Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru, is located in the southern Indian state of Karnataka at the heart of the Mysore Plateau. Known for long as the Garden City – Bangalore contributes 70% of India's floral export – its liberal and forward thinking reputation has attracted numerous high-tech companies, earning the city a new sobriquet – India’s ‘Silicon Valley’.
With an estimated population of more than six million people, Bangalore is the third most populous city in India and is one of the world’s fastest growing urban areas. The year-round temperate climate makes Bangalore a great place for walking, window-shopping and lounging in al-fresco coffee shops. Bangalore brims with positive energy and its cosmopolitan spirit makes it one of India’s most liveable cities.
Although not a traditional tourist destination, Bangalore still has plenty to offer visitors who may be passing through or in the city on business.
For a typically Indian experience, visit the bustling City Market, a cacophony of colours, sights, smells and sounds. Arrive early to enjoy the displays of fresh flowers and brightly coloured vegetables.
Bangalore also has a number of architectural sights worth seeing. Visit Vidhana Soudha, the legislative chambers of the State of Karnataka. Construction of this granite building began in 1951, and its neo-Dravidian architecture makes it one of the country’s most imposing buildings. Adjacent is the Vikasa Soudha, an equally impressive creation - built in the same classical style, but half a century later. Finally, visit Bangalore Palace. Construction of this replica of England’s Windsor Castle began in 1862 and was completed in 1944. It has recently been renovated and its grounds are a popular venue for rock concerts.
Cool down after your sightseeing trip with a visit to Wonderla Amusement Park, India’s largest water park. It’s situated on Mysore Road on the outskirts of Bangalore, and makes for an entertaining diversion.
Great wealth has flowed into Bangalore from its booming IT industry and as a result the city has an upmarket dining scene. Bangaloreans deem eating out as an intrinsic part of their culture and enjoy a varied mix of restaurants, many of which feature Far Eastern cuisines alongside Indian favourites. The latest phenomenon is the Sunday Champagne Brunch; join the cream of Bangalore society as they flock to five star hotels for an afternoon of excess. Those looking for budget options should head to Shettara Beedi, or ‘Food Street’ – it comes alive in the evenings with hundreds of South Indian vegetarian food stalls.
Bangalore’s buoyant nightlife once earned it the nickname ‘Pub City’, and most of the action centres around the commercial business district in the heart of Bangalore. A well-heeled crowd enjoy numerous hip venues including Bollywood discos, rooftop cocktail lounges, rock hangouts, DJ lounges, live music bars, Irish pubs, and more. However, the constabulary are not so keen on the scene and local regulations require all bars - and nightclubs - to close at 23:30.
Five hours by car from Bangalore is Bandipur National Park, an 890 square km wildlife sanctuary famed for its tiger and elephant reserve. Once regarded as a private hunting reserve by the Maharajas, Bandipur was first declared a National Park in 1931. In 1973, in response to fast dwindling numbers, the Bandipur Tiger Reserve was formed and the park is now also a superb habitat for the Asian Elephant. Visitors can enjoy open-top jeep safaris which are carefully regulated by the park’s authorities, while the forest department organises elephant back rides under the park’s protected sandalwood trees.