January 31, 2014



Lalbagh Lake
With Mom and Dad going to Mysore to pick up my cousin who has been posted to Bengaluru  by one of the country's top IT firm, the Chillar party decided to spend the Sunday morning amidst nature at Lalbagh on 5th January, earlier this year. I and Bhabi had been planning to go there for long. Since the parents, especially Mom was not home, we thought this was the ideal time for the long awaited outing. The three of us had different agendas though - Bhabi wanted to do yoga and then read a book like those foreigners we saw in Hampi who were reading books on boulders in the Tunga river; Da wanted to burn excess calories and I was there only for the birds. Besides, we also wanted to have the famous Masala Dosa (Masal Dose as it is called here) at Vidyarthi Bhavan in Gandhi Market, Basvangudi. This was my third visit in the last five months to what I believe is the most well maintained of all the lakes in the IT city. I was hoping to find some new species to shoot (in line with my New Year's resolution of clicking 40 new avians this year), at least the Pied Kingfisher which had eluded me for long.

Striking a pose: Da & Bhabi
For a change, Da decided to accompany me as I went to the Lotus Pond to click a host of water birds. Not so surprisingly, he got bored soon; you see patience is one of the few virtues which he does not possess. Anyway as he started jogging around the lake, I took my time clicking the different varities of birds that are common here. Unlike the lake, the pond is full of weeds, grasses and other aquatic plants, providing a suitable habitat for egrets, herons, moorhens and coots to live and breed. The sight of bright pink Lotus flowers dotted amongst the surrounding greenery is one to behold. In contrast, the waters of the Lalbagh Lake are sparkling clean; in fact you can even spot fishes nibbling at slices of bread thrown by careless visitors. On any given day, you can see several cormorants and snake birds perched on the many trees in the centre of the lake. Well, I will put up the pictures in the upcoming posts. While I did not find any new avian species, the images clicked on that day have turned to be some of the best since I started bird photography. Meanwhile, having spent over two hours at Lalbagh, we were very hungry and headed to Basvanagudi for breakfast, picking half a kilo of tasty Rose Paneer (Link) for mom on the way.

Balancing Act: Masal Dose at Vidyarthi Bhavan
Located in the heart of the bustling Gandhi Bazaar, it is not difficult to miss Vidyarthi Bhavan, sandwiched between the many shops selling myriad variety of flowers and garlands. However like MTR and Adigas, this tiffin center is one of the most popular eateries in the city. Over the years, it has become one of the most prominent landmarks of Bangalore and boasts of a large fan following. Established in 1943 to cater mainly the student community (as its name suggests), do not get fooled by its modest appearance because on the weekends, hundreds of people come here to gorge on the in house speciality - Masal Dose. On holidays, you have to register your name with the man at the entrance and then... wait for your turn. In fact, we had to stand in the queue for almost 40 minutes before the man in the lungi who was co-ordinating the whole process called out "Pavan". From inside, Vidhyarthi Bhavan resembles a small hotel crowded with people with the ambience being much different from the expensive hotels that have cropped up in the city. The sitting consists of wooden tables and benches whereas walls are are lined with sketches of prominent Kannadigas. The menu is limited and prices are pretty cheap by city standards. We ordered Shira and then Dosa which came five minutes later, one stacked on the top of the other like the Tower of Hanoi. Though the Dosa was very tasty, I still find Mummy's Masala Dosa much better. Does the taste justify the long wait to get into the hotel? In my opinion, No!. We finished breakfast at 11:30 am and reached back home by noon.

On the whole, spending the morning with Da and Bhabi in the lap of nature at Lalbagh, clicking those beautiful winged creatures followed by the pait pooja at one of the most iconic eateries of Bengaluru was quite memorable. Having started the New Year on such a good note, I hope we go for such outings many more times through out the year.

Please note that the last image in the post was clicked by my Bhabi.