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.

Known as the hub of India's IT industry, the city is also remarkable for the way it has managed to preserve and protect its green spaces and striking colonial heritage. Bengaluru is blessed with a pleasant climate all year round and is considered one of the most progressive and cosmopolitan cities of India, has transformed itself over the years from a laidback, old-world city to a glittering city of nightlife and the upwardly mobile. Bengaluru has a very active and vibrant culture of theatre and literature; it is not only a major centre of Indian classical music and dance but also contemporary/rock music.

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 centre serves Bengaluru. IndiGo now operates more than 100 daily non-stop flights to 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 boasts 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/Transport in Bengaluru:

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.

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Places to visit in Bengaluru

Places to eat in Bengaluru

Koshy’s, St Marks Road
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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Indian Coffee House, Church Street
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, Convent Road
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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 Airlines Hotel, Off Lavelle Road
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 (Mavalli Tiffin Rooms), Lalbagh
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, Residency Road
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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Toscano, Vittal Mallya Road
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, Indiranagar
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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The Permit Room, Magrath Road
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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Toscano, Vittal Mallya Road
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, Indiranagar
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
The Permit Room, Magrath Road
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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Shopping places in Bengaluru

High-end shopping/luxury shopping/shopping malls in Bengaluru

  • 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.
  • Orion mall: is one of most popular and perfectly planned malls in Bengaluru. It offers something for everyone. Apart from a range of shopping options, the mall comprises bowling, movie hall and a range of multi cuisine restaurants.
  • Phoenix Market City: It is one of the biggest shopping malls in the city. It is located in Mahadevapura on the White Field Road. The specialty of the mall is the open courtyard in the front that hosts multiple musical concerts, live shows, painting competitions and a lot more. The mall offers a wide variety of shopping as well eating options.
  • UB City: One of the only luxury shopping malls in Bengaluru is UB City mall. From premium brands such as Burberry, Rolex, etc. to UCB, Nike, H&M and others, the mall is offers something for every type of a shopper.

Street/local shopping in Bengaluru

  • 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.

Bustling with crowds and packed with stalls in their tangle of by-lanes, Bengaluru’s iconic street and local markets offer great bargains and are a real joy to experience. Here, you can get anything and everything under the sun – antiques, books, silk sarees, fabrics, handicrafts, electronic accessories, shoes, clothes, trinkets, curios, jewellery, delicious local sweetmeats, flowers, fruit and more! 

Nightlife in Bengaluru

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.
  • UB City: Set 16 floors high on the rooftop of one of Bengaluru’s swankiest malls UB City, the lounge is famous for its under-lit floors, circular bar counter, unique lighting arrangements, and panoramic views of the city. Sheer elegance, superb service, and outstanding music perfectly describe Skyye.

Where to stay in Bengaluru

Taj

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

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.

justa

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

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

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

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 and top things to do in Bengaluru

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.

The Ayurvedagram Heritage Wellness Centre

The Ayurvedagram Heritage Wellness Centre in Bengaluru is an emerald oasis. The serene seven-acre property is home to over 200 species of rare medicinal herbs; and to elegant cottages that are evocative of India’s timeless heritage. Brought from Kerala beam by beam, reaper by reaper, they are Kerala’s traditional ancestral houses – made of exquisite teak and rosewood, and beautiful tiles – that have been re-created in Ayurvedagram, recapturing the rich architectural splendour of the region. Ayurvedagram is renowned across the globe for its authentic Ayurveda treatments and rejuvenation programs. At the Centre Ayurveda works alongside not only Yoga, Pranayama, and Meditation but also a purely vegetarian diet to ensure that you are completely rejuvenated and healed from the core. This is true wellness of mind, body, and spirit.

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.

Washerman’s village

For an introduction to the city’s local culture, a visit to the washerman’s village will be a unique and fascinating experience. At the washerman’s village – which is much like an outdoor laundry site – you will see people hand-washing clothes the traditional Indian way.

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.

Jakkur Airfield

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.

Vineyards

Take a wonderful tour of one of Bengaluru’s finest vineyards. Developed under the ownership of Grover Vineyards and Vallée de Vin, Grover Zampa represents an array of distinguished wine developers and producers who are known for launching leading wine brands in India and internationally. Grover Zampa are not only producing premium quality wine in India by bringing the best French traditions to create the finest Indian wines but also increasing interest in wine tourism and education. On the winery tour, discover the art and science of viticulture in Grover Zampa’s vast vineyards in the gorgeous Nandi Hills around 40 km outside Bengaluru.

Places to visit near Bengaluru

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. Ruled by 23 kings from four dynasties of the Vijayanagara Kingdom over 300 years, the beautiful capital city of Hampi was razed to the ground during the battle of Talikota in 1564-65. It is a World Heritage Site. The ruins of Hampi are spread over 18 km of gorgeous rocky terrain and surrounding hillocks – filled with stunning temples, palaces, and sculptures. The Sacred Centre comprises ancient temple complexes such as the Virupaksha, Vittala, and Krishna Temples. To the right is Hemakuta Hill which also has many temples. At the base of Matanga Hill is a small museum that displays 60 enlarged photographs of Hampi, taken in 1853 by a British photographer. The Kodandarama Temple is about 60 feet above the Tungabhadra river.

The Royal Centre comprises palaces, zenanas, baths, and the Hazara Rama Temple. The 14th-century Mahanavami Dibba, an enormous finely carved platform; the Lotus Mahal; the Elephant Stables; and the Queen’s Bath, a water pavilion – all lie within the complex.

Mangaluru

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 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.

Puttaparthi

Puttaparthi is around 120 km from Bengaluru, in the Anantapur District of the bordering state of Andhra Pradesh. It is world-famous for being the birthplace of spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and for the Ashram that he founded – Prasanthi Nilayam. Nestled amidst a chain of hillocks, Puttaparthi houses the Mandir (shrine), sprawling residential complexes for devotees, temples, boarding schools, colleges with hostels, a small zoo, and the headquarters of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation and the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. Puttaparthi has thousands of visitors daily from all over the world, many of whom come to stay at the Ashram. The morning and evening prayers are the highlights of this place. 

Mysore

The princely state of Mysore, the seat of the Wodeyar rulers, was renamed Karnataka in 1973. Under the Wodeyars, especially Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar (1673-1704), Mysuru became the centre for art, culture, and learning. It still retains its glorious old-world charm, tradition, and elegance. The highlights of the city are the Mysore Palace, built-in 1912, with rare collections of art, artefacts, and antiques from all over the world; the Sri Jayachamarajenda Art Gallery in the Jagan Mohan Palace, with its collection of ancient musical instruments, sculpture, and Raja Ravi Varma and Nicholas Roerich paintings; the beautiful Jayalakshmi Vilasa Palace built-in 1905, that houses the wonderful Folklore Museum; the fantastic Lalitha Mahal Palace built-in 1913, now a 5-star hotel; the Rail Museum; the grand 1931 Gothic St Philomena’s Church, Mysuru’s only British edifice; and the Chamundeshwari Temple up on Chamundi Hill, that offers a panoramic view of Mysuru.

Festivals in Bengaluru

Ugadi Festival/Gudi Padwa

An ancient yet popular festival, the Karaga festival is celebrated in the honour of Goddess Shakti. As per the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated as the beginning of a new year. On this day, people dress traditionally and greet other people and exchange love and warmth.

Karaga festival

Karaga is one of the oldest and widely celebrated festivals of Karnataka. It depicts the rich cultural and religious heritage of the state and brings to live its legacy. Celebrated in honour of the Goddess Shakt, this festival is widely rejoiced in the city.

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