Bangalore Tourism Information
If you’ve been in India a while, the capital of Karnataka will probably feel like a long, soothing break from endless commotion. The first city in India to get electricity, Bangalore continues, in many ways, to blaze the trail in terms of the country’s quest for a modern identity. Once known as the Garden City (and less encouragingly as Pensioner’s Paradise), the country’s most pristine city evolved significantly when the hightech revolution arrived and Bangalore suddenly found itself at the center of the nation’s massive computer hardware and software industries. Its cosmopolitan spirit fueled as much by its lively bar and cafe culture as by the influx of international businesspeople, India’s high-tech hub has a high-energy buzz, yet it’s tangibly calmer and cleaner than most other places in the country, with far and away the best climate of any Indian city—no doubt the reason the majority of upwardly mobile Indians rank it the number-one city in which to live. Unless you go in for cafe society, you won’t find very many attractions. The city’s real appeal is its zesty contemporary Indian lifestyle and its usefulness as a base for getting to the extraordinary temples and ruins of the Deccan interior and the vibrant cities of Hyderabad and Mysore.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Although it was ruled by various dynasties, Bangalore’s chief historical sights date back to the 18th-century reign of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, “the Lion of Mysore,” who put up the most spirited resistance to British imperialism. But more than anything, Bangalore is about experiencing an Indian city that brims with bars, restaurants, clubs, and positive energy—a great place for walking, window-shopping and, at night, letting your hair down. The Garden City also has lovely parks, some of which date back over 2 centuries, of which the botanical gardens at Lal Bagh are the most impressive. Set off early for Bugle Hill, site of the Bull Temple (sanctum timings daily 7:30am–11:30am and 4:30–8:30pm). Built by the city’s original architect, Kempe Gowda, this 16th-century black-granite statue of Nandi (Shiva’s sacred bull) literally dwarfs his “master,” and is kept glistening by regular applications of coconut oil.
Nearby is a Ganesha temple (Sri Dodda Ganapathi), which houses an enormous statue of the elephant-headed deity made of 100 kilos of rank-smelling butter. Apparently this idol is remade every 4 years, and the butter distributed to devotees as prasad (blessed food). Picnicking with the family and cricketing with the boys are popular pastimes in Cubbon Park (Cantonment), laid out in 1864 by the Mysore engineer, Richard Sankey. Today many visitors come to view the lovely buildings that surround the park as well as to visit the Government Museum and Venkatappa Art Gallery (& 080/ 2286-4483; Tues–Sun 10am–5pm; Rs 4/8¢), which focuses on sculpture. It contains works from Khajuraho, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh dating back to the 10th century, Buddhist figures from the 4th- and 5th-century Gandhara school, and Hoysala carvings from Belur, Halebid, and Hampi—not that these are really a match for the real thing, seen on location. While in the vicinity, take a walk or drive past Vidhana Vidhi to admire its Greco colonial–style buildings, including India’s largest state headquarters, Vidhana Soudha, Karnataka’s State Legislature and Secretariat building (no entry allowed), to marvel at what is termed “neo-Dravidian” architecture. Its blend of styles from across India is capped by one of India’s most recognizable symbols—the four-headed gold lion of Ashoka, India’s celebrated early Buddhist king. Over the entrance, a gleaming gold-lettered sign bears the somewhat optimistic slogan GOVERNMENT WORK IS GOD’S WORK. Across the road from the Vidhana Soudha, fringing Cubbon Park, is Karnataka’s two-story High Court building, or Attara Kacheri, an attractive design with red bricks and monumental Corinthian columns. If it’s a real garden you’re after, head straight for the botanical gardens at Lal Bagh (daily 9am–6pm; Rs 2/4¢), conceived and laid out by Sultan Hyder Ali in 1760. His son, Tipu, expanded the gardens further, planting exotic plants from Persia, Kabul, Turkey, and Mauritius (tropical and subtropical species) over 96 hectares (240 acres). Highlights include the Lawn Clock and the British-built glasshouse, structurally based on London’s Crystal Palace. After visiting the gardens, be sure to pop in for a meal at the Bangalore lunch institution, Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (see “Where to Dine,” below), a short distance from the entrance. Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace (daily 9am–5pm; Rs 2/4¢), built toward the end of the 18th century entirely from timber, is a relic in a city committed more to progress than to preservation. It has a somewhat sophomoric exhibition with extensive text about Tipu’s life and military conquests as well as those of his father, Hyder Ali Khan. Next door is an enormously active 17th-century temple, built by the Wodeyar kings; and just north are the ruins of Bangalore Fort, largely destroyed during the Anglo- Mysore War.
Bangalore Tour Information
It is famous for the ashram of world renowned saint philosopher Sri Satya Sai Baba. Theinternational Tech Park, one of the most modern and successful software tech parks of the country is also located here. This export oriented software centre has contributed immensely in making Bangalore the IT Capital or the ‘Silicon Valley of India’.
Bannerghata National Park (22km)
The beautiful park covers an area of 104 sq. km amidst thickly wooded hills. It is inhabited by bison, elephant, panther, wild boar, jackal, lion tailed monkey etc. There is also a lion and tiger safari, a crocodile and snake farm and a mini zoo.
Hesaraghatta Lake (25km)
The beautiful lake set amidst lush fertile landscape is famous for its boating and wind surfing facilities. The region teems with orchards, poultry and sheep farms. An Indi Danish dairy project has also been established here.
The beautiful hill resort is famous for Namada Chilume, a natural water spring, said to be created by Lord Rama. The Namada Chilume Sanctuary is about 10km from Devarayanadurg amidst thickly forested landscape.
Nandi Hills (60km)
It was the summer resort of Tipu Sultan, who strengthened the existing fortifications on the hills in 18th century. Later on, it became a favourite resort of the British. There are two ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Amrita Sarovar Lake.
This unique experimental village is dedicated to the gurukula tradition of learning to revive the Indian classical dance and music. It is a winner of rural architecture award. Vasantha Habba, the annual festival celebrated here attracts a large number of visitors.
Muthyala Maduvu (Pearl Valley) (40km)
The scenic site is named after the small pool created by the waterfalls, which looks like a ‘pond of pearl’. There is also a small temple over here.
Bangaluru is also a shopper’s paradise. Traditional handicrafts and handlooms of Karanataka like, silks, carvings in wood, sandalwood, ivory and rosewood, copper-ware, cane and bamboo furniture and crafts, lacquered wooden toys and exquisite traditional gold jewellery are very popular. One can also buy trendy readymade garments and of course the famous Mysore coffe.
Some shopping areas of Bangalore are
Good for buying branded and un-branded clothes, shoes, jewellery etc. Entertainment facilities like cinema halls, cyber cafés, bowling alley, discotheque, video game parlour and fine eating out joints are available.
For clothes, dress materials, jewellery and food.
It is dotted with a number of showrooms dealing in sarees, readymade garments, cutlery, books etc.
Bangalore Distance Guide