Explore Bangalore

Bangalore Travel Guide

Until 1831, Bangalore slumbered in the shadow of its neighbouring city Mysore. When the British took control over the local kingdom they moved the capital to Bangalore, upgrading its infrastructure in the process with fine colonial buildings, roads, rail connections and wonderful parks and gardens. Bangalore, now officially known as Bengaluru, is today the state capital of Karnataka; it is still called the 'Garden City' due to its leafy avenues and quiet suburbs.<br /><br /> Bangalore was the first city in India to become electrified, and has ever since retained the cachet of being India's most technologically modern and progressive city. It is also quite literally one of the country's coolest cities, with an average temperature far lower than the scorching plains of the surrounding region. Among other advantages Bangalore enjoys are noticeably cleaner streets and a generally calmer and less frenetic atmosphere than other Indian cities.<br /><br /> Bangalore is also well-known as the centre of India's IT and telecommunications industries, and thus attracts professionals from all over India and abroad. The influx of Westerners and knowledge-workers, coupled with the rise in affluence, have made this India's most modern and secular city - often its residents have relaxed and refreshingly liberal attitudes by Indian standards that many find appealing, but others find scandalous.<br /><br /> Bangalore is perhaps best described as the face of modern India, a fast-developing and charming city with a lot of potential.<br /><br />

Cubbon Park

Address: Bangalore

Cubbon Park is Bangalore's equivalent of Central Park: a place of relaxation, open space and some worthwhile attractions. In and around the park are the State Central Library, two municipal museums, an art gallery and the Government Aquarium. The intensely red Attara Kacheri, which houses the regional high court, is unmistakable and eminently photographable. The State Archaeological Museum is one of the oldest in India, has artefacts dating back 5,000 years, and is well worth a visit to gain some historical context to this relentlessly modern city. The handsome and photogenic Seshadri Memorial Library is another distinctly red building on the fringes of the park. At the northern edge of Cubbon Park is the imposing Vidhana Soudha, home to the State Legislature and Secretariat. The massive sandalwood doors to the Cabinet are a notable feature of this handsome colonial structure, built in a neo-Dravidian style; the construction work was done by more than 5,000 prisoners, who were set free once the building was finished, in 1956.<br /><br /> First and foremost, however, the park is a green lung, a peaceful and pretty place to take a break from the traffic and noise of this bustling city. It is a great area for walkers and joggers - particularly early in the morning and in the evenings. If you are travelling with kids in Bangalore then Cubbon Park has many lovely picnic spots and open space to let off some steam; there is also boating on the lake and a toy train that runs around the park. Note that there is a busy road running through the area so it is not completely devoid of traffic.<br /><br />

Lal Bagh

Address: Mari Gowda Rd, Shanti Nagar, 2.5 miles (4km) south of the city centre, Bangalore

This splendid botanical garden, laid out by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan as a private royal garden in 1760, contains more than 1,000 species of rare flora in its enormous grounds. Lal Bagh is an internationally renowned centre for the scientific study and conservation of plants, and also a centre of botanical artwork. The name Lal Bagh means 'red garden', in tribute to its celebrated red roses. The centrepiece of Lal Bagh is the Glass House, which hosts an annual flower show and is modelled after London's Crystal Palace. Apart from the many old and imposing trees which delight visitors, the gardens also house a deer park, an aquarium, a lake and one of the city's four Kempe Gowda Towers.<br /><br /> The gardens are large and very beautiful with a great variety of scenery, many well-maintained paths to explore, and lots of shady nooks and lawns for picnics and relaxation. There are four entrance gates to the botanical garden and it is very popular with locals and visitors alike. None of the features are really stand-alone attractions but the gardens are a refreshing green lung in a crowded city, and a lovely place to take a morning stroll or jog and enjoy the peace.<br /><br />

Hampi

Address: Bangalore

The small, relaxed town of Hampi - located in the state of Karnataka, about 220 miles (350km) from Bengaluru, and about the same distance from Panaji (in the neighbouring state of Goa) - not only boasts one of the weirdest, most awe-inspiring landscapes in the whole of India, but is also a fascinating historical site. The capital of the once-great Vijayanagar Empire, the ruins of the 14th-century village and temple complex found in present-day Hampi have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, as impressive as these ruins are (especially the multi-tiered, ornately-sculpted Virupaksha Temple), the grandstand attraction of Hampi remains its natural landscape. A severe, desolate and boulder-strewn wilderness, tempered by a slate-grey river surrounded by lush groves of banana, mango and palm trees, you will frequently find yourself at a loss for words to describe it properly. Hampi might be slightly off the beaten track, but it is a manageable excursion from Bangalore and will deeply reward all those who seek out its thoroughly singular charms. Hampi is a must for rock-climbers and is considered the bouldering capital of India, which is not surprising considering its rocky landscape.<br /><br />

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