August 2018


Decoding India's Garden City
August 2018




The road to Bandipur National Park is covered with shady trees

The story of Bengaluru, or Bangalore as it was previously known, is a play of two acts. The first is rooted in royal grandeur, sprawling parks, and tumblers of coffee. The other is bustling with tech start ups, shopping malls, and ice cold beverages. Each half makes for a memorable experience of its own, but it's when the two narratives blend that you discover the true essence of this Indian metropolis.


Words: Neha Puntambekar


Morning Walks and Hot Tiffin

Over the years, Bengaluru has earned the name of ‘India's Garden City.' So it's not a surprise that most mornings here begin at one of these green spaces. The 300-acre colonial era Cubbon Park, with it's leafy walkways, toy trains and architectural landmarks are a favourite. As is the older Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. Spread over 240 acres, visitors have access to over 1800 species of plant life, and a biannual flower show. Walk around, breathe in the fresh air, explore. And once you're rejuvenated, make time for tiffin, a traditional South Indian breakfast, served at surrounding no-fuss establishments like the Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) or Central Tiffin Room (CTR), both of which have been dishing out varieties of dosas, idlis, and piping hot filter coffee since the 1920s.

The 300-acre colonial era Cubbon park, with it’s leafy walkways, toy trains and architectural landmarks, are a favourite..


A Stately Affair

Some of the city's most influential buildings hang out in and near Cubbon Park. Look past branches and giant ferns and you'll see the unforgettable red bricks of the Sheshadri Iyer Memorial Hall, one of the best state libraries in the country. This striking colour scheme continues with the neo-classical Government Museum building and the adjoining Venkattappa Art Gallery. Further next, is the British era Attara Kacheri, the Karnataka High Court, and the imposing Vidhan Souda, Karnataka's State Legislative Assembly. A unique imposing can be found at the other end of Cubbon Park, past Queens Road-the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, one of India's most loved cricket venues and home to the popular T20 Indian Premier League, The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Here, instead of birdcalls, you'll hear vuvuzelas and screams of ‘howzat?' as you pass by.


Maharajas, Sultans, and Majestic Things

Beneath the modern glitz and hustle, Bengaluru has an elegant royal past, as evidenced by the Bangalore Palace, home to the erstwhile Wadiyar dynasty of the Mysore Kingdom. The surviving heir continues to reside on the property, in a private wing and the rest of the palace is open to visitors. The 100-year old royal holiday residence houses the National Gallery of Modern Art, showcasing great Indian artists like Raja Ravi Varma, Amrita Sher-Gil, and Jamini Roy. Made of teak wood and intricate carvings, the Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace is a fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture and artistry. It is situated within the historic walls of the Bangalore Fort, built by Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bangalore in 1537.


A Bang for your Buck

Need a break from the sights? Why not hit the shops? The city has a number of malls as well as shopping streets to choose from -Brigade road, M G Road, Commercial Street; on any day, these lively streets are lined with street vendors, boutiques, pop-ups and retail showrooms. For a more old-school experience, try the traditional markets like Gandhi Bazaar or Malleswaram. You will find everything from flowers to spices, vegetables to handicrafts and all you need is bargaining skills, comfortable shoes and shopping bags.

Beneath the modern glitz and hustle, Bengaluru has an elegant royal past, as evidenced by the Bangalore Palace, home to the erstwhile Wadiyar dynasty of the Mysore Kingdom


Over the last few years, microbreweries have sprung up all across the Bengaluru. With funky names they serve the works-ales, lagers, stouts, year round favourites, and seasonal specials with ingredients like mango, cloves, and cinnamon, and come with menus to match-tasty, spicy, and things that go well with beverages. What better way to chill out after a long day in the city?


Places, Monks and Hungry Tigers

Take a break and head out of the city to explore modern day Mysore, as well as the old Mysore Kingdom, especially the spectacular Mysore Palace. Enroute, stop at the colourful town of Channapatna, where you can buy traditional lacquerware and wooden toys. If you enjoyed the parks and gardens in the city, try this one for size: Bandipur National Park; where along with the birds and the trees, tigers roam free.


But after a long trip, if it's a little bit of quiet you are looking for, head to the Tibetan Monastery and settlement in Bylakuppe; where you can take a moment and meditate in tranquility.


Fact Box

Port of Entry:

Arrive at Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport. The city is also connected to the rest of the country by an efficient rail and road network.

Weather:

Bengaluru is known for its year round temperate climate, with the most pleasant months to visit being from November to February.

Transport:

Get around using taxis and rickshaws, buses, private cars, or via the Bengaluru Metro.

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    The vibrant name board at Cubbon Park
    © Piyush Verma

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    Sprawling lush green Lalbagh botanical garden

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    Sip a tumbler of hot filter coffee
    © Neha Puntambekar

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    The classical European style Sheshadri Iyer Memorial Hall is one of the best state libraries

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    The stately Vidhan Souda, Karnataka's State Legislative Assembly

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    M Chinnaswamy Stadium throbs with fans during cricket matches
    © Sashee Kummar

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    The majestic landmark - Bangalore Palace

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    Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace with intricate carvings reflect Indo-Islamic architecture

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    Visit UB City Mall for a fashionable shopping experience
    © Piyush Verma

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    The stately facade of Mysore Palace

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    The ornate pillars feature Indo-Saracenic architecture

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    Spot a tiger at Bandipur National Park
    © Neha Puntambekar

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