Genral Information - Bangalore
As the story goes Bangalore was named after an old woman who served a wandering king a meal of boiled beans. There's little chance now of finding boiled beans anywhere in Bangalore, the mecca of IT in India. This former retirement town is now anything but. Spearheading in India all things 21st century, Bangalore is abuzz with energy and is really quite groovy in a tech miracle-big business school-arts and theatre kind of way. History :
For a long time now Bangalore has been the hip happening city of India. The beautiful weather, wide roads, tree lined avenues and relatively low real estate prices prompted its transition from garden city to India's Silicon Valley.
Bangalore has a wealth of sights for the tourist: the historical Bangalore Palace, Kempegowda Fort, Jama Masjid and Lalbagh Gradens, the sprawling Cubbon Park, the Bull Temple and the ISKCON Temple are all on any sightseeing tour. Bangalore is also India's pub city; it picked up the happy culture of beer drinking much before its urban counterparts elsewhere in India.
Kempegowda, a petty ruler whose overlords were the Vijaynagar kings, founded Bangalore in 1537. He fortified his city with a fortress but chose the unhappy medium of mud. Tipu promptly rectified this when two centuries later when the city became his summer capital. During the reign of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, Bangalore became important as a fortress city. After their defeat of Tipu the British took over Bangalore and shifted the headquarters of regional administration here from Tipu's capital Srirangapatnam in 1831. Habitat :
Karnataka joined the Republic of India in 1956 with the accession of the princely state of Mysore and adjoining areas. Balmy Bangalore became the capital city.
Bangalore's urban growth was spurred by the government's decision in the 1960s to situate defence and scientific research centres here.
Bangalore lies in the southeast part of Karnataka. Situated on the Deccan Plateau, the city is at a height of 1000 metres. When it was first established, in the 16th century, Kempegowda had four pillars erected to mark the town’s boundary. Bangalore evolved from being a town into a city, and spread way beyond the four pillars in all four directions. Today Bangalore is a sprawling metropolis and its landscape is decidedly urban: bright lights and techno might. Its broad roads have heavy traffic and are flanked by tall structures of glass and concrete. Place To See :
But Bangalore continues to be a very green place. Large parks like Cubbon and the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, tree lined avenues and lakes have a counteractive effect against pollution, and characterise India’s Garden City.
The Jama Masjid's imposing
white structure with the bustling market in its
shadow is a great colourful bubbling place. The
market is a traditional makeshift market with
small stalls that have tarpaulin roofs; you'll
find people selling fruits, vegetables, fragrant
garlands of jasmine, heaps of spice, and
everything snuggling cheek by jowl with the
other. How Get There :
The Bull Temple was built in
the 16th century by Kempegowda. It is
dedicated to Lord Shiva's vehicle Nandi. A whole
lot of interesting things happen at the temple
and non-Hindus are allowed in. Weekends see
typical marriage processions, shiny new cars
being baptized and de-evil-eyed, and musicians
play in and around the temple. As the story goes
the gigantic bull statue is growing; it
currently stands almost 5 meters in height and
more than 6 meters in length.
The 120-hectare Cubbon Park
was laid in 1864. The 'lungs of
Bangalore' has fountains, a bandstand,
and the government buildings surround
it. The neo-classical High Court, the
neo-Dravidian Vidhan Soudha
(houses the State Legislature), the
Government Museum with
its collection of sundry objects d'art,
and the interactive
Technological Museum all stand
nearby is also pretty good.
Lalbagh Gardens are Botanical
gardens with an excellent variety of plants.
Haider Ali originally planted them in 1760 and
his son Tipu Sultan, who followed in his
father's great footsteps, filled them and left
some greater ones of his own to boot, added huge
numbers of exotic plants from far off countries.
The collections and their arrangement are
superb. Don't miss the floral lawn clock and its
Snow White and Seven Dwarfs neighbour.
The Kempegowda Fort must not
have been too effective considering it was made
of mud. Tipu certainly thought so and rebuilt
the entire structure in stone in the 18th
century. Tipu's Palace here is less grand than
the Daria Daulat Bagh in Srirangapatnam, but
similar. The marvellous and extensive teak
panelling has lovely carvings and painting on
The Bangalore Palace of the
Mysore Wodeyars may give you a Windsor Castle
deja vu but that effect is probably
coincidental. Ulsoor Lake is
pretty and it's possible to row in the water.
There is also a shorter, faster motorboat
A gleaming hybrid glass-steel and
Dravidian temple architecture structure,
the ISKCON temple is a
sight! The International Society for
Krishna Consciousness has been quite
successful in its commercial pursuits
and the results show here. Everybody is
more than welcome to pay their respects.
By Air Accomodation :
Bangalore is very well connected with the rest of India. There are daily flights from the four metros of Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai and Chennai, as well as from cities like Ahmedabad, Puri, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore and Goa. There are direct international flights from Muscat, Singapore and Sharjah, and indirect connections via Mumbai from New York, London, Paris and the Middle East.
The Airport is 13 km from the city centre. Pre-paid taxi and auto-rickshaws will do the distance quite readily. There are also buses if you are traveling light and want to savour the local culture right off.
The two railway stations in Bangalore get rail traffic from all around the country. City Central is the main station but some trains also stop at Cantonment, which is closer to MG Road at the heart of the city.
There's no dearth of buses that go here, there and everywhere from Bangalore's sprawling bus station. There are buses services to all the neighbouring states and these are of a variety: regular, express, super express, deluxe and super deluxe! Taxis can be hired to make trips around the region too.
From big 5 star establishments to small guesthouses, Bangalore has accommodation that cuts through the entire range of prices and services. The cheapest joints will have shared bathrooms and limited hot water supply. The mid-rung establishments will have rooms with attached bathrooms and an expensive air-conditioning option. (Most of these are located on the arterial MG Road). Top-end luxury chains are all represented in this very lucrative market. Prices are decidedly high-end but luxury has its value.
Commercial Street has a formidable reputation as a shopping area. There's a mix of funky nouveau ethnic western clothing as well as very traditional and very stunning hand embroidered silk sarees. Prices are lower than at the staid emporia and this is a place to have fun. You'll realize that it spills off the up market MG Road in other ways than just geographically. MG Road is lined with swish and swanky stores that have some great stuff. Events :
Bangalore is a good place to pick up incense, silks, authentic tribal jewellery, brass and copper ware, soapstone statues, aromatic sandalwood and rosewood carvings and lacquer work.
Shops open fairly early and shut at around 8 in the evening. However, most take a 3 hour lunch (and siesta) break around 1pm to 4pm.
Karaga Festival: Celebrated in March
and April, Karaga Festival is one of the popular
Fairs & Festivals in Bangalore. It is celebrated
by taking out an earthen pot embodying Shakti on
a night procession with devotees balancing the
pots on their heads in order to test the
strength of their characters.
Makara Sankranthi/Pongal : One of the
most popular Fairs & Festivals in Bangalore,
Makara Sankranthi or Pongal is celebrated to
mark the beginning of the harvest season. This
festival also marks the change of season with
people welcoming spring and bidding adieu to
Ganesh Chaturthi: Ganesh Chaurthi is
celebrated in Bangalore with the same jest and
enthusiasm as it is celebrated in Maharashtra.
This festival is celebrated in September on the
day before Swarna Gowri.
Kadalekaye Parishe: Also known as the
Peanut Festival, Kadalekaye Parishe is
celebrated in November to celebrate the first
groundnut crop of the year. Farmers visit the
Bull Temple in Bangalore and make offering of
groundnuts there on this occasion.
Varamahalakshmi: Varamahalakshmi Pooja is
celebrated in August in Karnataka. Fairs &
Festivals in Bangalore can’t be described
without talking of the Varamahalakshmi festival.
On this festival married women make offerings of
garlands of jewelry, cash and other valuable
items to Goddess Lakshmi.
Dussehra: Dussehra celebrations lasts for
up to 10 days in Bangalore. Dussehra is one of
the best-celebrated Fairs & Festivals in
Bangalore. These celebrations were started by
Maharaja of Mysore who used to hold a Durbar for
9 days and used to hold a procession on the 10th
Yugadi: Marked with ritual bath and
prayers, the Kannadiga New Year day of Yugadi
falls on the 2nd half of March or on early
April. According to legends, it is believed that
Brahma created the world on this day.
Predictions for the New Year are made on the
occasion of Yugadi.