July 2019


In India's Garden City
July 2019




Karnataka High Court in Bangalore in front of the impressive Vidhana Soudha that houses the state legislature.

Bangalore or Bengaluru, as it's called now, the capital of the state of Karnataka, is one of India's fastest growing cities. It is also called the Silicon Valley of the country because of its connection to the IT industry. It's a city that somehow seamlessly connects the modern and the ancient with Hindu temples, churches, swish pubs and Victorian-era architecture rubbing shoulders with each other. Once called the ‘Garden city' because of its many verdant parks and lakes, it's today a crowded, cosmopolitan city with a modern metro system.

Words: Kalpana Sunder

Start the day with typical Bangalore tiffin, and have crispy golden brown dosas with chutney and sambar. A good place to start exploring the city is at one of its biggest gardens, the Lalbagh Botanical Garden, built in 1760, by king Hyder Ali sprawling over 240 acres with well laid out walking paths, more than 2000 species of trees, and a glasshouse similar to the one in Kew gardens, London, which hosts annual flower shows. At one end of the garden is an ancient watchtower from the city's fortifications. Cubbon Park is another popular green lung of the city with bamboo and ficus trees as well as historical buildings like the Victorian style red brick State Central Library and popular with the locals for morning yoga, jogging and farmers' markets. The city has a rich heritage of architecture from Indo-Sarcenic and Victorian to Dravidian. One of its finest buildings is the Vidhana Soudha with a central dome and granite columns, which houses the state legislature. Another stunner is the old palace of King Tipu Sultan in Chamrajpet, near a congested market, built in the 18th century as his summer residence, where he would hear grievances from his subjects. This palace built almost completely out of teak wood with 160 pillars and floral motifs on walls and ceilings, is one of the city's most beautiful buildings.

Don't forget to follow it up with a visit to the Bangalore Palace built by the Wodiyar kings in the 19th century, in the Tudor Revival style with turrets, stained glass windows and fortified towers. The interiors are furnished in Victorian style with framed photographs, and paintings by famous Indian artists such as Raja Ravi Varma.

The city has a rich heritage of architecture from Indo-Sarcenic and Victorian to Dravidian.

The city has some great museums like the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technology Museum with exhibits covering mechanical devices and electronics as well as outer space. One of the city's newest museums is the Indian Music Experience (IME) with four storeys covering various aspects of music as well as a sound garden with touch sensitive installations from chimes and gongs to bells and reeds.

The city is also home to places of worship from churches and mosques to Hindu temples. The magnificent Bull Temple built in the 16th Century in Dravidian style, houses a gigantic granite Nandi bull, the guardian of Lord Shiva. A walk through the KR city Market helps you to understand the city with shops selling everything from spices to marigold flowers. The city is famous for its silk sarees that are made with the famed Mysore silk. Some of the most popular shopping areas of the city are MG Road, Brigade Road and Commercial street, besides of course several upmarket malls.

Come evening it's time to catch a glimpse of the other side of the city - its vibrant bar and craft beer scene as well as live music venues - from brewpubs to restaurants offering eclectic cuisine from around the world. Bangalore definitely has something for everyone.

 

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    The extensive Lalbagh Botanical Garden and its glasshouse are enriched with diverse flora.

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    State Central Library and other historical landmarks are part of the Cubbon Park and its vast landscape.

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    Tipu Sultan Summer Palace is known for its spectacular architecture.

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    The Tudor inspired Bangalore Palace exudes a charm of splendour.

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    Discover a treasure trove of machines and artefacts from Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technology Museum.

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    The gigantic statue of the sacred Nandi bull.

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