Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka is called the Garden City for its fascinating blossoms and luxuriant greenery that renders an unique beauty to this charming city. Bangalore is India's 5th largest city and the momentum of its industrial and commercial growth unequalled in the country. Weather being the best feature, Bangalore with pleasant summers and bearable winters is the best option for the tourist in India.
Bangalore is a cosmopolitan city, where different cultures and customs exist. Today, the city is a bustling and diverse city, with ancient arts that flourish alongside the Silicon Plateau of India. With profusion of greenery, splendidly laid out colourful garden, the city is a sheer delight to simply walk around.
Behind the modernism of Bangalore lie glorious history and tradition. Kempegowda, a petty ruler whose overlords were the Vijaynagar kings, founded Bangalore in 1537. He fortified his city with a fortress but chose the unhappy medium of mud. Tipu promptly rectified this when two centuries later when the city became his summer capital. During the reign of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, Bangalore became important as a fortress city. After their defeat of Tipu the British took over Bangalore and shifted the headquarters of regional administration here from Tipu’s capital Srirangapatnam in 1831. The name Bangalore comes from 'Benda Kalu Ooru', or 'City of Boiled Beans'. It is far more ancient than it has been estimated it was found in an inscription of the 9th Century AD, at Begur village. According to legend, Hoysala King Veera Ballala was lost in the woods here, and on being served a bowl of boiled beans by a kind woman, named the city. Kempe Gowda, a feudal chieftain under the Vijayanagara kings was instrumental in establishing and shaping the city.
How to get there
Bangalore is linked to all the four metropolitan cities, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, and also to the major cities like Goa, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Cochin, Coimbatore, Mangalore, Pune and Tiruvananthapuram directly by air.
Like the airways, Bangalore is well connected to the metros and major cities in India like Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore, Kochi, etc. Rajdhani connects Bangalore to New Delhi, while Udayan and Kurla Express transport one to Mumbai. If one is traveling to or from Chennai, the day train is the best option to enjoy the beautiful landscape.
Super-luxury to humble state transport buses ply between Bangalore and cities like Mysore (139 km), Chennai (334 km) and even Mumbai (1,033 km). Interstate buses are operated by state as well as private operators.
Best time to visit
Bangalore is an ideal retreat from the blazing summer sun. The climate is moderate and pleasant all the year through. Summers (April-June) are relatively mild and winters (October-February) are cool. The city experiences southwestern monsoon rains from June to August. The period between October-February is thus the ideal time to tour the scenic city.
It's said that for most Bangaloreans, eating out is more of a fetish than necessity. Bangalore is well known for its conglomeration of cuisines from all over the world. Name the nation and you would have its specialty dished out to you at not only a big restaurant but also a humble place. You could taste a lip smacking authentic dish or a fusion preparation in Bangalorean style.
The MTR Branches, Shanthi Sagars, Sukh Sagars and Shreenidhi Sagars are scattered all around the city. Their specialty is mouth watering simple meals and dishes made at a snap of fingers which caters to the local IT and other office goers. The Dosas and Idlis are complete with a generous helping of Sambhars and Chutneys and the famous local dish Bisi Bele Bath, served with dollops of ghee and potato wafers, to be eaten piping hot are worth a mention.
The Oriental food chains are to be gone to with eyes closed because almost every place serves the best. The Rice Bowl Chain (Lavelle Road and Residency Road), Chung Wah (Residency Road), Mandarin Room (High Grounds), The Szechwan Court (M G Road) and Jade Garden are some of the most preferred places when it comes to Chinese cuisine.
For those with an appetite for seafood, the safest bet is the Karavalli at the Gateway Hotel. The ambience takes one to the beautiful backwaters of Kerala. They specialize in Idiappams with avial, tiger prawns fried or used in curries, kori kempu and their fish curry is a gourmet's delight.
Sunny's is the best for a wholesome Italian fare and their Pita Bread, feta cheese with lettuce salad, black pepper fettuccine and wild mushrooms are quite finger licking. Another specialty is their pasta. Visit Koshy's for their delicious and renowned appam and stew.
For the Easterners, no other place better than Mishti on 80ft road Koramangala for good and hearty Bengali meal. Samarkhan is famous for its generous pieces of delicious paneer. The ambience is as tasteful as the food.
Walk into TGIF (Thank God It's Friday) on Airport road which is ironically quite the hip and happening hang out on Fridays! The decoration of the restaurant includes various symbols from America - cowboy hats, guitars, canoes, license plates, pictures etc. Their mocktails and chicken dishes are a big draw.
it's not for nothing that Bangalore is called the Pub City. The city has some of the most happening night spots in the country, but as much as you would hate it, deadlines are to be observed at the clubs more than at home! At the stroke of midnight, you have to big goodbye to nightlife. The best part is that though most people would dress smartly in casuals, one could also dress to kill. The cosmo crowd is anything but judgemental.
I-Bar, at The Park on MG Road is the best place for energetic ambience and good music.
Hypnos (Gem Plaza, Infantry Road) is quite the escape to the serene Mediterranean, what with Greek, Lebanese and Spanish food with an array of exotic cocktails to down with them.
The Blue Bar (Taj Westend, Race Course Road), is the stylish open-air bar that serves out of the world concoctions.
Spinn (Residency Road), is the place for the retro lovers. Not surprisingly because this blast from the past was once a colonial house. Spinn boasts of a chic discotheque, a lounge, an al fresco and some funky music.
Geoffrey's is a typical British pub. It is located in Hotel Royal Orchid 1 Golf Avenue, Airport Road.
Tavern Inn is yet another pub styled on the lines of classic English pubs. Situated on Museum Road.
The Hint is the night club located in the Bangalore Central Mall. It's quite a cool place to spend evening hours.
Taika is a good haunt whether one is in mood of just chillin out and lounging around or for the dancer types, as it is a lounge bar cum night club on Church Street.
Athena is another night spot, which any hardcore night animal would vouch for to have a good time. It's located at the Leela Palace.
Zero G on Residency Road Purple Haze (Residency Road) and Styx (M.G Road) are any headbanger's paradise what with rock being their special treat.
The Opus will give you the feel of being in Goa, while being well within the city limits of Bangalore. If you have the singing bug, the Opus is the place because you can enjoy the Karaoke on Sundays (Sankey Road)
The Beach at 100 ft Road, Indiranagar, as the name suggests, will take you outdoors while being ensconced inside the club, what with sea sand sprawled and palm tree stools to sit on!
Safina Plaza, Arihant Plaza, Mota Royal Arcade, 5th Avenue, Commercial Street and Brigade Road are all lined with everything your heart desires, music, men's and women's clothing and accessories, supermarkets, salons, gaming centers, food joints and Sales!
Home Stores and life style malls like Garuda, Bangalore Central, Eva, Forum, Globus and Life Style are one-stop shopping experience for the discerning shopper. and can collectively be nicknamed The Harrods of Bangalore. The hip and young love to hang out here. You get the feeling there can never be enough shopping malls in Bangalore!
Reminiscent of Bangalore’s culture are its sandalwood products, incense sticks, Lambadi art and jewellery, Mysore silks, brass and ivory artifacts, inlay work with rosewood, and wooden toys. The Cauvery Emporium on MG Road has an enthralling collection of different genres of collectible art. For silks visit Handloom House or the KHDC showrooms. The Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation has showrooms on MG Road and KG Road.
You can find anything and everything in Bangalore Swarovski crystals to world class electronic goods and household items, to Tibetian and other far east country products to products that are second nature to cities and states in the country itself. Bangalore can be an expensive place to shop in, so its best to go armed with your bargaining abilities, a full wallet and credit cards and also ask the helpful locals for some shopping tips.
The Government of India Tourist Office is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm on weekdays and from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays. Phone: (080) 5585417.The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation office has similar timings minus half an hour at each end. It’s open all day on Saturdays too. Phone: (080) 2212901