Bengaluru which once was the “Garden City of India” has now become the “Silicon Valley of India.” A green blanket used to cover the city but modernization is slowly replacing the greenery. The city has become a proud metropolis.
Note: There are a lot of attractions around Bengaluru city not covered in this guide. For a complete list of things (wildlife, national parks, etc.) that are a little away from Bangalore city, please read Karnataka Travel Guide.
Sunrise at Ulsoor Lake (Photo credit)
Bengaluru Travel Guide
Traveling in India can be annoying because of the oppressive heat in most Indian States. However, Bengaluru (earlier known as Bangalore) has a pleasant climate even during summer months. Especially because almost all the roads are lined with trees on either side.
Bengaluru is a modern city, but it has gorgeous and ancient stone temples, churches from the British colonial period, futuristic IT hubs, famous landmarks, nature parks, and shopping districts.
Electronic City, an IT hub in Bangalore
Parties, music, street food, festivals, colleges, university campus, lakes, museums, the city has it all. This is a city which has both go-karting tracks and laser tag arena to narrow roads filled with traffic and mud puddles by the streets during the monsoon season.
Bengaluru can please all types of tourists, according to their tastes and needs.
Things To Do In Bengaluru
1. Vidhana and Vikasa Soudha
Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha are two modern classic style parliament buildings. They might be two of the sleekest urban structures made in modern India.
Vidhana Soudha, a granite building, is the legislative House of the State of Karnataka. And, Vikasa Soudha, adjacent to Vidhana Soudha, is the newer construction in the similar architecture.
Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the state legislature (Photo credit)
2. Bangalore Fort (Tippu’s Fort)
Built in 1537, only a small part of the original fort remains with a massive granite wall, big gates, a dungeon, and a small Ganesha temple is still intact. FREE of charge.
3. Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium
Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium is a great place for both adults and children alike. Shows are offered in Kannada and English. Each show is about 30 minutes long.
4. Bengaluru Palace
Bengaluru Palace is an ancient structure, which adorns the ultramodern land of Bangalore. Built by the Maharajahs of Mysore, the palace is a refreshing change from the otherwise patterned buildings.
5. Seshadari Iyer Memorial
The State Central Library
Seshadri Iyer Memorial Hall is the State Library Building and a main landmark building of Bengaluru city. Built in 1915, in a classic European style, it’s a distinctive red sandstone building. It also includes a children’s recreation area with a toy train, fairground, and a theater.
6. Vishveshvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum
Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technological Museum (VIT) contains many fun learning activities and exhibitions that can be enjoyed by adults and children.
7. HAL Aerospace Museum
India’s first aerospace museum. Run by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), an Indian aerospace company.
Bangalore has a vibrant scenery surrounding the city. Some of its highlights are listed below.
8. Lalbagh Botanical Garden
The famous Lal Bagh Glass House (night time)
Take a walk at Lalbagh, the bigger of the numerous parks maintained in the city that offers a pleasant view and is home to some water birds. You can find a park in almost all the areas with people taking their morning/evening walks, kids playing, and elders just sitting and enjoying evening gossip.
The glass house in Lalbhag Botanical garden, famous for its flower shows since 1760.
9. Cubbon Park
A nice forested area in the heart of the City. The entrance from Queen’s Statue forms the tourist attraction owing to the presence of the Government Aquarium and Bal Bhavan (a play area for kids). Plus, you have the State Central Library near Cubbon Park, one of the most popular landmarks in Bangalore.
10. J. P. Biodiversity Park
Jayaprakash Narayan Biodiversity Park, known as “J.P. Park” in short, is the third largest park in Bengaluru. There are many statues of animals and provision for children’s games. The park includes four lakes, 25 acres of lawns, over 250 varieties of trees and shrubs (including select exotic and aquatic species, and a nursery), a nature center, an exhibition plaza, and an amphitheater.
11. Bannerghatta Biological Park
Bannerghatta Biological Park, which is part of Bannerghatta National Park, is located 22 km away from the city and is a nice escape from the traffic and all the noise. This biological park has a zoo, butterfly sanctuary, safari, parks, and places to relax. Check out its details on the official site.
12. Dodda Alada Mara (Big Banyan Tree)
Known for being one of the oldest and largest of its kind, this banyan tree is located about 28 km from central Bangalore. Claimed to be around 400 years old, it is also called as Doda Allada Mara.
This giant covering nearly covers 3 acres is a natural wonder and also home to numerous monkeys. It is a good getaway from the hustle of the city though you have to pass through some traffic to reach this spot.
13. Nandi Hills
A must visit is the Nandi Hills located around 60km from the city. You need to reach here early in the morning to see a sunrise from above the clouds. Weekends get crowded as most of the people from Bengaluru go there for a bike ride/ cycling trip or to catch a casual family sunrise.
Sunrise at Nandi Hills, a blanket of clouds below
1. MG Road
If you are visiting the city you should drop in at MG road/Brigade road and the areas around to grab a bite in one of the numerous restaurants and cafes.
2. Commercial Street
Shopping on the Commercial street is a must. The roads are narrow and cramped with so many tiny shops and eateries. One has to dodge vehicles and cows, avoid stepping in puddles and garbage all while looking into each shop trying to bargain for the best price for everything from clothes to shoes, handbags, and accessories or home improvement items. It is an experience you must have.
3. Malleswaram 8th cross
Malleswaram is one stop shop for all your needs. It sells everything from grocery items to luxury splurges. This market is also the busiest in Malleswaram, where locals and tourists travel to for their shopping requirements. If you cant find it anywhere else, you will certainly be able to find it in Malleswaram.
4. Jayanagar 4th Block
This is one of the oldest markets in Bangalore. It’s maze once you get in, you are most likely to come out through some other entry. It has various entrances dotted with street vendors selling funky shirts and jewelry. Head to the 4th Block in Jayanagar, to get everything that you need in one place!
Street shopping is a must when one is in the city
Experiences to have
- Theater – watch a play in the local theatre at Rangashankara.
- Shopping – walk into one of their numerous malls to get away from the heat and spend your noon window shopping and trying out delicious food at their food center.
- Street Food – do take a walk munching whatever looks good on VV Puram food street, or try their numerous dosas and idlis. Also, stop by the local chaat shop and eat the evening snacks from Pani puri to the local Masala Puri. There are now numerous cafes and bars too which cater to the Gen-X crowd.
- Chitrakala Parishath – The Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath art gallery is a perfect destination for an afternoon of culture and interesting facts. You will find an interesting collection of Indian and international contemporary art, along with lavish gold-leaf work, Mysore-style paintings and folk and tribal art from across the subcontinent.
Eating Chaat (snacks) and hanging out is common
- Adventure Clubs – Bangalore is bestowed with rock climbers, aqua sportsmen, and aero sportsmen. There are several adventure clubs to suit your needs including Thrillophilia, Nature Admire, Care, Spark, KMA, Capture, Mars, Angel, Wildcraft and Adventure Works.
- Thrillophilia Adventure Tours – group or solo adventure tours around Bangalore which include microlight flying, paragliding, rappelling, mountain safari, camping, trekking, dirt biking, rafting, river crossing and quad biking.
- Camping – go camping at Savandurga, Gunjoor Lake, Bhimeshwari, Rangaswamy betta.
- Cave Exploration – at Savandurga, Anthargange, Siddarabetta.
- Cycling Tour – organized bicycle tours in and around Bangalore which combines cycling with Indian art, culture, and heritage.
- Hiking – head to Nandi hills; Rangaswamy betta; Bhimeshwari; or Muttati; or Ramadevara betta hill
- Amusement Parks – Just head out to WonderLa or Innovative Film City for a day of park and water rides
Ramadevara betta hill, 50 km from Bangalore
- Hill Climbing – head to Makalidurga; Savandurga; Kavaledurga; Kabalidurga; Siddarabetta; Nijakal betta; or Shivgange.
Makalidurga trek, Bangalore hills view from the top of Makkalidurga
- Trash Trail – take this unique daily dump journey through the waste from the city. You will meet people who silently clean up and transform all the stuff we throw away. In the process, you will visit places you haven’t imagined existed.
- Hogenakkal Falls – visit the Hogenakkal waterfall near Bengaluru (picture below)
Temples and Churches
India has no shortage of temples anywhere you go and Bengaluru is no exception. There are several large and old temples within the city and nearby. Below are few of the most popular ones.
1. The Art of Living world HQ
The international headquarters of the Art of Living foundation is in Bengaluru. The temple (ashram) is spread over 65 acres. They conduct frequent yoga and Ayurveda programs. Check for programs offering directly on their website.
2. ISKCON Hare Krishna Temple
Temple built on a hillock in Rajajinagar atop scenic surroundings, is a perfect blend of modern technology and spiritual harmony. The huge cultural complex was built to promote Vedic culture and spiritual learning and abounds with shops selling devotional items and souvenirs.
3. Sri Ramakrishna Ashram
Please note that there are many Ramakrishna Ashrams in Bangalore, but the central one is in Gandhi Bazaar, an area with many temples. This is a calm and peaceful place to meditate.
This location is preserved as a monument. This mutt contains a huge meditating hall, a beautiful park, and a Vedic school. A stone on which Swami Vivekananda sat and meditated is also kept as a monument.
4. Mukti Naga Temple
Mukti Naga temple contains the world’s largest monolithic statue of Lord Naaga (King Cobra), about 16 feet tall and weighing 36 tons. The temple is located in a serene ambiance of Ramohalli, a village on the outskirts of the hustle and bustle of the Bangalore city.
5. Bull Temple
The bull temple is a typical Dravidian style temple, famous for its mammoth bull statue that was carved from a single boulder.
Legend has it that the temple was built to appease a marauding bull that stole local crops, and that the offering was effective with the bull subsequently leaving the area. Since then, local farmers have held an annual festival to express their gratitude.
6. Holy Trinity Church
Built in 1851, in the English Renaissance style, Holy Trinity Church is a major landmark in Bangalore. It was built by the British Regiment stationed in Bangalore in 1851. The church can accommodate 700 people and is regarded as the largest church in southern India.
7. St. Mary’s Basilica
The oldest church in Bangalore, and the only church in the state which has been elevated to the status of a minor basilica. It is famous for the festivities held during the St. Mary’s Feast in the month of September each year, an event that attracts devotees from in and around Bangalore.
The basilica is been built in Gothic style with arches, ornamental motifs, and stained glass windows. Multiple columns and tall spires of the basilica can be seen from quite a distance.
Other Noteworthy Temples
- Dodda Ganapathi – a few meters away from the Bull temple (photo above). The temple is famous for the huge monolith structure of Lord Ganesha, who was worshipped by the villagers to save them from the Bull that was damaging their crops in the area.
- Ragi Gudda – a famous Hanuman temple, built on a mammoth rocky hill. The area has a very attractive chain of temples like Spathika Shiva, Ganesha, and scenery within the premises.
- Someshwara Temple – a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva built from the 8th Century by the Cholas kings and later extended by the Hoysalas in the 11th Century, and during the Vijayanagar Empire in the 15th Century.
- Sri Raja Rajeshwari Temple – a famous temple dedicated to Goddess Parvathi (Raja Rajeshwari). Built in the ancient style with stones, the temple is very spacious.
- Maha Bodhi Society Temple – built as a replica of the historic stupa at Bodh Gaya. The temple grounds are very peaceful, and visitors are welcome to stroll around. In addition, the temple houses an excellent library of books on Buddhism.
- Dakshina Mukhy Nandeeshwara Temple – a very ancient temple. The uniqueness of this temple is that the natural water flows from the mouth of Nandi (the bull) which is above a Shiva Lingam and pours all over the year as Abhishekam (purification) by nature itself.
- Venkataramana Swamy Temple – a fine example of Dravidian architecture. This ancient temple was built by Maharaja Chikka Devaraya Wodeyar and is next to the summer palace of Tipu Sultan.
- Champakadhama Temple – an old temple dedicated to Lord Champakeshwara, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is named so because of the presence of the “Champaka” flowers in the area that was used for worship.
- Dharmaraya Swamy Draupadi Devi Temple – one of the oldest temples of Bangalore, also the smallest, and most unique. The presiding deity is Dharmaraya (Yudishtra) & Draupadi makes it unique.
- Gavi Gangadeshwara Cave Temple – a temple with four remarkable monolithic pillars dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple also has a rare idol of Agni (god of fire).
- Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple – a beautiful, spacious temple, built in the ancient style with stone structures.
- Pancha Linga Nageshwara Temple – a 1300-year-old temple and less crowded than others. Great architecture (photo below)
There are numerous adventure activities like treks, rock climbing which happen on the outskirts of the city.
If you happen to be in the city during the time of cricket season, do visit the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Watch an IPL game as it will be an experience to remember. Chinnaswamy Stadium is the home ground of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Royal Challengers Bengaluru which is reputed for having a large, loyal, and loud fan base.
IPL (Cricket) season typically is between March and May every year, matches are played in the evenings and last around 3 hours.
It is also famous for its horse race course where the elite gathers and bet on races. You could catch a race or two one noon. Or go golfing at the golf course in the city.
Hores racing at the turf
The city caters to the need of all, as said before thus giving us a collection of sports activities to try out which suit ones need.
Nightlife Hot Spots
Just get into a cab and head towards MG road, Church Street or Indiranagar. Though there are many places in other parts of the city as well, on these streets you can find many such places to hang out in.
Good places to hang out to name a few:
- Big Brewsky
- Arbor Brewing Company
- Skyye Bar
View of Sky Bar, rooftop deck
Night view of the city
Best Time to Visit Bengaluru
Since Bengaluru experiences mild summers when compared to the rest of the South Indian states, you can visit any time of the year. Though thanks to global warming the summers are getting pretty hot.
Springtime and Winter-months are ideal when the temperature dip but you might have to carry a jacket or two.
Unlike the rest of Karnataka, the capital city has developed at a very fast pace in the last decade thus providing a home to people from all across the country. You get a variety of food ranging from local dosa, thate (flat plate) idli, to Mexican cuisine, pizzerias, big burgers, and many dessert bars.
Try Davengere Bene Dose at one of the small local shops to get an authentic city experience. Idli Vada, Madhur Vada, filter coffee, Thali are all the local food which you can get in any small joints of the city like MTR, Vidyarthi Bhavan, CTR.
Check out the Karnataka blog for a list of the local cuisine of the state.
Thate Idli (plate idli)
Using cabs is the convenient way to get around the city. You can download a smartphone app like Ola or Uber that will allow you to book and pay for cabs.
Buses and metro are other options to get around. Although, buses have a complex network they do connect all corners of the city. You need to ask before getting on to the bus to be sure.
The main bus stand (BMTC) is at Majestic while the Banglore Railway station is also located next to the bus stand. From here traveling to any part of the city or even the country is easy!
The chaotic, confusing heart of the cities movement- Majestic
Metro is also convenient and helps you avoid traffic. Namma Metro of the city is now working on a fast pace to connect all parts remaining in the city through metros.
Where to stay
The capital city never runs out of places to stay. It has places to suit all budgets, from 5-star hotels to budget hostels. Airbnb also is a good option in the city. If you want to make it to most of the tourist places it is now ideal to look for a place near one of the metro stations. It will save you a lot of time and money spent on travel.
How Safe is Bengaluru
Bengaluru is one of the safest city in India. There are numerous cops patrolling the roads in their vehicles, be it 4 wheelers or 2 wheelers. The cab and auto rickshaw drivers are also generally kind and help people when they are lost or in need of guidance.
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