Day 11: Goodbye India

The last day was a peaceful ending of a sometimes exhausting and overwhelming Study Trip. Some participants slept in, while others enjoyed breakfast at the hotel. Until 12 o’clock everyone had to pack and check out of the “Le Meridien” in New Delhi. Soon after we took a few cabs to get driven to the Connaught Place, which possibly could be called one of the centre of the city. We went to an Indian Fast Food restaurant, where we had lunch. There was also the official good bye with everybody being gathered. Some presents were exchanged and a lot of “thank you’s” said.

At this time the Study Trip was over and we parted ways until the evening. During the afternoon most people walked around or under (Palika Bazaar) Connaught Place to check out the shops and completed their shopping.

Around 7 in the evening, the group (more or less complete) met again at the Pindi Restaurant in Pandara Road Market, where most people already ate the first night in New Delhi. Even though nearly nobody was very hungry, all tried to get as much out of the last Indian meal by tasting several different dishes.

Since we had too much time to kill we walked back to our hotel instead of taking Tuk-Tuks. At 10 pm we said good bye to three participants, who stayed a few days more in India. We took the bus to the airport and had to say farewell to our terrific guide throughout India.

Because we arrived before 11 at the airport and our flight left after 4 o’clock in the morning we again had some time to kill. We did this mostly by waiting in queues for the control of the emigration form and the security checks.

In the duty free zone the last Indian rupees were being spent for some additional souvenirs.

Years later, as it felt, we were sitting in the plane and caught the last glimpses of this interesting country.

Day 10: Sightseeing and shopping “Indian style”

Around nine o’clock we met at the bus to start our last sightseeng day. Our first stop was at the Gate of India wich is offcially called All India War Memorial. Afterwards we went to see Humayun’s Tomb wich was built in 1562 by Humayun’s wife, a very impressive and massive building.

 

Instead of having an early lunch we went to one of Delhi’s tourist shops and to a local shopping mall where most of the stores unfortunately were closed down. While enjoying the only free wifi connection within weeks, we had a delicious Korean lunch.

After spending an individual afternoon (most of us went shopping on the markets) we went for a last dinner.

Day 9: Nasscom and Old Delhi

Today we visited Nasscom, a trade association of Indian Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing industry. The meeting was arranged at 10am but since there wasn’t much traffic we arrived half an hour earlier. So we decided to have tea and coffee at a nearby shop. The presentation at Nasscom was very interesting since their members include more than 1’200 Indian and international IT companies.

Rickshaw ride

Rickshaw ride through Old Delhi

In the afternoon we took 8 rickshaws and drove through Old Delhi and as we were quite a group we had a small racing game which was very funny. The rickshaw drivers showed us all the different markets in Old Delhi including silver, saree and wedding market. After an exciting ride through Old Delhi with the rickshaws we decided to have dinner near Connaught place, where some us went to eat at Pizza Hut and others went to eat Lebanese food.

Day 8: Taj Mahal

We left our hotel at 3am heading to Taj Mahal. During the journy we celebrated the birthday of Moritz with cake and singing. The reason for the early waking up was the idea reaching Taj Mahal in the sunrise. It turned out the ride takes longer than expected. Finally we spent around 6 hours on the road. Before visiting Taj Mahal, we stopped at Fort Agra. Fort Agra, which was built in 15 century, was the kings palast. In the middle of the fort is a temple where you can place wishes. Not only did Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy placed their wishes in the temple also we did. To save some time we decided to have lunch in the bus.

Our next stop was Taj Mahal, we were all impressend by the size of this huge and historical buidling. Our very expericed tourguide told us all facts about the history and showed us the best spots for taking pictures.

The time went by and we were in a hurry to see the last monument planed for today which is called the Red Fort. After this long day we were all tired and even Riccardo couldn’t make it to the club and went to bed.

Day 7: Charminar & flight to Delhi

After a busy stay in Hyderabad full of company visits and sightseeing activities the schedule on this day provided a break with lots of free time in the morning. Nevertheless a part of the group joined the optional early morning trip to the center of Hyderabad to visit Charminar. The Charminar was built by king Quli Qutb Shah in 1591 and is a mosque and a monument at the same time and represents the center of the city. Even though the price for a tourist is twenty times higher than the price for locals it’s worth climbing up the narrow stairs to the top and breath in the smell of the buzzing market on the ground and enjoy the view over the city.

Charminar

Charminar outlook

Charminar

Charminar

 

As people say in India: Always expect the unexpected in India! Suddenly on the way back to the bus we found ourselves in a political demonstration and 2 minutes later we had to pose for a journalist for an article about the raising fruit market in India. We gathered more deep insights into the daily life of people from India and most of us tried to capture the incredible pictures with their cameras.

Early morning group

Just one of so many different impressions

Back to the hotel we packed and left to the airport not knowing that one suitcase stayed in the hotel lobby. As the schedule was tight we had no time to wait for the suitcase. Luckily our local guide Isaac stayed and landed a few minutes later with the lost luggage in Delhi. Our hotel was situated very central and the standard was way more than expected. Sadly we couldn’t enjoy the luxury hotel beds for long as we had to be ready for the tour to Agra at 4.00am! Some of us decided to skip a powernap and enjoyed the night life till the departure. 🙂

 

Day 6: The happiest place on earth

 

Today was all about Bollywood. We visited the RAMOJI Film City – allegedly the worlds largest film studios. After a relatively short bus ride we arrived in the midst of what looked and later felt like a million Indian school kids, their teachers and a lot (!) of other locals. As the temperature climbed so did our enjoyment. The countless attractions and shows were …. very Indian. The parks biggest attraction seemed to be a group of Swiss students (us), who stayed available for photos with the other visitors.

 

Attraction: Swiss student group

Attraction: Swiss student group

After strolling around the theme park and a delicious lunch break we couldn’t hide our amazement during the bus tour around the different film sets ofall our favourite Indian movies. But the highlight was still to come. When back from the bus tour – during which we also could walk around some of the most atmospheric gardens – we attended the world famous RAMOJI Film City Stunt Show. The breathtaking stunts and pure action, combined with a heart warming story, made our hearts pump pure curry flavoured adrenaline through our veins.

The day ended up with a way too short trip on the famous Hyderabad party boat on lake Hussain Sagar, around the Buddha statue which stands majestically in the lake. During the tremendous drive we were entertained by a magnificent dance show. To the tunes of both, Indian and western music, the volume just slightly above the maximum allowed limit of most other countries. A part of Gesche died today.

Hussain Sagar: Boat ride

Hussain Sagar: Boat ride

Day 4: Battle against beasts

After a tasteful breakfast in hotel “The Park”, the first day in Hyderabad started by visiting Cognizant, which most generously sponsors this trip partly. The offices are located in the part of the city which is called “Cyberabad”. This is where nearly all IT companies premises are situated.

As always we received our badges, which held a surprise for us, at the reception. On every badge was written that we study at the International Unversity of Bern.

Then the presentations began. The first was generally about Cognizant in Hyderabad. The second presenter talked about Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions. This is a department which optimizes processes of products and their production. The third and last presentation at Cognizant was about Outsourcing in the banking sector. The presentators name was Krishnan. His presentation was built in a quite interesting and interacting way since he had only 2 slides containing key questions about Outsourcing.

After that we ate lunch standing in the 10th Diamond room at Cognizant.

When Leaving Cognizant, in the elevator, we found out that Janik is actually a Bollywood star in an upcoming movie called “English Vinglish” and is exclusively promoting his film at selected companies in India.

After a stop at the hotel we drove to the famous Golconda Fort , where we experienced warning methods by clapping from 500 years ago. At the end we attended an impressive lightshow containing some historical facts about Hyderabad. Beside that, we were also an attraction – for the various mosquitos. Luckily some of us had “Anti-Brumm” or something similar in our packages. We fought against them and we nearly won the battle — but only nearly.

All brave knights and maidens, some heavily wounded and having literally lost loads of blood, decided to get some dinner (Chicken Biryani) in a traditional Indian restaurant, where the meal originated.

At this point of time we attended interesting presentations, had a historical walkthrough, met some nice Indian peoples (including various pictures), we lost the epic battle “mosquitos vs. humans” and we recovered in a restaurant. The only thing missing by then: Some nightlife. So, we decided to sing some karaoke (Barbie Girl, Backstreetboys) at the hotel and have some drinks. Good Night Hyderabad!

Day 3: Flowers and missing suitcases

First point on our program was an optional visit on the Bangalore K.R. Flower Market around 7 a.m.. Despite the early hour there were 7 of us to see the amount of beautiful flowers that are sold every day. Afterwards it was time to checkout and getting ready for a proper Indian lunch which included chicken and naan.

Because of the busy traffic we had to skip the sightseeing and after a stop at the Bangalore Air Show we went straight to the airport. Though a delay of the flight we arrived save at Hyderabad around 8 p.m.. After a short search and rescue mission for one suitcase we got on the bus to The Park Hotel in the center of the city.

In the late evening, we had a quite European dinner at the hotel restaurant. While we had our dinner the hotel was responsible for our luggage and offered to send the suitecases to each room which ended in a huge mess. Finally, at 1 a.m. we sorted everything out and went to bed.

Day 2: Visit to Cognizant and shopping at Commercial street

The day started with a visit to Cognizant. Everyone gathered in the hotel lobby at 8.30 in the morning and then we headed to Cognizant. The building was near to other IT companies like Yahoo, Juniper and Oracle. There were two speakers from Cognizant who told us about the company itself and the recruitment process in India, which was very interesting. After the presentations we got invited for lunch in their canteen and our meal was provided from the catering service of our hotel. After lunch we went back to the hotel and took a break for one hour before leaving to the commercial street of the local market. At the commercial street we spent more than two hours shopping and experiencing the Indian way of negotiating.

shopping in a Saree shop

Afterwards we went to eat dinner in a vegetarian local restaurant called „Ullas refreshment“ where we tried a lot of spicy Indian food. Later our guide showed us a club in Brigade road where some of us danced to Indian club music and others just sat back and enjoyed a cold beer. Unfortunately the club closed at 11.30pm and so we went back to the hotel. After arriving there some people went to sleep and others played funny card games with our tour guide.

Day 1: Start of our journey in Bangalore

Our first day started with a generous breakfast at 7.00 in the morning. After a very comfortable drive in our tour bus through the crazy Bangalore traffic we safely arrived at the SAP Labs headquarter. The staff welcomed us with open arms and they gave us an introduction to SAP in general and their very important partner Cognizant. We got split in 3 groups and had a tour through the campus and the real estates. Unfortunately we were not allowed to enjoy the free lunch at the SAP campus. Instead we changed our clothes to casual clothes and took the bus to downtown and had lunch in the highest building in Bangalore. Bujar forgot his shoes and decided to live the Indian way of life – barefoot. In the afternoon the group, except Bujar, visited the botanic garden. In the meantime Bujar bought new shoes. In the evening we went to a temple. Lucky Ricardo finally found his very pricy Russian Babushka that he was looking for long time before. Our tour guide, Isaac, leaded us to a traditional Indian coffee. During the dinner it turned out that the milk had a bad influence to Marc’s stomach and he had his first real Indian experience.