Pleasant weather, lively nightlife, beautiful gardens and scrumptious cuisines attract globetrotters to Bengaluru (Bangalore) aka Silicon Valley of India. From breathtaking palaces and recreational parks to glorious temples and heritage monuments, you can experience them all on your holiday in Bengaluru.
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Remember the popular television series - Malgudi Days? Yes, you’re right! This program was about Swami, a ten-year-old boy and his adventures with his friends, which he would share with his grandmother. This series was illustrated by the famous cartoonist, R. K. Laxman, and written by his elder brother, R. K. Narayan.
This is how the name ‘Malgudi’ was born
‘Mal’ was taken from the initial letters of Malleshwaram, a city in Bangalore. ‘Gudi’ was derived from the last few letters of Basavanagudi, another city in Bangalore.
Places to visit
Nestled in Sampangi Rama Nagar, the Cubbon Park is a must-visit for nature lovers. Also known as Sri. Chamarajendra Park, this 300-acre historic park houses approximately 6,000 trees. On your visit to this place, treat your eyes to lush greenery and soak in the serene atmosphere. From Moreton Bay Chestnut to Peltophorum Schinus molle to West Indian mahogany, you’ll get to see many more exotic botanical species. You can also catch a glimpse of the Silky Oak, a native of eastern coastal Australia. Other attractions of the park includes the Bangalore Aquarium, State Central Library and the Cubbon Park Museum.
State Central Library
If you’re a book lover, this historic library will delight you! Nestled within the Cubbon Park, the State Central Library aka Seshadri Memorial library is an imposing building surrounded by lush greenery. It houses approximately 2.7 lac books and also a Braille section. It is open from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm and closed on Mondays. Browse through the collection which includes rare periodicals, research materials and academic books. Pick your favourite and indulge in the pleasure of reading.
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For all you adventure enthusiasts, the Wonderla Amusement Park is the perfect place. From virtual reality experiences to roller coasters, this park has something for everyone. Land rides include Hang Glider, Pirate Ship, Sky Wheel, Dungeon Ride and many more. Water rides to enjoy are Jungle Lagoon, Boomerang, Uphill Racers, Wavy and Vertical Falls etc. Kids rides include Magic Mushroom, Mini Venice, Moon Walker, Flying Jumbo and lots more. High thrill rides like Recoil, Flash Tower, Equinox, Insanity, Hurricane, Y-Scream and Wonderla Bamba promises you an exhilarating experience. The park is open from 11 am to 6 pm.
The Lalbagh Botanical Garden
The Lalbagh Botanical Garden is one of the popular attractions of Bengaluru. You can experience the flower shows which are held twice yearly, 26th January and 15th August at its unique glass house. This splendid 240-acre garden is home to a beautiful lake and approximately 1,000 species of flora; it houses rare species of plants brought from France, Afghanistan and Persia. The garden is attractive with fountains, flowerbeds and centuries-old trees. Catch a glimpse of birds which include Purple Moorhen, Parakeets, Brahminy Kite, Myna, Common Egret and many more. Another famous attraction is the Lalbagh Rock, an old rock formation that dates back to nearly 3.4 billion years.
Dodda Basavana Gudi Temple
Tucked away in Basavanagudi, the Dodda Basavana Gudi is dedicated to the sacred Nandi bull, the mount of Lord Shiva. Adorned with Dravidian architecture, this temple complex houses Ganesha Temple, Shiva Temple and the Bull Temple. The huge bull statue is a crowd-puller. According to a legend, a bull used to enter the groundnut fields in the nearby villages and destroy the crops. The villagers built the Bull Temple and offered prayers, after which, they were never troubled by the bull. In the Hindu month of Kartika, a groundnut fair is held for two days where one can buy groundnuts, traditional toys, glass dolls and bangles.
Your trip to Bengaluru is incomplete without a visit to the Bangalore Palace. Located in Vasanth Nagar, the royal charm of this palace will sweep you off your feet. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, this palace was built by King Chamaraja Wadiyar in 1887. Luxurious chandeliers and ornate cornices add elegance to the palace. You’ll see a fountain in the courtyard of the Maharaja which was gifted by a Spanish royal family. Check out the photographs belonging to the various generations of the Wadiyar dynasty. You can also treat your eyes to the 19th-20th century paintings; the most popular among them are the beautiful paintings by Raja Ravi Varma.
At a distance of approximately 60 km from Bangalore lies Ramanagara aka Ramanagaram where Bollywood blockbuster 'Sholay' was filmed. This is the place where Gabbar and his men were seen on the rocky terrain. And the fictional village ‘Ramgarh’ is actually the town of Ramanagara which is popularly known as ‘Sippynagar’.
If you plan to visit this epic place, you can also indulge in rappelling, trekking, star gazing, rock climbing, bird watching and lots more.
Vijayadashmi/ Dussehra (19th October 2018)
A celebration of the victory of good over evil, Dussehra or Vijayadashmi falls on the 10th day in the Hindu calendar month of Ashwin. It is also believed to be an auspicious period to make new beginnings. In Bengaluru, the locals enthusiastically decorate dolls, worship Goddess Chamundeshwari and prepare Choondal, a dish made from chickpeas. If you happen to be here during Dussehra, you will see grand processions on the streets with people wearing masks and garlands.
Cuisines to relish
If you want to savour authentic South Indian Thali, you can visit restaurants which include Maiyas, Malgudi Vattika, Karavalli, Udupi Sri Krishna Bhavan, Kamat, Sunehri, and Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR). You can also try Burmese Chicken Balachaung at Noodleheads, Saigon noodles at Vietnamese Kitchen, Batter Fried Shrimps at Tang of Jamaica, Mutton Thakali at Bamey’s Restro Cafe and Singapore Chicken Rice at L’Cafe.
Souvenirs to pick
When in Bengaluru, you can buy the popular sweet, Mysore Pak. Famous sweet shops include Sri Venkateswara Sweetmeat Stall, Gundappa Sweets, Anand Sweets and Sri Krishna Sweets. Other places where you can shop include Levitate for quirky jewellery, Graphicurry for coasters, Chickpet for sarees, Cauvery Handicrafts Emporium for handicrafts, Apaulogy Gallery for city-themed bags and Bangalore Emporium for beautiful wall hangings.
The official language of Bengaluru is Kannada. However being a cosmopolitan city, you will find a mix population which includes Keralites, Telugites, Tamilians, people from rest of India and even foreigners.
Earlier, Bangalore was called Bengalval–Uru, which translates to ‘City of Guards’.
The scrumptious Rava Idli was invented by MTR Foods which is based out of Bangalore. It is also said that during World War II, when rice was insufficient, semolina or rava was used while preparing idli instead of rice and rava idli was born.
Bangalore is known for its lively nightlife and houses more than 800 pubs. So, now you know why it is also called the ‘Pub Capital Of India’.
Best time to visit
Bengaluru is a year-round destination. However, you can plan your visit between October and February, the winter season which is an ideal period for sightseeing.
How to reach here
By flight: Bengaluru International Airport aka Kempegowda International Airport.
Author : Vijaylaxmi Thakur