Big Banyan tree and Ramanagaram

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We first made this trip on July 17th. A few weeks later, we revisited all these places with two of our colleagues who wanted to see some of the country around Bangalore. I combined pictures from both trips on this page.

On our second weekend we went to Ramohalli, another popular place about 28 km west of Bangalore. It is famous for a giant, 400 year old Banyan tree. This one spreads over an area of 3 acres!

The country road close to the big banyan tree. The banyan tree as first seen from the road. It looks like a small forest but it is only a single tree. You approach the tree over a typical Indian country road. The road actually curves around the giant tree. From the bend in the road you have a good view of the entire tree. It is really hard to believe that this is a single tree.

"Inside" the tree. The entire tree is fenced in and you enter through a gate. A friendly guide leads you around and provides useful information, for a fee of course. Nothing in India is for free! At the end of the tour, we offered Rs. 20 only to learn that it actually cost Rs. 40.

This tiny bit is the original root of the giant tree. The mother root of the tree appears to be entirely disconnected from the rest. It is not very impressing by itself.

The tiny hut of a vendor with movie advertisements. "Size matters." Outside you can buy the usual refreshments. Very interesting was a very small hut with some movie posters on the outside where you can buy fruit. The Godzilla poster actually says on the bottom Size does matter.

In the distance we could see a few hills and we asked the driver to bring us there. His answer was "Damn!". We thought he didn't want to bring us there and asked again. Again he answered "Damn!". But we got into the car anyway and started driving into the direction of the hills.

When we came closer we could see a lake. As it turned out, it was a reservoir and we were near its dam. This was what our driver had said! We just didn't understand him.

We turned off the main road onto a scenic road along the side of the reservoir. Suddenly we could not go any further because the road was blocked by a film crew. We got out of the car and went to have a closer look.

The film crew was very friendly and allowed us to take a few pictures. They explained that the movie was actually shot at different locations and the real work was already finished. They were just shooting a few takes to patch-up some scenes where the light wasn't right.

The movie is called Maya Bazaar and is due to come out this fall. We got a picture of us with the new hero, Kumar Govinda, and a stunt man. Later somebody told us that Kumar Govinda is a famous local actor.

Rudi remembered that the movie Passage to India was shot somewhere near Bangalore. So we asked the film crew and they told us, that it was shot close by, in Ramanagaram.

So we headed there and on the way we came through a few very small villages where time must have stood still for a few hundred years. It seemed that the inhabitants do not see cars very often even though the bus comes through on a regular schedule.

In some of these villages we could see wooden constructions with silkworms in them. Silkworms feed only on mulberry leaves which grow here in abundance.

A few times we had to drive through big piles of hay that were dried on the street.

Soon the landscape changed and we saw big granite hills on both sides of the road. These were the hills we were looking for. But where was the place Passage to India was shot?

Our driver brought us to a place were we could climb up some 400 stairs to a temple atop one of those granite hills. We had to stop about every 50 stairs to catch our breath and to admire the surroundings.

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Michael Prümm