Dispatch from India: Shravanabelagola, shopping, tune tips

August 05, 2008

Steve Garguilo, Joel Boucher, Matt Prindible and Larissa Andrejko are rising seniors in Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology. They are spending this summer in Bangalore, India, interning for Honeywell International, a diversified technology and manufacturing corporation. They are blogging about their experiences on the other side of the world. Included in this dispatch is an installment from Garguilo’s blog.

We were originally looking forward to a weekend in Kathmandu, Nepal, and to seeing Mount Everest in our last weekend. But, due to the increased security concerns, we had to cancel that trip. (Bummer.) I'm out some money, but I'm confident that I'll have the opportunity again some day to make it up there and, hopefully, at a time when things are more stable.

The work week went by pretty fast. I put the finishing touches on my project reports, and only will have to do some minor revisions this week should my team feel they are necessary. This coming Friday, it'll all be done! It's hard to believe there are just a few days left here. There's a lot more in India I hope to see one day, but I'm more than happy with everything I've gotten the chance to experience this summer.

Last Friday included a visit to Wipro, one of India's largest IT companies. Their campus was beautiful, and we had a wonderful talk with their head of solutions strategy and architecture. It's been nice that Honeywell has been supportive of us visiting some other companies during our stay. If we don't run out of time, we may try to squeeze in visits to TCS  and CSC next week as well.

Saturday was a visit to Shravanabelagola, and we had an awesome time. While travel to Nepal was out of the question, a day-trip within our state of Karnataka was deemed to be OK, and we were happy to explore. Four hours in the car and more than 600 steps later, we arrived at the top of Vindhyagiri hill to see what is said to be allegedly the world's largest monolithic statue. Well, it's definitely big. At 17.38 meters high (more than 57 feet), it's an impressive sight and was definitely worth climbing up and back down all those stairs. Another hill and another few hundred stairs later, we found ourselves in another neat part of the city with spectacular views. The top of Chandagiri hill was very quiet and very peaceful. We each found a spot to just sit down on the hill and stare out into the distance for a little while, and that was an enjoyable break. It might not be Mount Everest, but Shravanabelagola was a neat place to visit, and certainly will be memorable, even if just for the name.

After tossing around a number of ideas about how we wanted to spend Sunday, our last free day in India, we decided to sleep in a little bit and make one final trip to Commercial Street for souvenirs. We all left happy after another successful round of bargaining, and I think we now all have a sufficient amount of different items to appease our friends and families when we arrive back home in the United States. On the way home from our day of shopping and looking around, we decided to all take one rickshaw, and I got to drive. OK, I didn't really get to drive, but I did get to sit up front in what was a tight squeeze for all involved, but that was fun, too, considering it was probably our last rickshaw ride.

This last week is sure to go fast, and while there are many things I'll miss, there are many things I'm excited for at home, too, from friends to family to food to the fall and football.

Quick notes:
Check out “Deewangi Deewangi" from Om Shanti Om, and “Pappu Can’t Dance” from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, if you're interested in hearing some popular Indian music. We hear these songs on the shuttle to work, and they've become two of my favorites.

Thank you to everyone who's been following along with these dispatches this summer, I hope you've enjoyed them.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009