There was a time when a visitor would come to Bangalore only to get to somewhere else. Not anymore. The Bangalore of today is bursting with flavour, with so many things to see and do. From temples and palaces to dosas and beer, it’s got it all if you’ve got the time.
On arrival at the Bangalore airport head straight to the Hatti Kaapi stall and ask for a pot of filter coffee with a hot peanut bun. The dosas and idlis can wait; this is your first taste of Bangalore.
Begin your tour of the city with a visit to the century-old Someshwara Temple at Ulsoor or the ISKCON Temple, which is one of the largest ISKCON temples in the world. Don’t leave without sampling the lunch prasadam. And make time to admire the largest granite monolith of Nandi, the sacred bull at—you guessed right—the Bull Temple. Could you ask for a more auspicious start? Next, visit illustrator Paul Fernandes’ gallery Apaulogy located near Richards Park. You’d want to pick up all the framed posters and art that humorously portray a slice of old Bangalore.
Time to stretch your legs? Explore Bangalore by foot. Sign up for the Bungalow Trail or the Cathedral Walk organised by Unhurried Tours that takes you through old English settlements in the city. Alternatively do a culinary sojourn with Oota Walks.
Culture vultures, watch a play at Ranga Shankara. Nurtured by Arundhati Nag, the city’s famous film and theatre artiste, this is where the city’s culturally inclined can be spotted, and you’ll find no Bollywood movies here.
A visit to the country’s tech capital and you’re still as clueless about the techie life? Not if we can help it. A Bengaluru-based travel platform organises an informative, guided tour of start-ups across the city. The tour by Explore Life Traveling will take you inside start-up workspaces and give you a chance to chat with the employees and founders. No funding queries, please.
You could do with some peace and serenity now. Sign up with Bangalore WALKS for a guided tour of Lalbagh Botanical Gardens or Cubbon Park, the lungs of Bangalore. Spot some rare species of birds and plants, all perfectly Instagrammable. That done, breakfast could be a dosai at a Maiya, MTR (with restaurants/outlets dotting the entire city) or Janatha in Malleswaram. Other monuments of interest are Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace and Fort (built in 1537, the fort is regarded as a testament to the king’s battle against British rule) and the Bangalore Palace (inspired by the Windsor Palace and now owned by the royal family of Mysore, it’s a must-see for lovers of art.)
A trip to Bangalore can’t possibly be complete without taking home a bagful of sandalwood infused soaps, face masks and incense sticks from Cauvery Handicrafts Emporium, MG Road. For silks and fabrics head over to Mysore Saree Udyog on Commercial Street where everything’s available at wholesale rates while you jostle with excited brides-to-be and foreign tourists with mile-long shopping lists. One of Bangalore’s best kept secrets, Vimor, is tucked away in an old home in Victoria Layout. With Sonia Gandhi, Sheila Dixit, Shabana Azmi, and Nandita Das as clients, you should drop by as well for their exquisite south Indian temple sarees. Eka in Ulsoor is a delightful store that should be on your must-visit list. A trove of intricately carved chubby Ganeshas and other painstakingly sourced artefacts, Eka is a little gem in itself. For eclectic and quirky designer wear, there’s Rain Tree (housed in a 75-year-old colonial bungalow opposite the ITC Windsor Hotel), Varnam at Indiranagar where you can find Channapatna’s famous wooden toys and other quirky homeware, Cinnamon in Ulsoor for their furniture range and the newly launched Nicobar at Walton Road, an ode to the globetrotting hipster in you.
Where do we start? Get the sattvic meal at The Higher Taste, ISCKON temple, a north Karnataka meal on a plantain leaf at Kamat Yatri Niwas, tear-inducing biryani at Nagarjuna, the softest idlis and crisp vadas at Veena Stores, the ‘help, I can’t get up’ meal at MTR, rusk and cake at the Iyengar Bakery, OG Variar and Sons, the best filter coffee ever at Kalmane Koffees or Truffles (Ice and Spice) for lamb burgers that could put McDonald’s to shame, the char siu at Fatty Bao, pork tortellinis at Toast & Tonic, or the almost literal death by chocolate at Corner House Ice Creams. So much to eat, so little time. Best to stick with the essentials:
Bangaloreans have always known how to have a great time, never mind the city’s constant traffic woes. From the best microbreweries to pulsating music venues, Bangalore has the most chilled-out places to party in.
The Taj West End, Race Course Road. It’s a no-brainer. If you can afford it, this is the place that reflects all that’s genteel about Bangalore. High ceilinged rooms, an old rain tree planted way back in 1848, exotic birds waking you in the morning, and one of the best spas in the city. Escape Hotel and Spa, Indiranagar: Located in buzzing Indiranagar, home to the city’s best restaurants and drinking holes, this hip hotel is more than proud of its Mediterranean-styled terrace restaurant, Bricklane. End your meal with the south Indian coffee brulee. Coffee in a desert bowl—so very Bangalore.
You can never get tired of Bangalore. But if you do, here are some places worth venturing out for:
If you want to stop being a tourist, here’s a list of unusual things to do in Bengaluru. Wake up at 6 am and do the Russell Market walk. Built in 1927 by the British, this market is beautiful and chaotic. Buy fish, crabs, veggies, flowers and fresh local produce, if you’re up for cooking while in the city. A bit of de-stressing is on the cards, we think? Uber a ride to Soukya, a lush, 30-acre facility meant for those with serious ailments as well as those who want to experience the good life. Celebrity guests include the likes of the Dalai Lama, the Duchess of Cornwall, Sting, Tina Turner and the late George Harrison and Pandit Ravi Shankar. You’ve been so good, it’s time to relax with a glass of wine and ponder about its origins. Take a tour of 410 acres of vineyards at the Grover Zampa plantation, followed by an impressive lunch and wine-sampling with the Nandi Hills as a backdrop. Hic!
Now how about experiencing the real thing and fly high over the city the next morning. Book a ticket for a microlight flying experience at the Jakkur Airfield. Sit in the cockpit and fly over the garden city as a co-pilot. End the day by dining at the concept restaurant Dialogue in the Dark, in Whitefield. Served by visually challenged staff, the mission of the restaurant is to sensitise diners to the visually impaired while having a thoroughly immaculate dining experience in complete darkness. You know what they say: in darkness, there shall be light.
|KIAL Rd, Devanahalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560300||BLR|