“What’s there to see in a city rammed with a mad surge of development, traffic congestion, and rising pollution levels?”, I asked my local friend Ganesh on my fourth visit to Bangalore. Apparently, there’s a lot to explore in the City that gradually evolved from being the Garden City to the Silicon Valley of India. The rise of start-up culture in Bengaluru, the official name of the city, reflects a blend of old and new – some parts with historical monuments will take you back in the memory lane, while others with the high-rise corporate complexes will make you feel you are in a global city. If you just have 72 hours on hand, then you have reached the right place to find out the best things to do in Bangalore.
The cosmopolitan Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) is one of India’s most progressive and developed cities, blessed with a round-the-year pleasant climate and an ever-mushrooming gastronomical and shopping scene. What the city lacks in world-famous sights, makes up with lovely parks and striking Victorian-era architecture. There’s always something going in the restless and young city to keep you busy.
So, if you just have few days on hand, here’s what I recommend:
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Top 5 Places to See in Bangalore:
1. Bangalore Palace
Being a Culturephile, this place was high on my list as it is an epitome of great architecture and beauty. Built in the year of 1878, Bangalore Palace exudes the spice of old regal opulence of one of the most powerful dynasties of Southern India. Spread in a humungous 45,000 square feet area, it’s a great piece of art reflecting the mix of Tudor and Scottish Gothic Architecture. As per Legend, King Chamarajendra Wadiyar drew his inspiration from the Windsor Castle of London.
2. National Gallery of Modern Art
Another landmark site that surprised me with its art collection was the National Gallery of Modern Art. Spanning across 3.5 acres, it is housed in the erstwhile mansion of Mysore royal family and was opened to the public in 2009. Besides the paintings, sculptures, graphic prints; I loved the examples of early photography in India which showcased the historical development of modern art in India.
Looking for things to do in Bangalore? Visit National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore
3. Lalbagh Botanical Garden
The heart of the Garden city resides in Lalbagh Botanical Garden, which is world-renowned for botanical artwork, scientific study of plants and conservation of plants. Walking through the 240 acres of the Garden, I didn’t realise it has 1,854 species of plants. My local friend Ganesh told me it was commissioned by Hyder Ali in 1760 and completed by his son Tipu Sultan. The garden features rare plants from around the world. One thing that you can’t miss in the Garden is the over 3000 million years old Lal Bagh Rock. Besides the largest collection of rare plants, it also consists a glass house where an annual flower show is held every year and is also a home to an aquarium and a lake.
4. Cubbon Park
Spread over an area of 300 acres, Cubbon Park set in the green belt region of the city was my favourite place to go to after a busy day. The green foliage and the calm environs of the park is a perfect antidote for deadline-driven life in a metro. Although I couldn’t attend any live event I saw the bandstand that hosts concerts. The park also houses Bangalore Aquarium, the second largest aquarium in India.
5. Bannerghatta National Park, Bangalore Overview
Located 22 km away from the humdrum of Bangalore, the Bannerghatta National Park is a haven for nature and wildlife lovers. Spread over a massive area of around 104.27 sq. km, this national park is most famous for the country’s first butterfly park. Besides that, there are ten Reserve Forests, an aquarium, a zoo, Children’s park, Crocodile Farm, Snake Park, Prehistoric Animals’ Park and a museum. You can even get up close and personal with the wildlife here through a jungle safari. You can spot Lions, Tigers, Crocodiles amongst numerous others in the park.
More places to explore in Bangalore:
- Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace
- Banglore Fort
- Vidhan Soudha
- Gavi Gangadeshwara Cave Temple
- St. Mary’s Basilica
- Bull Temple & Dodda Ganapathi
- ISKCON temple
- St. Mark’s Cathedral
Top 5 Places to shop in Bangalore:
1. MG Road
One of a most popular shopping and entertainment hub of Bangalore is swarmed with people at almost all the time. It is a must visit place to shop for beautiful silk sarees and handicrafts. And, don’t forget to visit Higginbothams, Bangalore’s oldest bookstore founded in 1844.
2. Commercial Street
A one-stop destination for purchasing garments, imitation jewellery, sports goods, footwear and affordable antiques. But before you visit it to brace yourself to walk a lot and bargain.
One of the oldest commercial districts of the city has a formidable history of 400 years, and Bangaloreans swear by the quality and variety of saris and wholesale dress materials you get in this famous market. Great place to shop for your gold and silver jewellery
A bit intimidating for the first-time visitors to Bangalore, Jayanagar is a heaven for shoppers. You can shop for almost anything under the sun. And don’t forget to indulge in Southern Indian snacks at Shenoy Stores, chaat and pani puri at Rakesh Kumar, and desserts at Cool Point.
Named after the nearby Kaadu Malleswara Temple, this A traditional market is famous for its flower market, herbs, spices, and vegetables.
Besides the above five markets, if you have time and looking for the best places to shop in bangalore, don’t forget to visit the Brigade Road, UB City, Gandhi Bazar and Avenue road for retail and culinary delight.
How to Get To Bangalore
Bangalore is well connected by frequent flights from all major cities in India and abraod such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and many more. However, please note that Bangalore’s Kempegowda international airpor is located in Devanahalli, which is considerably far (35 kms) from the main city. So, keep at least 2hrs extra. However, the airport is well connected with the city through Taxis, and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC airport shuttle service available 24/7 at the Bangaluru Airport. A fleet of comfortable, air-conditioned Volvo buses – ‘VayuVajra’ – make almost 251 trips each day on 11 routes, connecting the airport and city at a frequency of 30 minutes, and at affordable prices. You can find the bus time table and more details at Bangaluru Airport Shuttle service
Bangalore is connected to different state destinations through four main railway stations: Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station (The main Bangalore City Station at Majestic), Bangalore Cantonment railway station, Yeshwantapur junction, and Krishnarajapuram railway station.
How to commute in Bangalore
BMTC buses are the cheapest means of public transport in Bangalore. Kempegowda Bus Stand (also known as Majestic) and Shivajinagar are the major bus terminals.
Bangalore’s Namma Metro may not have as wide network as DMRC, but it is perhaps the most reliable transport option in the city, especially when commuting longer distances. Service operating hours are daily 5 AM to 11 PM with a 4–20 minutes wait time in between two trains.
Autos are the most convenient option for shorter distances in Bangalore. Drivers usually follow the meter, but could refuse depending on distance, weather, peak hours or even the mood mood of the driver. Autos can also be booked through Ola and Uber apps.
So, this is how I spent my 72 hours in the silicon valley of India. Anything you would like to add to the things to do in Bangalore? I am sure I didn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg. With all its non-stop energy, colour, vibrancy, heritage and variety, Bangalore is not to miss.
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This story was published in the January Issue of Malindo Mag (Malindo Air in-flight magazine): Bengaluru – Silicon Valley of India