BENGALURU: A cycle trail by a city-based travel agency takes you to temples and food joints around them to retrace the history of Bengaluru, which is said to derive its name from culinary origins.
The trail by start-up Unventured kicks off from Lalbagh and takes participants through the lanes and bylanes of the city, weaving a narrative to retell the story of the city of boiled beans. It explores the history of the city, focussing on southern Bengaluru.
“For my partner Tejaswini Gopalaswamy and me, Unventured is a passion-turned-profession,” says co-founder Gurudeep Ramakrishna.
Their Temple and Thindi Trail, combining the themes of food and food culture with the sites of worship associated with old Bengaluru, is rather like a tribute to the city that is their home.
Part of the trail is the Venkateshwara shrine at VV Puram. “This is right off Thindi Beedi (one of the city’s biggest go-to for street fare),” he says. “And the temple dates back to Kempegowda’s time.”
A certain version of the story of how the city got its name says Kempegowda, chieftain of the Vijayanagara empire who ruled the Devanahalli region, when travelling here asked for food and was given boiled beans. In gratitude to the woman who fed him when he was hungry, he is said to have named the city Bendakaalooru.
The group next heads to MTR — Mavalli Tiffin Rooms very close to the botanical garden they start off from. Here, they learn how South Canara cooks-turned entrepreneurs invented the rava idli during World War II.
“There was rationing of rice, and you need rice to make idlis,” says the former marketing professional. “So it was sheer shortage of food that led to the invention of what has become a household dish across Karnataka.”
The Gavi Gangadhareshwara shrine that dates back to the Chola reign, the Ragigudda temple – it gets its name from the ragi fields that were once there, says Ramakrishna – and Vidyarthi Bhavan near Gandhi Bazar Circle, now famous for its masala dosas are also on the trail.
“We have several other trails too, and food is an integral part of it,” he says.
Of these, two more are Bengaluru-centric: a church trail around the Cantonment area that explores how the British Raj came to the city and a rural trail around Nandi Hills and Devanahalli, a trade hub that pre-dates Bengaluru.
Gurudeep Ramakrishna and his schoolmate Tejaswini Gopalaswamy got back in touch in 2011 and discovered they shared a common love for travel. “I was more into wildlife and the outdoorsy activities, and she, the heritage and history aspects.”
They started travelling together, and picked up one another’s interest. “I had started cycling in 2009, and we began to take cycling trips,” he says. “Cycling sets the perfect pace to learn about any place – you’re not zipping past, so you don’t miss much. And you can stop anytime to take pictures or interact with people.” It also makes you hungry. “That’s how we discovered the food,” says Ramakrishna, with a laugh. So after a decade-long stint with various start-ups and wildlife resorts, this is “my story of a start-up”.
Try it out
Apart from trails around the city, Unventured organises trails to other parts of the country, and even to Bhutan. Those interested can look up the calendar on www.unventured.com and call 094837 47703