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Brash and bold Bengaluru – the heart of India’s IT industry – is an undeniable bastion of modernity. It’s success as a tech city has garnered it big business, international fame and a cosmopolitan atmosphere. It may lack the obvious charm of say, Jaipur or Agra, but this south Indian city is an attraction unto itself. Punctuated by parks, Bengaluru boasts flourishes of Victorian architecture and a selection of impressive temples along with superb malls and museums. These attractions – along with a slick, sophisticated vibe – pulls visitors to this sparkling metropolis like moths to a flame.
Bengaluru – sometimes known in English as Bangalore – is the capital of the south Indian state of Karnataka, located in the country’s Deccan Plateau region. While the city was established in the 16th Century, it saw major expansion under the British in the 19th Century. Much of the city’s Victorian-era architecture as well as its parks and green spaces date from this period, but the Bangalore Fort – which was begun in the late 16th Century – gives new arrivals a glimpse into Bengaluru’s early history. Using this core site as a guide, newcomers will note that the sights and attractions of modern Bengaluru radiate both north and south from here across the centre of the city. Likewise, travellers will also find that the bulk of hotels and sleeping accommodations in Bengaluru can be found in this central district. This core area is ringed by routes 48, 44 and 75 of India’s National Highway System.
It might be best known as a huge IT hub, but Bengaluru is also studded by multiple Hindu temples and religious complexes, many of which have been constructed in the local Dravidian style. The city’s Bull Temple – perhaps its most famous religious landmark – is located just south of the Bangalore Fort. Home to a local annual festival, the complex’s famous bull is among the city’s most visited shrines. For something different, travellers can make their way across town to the ISKCON Hare Krishna Temple. A blend of old and new influences, this massive complex affords visitors outstanding views of the city and an interesting insight into the wider Hare Krishna movement. If serenity is your thing, keep the feeling going at any one of the area’s parks. Both the centrally located Lalbagh Botanical Garden and the airy Cubbon Park are your best bet for making the most of your time in India’s Garden City.
For those who find themselves wilting in the tropical climate, Bengaluru’s top-notch museums offer visitors the chance to beat the heat while still making the most of their time in the city. Fittingly, the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum – located in Cubbon Park – features a host of interactive galleries exploring a range of physical science topics. Further to the west of the city centre, the Heritage Centre & Aerospace Museum has a good collection of vintage planes and helicopters on display, but if you really want to reach for the stars, head to the Jawahar Lal Nehru Planetarium for interesting lectures and daily star shows. The acquisition of knowledge is one thing, but travellers hoping to make more material gains are in luck. A shopper’s paradise, newcomers can take their pick from any of the Bengaluru’s retail outlets. UB City, Phoenix Marketcity and Orion malls are ultramodern venues while the vendors in Bengaluru’s Commercial Street offer a flea market-type experience.
Attracting workers from across India, the eating options in Bengaluru are varied. Chinese and Western fare are all on the table here as are regional Indian specialties. For something more local, the city is the home of the masala dosa, a pancake stuffed with potatoes. South Indian vegetarian dishes abound here, served up in tin trays at any of the city’s Udupi restaurants. However, visiting carnivores are guaranteed their meaty fix; tandoori chicken and kebabs are staples within the culinary repertoire of the city’s Muslim community.
Hungry travellers will find a selection of restaurants to the east of Cubbon Park. Likewise, visitors will note that Bangalore’s hotels are also concentrated in this part of the city. As well as larger hotel chains, those seeking accommodation in central Bangalore will find a number of independently run options. The B&Bs located on the city’s Intermediate Ring Road may offer a more budget-friendly alternative to the luxury hotels found in Bangalore’s core.