Ultimate Travel Guide to Bangalore

With a population of around 8.5 million people in an area little more than 3000 square miles, Bangalore Metropolitan area is divided into Bengaluru Nagara (Bangalore Urban), Bengaluru Gramantara (Bangalore Rural) and Ramanagara districts.

This map prepared by the erstwhile Bangalore Agenda Task Force shows all the taluks (subdivision of districts).

6.5 million people live in the pink, green and purple (map) areas. It is also shown in a separate box below. This is the Bangalore Urban district, where you will hang out the most.

This is where most tourist attractions are situated. The other two districts are mostly an agrarian economy and industries of the primary sector, but that's changing with public and private investments.

Most tourists and backpackers miss Bangalore and head off to Mysore, Kerala or Goa, treating this as a pit stop. But there's a lot to see and do. It's no more a city that limited by the four watch towers.

bengaluru-map-districts-taluks

Getting Into Bengaluru

1. Kempegowda International Airport (IATA: BLR)

The only airport in Bengaluru was opened to air traffic in May of 2008. The airport is to the North near Devanahalli, about 30 kilometers from the city. From here you can take:

→ Vayu Vajra buses: Bengaluru's transport corporation runs buses from the airport to different places within Bangalore. (₹100 - 250)

→ Taxis: Taxis are the most expensive option and they can be hired outside the terminal to get to the cities. (₹500 - 2500)

→ Inter-city buses: Karnataka's inter-city transport corporation runs direct inter-city luxury buses to Mysore (₹739) and Kundapura (₹1096) from outside the terminal.

2. Train Stations:

There are four major railway stations in Bangalore and there are many online booking platforms that will give you almost accurate timings.

→ Bangalore City Junction (code: SBC/KSR): Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna station is the main train station and is an important junction in South India.

Situated in Subashnagar (Majestic), they have direct trains to most big cities in India.

→ Yeshwantpur junction (code: YPR): This was made operational to lighten the load of the main station.

Some of the long-distance trains originate from here. 'Howrah Express' to Kolkata for example.

→ Bangalore Cantonment station (code: BNC): Situated at Vasanthanagar, this was built by the British to operate between here and Chennai (Jolarpetai), it is well connected today.

→ Krishnarajapuram railway station (code: KJM): This station serves the eastern part of Bengaluru and is near to the International Tech Park (ITPL), and Whitefield.

3. Bus Stations:

There are mainly three inter-city bus stations in Bangalore city. It takes about an hour for the buses to reach the stations once they enter the city.

→ Kempegowda bus terminus (Central Bengaluru): It is located opposite the main train station, in Central Bangalore.

Buses to many places to North, West Karnataka and Maharashtra originate and terminate here.

→ Shantinagar bus station (Southern Bengaluru): Situated close to Lalbagh, this station has KSRTC buses to Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.

There are also TNSTC, SETC buses to Tamil Nadu, and APSRTC buses to Andhra Pradesh operating from here.

→ Mysore Road Satellite Bus Station (buses to Mysore): It is located on the Mysore Road near the Gopalan Mall.

All the buses to Mysore originate and terminate here. There are buses to parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Getting Around

1. City Buses:

Traveling in BMTC buses is slow but reliable. It is well connected, however, traveling long distance take time and you may need to change at least two buses.

There are AC and non-AC buses. They also run Bangalore Darshan buses every day from the Subashnagar bus station.

Buying a daily pass will let you use the buses without having to buy a second ticket for the day. There are daily and monthly passes separately for travel in AC and non-AC buses.

2. Namma Metro

Bangalore Metro is new, not as extensive as Delhi or as frequent as Mumbai local. It came a decade late. While it will not get you off the beaten path, it works.

You can buy a single ticket or a pre-paid value card called Varshik (₹150) at the counter at any metro station.

Traveling with a card will be 15% cheaper than a group or single ticket. Even if you stay for a few days, this card may come in handy.

Open hours: 5 AM to 11 PM every day.

Please note: There is no Metro-BMTC pass or smart card yet. No oyster for you.

 

 

3. Taxis:

There are many taxi companies in Bangalore. Few of the taxi companies in Bangalore are Ola and Uber.

4. Auto Rickshaws:

There are many in Bangalore and they may over charge you if you don't negotiate the price before the journey.

There are companies you can rely on like Ola and  mGaadi and they have fixed price.

People in Bengaluru

While Kannada speakers are the largest community, they are not the absolute majority. Most people are immigrants and descendants of immigrants.

English is spoken by most people and is useful if Kannada is not your first language.

It does not matter whether they cannot speak English or Hindi because they will attempt to understand you and speak to you in a smattering of English or Hindi they know.

Autorickshaw and taxi drivers can speak some Hindi or English. If you can understand them, they are willing to discuss how their day is going.

Being a strategic importance militarily, military men have lived here.

Cholas, Kings of Vijayanagar, Marathas, Mughals and the British have got to live here after their military conquests in the region.

In the 17th and century, Kempe Gowda and the Mysore Maharaja invited cloth merchants, potters, weavers from the kingdoms speaking other languages like Telugu and Tamil to live here and sell their stuff and it became a hub for trade.

While the Mysore Maharaja brought in the rich Tamil and Telugu merchants, the British brought in the labour class when they set up their barracks in the Cantonment area.

In today’s Bangalore, there is big presence of the Tulu community, the Anglo-Indians, the Sindhis, Tibetans, Chinese, East Asians and the Europeans.

The best result of immigration is the food.

Helpful Kannada phrases

Namaskaara = Hello

Chennagiddeera? = How are you?

Nimma hesaru yenu? = What is your name?

Idakke eshtu? = how much does it cost?

Restaurant/Hotel yellide = where is this restaurant/hotel?

Oota aayitha? = Did you finish lunch/dinner?

Chillare illa =I don’t have change

Jaana = Good boy/girl

Where to stay?

While there are plenty of hotels, inns and guest houses, the best part of traveling should be staying with the locals, eating with them and if you please, travel with them.

Airbnb has a good listing of cool places to stay. The link will help you sign up and let you claim a credit of ₹1,200 on your first booking.

Booking.com is an easy to use booking site that has a nice list of places. Most of them are near to a shopping district.

Guide to Bengaluru

Central Bengaluru

(ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು)

The center of government, business, and culture of Bangalore. There are people everywhere because there are of government and private offices.

You may be stopped by traffic policemen when a government convoy passes by. You may see protests, marches, political events and for sure insane traffic during rush hour.

Depending on where you are in central Bangalore, you can get to interesting places, restaurants, and nightlife. This is probably where you will stay.

Bengaluru pété (ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ಪೇಟೆ)

One auspicious morning in the 15th century AD, four people, each controlling a bullock cart with a plow, drive in four different directions at the instructions of Kempe Gowda, drawing a line in four different directions. The line from East to West became Chikkapete Street, and the line from North to South became Doddapete street.

Kempegowda built a fort and surrounded it with a moat. This area has crammed spaces, old buildings and narrow streets. It is a hub of activity in the evenings and there are cars, trucks, people and bicycles fighting for space on these narrow streets.

bangalore-fort

 

Bangalore Fort

This is where the elites of the ooru (city) lived. It is in the middle of the crowded New Thagarupet area.Kempegowda built this oval fort and had mud walls, it was later strengthened with stones by Tipu.

There is a shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha. In the “Battle of Bangalore” in 1791, Lord Cornwallis’s army breached the fort. The breach is marked today and it can be seen from the outside.

There is a small dungeon in the fort. There was once a mint, a foundry to build Tipu’s war machines like the cannon, musket barrels and rockets. After Tipu’s death in 1799, the fort became an office + garrison for the Brits.

Today, only the Delhi Gate along with two bastions stand. Most of the fort has been dismantled and the stones were used to build the Minto Eye Hospital and Victoria Hospital.

Time: 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM everyday

Nearest Metro: KR Market

tipu-bangalore-palace

 

Tipu Sultan's summer palace

Tipu Sultan's summer palace, “Rash-e-Jannat” or "envy of heaven", was part of the Bangalore Fort. This two-storey building was once a huge edifice with teak pillars balancing the ceiling.

Tourists today see only a small section of the palace. The palace walls and ceilings were painted back then, but today it is painted black.

The Mysore Maharaja gave it to the British who used it as their office from 1831 to 1868. There is a small museum on the ground floor that gives us a glimpse of the 18th century Bangalore.

Next to the palace walls is the Kote Venkataramana Swamy Temple, built by Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar in the 17th century.

Time: 8:30 AM to 7 PM

Entry fee: ₹15 for Indians, ₹200 for foreigners ₹25 if you are a camera

Nearest Metro: KR Market

Chikpété (ಚಿಕ್ಕಪೇಟೆ)

It is one of the commercial districts of the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore, still is today. Makes it as old as this city. This place has narrow congested roads that have wires and cables hanging.

Steel and plastic utensils are sold here. Most delivery services buy their packaging materials from here.

This place supplied silk to the Mysore royalty, it is now recommended for people who want to buy silk sarees and gold jewellery. But this place is not just about clothes.

While cloth material is bought from here by cloth entrepreneurs, there are shops where sarees, lehengas and men’s and children’s wear can be bought.

Some of the saree shops here are Sudarshan Store, Mysore Silk Emporium, KalamandirKancheepuram S.M. Silks and Kuberan Silks.

Adinath Jain Temple that belongs to the Swethambara sect is here and was constructed in 1878.

Nearest Metro: Chikpet

 

K.R. Market

In 1928, Sir Mirza Ismail, the Diwan (Prime Minister) of Mysore inaugurated the Krishna Rajendra Market and opened it for the people of the Kingdom of Mysore.

Vendors sold vegetables, fruits, flowers, spices, mud pots and copperware here and they still do.

 

Big Mosque

Next to the KR Market is the Jamia Masjid, that is five-storey high with minarets around. The mosque can hold up to 10,000 people.

There is a school at the basement that teaches children in English. You probably want to get on the flyover for a full view.

 

Cubbon Park (ಕಬ್ಬನ್ ಪಾರ್ಕ್)

Cubbon Park is a 120-hectare garden that came up in 1864. Painted red is the colonial era building called the Central State Library that stands in the middle of the park.

There is Bal Bhavan next to it that has rides for children. Many events take place inside the park. This is also a place where artists hang out.

Walkers and joggers come here in the mornings and the evenings.

Time: All day

Nearest Metro: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Cubbon Park

Cantonment (ಕಂಟೋನ್ಮೆಂಟ್)

The Brits wanted a place in Bangalore to call their own because of favourable climate.

The Mysore Maharaja gave them land where they could build it. Most of all it was mosquito infested.

Eventually, a cantonment with offices and garrisons came up. Today it is where tourists come to hang out, buy stuff, drink beer and all.

karnataka-state-legislature-vidhana-soudha

 

Vidhana Soudha

Completed in 1956, this is the state legislature building and has an impressive flight of steps built using Dravidian architecture.

It is enormous and a pride of Bangalore. It was built by Kengal Hanumanthaiah, the first chief minister of Karnataka.

It took four years to build until which the Karnataka government was operating from the Attara Kacheri, that was right opposite to the Soudha. There is a statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar near the legislature building.

Whilst Vidhana Soudha is the North block, the relatively new Vikasa Soudha was built a decade ago and has more government offices.

However, no one is allowed inside unless you made an appointment to meet a minister or an officer, which is probably when you want to get something done.

Time: All day, but lit during 6 PM to 8:30 PM

Nearest Metro: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

karnataka-high-court-attara-kacheri

 

Attara Kacheri

Built in 1868 for the British administration to have offices, it is now where the High Court of Karnataka is housed. It is a classical Pompeiian red building opposite to the Vidhana Soudha.

It is called Attara kacheri because there were eighteen offices for eighteen administrative departments.

visveswaraya-technological-museum-science-bangalore

 

VIT Museum

Visvervaraya Industrial and Technological Museum was established to commemorate engineer-statesman Sir M. Visvevaraya on his 100th birthday.

Sir MV lived beyond the inauguration of this museum until 1962. There are five levels and each floor is dedicated to a discipline of science and there are many scientific exhibits and engines.

You can touch and try most of them.

Time: 10 AM to 6 PM

Entry fee: ₹50

Location: Kasturba Road

government-museum-bangalore

 

Government Museum & Venkatappa Art Gallery

Situated at Kasturba Road next to Cubbon Park and the VIT Museum, the building was designed by Colonel Sankey.

The two-floor museum has various sections namely, geology, natural history, the arts, numismatics and sculpture. Some exhibits dates to 5000 years ago.

Venkatappa Art Gallery has artworks created by K. Venkatappa, Raja Ravi Varma, KK Hebbar and others. The building is impressive and exhibits paintings and sculptures in three floors.

Time: 10 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Mondays and public holidays

Entry fee: ₹10 for adults and ₹5 for children

Location: Kasturba Road

mg-road-bangalore

 

MG Road

Mahatma Gandhi road, the erstwhile South parade ground stretches to three kilometers. Many banks have their city branch over here.

Brigade road and church street attached to MG Road have many restaurants, theaters, quaint cafés here.

Time: Anytime

Nearest Metro: M.G. Road

 

St. Mark’s Cathedral

Established in 1808 and consecrated as a cathedral in 1947, St. Mark’s was one of the first buildings to come up in the cantonment area.

This church served only the British when it was built. This building is more than 200 years old and has a peaceful atmosphere.

Time: Weekdays: 9 AM to 1 PM & 2PM to 5:30 PM; 9 AM to 5:30 PM on Saturdays

Shivajinagar (ಶಿವಾಜಿನಗರ)

First called Kappusandra and then Blackpally, it came up next to the Cantonment area to house the Tamil speakers that worked in the Cantonment and to house the tannery and butcher industries.

Today it is a transport hub that connects North Bangalore. Crowded almost all the time, it is known for the food and wooden furniture stores.

Shop at the Commercial street and go on a food trail.

 

Russel Market

While KR Market served the needs of the people in the city near the fort, the Russel market, built in 1927, served the needs of them living in the cantonment.

Not far away from the market is the St. Andrew’s church.

Time: 9:30 AM to 9 PM

Nearest Metro: M.G. Road

 

St. Mary’s Basilica

People living in Blackpally (Shivajinagar), following the Christian faith, did not go to St. Mark’s. So, St. Mary’s chapel was raised in 1882 by Abbe Dubois, a French architect.

Mr. Dubois was very much interested in the community that lived in the Blackpally and the people of the community loved him.

Time: 6 AM to 9 PM

Nearest Metro: Cubbon Park

Ulsoor (ಹಲಸೂರು)

Next to Shivajinagar is Halasuru or Ulsoor which is a residential area that came up around the lake, dug at the instruction of Kempe Gowda.

Expensive place to have a home these days. There is boating to the island in the middle of the lake and the army has a training facility in this area.

The bank of the lake is also the site of the Kempe Gowda tower.

It is not entirely visible from the street, but it is said that there is a bell with Chinese inscription on it that the thambis (soldiers) of the Madras Regiment took from a temple in Nanking during the Opium Wars and brought to St. Thomas Mount.

It was later shipped to Bangalore Cantonment and was placed here.

 

Sri Guru Singh Sabha

This white building is the first thing that catches your eye when you enter Ulsoor from M.G. Road.

This is the biggest gurudwara in Bangalore and is situated on the banks of Ulsoor lake.

Langar is held every Sundays and you can also take the time to serve food.

Time: Anytime; Langar: 11 AM to 4:30 PM and 7 PM to 11:30 PM on Sunday

Nearest Metro: Halasuru and Trinity

 

Halasuru Someshwara & Subramanya Temples

While the Halasuru Someshwara temple was built by the Cholas and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Subramanya temple is said to be built 800 years ago and was frequented by the Mysore Kings.

It is dedicated to Murugan or Lord Subramanya.

Time: 6AM to 12 PM & 5:30 to 8PM

Nearest Metro: Halasuru

 

St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral

Home of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Bangalore, it was constructed in 1930. There is a large central dome and a twin domed tower.

There huge prayer hall, there are paintings and statues of saints.

Time: All day

Nearest Metro: M.G. Road

mosque-road-frazer-town

 

The Extensions

As the population in the Cantonment grew larger, new extensions of Frazer Town and Cox’s Town came up. The first houses were built in the year 1910.

It used to have commercial businesses along with residences, but today, there are IT firms. There still are colonial bungalows and Europeans living here.

Coles Park or Freedom fighters park is situated next to St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral. This place is best visited in the evenings on an auto rickshaw.

Visit Mosque Road to eat some nice kebabs and lamb biryanis.

East Bengaluru (ಪೂರ್ವ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು)

This is a cosmopolitan suburb of Bengaluru. Some streets of the East Bengaluru are lined with Gulmohar trees.

It is a shopping haven and there is an upcoming aviation hub.

There are technology parks and shopping districts scattered across east Bengaluru.

Indiranagar (ಇಂದಿರಾನಗರ)

Cosmopolitan Indirangar has large bungalows on either side of the street, trees and retail outlets. There are residences on both sides of the street.

Off late, this is where food and luxury goods entrepreneur start-up.

While H.S.R. Layout and Koramangala has technology start-ups, Indiranagar is a hub for non-tech start-ups like Idiom Design.

 

Indiranagar 100 ft. Road & CMH Road

While the 100 feet road is the main artery of Indiranagar, the CMH Road cuts across it and their junction is a site for traffic congestion.

Thanks to the Purple line, you can fly. Another place where you can pub hop, shop and eat.

There are pubs like Toit and bookshops like Crossword and Gangarams. There is a Sapna bookstore off the 100 feet road.

Nearest Metro: Indiranagar

 

H.A.L. Museum

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (H.A.L.) has made Bengaluru, the aeronautical capital of India.

Industrialist Walchand Hirachand set up Hindustan Aircraft in the year 1940 here, to use the scientific talent supplied mostly by the IISC.

During the war, the airfield and its hangars were used by the allies to repair their aircrafts.

After the nationalization of H.A.L., they have had many successes. The LCA and the ALH were created here. The small airfield was operated as a domestic airport.

When the new airport was inaugurated at Devanahalli, this place was taken over by the air force.

There is a museum on the H.A.L. road that details the success story of H.A.L. and there are life size models of the aircrafts the H.A.L. made.

Time: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Everyday

Entry fee: Rs.20 per head.

Nearest Metro: Indiranagar

Whitefield (ವೈಟ್ ಫೀಲ್ಡ್)

Formerly a 50-house village for white people, today the traffic jams are so bad, that you can reach Mysore before you can reach Whitefield.

An establishment for the Anglo Indians and Europeans, this settlement was built on a land granted by the Mysore Maharaja, it is today a technology and commercial hub, and a cultural and entertainment center.

There are interesting things to do that doesn't involve creating a software.

Further from Whitefield is the International Tech Park, the oldest IT park in Bengaluru, this township has apartment blocks, grocery stores, production offices for some of the biggest organizations like IBM, TCS among many others.

There is a shopping mall that serves the employees in the park and Vivanta by Taj, a top-end hotel. There are IT company offices outside the IT park.

West Bengaluru (ಪಶ್ಚಿಮ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು)

Traditional Bangalore and home to one of the best institutions for sciences is situated here. There is also mix of the old and new.

There are many temples, shopping streets and there is Malleshwaram, one of the oldest residential areas of Bangalore.

Malleshwaram (ಮಲ್ಲೆಶ್ವರಂ)

Malgudi Days, written by R.K. Narayan is a portmanteau of Malleshwaram and Basavanagudi. The train station on the video looks like the Malleshwaram train station.

Flanked by trees on both sides, the two main roads of Malleshwaram are Sampige (jasmine) road and Margosa (neem) road.

8th cross is the busiest in the evenings, vendors take over the curb and sell their wares.

Popular street eats include corn laced with chilli+salt paste, tender coconut, bhel puri and spiced groundnuts.

Being a cultural hub, there are places where you can go to an auditorium to catch a play or music.

There are many temples, schools and popular colleges.

 

Nandeshwara & Kadu Malleshwara Temple

Kadu Malleshwara is said to have been built by Ekoji, a Maratha ruler, Shivaji’s brother, who conquered and ruled over Bangalore. Malleshwaram got its name from this temple. 

Near the Kadu Malleshwara temple, another temple that draws in a huge crowd is Sri Dakshinakukha Nandi Tirtha Kalyani Kshetra.

It could be in the same complex as the Kadu Malleshwara. Buried under dirt, this temple was discovered recently. Shrouded in mystery? Yes, Is it over 7000 years old? Unsure.

At the center of the stone courtyard, there is a Shivalinga cut off the same black granite as the Nandi idol.

The courtyard is supported by stone pillars and there is a pool in the middle of the courtyard.

Said to be an example of ancient hydraulic engineering, there is the Nandi at the end of the courtyard and water pours out of the mouth of the Nandi and falls on the Shivalinga.

The source of the water is still to be determined.

Time: 7:30 AM to 12 PM & 5 PM to 8:30 PM

Nearest Metro: Sampige Road, Bus: Malleshwaram 15th cross

 

ISKCON Temple

Created in 1997 and maintained by the International Society for Krishna Conscious, this Krishna temple is at the top of the Hare Krishna Hill.

Built using modern methods, the huge hall is where the marble idol of Krishna and Radha is situated. The tower of the temple is gold plated and so is the flag pole.

There are Hare Krishna volunteers chanting Vedic mantras everywhere in the premises.

There are souvenir shops, a guesthouse, a hall where Vedic mantras are chanted and a Dwarakapuri Hall that hosts wedding ceremonies.

Devotees attend pujas and aartis early in the morning at 3:30 A.M. and at 7 A.M., when the conch shells blow, that is the signal that the hall is open to the public for darshan.

Time: 7 A.M. to 1 P.M. and 4 P.M. to 8:30 P.M.

Nearest Metro: Mahalakshmi

Sadashivnagar (ಸದಾಶಿವನಗರ)

An upscale neighbourhood, it was converted into a residential area after the Wodeyars of Mysore put up their palace garden for sale.

Today there are homes of film stars, politicians and businessmen.

Some of the notable names include Dr. Rajkumar, B.D Jatti, S.M. Krishna, V.G. Siddhartha, H.D. Deve Gowda and Kengal Hanumanthaiah.

 

Chowdiaiah Memorial Hall

Named after T. Chowdiah, inventor of the seven-stringed violin, it is one of the popular cultural hubs of Bangalore.

It hosts theatre festivals, music concerts, dance performances and other shows.

The hall is shaped like a violin and one can view its shape from up the Sakney Road.

Nearest Metro: Mahalaksmi

Address: Gayatri Devi Park Extension, Malleshwaram West

sankey-tank-bangalore

 

Sankey Tank

This man-made tank was built and named after Madras Sappers Regiment’s Col. Richard Heiram Sankey, the same dude who built the Attara Kacheri.

There is a quaint little park which is good to hang out in the evening or read a book.

Time: 6 AM to 8 PM

Entry fee: ₹10 for an adult, ₹5 for a child, ₹20 for boating

Nearest Metro: Sampige Road

bangalore-palace

 

Bangalore Palace

Built like a tudor castle, Bangalore Palace initially was built to serve as a hotel, but then the Maharaja of Mysore bought it and made it his residence. The palace is open to public.

30,000 paintings in the premises show the history of the Wodeyars and Bangalore. It is featured in many movies.

The Wodeyars still have a residence there.

Time: 10 AM to 5:30 PM

Entry fee: ₹250 for Indians, ₹250 for foreigners, ₹700 for still camera and ₹1500 for video

Nearest Metro: Cubbon Park

 

Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath

An institute for visual arts and culture. The campus has 18 art galleries that showcases paintings, sculptures and folk arts.

It was started in 1960 as an art schoolwhere painting, sculpting and art history were taught. Now people can pursue advanced studies in art.

Chitra Santhe, an annual event happens here.

Time: 10 AM to 7 PM

Location: Kumara Krupa Road

 

National Gallery of Modern Art

This art museum is housed in an old building and gives a purview of various forms of paintings and other forms of art.

There is substantial collection of paintings by Jamini Roy, Tagore, Ravi Varma. There are trees outside the galleries and is a delight to walk in the garden.

The 180 seater auditorium hosts cultural and art related events.

Time: 6AM to 8PM

Entry fee: ₹20 for Indians and ₹500 for foreigners

Nearest Metro: Vidhana Soudha and Cubbon Park

iisc-bangalore

 

Indian Institute of Science

After some extensive research, Jamshedji Tata decided that Bangalore should be the location of the IISC, where some of the brilliant minds can be educated and scientific progress could be achieved without interruption.

After receiving the blessings of the Mysore Maharaja who wanted the Kingdom of Mysore to be a scientific and a knowledge capital, the institute was set up in 1911 on the land he received from the Maharaja.

Even if you are not a nerd, take a walk in this tree-lined campus with beautiful gardens, the Gulmohar trees, and some bird life.

There may be some events or talks you could attend where non-nerds are invited.

Time: 9 AM to 5:30 PM only on weekdays

Nearest Metro: Yeshwantpur

South Bengaluru (ದಕ್ಷಿಣ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು)

South Bengaluru has a mix of traditional and cosmopolitan Bangalore.

While Jayanagar, Basavanagudi, Banashankari has old houses, festivals, ancient temples, places like Koramangala, HSR Layout, Electronics City has high-end restaurants, hotels, technology companies and startups.

 

Lalbagh (ಲಾಲ್ ಭಾಗ್)

Inspired by a Mughal garden at Sira, a city Hyder Ali took, he set up Lalbagh at Mavalli for his evening stroll and he brought in rare trees.

After Tipu inherited the park after Hyder’s passing, he had exotic trees brought here from Turkey, Africa and whichever countries Tipu travelled to.

Later, a Brit named Cameron and Krumbeigal, a German oversaw its development. Spread over 250 acres today, it is used by morning walkers and joggers.

It draws in the crowd to its bi-annual flower shows in the months of January and then in August.

The glass house indicates that you are in the middle of the park. There is a gazebo that hosts musicians.

There is a walking track, lots of rare trees, opinionated people, photographers who wait patiently to for photo opportunities of birds huddled at the grains scattered on the ground and children who will make sure the said photo opportunities are ruined.

Time: 6 A.M. to 7 P.M. everyday

Nearest Metro: Lalbagh

Bring a book or a friend.

Basavanagudi (ಬಸವನಗುಡಿ)

A place of commerce and residence, it is one of the first extensions of Bangalore. It was developed before the plague, the plague that devastated life and livelihood near the fort area.

While houses were destroyed or disinfected by the Mysore authorities, lots of people died and people were segregated. They were not allowed to leave town.

Railway stations were closed to people until they produced a certificate that said they were clean.

At this time, people moved to Basavanagudi and Malleshwaram to seek a better life and find work. Some of the business establishments here are in existence since then.

Basavanagudi flourished in 1920s and considered as home to native Bangaloreans. Tradition takes a front seat here and so does vegetarian food.

 

Tindi Beedi

A ten-minute walk from Lalbagh, is the Thindi Beedi or the eat street, a street lined with small shops and food carts that sell some of the tastiest vegetarian cuisines.

It is crowded during the rush hour and that is when food is served fresh. While some use modern cooking gas stoves, some use charcoal.

Food is served at a low cost and is one of the top food destinations in Bangalore.

While set dosa, onion dosa or masala dosa is a popular pick here or anywhere in Bengaluru, avarekalu dosa is the popular eat here.

A range of eats one can try are the akki rotti, holige, ragi dosa, idly chutney, sweets.

Time: Anytime after 6 P.M.

Location: V.V. Puram. Near Sajjan Rao Circle

Nearest Metro: Lalbagh

 

Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple

Situated near Basavanagudi is the Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, where the sanctum is in a gavi (cave).

A ten-minute ride from the Thindi Beedi, it is in a quiet neighbourhood of Gavipuram. The low roof of the cave will force you to bend lower or force you to nurse that nasty bump if not.

What is cool about this temple is that the sun shines the light onto the Shiva linga inside the sanctum for few minutes or an hour, illuminating the otherwise dark sanctum, with sun rays passing through the horns of the Nandi statue outside the sanctum.

This event happens on the day of Sankranti (January 15th) and thousands of devotees get here to see it happen.

The visit is over within ten minutes but on Sankranti, you take that much time to figure out where to go.

Time: 7:30 A.M to 12:00 P.M. and 5 P.M. to 8:30 P.M.

Nearest Metro: Lalbagh and National College

Location: Gavipuram

gandhi-bazar-basavanagudi-bangalore

 

Gandhi Bazaar

One of the shopping destinations of old Bangalore. It is crowded, noisy, but with great choices for shopping and food.

Anything from an incense stick to flowers to sarees are sold here. Shopkeepers and salesperson are old school here.

They do not show frustration if you reject the choice of clothes, jewels they show and walk away.

The streets of Gandhi Bazar are a flower show in the morning and in the evening. Fruits and vegetables are sold on carts.

 

Bull Temple & Dodda Ganesha Temples

Located next to the bugle rock, it is said that Kempe Gowda had this huge stone carved into the idol of Lord Ganapathi.

One of the popular landmarks of South Bengaluru, Dodda Ganesha temple gets crowded during the evening pooja time. People bring in new vehicles to get it blessed.

Bull temple is dedicated to Nandi, Lord Shiva's vehicle to calm down a giant bull that devastated the groundnut crops.

Farmers dedicate their groundnut produce to the deity every year, in an event called 'Kadale kai parishe' or the 'groundnut festival'. It is crowded then, but less crowded the rest of the year.

A visit here can be finished by hanging out in the Bugle rock park that also hosts other temples dedicated to Shiva and Yellamma.

This park hosted a bugle that was sounded to alert the city of an enemy attack.

Location: Opposite to the BMS College, Bull Temple Road

Koramangala (ಕೋರಮಂಗಳ)

Situated to the east of Jayanagar and Basavanagudi, Koramangala transformed from 'swamp to swanky' and is cosmopolitan. There are tree-lined boulevards, luxury apartments and cafes.

It is one of the start-up hubs of the city and you may find start-ups operating out of a small apartment. Some of the richest people of Bangalore and expats live here.

Forum Mall, the first shopping mall in Bangalore where the start-up and college folks hang out until there came many.

Among the many shops is the Landmark. This is about books. They have the new releases and bestsellers. Sometimes they host book releases of some famous names.

Another bookstore worth mentioning is the Atta Gallatta. This is a bookstore, a cafe and an event space.

You can find Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and English language books. Like they say on their website, they deal with books and breads.

Besides books, there are other fun things you can do in Koramangala. There are many coworking spaces too.

Jayanagar (ಜಯನಗರ) & J.P. Nagar (ಜಯಪ್ರಕಾಶ್ ನಗರ)

Jayanagar came up after the Independence and is a stronghold of Kannadiga Brahmins. This well-planned area has tree-lined avenues, huge homes and large playgrounds.

Jayanagar and Jayaprakash Nagar are twins and you cannot tell each other apart. There are apartments, shopping malls, schools and places of interests that are hidden among trees and houses.

Jayanagar shopping complex at 4th block was built to serve the people of Jayanagar. Today, the shopping area has grown beyond the walls of the shopping complex.

Near the complex is Total Kannada, a store that is dedicated to Kannada.

Movies, books, magazines and T-shirts, they have books written by S.L. Byrappa, Poorna Chandra Tejaswi, Kuvempu, Girish Karnad and Shivram Karanth to name few.

 

Ranga Shankara

Named after Shankar Nag, a versatile Kannada film actor, Ranga Shankara is a well-known theatre that is a platform for artists to showcase their craft.

There is Kannada, English and other language plays, sabudana vada at the café and paperback bookstore.

Time: After 3 PM

Nearest Metro: R.V. Road

ragi_gudda_temple_bangalore

 

Ragi Gudda Temple

On top of a small hill is the ragi gudda temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Both young and old visit here, to find some peace, away from traffic and chaos.

The temple is named so because the main idol was believed to be formed on a gudda (heap) of ragi (millet grains).

The trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva chose to remain on this heap and turned themselves into the stone hill on which the temple stands.

Time: Everyday: 8 A.M. to 11:30 A.M & 5 P.M. to 8.30 P.M. A little longer on weekends.

Location: 2nd Phase J.P. Nagar

Nearest Metro: RV Road

Getting there: There is public transport available in plenty near the temple.

Electronics City - Begur (ಇಲೆಕ್ಟ್ರಾನಿಕ್ಸ್ ಸಿಟಿ - ಬೇಗೂರ್)

Hidden away behind Electronic City and neglected, the village of Begur has a history that pre-dates Bangalore.

If you are commuting to work in Electronic City through the Begur village, the 400-odd year old fort will catch your attention.

On close inspection, it looks there was a town 900 years ago and a major battle was fought here.

The victory stone says Buttanna Setti (a warrior) died in battle here in ‘Bengavalluru’, which is the first time the name Bangalore was inscribed into something. It is still here.

Kashi Vishweshwara and Gopalakrishna temples are inside the fort.

There was a strong Jain heritage here and a small jain basadi is proof of it. There is a headless statue of the thirthankara here.

Not far from the fort is the complex of five temples. Of there the Panchalingeshwara and the Nagesvara are the oldest.

Other three shrines are Karneshvara, Choleshvara and Kalikamateshvara.

Banashankari (ಬನಶಂಕರಿ)

Banashankari is the biggest locality with six stages and there are many colleges, offices of start-ups, places of worship and places to eat.

banashankari-temple-bangalore

 

Banashankari Temple

The temple started after a devotee brought the idol of the goddess from Badami and installed here.

Banashankari is named after this temple. The three main festivals bring many devotees to this temple.

Time: 6 AM to 1 PM & 4:30 PM to 8 PM

Nearest Metro: Banashankari

 

 

Vasanthapura Vallabharaya Swamy Temple

Until ten years ago, this temple complex was outside the city. Built in a small hamlet called Vasanthapura, now it is well within city limits.

This temple dates to the Chola period when Bengaluru was a forest and was supposedly called Kalyanapuri which means 'town of good deeds'.

Situated on a hillock, the temple's deity is Lord Vasantha Vallabharaya Swamy (Lord Vishnu). It is believed that Lord Venkateswara of Tirumala stayed for a brief period here.

Perhaps the kings of Mysore knew of its existence. There is an emblem of the Mysore kings. One can spend a nice evening here.

There are temples dedicated to Sai Baba, Shiva and Subramanya nearby.

Location: Vasanthapura

Nearest Metro: Yellachenahalli and Banashankari

Bus: 210R from Majestic and 210D from Banashankari

iskcon-kanakapura-road-radha-krishna

 

ISKCON & the Vaikunta Hill

Not far from Vasanthapura, off Kanakapura Road is the Vaikunta Hill on which the ISKCON temple is situated. There is a nice vibe to it and is quiet and breezy at the top.

The world famous Akshaya Patra has one of their kitchens operating here and though their specially made food trucks deliver hot meals to thousands of school children in villages that are up to 200 kilometres away from this place every morning.

Time: 7:15 AM to 1 PM & 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Nearest Metro: Yelachenahalli

turahalli-forest-kanakapura-road-bangalore

 

Turahalli Forest

Situated off Kanakapura Road, Turahalli forest is the last remaining forest in Bangalore city.

Once an expansive forest, today it has receded but withstood ‘development’. The forest has Eucalyptus trees mostly. Indian monitor lizard, peacock, and jackal are some of the animals found here.

The top of the hillock will give you a good view of the city.  A good place for birding. There is also a shrine here.

Explore the forest in a group, preferably on foot or on a bicycle.

Time: Before sunset

Location: Off Kanakapura Road

Bonus Tips

1. Attend a festival

There are 365 days in a year and there is a festival every day. Few of the festivals that attract a huge crowd are Deepavali, Karaga, Dasara, Ramzan and Christmas.

Some of the cultural festivals are Kannada Rajyotsava, Bengalooru Habba and World Dance Day.

Some of the art, theater and music festivals are Deccan Herald theater festival, Rangashankara theater festival, Bengaluru International Film Festival and Chitra Santhe.

If marathons are considered festivals, then some of the popular ones are Bengaluru MarathonPinkathon, TCS 10K and Bengaluru Midnight Marathon.

The biennial air show 'Aero India' happens in February and it attracts aviation enthusiasts and aircraft manufacturers. The next air show is in 2019.

For the love of books, we have Bangalore Literature Festival, held in October every year, spread over two days.

Besides the talk shows, there will be workshops, cultural performances and LitMart for unpublished authors to pitch their novel draft to publishers and literary agents.

2. Shop

→ Sandalwood: Also known as Chandana is not only used for worship but it is shaved and carved to make objects like fan, bookmark and you can buy sandalwood power that can be used for poojas.

→ Silk: Mysore Silk is the signature silk saree of Bangalore. Not just sarees, there is silk men’s wear that comes in different colors. KSIC, Shantala Silks and Deepam are three of the popular shops.

→ Channapatna Dolls: Whether you buy Channapatna dolls in Bangalore to at Channapatna, where they originate, you should know they are eco-friendly and safe.

Some dolls have moving parts and that makes it fun.

→ Books: Books that you can read, smell and scribble on. Bangalore is a city that loves reading and there are innumerable bookstores that help you get a fix.

Sapna, Blossoms, Landmark, Oxford and Crossword.

Crossword has Café Coffee Day outlets in them and there are many stores that host book releases and readings. Cha Bar at Leela Palace lets you read a book while you eat a muffin.

→ Wine: Doddaballapur, an hour’s drive from Bangalore has many vineyards that grow grapes, make and bottle wine. Grover Vineyards encourage tours to their estate sometimes.

→ Paintings and craft: Mysore paintings can be bought and they show fine details of deities and about life during the times of the Maharaja.

Shops sell Bidri works with delicately carved patterns, that comes from Bidar in Karnataka.

3. Attend a game

Bangalore loves sports and there are plenty of sports Bangalore does well in and a lot of teams to cheer for.

Popular sports include cricket, football, hockey, volleyball, kabaddi, tennis, badminton and golf.

→ Cricket - Royal Challenger Bangalore -  Chinnaswami Stadium

→ Kabaddi - Bengaluru Bull - Kanteerava Indoor Stadium

→ Football - Bengaluru FC – Kanteerava Indoor Stadium

→ Badminton - Bengaluru Blasters - Koramangala Indoor Stadium

4. Trek & Adventure

GrabhouseStayzillaIndia.com and Weekend Thrill sums up pretty much every offbeat, heart-pumping stuff to do.

5. Bengaluru for Kids

Buzzingbubs has plenty of information about what children and parents can do in the city.

6. Bike or Walk Across Town

Bengaluru has a lot of walkers and bikers. There are groups that will help you bike or walk in groups and take you on a tour.

Art of Bicycle Trips has biking tours within and outside the city.

Bums on the Saddle has built a biking community and they have biking experts that go on professional biking tours and competitions.

7. Travel to the next town

Extend your stay and travel to nearby towns that can be covered in a day of two like Yercaud, Nandi Hills, Ramanagaram, Mysore, Hassan, Coorg and Srirangapatna.

You could visit these places, especially villages and request villages to accommodate you for the night or book a room in traditional homestays.

8. What to do if I have:

Only 48 hours –  Independent has a nice itinerary. But you can follow Miss Wanderlust.

Only 24 hours - Follow the shooting star or the Urban Adventures.

Conclusion

The biggest city in the state of Karnataka, there are many other things to do which you cannot cover in a short span of time.

There is variety in food here. There are places where it is vegetarian only, but there are places where non-vegetarian food can be relished too.

Even if you live in this city for five years, you may not see everything. This guide might get you to decide on best activities for few days only.

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