Trailing the “Silk Route” with Bengaluru-by-Foot.

It’s been long that I had set my foot beyond the city limits and that didn’t quite go well with my itchy feet. I was desperately looking for some weekend treks on eventshigh.com and that’s when I found out about Nagarathpete Pettah Walk hosted by Bengaluru-by-foot. It wasn’t the first time I heard or read about them as I am constantly hunting for ways to explore more of this city. So with no second thought, I hit on ‘book’ option.

And hence the Saturday morning began on a happy note, all thanks to Mansoor Ali, the man who has been helping people like me to make some sense out of their weekends. An architect by profession and historian by choice, Mansoor holds heritage walks in Bengaluru every weekend. Mansoor was inspired by similar Heritage walks that he used to attend in Delhi. The agenda of this was to take a deeper look into the crumbling settlement of the silk dyers. Nagarathpete is predominantly occupied by the weaver, dyers, whole sellers, and testers of silk yarn.

This tiny hamlet in Bengaluru, majorly famous for the Karaga festival and the Dharamaraya Temple, bears more history to it than your eyes see, and I would have still been oblivious to if it wasn’t Mansoor.

He narrated the legends of the beheading of Sayed Muhib Shah and the tombless dargah, the tales of the martyrdom of thousands of Mysorain soldiers and of course the rise and fall of these tiny settlements who have survived the wrath of time.

We began our walk from the Baba Sharfuddin Dargah which took me by awe with its astoundingly intricate mirror work. Thanks to my habit of sleeping late, I missed out on the briefing of the history. Before this, I had never set for inside any Islamic religious place.

Baba Sharfuddin Dargah,
Mansoor briefing us on the history of Sufism and Islam.

As we blindly followed Mansoor into the narrow rustic lanes of Nagarathpete, I got into some small talks with my fellow visitor who also was an artist and played with organic colours to dye fabric. Even small talks can reveal so much about the way one thinks. We finally reached what was supposed to be the focal point of the walk, the unit of the silk yarn dyers.

A tiny room tucked in a corner of one of the many narrow lanes there, this was a typical two roomed house with around ten odd men working at different stages of the tiresome process of reeling and dying the silk yarn. The entrance was used for drying and sorting the coloured yarn, but the adjoining room was where the real work happened. The room wore a blanket of dense fumes that rose from the steaming hot baths where the yarn was dipped for dyeing. The sight was as spectacular as it was straining. Spending just five minutes in that room left me sweating and burning. Needless to mention the hardships these craftsmen are subjected to. Going forward we had a chance to visit the weavers who constantly work amidst the noisy mechanical looms.

We visited the famous Dharamaraya Swami Temple and a few more dargahs which have some really interesting legends attached to them.  And finally, the walk ended with a hearty meal and some catching up of facts from the past which I had missed at the beginning of the walk.

I am not a huge fan of the pub culture in Bangalore but these stories preserved in the bylanes of such hamlets are what give some solace to the explorer in me.

Hoping to explore more and share my stories with you soon.

Till then keep wandering 🙂

Lost in Echo of the Urbans: Russell Market

Overshadowed by the spell of contemporary shopping alternatives, Shivajinagar, the traditional commercial hub of Bangalore City hides within a treasure chest for ‘F’ word junkies. And the ‘F’ word here is truckloads of FOOD.

Known for being the hub of best perishables in the city Russell Market is the oldest market complex inaugurated in Bangalore and dates back to 1927.  The plethora of varieties of fruits and vegetables speak volumes of this yet underrated market hidden in the pockets of Shivaji Nagar.

Step in and prepare to be awestruck by the neatly placed, brightly coloured and never-seen-before varieties of fruits. And if you are fond of dry-fruits, prepare to part with your cash at the very instant. They have a wide range of them, all the way from Jordan, Turkey, Yemen and where not in the world.

Looking for a place with a character? Well, Here you are!

As soon as you enter to your left will be the fruits and dry fruits section while the rest of the space is taken by florists.  On the other side of the complex is the market for veggies fresh from the farm. Dimly lit hall, shabbily dressed walls, welcoming faces and a lot of eatables- ripe and raw, processed unprocessed, live and dead. Yeah! Right next to the complex stands the huge Beef Market that makes the largest meat shop in the city. Be it any kind of fish or shrimp, name it and you have it. Beef Market witnesses it’s largest crowds early in the day on weekends when the meat lovers turn to it for their not so pious cravings.

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The street food lovers will dig this place for there is a plethora of budget-friendly options to choose from and not enough space in the tummy. The aromas of the Kababs and Biryani are enough to get any foodie weak at their knees.

 

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What got me hooked on the place was the caramel custard that I had in one of the shops. The idea is to not fill yourself up in a single shop and regret seeing another which for some undecipherable reason appears more tempting to your eyes than the previous one.

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Exploring this food heaven could be quite daunting if you are left by yourself, so make sure you tag your best foodie friend along to be able to make the best out of the experience. Trust me it’s an “experience” indeed.