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Visit the culture hub of India: Bengaluru!
Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, as a city has always been the influx of multiple people from multiple cultural backgrounds. As a result, this colorful city can never disappoint new patrons visiting. In this guide, we’ll share the whats and hows if you’re ever inclined to make a trip here.
Bengaluru is a metropolitan city and is the capital city of the Indian state of Karnataka. Originally a part of the Vijayanagara Empire, it soon passed hands from the Mughals to the Wodeyar family(whose remnants still reside in the neighbouring city of Mysore). As such, under British rule, Bengaluru was annexed to the State of Mysore and was an important army cantonment during their stay here. Proof that the British were once here can be seen in Bengaluru’s older areas,with the distinct British architecture, and even today one can admire some of the buildings that have withstood time. Since the British turned Bengaluru into a cantonment, this small town’s importance rose and eventually it grew into a flourishing city.
Today, Bengaluru is one of the world’s top hubs for Information Technology growth, often being touted as the Silicon Valley of India. Multitudes of people from various parts of the country flock here for a livelihood. And so the city is a center of diverse cultures and traditions, while also maintaining its original regality as the kingdom of the Wodeyars.
Bengaluru is connected by land, air and road to most parts of the country.
By Air - The city also has access to the Kempegowda International airport(KIA) that caters to international and domestic flights every day. The airport is around 40km from the main city and can be reached by KIA buses that ply regularly or a private taxi/Ola/Uber service. Direct flights from most other Indian metros like Delhi and Mumbai fly regularly.
By rail - Being a division in the South Central Indian Railways, Bengaluru is well connected to most other metropolitan cities like Chennai and Hyderabad, but also to other regions of the state like Tumkur and Mysore. There are also a few routes that offer intra-city travel, which is useful when hopping between areas. There are 4 major railway stations: Bengaluru City Railway Station, the Bengaluru Cantonment Station, Yesvantpur Junction and the Krishnarajapuram Station.
Bengaluru city comes with a multitude of intra-city travel options. The most popular are the local autorickshaw services and the BMTC, or Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation. BMTC buses ply regularly to all areas of the city from around 5:00 AM in the morning till midnight.
In recent years, a commuter metro rail link has also been established within and between more populated sections of the city known as Namma Metro.
With the advent of taxi services like Uber and Ola, traveling around the city has become more convenient, especially with carpooling options available. However, do be aware of surge pricing by the taxi operators.
Autorickshaws are a highly convenient way of getting around the city in case a bus or taxi is not available. Do note that autos run by the meter in Bengaluru but most drivers still charge a surplus in case of bad weather or late night driving.
STAYING IN BENGALURU
Thanks to help from tourism and hospitality sectors as well as being a major business hub, there isn’t any dearth of good accommodation options in Bengaluru. Major hotel chains all have branches in Bengaluru. However, if you want a more homely stay, there are various resorts, villas and service apartments in and surrounding the Bengaluru. Depending on your travel preferences, you may find staying anywhere in the center of the city is a good idea. Areas like Indiranagar & Koramangala are the most connected in terms of transport, and one gets a feel of the city’s night life in these areas. Other areas such as Ulsoor, Ashok Nagar give a glimpse of traditional Bengaluru.
WHAT TO DO
Travelers are spoilt for choice in Bengaluru. You can go sightseeing, have a beer in one of the many pubs(Bengaluru is known as India’s pub capital!), explore the resplendent gardens and nature parks or simply take a stroll in the city’s many shopping complexes.
- Nandi Hills, around 70km from Bengaluru. A small hill station with great views
- Bannerghatta National Park and zoological gardens
- Vidhana Soudha, the state legislative center of Karnataka.
- Lalbagh Botanical Gardens and Cubbon
- ISKCON, Bengaluru. A religious center for the International Society of Krishna Consciousness
- Bengaluru Palace
- The birthplace of Tipu Sultan, a ruler of the former state of Mysore
Pubs: Bengaluru is known as the pub capital of India. There are many places to grab a beer in the city. Some of the city’s oldest joints like the Downtown Pub or Peco’s can be found in M.G Road, a shopping district. There’s also a plethora of microbreweries like Toit, the Arbor Brewing Co and U4IA(Euphoria).
Shopping: In case you want to take home a few souvenirs, you can visit any of the shopping centers like Commercial Street or M.G Road, which boast a number of ethnic and international retail stores.
TYPICAL BENGALURU FOOD TO TRY:
Being a diverse city of multiple cultures, Bengaluru is a culinary experience that everyone must experience. If you’re a first time visitor, the following are some dishes you mustn’t forget to try!
Idli and Vada - Idli is a steamed rice cake and vada is a lentil donut. Both are usually served together and are eaten with coconut chutney and a lentil soup known as Sambar.
Masala Dosa - The masala dosa is one of Bengaluru’s highlights. Although dosa is a common dish throughout south India, Bengaluru is known for its distinct masala dosa recipe. A dosa is a thick crepe made with rice batter and had with chutney and sambar. The masala dosa is a spicier and more filling variation with a potato and onion filling in the middle of the dosa.
Filter coffee - Filter coffee is a bitter-sweet concoction that Bengaluru’s citizens pride themselves about. Usually had in conjunction with any of the above dishes, it is a twist on the regular coffee with an added ingredient called chicory.
Bisi bele bath - Bisibele bath is a rice dish usually eaten for lunch in Bengaluru. The kannada word bisi stands for hot, and bele stands for lentils. This is a rice/lentil dish served with fritters on top to give the dish an extra crunch. It’s a staple of many people residing in Bengaluru.