” [an equivalent of water geysers of the present day] you can find it here, as well as the newest design on the platinum jewellery circuit, all set in an Air-conditioned shop. When I say anything!! I mean it! Off late, the road’s known more for its Stationery shops and Road-side booksellers. Its amazing how you can spot that one rare book, you’ve always wanted, but couldn’t find in Landmark/ Crossword! And what more, quality at dirt cheap prices!! value for money indeed!!!
Historical place: somewhere lost in all the chaos and confusion of the road, stands the “Rice Memorial Church”, and several other heritage houses/ buildings that are albeit in a dilapidated condition. We have the “Rajkumar Gate” too where Tipu’s Fort ends.
Food: move over Mexican, Italian and continental! Authentic South Indian fare and Chinese food are the buzzwords here! You have several “kart-eateries” where you can order your stuff, and catch a place at the doorstep of an empty/ closed shop and hog rapturously at the piping hot food that’s been served to you. My personal favourite will be the slightly burnt :P “Gobi Manchurian” that one of the moving food stalls shell out. [Argh! Memory gave up when I tried to recall the eatery’s name! :(] the best part is they work literally THROUGH the day, 6 in the morning till midnight! So you’re never hungry on Avenue road, unless you’re one who pricks on about “Oh! Wonder what water they would’ve used”. My advice, if your stomach is sensitive, and your immune system is weak, don’t go for the road side fare, instead you have the option of eating at good “restaurants” as well.
Observations: The people here, as is anywhere else in Bangalore, are real friendly, and are always on the help if you want to locate a particular shop in the myriads of shops, or making sure you reach your destination without being lost in the multitude of by lanes [How I’d love to write about them! Saving it for future] that line this road or getting lost in the million faces that walk the stretch. A wonderful place, to observe a completely charged up life, and not a place to unwind and observe people sipping your coffee, but one where you may get pushed through the crowd, and that might lead you to realise, that it’s one unique spot in the city, where all the hustle and bustle of life meet!
The scorching summer heat may get to you since there is hardly any natural shade in the form of trees or such, but being the non-official promoter/PR for avenue road, I’d say you have a whale of a time, and of course you can cool it off with tender coconuts right?
[Hmm, I know I’m a bad travel/feature writer! I tend to go on and on about something I love, and thus the long post. Apologies, and thanks to readers who’ve survived it.]
[Pictures sourced, archived]