My wife and I spent all of April and part of May, 1995 in Bangalore making the final arrangements for the adoption of our daughter from St. Michael's Home and getting to know some of the people and the region. We spent most of our time in Bangalore, a major city in the state of Karnataka in southern India. Although it is now called Bengaluru, I will always think of it as Bangalore. I was able to spend a weekend in Mysore, and my wife spent two days enduring the May heat in Madras.

This site is my attempt to document some of our experiences and observations of India. I have included some of my photographs of India throughout the site.

Bangalore is relatively temperate. It is about six degrees from the equator, so the sun is very strong. However, its altitude keeps it from getting as hot as much of the rest of southern India.
Bangalore is a truly beautiful city, full of flowering trees and other plants that we'd never even heard of before. It is often called "The Garden City". (I found this particularly interesting as I grew up in New Jersey, officially known as "The Garden State". Trust me, they have little in common, especially when it comes to gardens. Bangalore wins easily.)

It is quite a large city, with a population of approximately six million people. We found the people to be very friendly and extremely interested in anything we could tell them about America. Bangalore is well known for its many software companies and has earned the additional sobriquet "Silicon Valley of India".

Although certainly not true for all of India, many of the people we met who had a full grade school education could speak English, had a Bachelor's degree, and were working toward or already had a Master's degree.

Maps

Map of India Karnataka, India map. Copyrighted to Dinesh Venkatesh (dinesha@spiderman.bu.edu)
  • Insight Guide South India book cover Nelles Map: India South is a folded road and tourist map of southern India, including Bombay and Visakhapatnam to the north; both coasts, and Sri Lanka to the south. Points of interest, national parks, and railways are highlighted. Shaded-relief coloring clearly depicts topography. Insets include Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai (Madras), Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep island chain. Legend in English, French and German.
  • Insight Guide South India book cover The Rough Guide Map: South India is detailed enough to make an essential companion whilst also covering all of this vast area from Mumbai to the Cardamon Hills. This map is printed on rip-proof, waterproof Polyart paper and is detailed enough to show points of interests from ancient buildings to national parks and there is a host a practical detail including contour lines, road numbers, distance markers, road surfaces, airports, train stations and ferry routes.

India Flag

India's FlagThe India flag is a set of three horizontal stripes of equal height, with saffron at the top, white in the middle and green at the bottom. The ratio of the Indian flag's dimensions is two (height) to three (width). In the centre of the white band is a navy blue Ashoka Chakra with a diameter equal to 75% of the height of the white stripe. The saffron color represented Hinduism, the green color represents Islam and the white color represents peace between the two.

The chakra represents Dharma, the underlying order in nature and living in harmony with it. The twenty four spokes in the chakra represent virtues: love, courage, patience, peacefulness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, selflessness, self sacrifice, truthfulness, righteousness, justice, mercy, graciousness, humility, empathy, sympathy, godly knowledge, godly wisdom, godly moral, reverential fear of God and hope/trust/faith in the goodness of God.
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Bangalore Books

I hand-picked the books shown below. They each have a rating of at least 3.5 stars by Amazon customers.

Books to Read Before You Go

  • Travelers' Tales Guides India book cover Travelers' Tales is a new kind of travel anthology, marrying the best of the guidebook and travel literature. This is a wonderful collection of place-specific tales previously scattered far and wide. Veteran travel writers James O'Reilly and Larry Habegger read hundreds of stories to select those that best capture the experience of India. India is among the most difficult -- and most rewarding -- of places to travel.
  • Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure book cover Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure: Australian MacDonald initially felt that life in India is overcrowded, smoggy, disturbing. Eventually she begins to make friends in India and to understand the culture. She makes an effort to understand the many diverse religions of the area, discussing religion with Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, and even a group of visiting Israelis. A lively, snappy travelogue.
  • Culture Shock: India book cover Culture Shock: India: One mistake with customs or etiquette can leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth. International travelers, now more than ever, are not just individuals from the United States, but ambassadors and impression makers for the country as a whole. This guide is the most complete reference for customs and etiquette you can find. This is not just a travel guide; it is a guide for a way of life.
  • India - Culture Smart!: a quick guide to customs and etiquette book cover India - Culture Smart!: a quick guide to customs and etiquette: Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. This is the kind of book every first-time traveler to India needs! It gives a very concise guide to customs and etiquette that is required learning for Westerners.
  • Insight Guide South India book cover Insight Guide South India contains many beautiful photographs to illustrate the text, which was all written by locals with expertise in their fields. However, it is short on transport and accommodation information.
  • Footprint South India book cover Lonely Planet World Food India takes you on an unforgettable expedition through the nation’s rich tapestry of flavours and customs. It is brimming with information about festivals and celebrations, regional variations of dishes and customs, the can't-miss spots to purchase food, and what to say to the vendors in the colorful street markets.

Books to Read First and Then Take With You

  • Frommer's India book cover Frommer's India is packed with information. It's written to appeal to the mid- to high budget traveler. This book is very specific on where to eat, sleep and how to get around with minimal rip-offs.
  • The Rough Guide to South India book cover The Rough Guide to South India comes complete with critical reviews of all the best places to stay, eat, practice yoga, and includes maps and plans for every area. You'll find all the practical advice and specific tips you'll need.
  • Lonely Planet South India book cover Lonely Planet South India caters to travelers on a variety of budgets, and offers tips for escaping the white-washed tourist trail to really get a taste of local culture. It contains extensive coverage of Goa's beaches and Kerala's backwaters. New activities chapter covers everything from wildlife safaris to Ayurveda, ashrams, and yoga courses.
  • Footprint South India book cover Footprint South India: A travel guide bringing the best that this region has to offer from the bleached white sand beaches of Goa to the paddy fields of Kerala. Covers where to stay, what to eat, what to see and how to get there.

India Magazines and Newspapers

All prices shown when your mouse is over one of the images below are for one year subscriptions.

  • Art India magazine cover Art India is a quarterly magazine focused on modern art in India. It is a forum for discussing the theory and practice of painting, sculpture, installation art, new media art, photography and architecture.
  • Autocar India magazine cover Autocar India is India's leading car and motor bike magazine. Regular columns include road tests, maintenance, a consumer guide, travel, classified ads, and color photographs.
  • India Abroad newspaper cover India Abroad is the first and largest paid circulation weekly newspaper in the USA and Canada to serve the Indian community.
  • News India-Times cover News India-Times is a weekly newspaper that is the voice of the Asian Indian community in the USA, bringing important news from India and news of community activities in the USA.

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