Bangalore or Bengaluru, also known as the Silicon Valley of India, will greet you with dreamy weather, Carnatic fusion melodies, a signature breakfast of masala dosa and filter coffee, and notorious traffic. Bangalore serves as a comfortable cohabitation of tradition and modernisation that can be seen throughout the places to visit in the city, with crowds of vibrant Kannada temples coexisting with budding start-ups. Cosmopolitan Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) is one of India's most progressive and developed cities, blessed with a warm climate, a modern metro system, and a burgeoning drinking, dining and shopping scene. Its creature comforts are a godsend to the weary traveller who has done the hard yards off the beaten track, and it's a great city for mixing with locals in craft-beer joints or quirky independent cafes. Though there are no world-class sights, you'll find beautiful parks and striking Victorian-era architecture. Travel to Bangalore city for the vibrant cafes, quirky shops and fascinating contemporary culture. Visit traditional attractions such as the Bangalore castle, known for its Tudor-style architecture and Tipu Sultan's summer palace that dates back to the 17th century. You could head to the fascinating Venkatappa Art Gallery to get your art fix in Bengaluru. One of the more popular things to do in Bangalore is to walk through the green spaces of the 19th-century old Cubbon Park, which was once the reason Bangalore was known as the Garden City. Bengaluru's Vidhana Soudha, the Neo-Dravidian granite palace, is also a must-visit place for architecture lovers. Tourists can head to Bengaluru's much venerated Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) for authentic south Indian food and Toit's, the brick-walled microbrewery, for a cold beer.
In the heart of Bengaluru's business district is Cubbon Park, a well-maintained 120-hectare garden where Bengaluru's citizens converge to steal a moment from the rat race that rages outside. The gardens surround the red-painted Gothic-style State Central Library. Unfortunately, Cubbon is not closed to traffic, except on Sundays, when there are concerts, fun runs, yoga and even a small farmers market.
Other fabulous colonial-era architecture around the park includes the colossal neo-Dravidian-style Vidhana Soudha, built in 1954, which functions as the legislative chambers of the state government, and neoclassical Attara Kachri, built in 1864 and housing the High Court. The latest two are closed to the public.
For a taste of traditional urban India, dive into the bustling, gritty Krishnarajendra Market and the dense grid of commercial streets surrounding it. Weave your way around the lively, colourful stalls, past fresh produce, piles of vibrant dyes, spices and copperware. The resounding flower market in the centre is the highlight.
Spread over 98 hectares of landscaped terrain, these vast gardens were laid out in 1760 by famous ruler Hyder Ali. As well as amazing centuries-old trees, it has a very diverse species of plant – check out the bonsai, giant silk-cotton tree and Japanese gardens. Try to go in the early morning for the bird chorus. You can snap up a tour here with Bangalore Walks.
Housed in a century-old mansion – the former vacation home of the raja of Mysuru – this world-class art museum showcases an amazing permanent collection (and exhibitions). The Old Wing shows works from pre-Independence, including paintings by Raja Ravi Varma and Abanindranath Tagore. Linked by a pedestrian bridge, the sleek New Wing focuses on contemporary post-Independence works by artists including Sudhir Patwardhan and Vivan Sundaram. Guided walks (11.30 am Wednesday, 3 pm Saturday) are a great way to learn about the museum's highlights.
There's a wonderful art-reference library, a cafe and a museum shop here, too.
Recently reformed to its former glory thanks to the financial might of Samsung, the British-era Opera House has been transformed into a tech temple, complete with virtual-reality experiences and gleaming displays of smartphones and notebooks. Commendably, the original structure has been sensitively renovated, its beautiful interior combining twin colonnades, an elegantly curved balcony and a stage framed by classical columns. There's a cafe, and you can book the home-theatre spot to watch a film.
To look into India's aeronautical history, see this wonderful museum past the old airport, where you can see some of the indigenous aircraft models designed by HAL. Interesting exhibits include a MIG-21, home-grown examples such as the Marut and Kiran, and a vintage Canberra bomber.
A great gallery with a wide range of Indian and international contemporary art, as well as permanent displays of Mysuru-style paintings and folk and tribal pieces from across Asia. A coalition is devoted to the works of Russian master Nicholas Roerich, known for his vivid paintings of the Himalayas. The Pan Indian Panorama group includes progressive art from SG Vasudev and Yusuf Arakkal.
A worthwhile stopover between Bengaluru and Mysuru, this museum is dedicated to preserving local rural culture. It has a wonderful collection of folk-art objects, including 500-year-old shadow puppets, festival costumes, musical instruments, a great temple chariot and a replica of a traditional village. Cultural shows are conducted on the last Sunday of every month in the open-air theatre. It's 53km south of Bengaluru, 3km from Ramnagar; Mysuru–Bengaluru buses (except non-stop services) can plunge you here.
Made by the Hare Krishnas, this impressive hilltop temple, inaugurated in 1997, is luxuriously decorated in a mix of ultra-contemporary and traditional styles. Many food stalls here bring an appetite, and concerts and lectures are regularly maintained. It's around 8km northwest of the middle of town.
Constructed by Kempegowda in the 16th-century Dravidian style, the Bull Temple contains a huge stone monolith of Nandi (Shiva's bull), which is always decorated with lavish flower garlands. This is one of Bengaluru's most atmospheric temples, set in a small park and accessed through a shady path.
Adrenaline solicitors should look no further than this huge amusement park, which has more than 60 well-maintained rides, a wave pool, water slides and a 'rain disco'. It's just off the Mysuru–Bengaluru highway, 28km from the middle of Bengaluru, and linked by BMTC buses.
Here you can see several works and some personal memorabilia of K Venkatappa (1887–1962), court painter to the Wodeyars (erstwhile maharajas of the state).
The private residence of the Wodeyars, erstwhile maharajas of the state, Bangalore Palace preserves a slice of ancient royal splendour. You can view the (once) great interior, featuring hunting memorabilia, family photos and a group of nude portraits. Sadly, it's all a bit shabby today, but some much-needed renovation is ongoing.
The sleek Indo-Islamic summer residence of ruler Tipu Sultan is notable for its teak pillars and ornamental frescos.
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