Bengaluru - Silicon Valley of India

Bengaluru Airport Directory (BLR)
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There was a time when a visitor would come to Bengaluru only to get to somewhere else, but not anymore! Bengaluru today is bursting with flavour with numerous things to see and do. On arrival at the Bengaluru 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 Bengaluru. From temples and palaces to dosas and beer, it’s got it all if you’ve got the time.

Best time to visit: Bengaluru is a year-round destination, however the best time to explore the city is from September to February.

How to reach:

By Air: Kempegowda International Airport, previously known as Bengaluru International Airport, about 40km from the city center serves Bengaluru. IndiGo now operates more than 100 daily non-stop flights between Bengaluru to all other important destinations in India and abroad.

By Train: There are two main railway stations in Bengaluru - Bengaluru City Railway Station and Yeswantpur Junction, connecting the city to all other major cities around the country.

By Bus: Bengaluru boast of a well-connected network of buses ranging from regular buses, air-conditioned and Volvo. Several buses are run by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation as well as by the private bus operators.

Getting around: Buses and auto-rickshaws are among the most convenient and cheapest means to travel within the city. You can also hire taxis, private cabs or even use Nammo Metro.

Baggage Allowance
15Kg
7Kg
Min °
Max °

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Must-do recommendation

Where to Eat

Koshy
Koshy’s, St Marks Road

We don’t know what Queen Elizabeth II had for lunch when she visited this iconic restaurant all those years ago, but you should stick with the tried and tested. We recommend the liver on toast and fish and chips served with a pot of tea.

 

 

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IndianCoffee
Indian Coffee House, Church Street

Another favourite with locals, stop by to while the hours away over a cup of coffee and mutton cutlets. And try not to take a selfie with the waiters sporting their red turbans. It’s just rude.

 

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Green-theory-restaurant
Green Theory, Convent Road

It is a lovely little garden café dishing out wholesome vegetarian, organic food. This is the perfect place for you to begin the first few chapters of that book you’ve meant to write, while you sip on freshly brewed blueberry tea.

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AirlinesHotel
Airlines Hotel, Off Lavelle Road

Under the shade of a tree that’s seen history go by, ask for one by two coffee, akki roti, and perhaps a plate of channa bhatura if you’re feeling brave.

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MTR
MTR (Mavalli Tiffin Rooms), Lalbagh

How can you leave the city without queuing up for a quintessential Karnataka meal of masala dosa or a rava idli at Bengaluru’s most celebrated restaurant? The rava idli is an edible piece of history in itself. During World War II, raw rice to make idlis was in short supply. The restaurant ingeniously substituted rice with rava. Of course, rice isn’t scanted anymore but try telling that to the hordes who queue up for it in the early hours of the day.

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Karavalli
Karavalli, Residency Road

For authentic coastal food that stretches all the way from Goa to Kerala, a meal at the Taj Gateway’s Karavalli is a must. The story goes that the founding chef knocked at some coastal homes and persuaded home cooks to part with their secret recipes. Try the Alleppey fish curry, and soak it up with steaming appams or a thali to sample the whole caboodle.

 

 

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Toscanno
Toscano, Vittal Mallya Road

For when you want to visit northern Italy while in the city. The restaurant’s outlet at UB City is where most loyalists still choose to dine. Under the stars, with a glass of Chianti for a company and a warm spinach ravioli–la vita e bella. Harima, Residency Road: When in Bengaluru, do as the Japanese do. Visit Harima for excellent sushi and sashimi. There’s also low-table seating if you want to go the whole way.

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Byblos
Byblos, Indiranagar

Sure, this is a great Lebanese restaurant. But that’s not why it’s on our list. The restaurant keeps surplus food from its kitchen in a fridge outside its outlet for the homeless. The initiative called the ‘fridge of kindness’ is open from noon till the restaurant closes around midnight and more than 20 underprivileged people pick up food from the fridge on a daily basis. So, dine here to support a fantastic cause. And of course, for their almost perfect baba ganoush and chicken shawarma.

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PermitRoom
The Permit Room, Magrath Road

Recommended by the Masterchef Australia trio, this innovative restaurant does a nice spin on south Indian staples: Paati’s magic rasam, idli soufflé, jhum jhum tiger balm. Never mind the crazy copywriter, the food is fabulous.

 

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Toscanno
Toscano, Vittal Mallya Road

For when you want to visit northern Italy while in the city. The restaurant’s outlet at UB City is where most loyalists still choose to dine. Under the stars, with a glass of Chianti for a company and a warm spinach ravioli–la vita e bella. Harima, Residency Road: When in Bengaluru, do as the Japanese do. Visit Harima for excellent sushi and sashimi. There’s also low-table seating if you want to go the whole way.

View More
Byblos
Byblos, Indiranagar

Sure, this is a great Lebanese restaurant. But that’s not why it’s on our list. The restaurant keeps surplus food from its kitchen in a fridge outside its outlet for the homeless. The initiative called the ‘fridge of kindness’ is open from noon till the restaurant closes around midnight and more than 20 underprivileged people pick up food from the fridge on a daily basis. So, dine here to support a fantastic cause. And of course, for their almost perfect baba ganoush and chicken shawarma.

View More
PermitRoom
The Permit Room, Magrath Road

Recommended by the Masterchef Australia trio, this innovative restaurant does a nice spin on south Indian staples: Paati’s magic rasam, idli soufflé, jhum jhum tiger balm. Never mind the crazy copywriter, the food is fabulous.

View More

What to Shop

Cauvery Handicrafts Emporium: A trip to Bengaluru 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.

Mysore Saree Udyog: 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.

Vimor: One of Bengaluru’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: 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.

Varnam: 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.

Nightlife

Bengaluruans 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, Bengaluru has the most chilled-out places to party in.

Arbor Brewing Company, Magrath Road: ABC serves some excellent craft beers like a Salted Caramel Porter, Bloomsbury and Detroit Swing. A favourite with the ad crowd, the 90s music pairs well with the brewpub’s comfort food. Sweet potato fries, spicy pork chops, chicken wings. Sometimes your heart wants it.

The Humming Tree, Indiranagar: Some of the city’s best live gigs take place here. This is where you head, with or without your gang, for a taste of Bengaluru’s legendary music scene. They encourage local artists like Dingus Cheer as well as global bigwigs like Skrillex and Mark Ronson. Of course, you don’t go for the food here, but the pizzas and pitchers of beer are more than decent.

Toit, Indiranagar: We’ll have the thin-crust pizza with the basmati blond beer. This brick-walled microbrewery may not have the best selection of craft beers in the city, but the never-ending crowd says otherwise. Nevertheless, you’ll be mad to miss out on their baked nachos and the Long Beach Iced Tea.

The Terrace at Windmills Craftworks, Whitefield: Why party indoors when the weather is almost perfect? Drink exquisite, expensive crafted beer and then let loose on the imaginative buffet.

The 13th Floor, MG Road: Make your way here for the best views of the city’s skyline, wind-swept hair and some inventive cocktails. Skip the menu and ask for gunpowder eggs, the ultimate chilly beef and The Devil Wore Pink. That last one is a drink, and it’s rather lovely.

Where to Stay

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 Bengaluru. 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 dessert bowl—so very Bengaluru.

jüSTa, off MG Road The hotel's location is the clincher, right next to the MG Road metro station, which means travelling to the business district will be easy. Opt for the surprisingly quiet luxury rooms for a view of the trees and the quiet lane outside the hotel. Fashion designer Deepika Govind has handpicked furniture and added style to this boutique hotel.

Casa Cottage, off Richmond Road Run by an Indo-French couple this is a refurbished 1915 heritage cottage. The trees on site still stand and provide the owners with delicious avocados every year. Room tip: Ask for one on ground level since the spiral staircase can be a challenge and remember, it’s a lovingly restored English bungalow, not a flashy hotel.

Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park Zipping through the city on a business trip or carefree vacation? Check into this hotel at the Cessna Business Park, an IT hub that’s home to companies such as Cisco, and feel right at home. Everything about it spells geek, from the high-speed wi-fi in public areas to the electronic ticker in the lobby that scrolls fun bits of trivia. Re: fuel, the food and beverage area at reception level is excellent for visitors who want to pick up a sandwich or coffee and head for their next meeting.

Villa Pottipatti, Malleswaram In the heart of one of the oldest parts of Bengaluru–Malleswaram, this property offers traditional living at its best. Browse through the markets for a bit of local culture and round it up with a benne dosa and filter coffee at nearby CTR.

More Reasons to Visit

Exploring on foot: Time to stretch your legs? Explore Bengaluru on 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.

Ranga Shankara: Culture vultures, watch a play at Ranga Shankara. Nurtured by Arundhati Nag, the city’s famous film and theatre artist. This is where the city’s culturally inclined can be spotted and you’ll find no Bollywood movies here.

Apaulogy:  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 Bengaluru.

Meet Start-ups: 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.

Near this city

You can never get tired of Bengaluru. But if you do, here are some places worth venturing out for:

Hampi: You can do so much more than gawk at the incredible ruins at this UNESCO heritage site. Cliff diving, coracle rides, cycling tours, the list goes on.

Mangalore: The beaches are a treat here and so is the seafood. The Mangaladevi temple has a celebrity following. Don’t leave the city without sampling the its unique ice cream, Gadbad.

Chikmagalur: Go to relax at some of the loveliest homestays in this part of India. And of course, for the single estate coffee.

6E & Cheeky

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 hover 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.

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