Bangalore as a Destination
Well, we are now back from our holiday and spent just over a day in Bangalore in mid-March but found the experience totally unrestful and stressful.
We flew with Deccan (cheap, efficient and to be recommended) on the only flight, leaving Kochi just after 7am, arriving at Bangalore at 8am. As the only onward flights to Goa (ours with Kingfisher - cheap, efficient, with a tasty curry meal and to be recommended) were around 4pm we decided to spend the night in Bangalore to check the city out. (My grandfather was stationed there in 1898, just before being posted to South Africa and the Boer War.)
From our short time there I personally wouldn't recommend Bangalore as a place to visit unless you had business there that demanded your presence. It was extremely busy with traffic, very smelly from the exhaust fumes and on our perambulations on foot we never found any of the shops marked on our map. We found only one bar (for which we had read the city was noted) and that was closed for a private party!! Everywhere seemed to be being pulled down/rebuilt/developed (slight over-exaggeration).
Seeking rest elsewhere we repaired to the big park in the middle of the city but were besieged by beggarwomen with babies. The park itself was really just an unkempt open space with trees surrounded by busy roads and with a road running through it but it did provide some respite.
We stayed at an excellent hotel, the St Mark's Hotel, the room rate being 6100 rupees per night and I can recommend it.
In retrospect, we may have got more out of our stay with less stress if we had taken a tour of the city by car/taxi/tuc-tuc, but we prefer to walk as much as possible. We did, in fact, have a mini-tour of the city by taxi on the way back to the Airport when the taxi driver provided by the hotel offered us a tour at no extra cost!!! Having ample time in hand we were transported via the Court House and Government Buildings to (?a relative's?) jewellery shop!! We nearly ended up missing our flight, not helped by the arrival by air of a Politician and the consequent closing of the road to the airport!!
Certainly our short stay was a big disappointment but not enough to spoil our overall holiday.
In my quest to try all of the westernized junk food in India, I decided to have KFC for a snack.
Oh it was terrible. But I guess you'd expect that!! I didn't eat the burger but it was just a chicken patty on stale bread with a tiny tiny bit of lettuce and some mayo. The fries were similar to McDonalds fries (not like the chunky "chips" you get in Australia)
Anyway, you're probably not surprised, but KFC is no better in India
by the way, again, KFC is quite expensive in comparison to all of the great restaurants you're better off going to! just dont go
My Home Town Bangalore - The Garden City
"Bangalore - The Silicon Valley"
Bangalore is one of Asia's fastest growing cities. Situated at an altitude of 920 metres above sea level, Bangalore is the principal administrative, cultural, commercial and industrial centre of the state of Karnataka. Spread over an area of 2190 square kilometres, Bangalore enjoys a pleasant and equable climate throughout the year. Tree-lined streets and abundant greenery made it the 'Garden City' of India.
However, since local entrepreneurs and technology giant Texas Instruments discovered its potential as a high-tech city in the early 1980s, Bangalore has seen a major technology boom and is now home to more than 250 high-tech companies, including homegrown giants like Wipro and Infosys. The erstwhile garden city has now been pegged the 'Silicon Valley' of India.
To give you a little background, Bangalore was founded by Kempe Gowda in the early 16th century. Two centuries later, it became an important fortress city under rulers Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. The ruins of those periods can still be seen on the Bellary Road, at Lal Bagh, Ulsoor and Gavi Gangadhareswar Temple.
The people in the city are warm, hospitable and friendly. Bangalore is generally regarded as a place that most visitors like to chill out in. Not to say that it has nothing for the people interested in history. Along with the modern day pubs, discos and hangouts, one can still see remnants of the older Bangalore. All in all, a lovely city to visit.
Population: About 65 lakhs (6.5 million)
Climate: One of Bangalore's most attractive features continues to be its pleasant weather. Like we said earlier, Bangalore is not inclined to extremes. It meets the season's expectations, which means, it is warm in the summer, chilly in winter and the monsoons visit regularly.
Best times to visit: March to May (warmest months)
December to January (coldest months)
June to September (rainy - southwest monsoon)
November to December (rainy - northeast monsoon)
"Places To See Around Bangalore"
35 kms from Bangalore at Hesaraghatta is the famous Nritya Gram, a centre for dance that imparts extensive training in seven dance disciplines and two martial art forms to residential students. The Nrityagram celebrates the Vasantha Habba (the spring) every year. Renowned artists are invited to come and perform in a night-long gala, open to the public.
The Hesaraghatta Lake, a man-made lake, near the village is also a popular tourist spot. Bannnerghatta National Park
Just 21 kms from the city and easily accessible by road is the Bannerghatta National Park. A part of the Bannerghatta forest, the park houses a mini zoo, a crocodile farm, lion and tiger safari parks. Situated 60 kms from Bangalore, at a height of 1478m above sea level, is the Nandi Hills resort. What used to be the favourite summer getaway of Tipu Sultan, is now a popular picnic spot with its awesome fort, sprawling lawns and two ancient temples.
The Shri Satya Sai Baba ashram is the chief attraction at Whitefield. It is now more or less a suburb of Bangalore, with increased access lines and more people moving into the neighborhood. The ashram is called Brindavan and any public transportation will take you there, though auto rickshaws may make a bit of noise about the extra charge you ought to pay. It is an interesting place, and the sage has quite a few interesting aspects to his personalities. He is very revered and many people believe him to be an incarnation of the earlier Sai Baba of Shirdi, a Hindu saint of older days.
This is a hill resort near Bangalore whose solitude has not been tampered by commercialization. The weather is very pleasant and though a far cry from the misty Himalayan hill-stations, Nandi Hills has a very pleasant ambience about it - a nice place to chill out in if you are in the vicinity. For one, it has been a popular hill retreat right from the days of Tipu Sultan who is said to have visited here occasionally. Tipu's drop, a 600-metre high cliff offers a fantastic view of the plains down below. Ideal picnic spot.
A little away from the city is Ramohalli, a picturesque picnic spot, that boasts of a 400-year old sprawling banyan tree, spread over 4 acres. The region around Bangalore is dotted with gigantic rock formations, the two notable ones being Shivaganga (4599 ft.high) and Savandurga. The latter used to be a fortress and the hideout of Kempe Gowda.
Mysore is just 139 kms by road from Bangalore. It was the capital city of Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and the entire Wodeyar clan. Mysore's prime attractions are the Mysore Palace, the Chamundi Hills, the famous Brindavan Gardens, the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery located in the Jaganmohan Palace, the Mysore Zoo and St.Philomena's Church.
15 kms from Mysore is the old capital of Tipu Sultan, Srirangapatna. Its fort bears witness to the Tiger of Mysore's last battle against the British. His mausoleum, the Gumbaz, which sports ivory inlaid doors and the famous tiger-striped emblem is also nearby. Near Srirangapatna is the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.
40 kms away from Mysore is the Somnathpur Temple, a star-shaped structure built in 1260 A.D, an outstanding example of Hoysala architecture.
49 kms from Bangalore city, Ramanagaram is famous for its rock formations, a great attraction for rock climbers. Ramanagaram is also an important silk cocoon market.
50 kms from the city center is a hill which provides a breath-taking view of the the nearby areas. There are two famous shrines dedicated to Lord Gangadeshwara and Goddess Honnadevi.
194 kms from Bangalore is Hassan, from where one can go to Belur, Halebid and Shravanabelagola. Shravanabelagola is a famous Jain pilgrimage with a 17m high monolith of lord Bahubali standing tall.
"Places To See In Bangalore"
Located at the northern boundary of Cubbon Park, this majestic building, with a total plinth area of over 5,00,000 sq. ft is built in a neo-Dravidian style. It houses the Secretariat, the State legislature and several other Government offices. The gleaming white domes, pillars and archways resemble the architectural pattern of Mysore's old palaces. The huge, carved doors of the cabinet room are made of pure sandalwood. The entire building, when floodlit on Sunday evenings, presents a truly breathtaking picture.
These 240-acre gardens were laid out during the Muslim era (18 century) by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, 200 years ago. They contain the largest collection of rare tropical and sub-tropical plants with many awesome century-old trees. Fountains, terraces, lotus pools, rose gardens and a deer park surround the magnificent glass house built in 1840, on the lines of London's Crystal Palace. The Annual flower, fruit and vegetable shows are regularly held here. Lal Bagh also houses the offices of the Karnataka Horticultural Society that renders free advice to those interested in flowers and gardens. A giant Electronic Quartz Flower clock is also in the garden.
Planned and laid out in 1864, this beautiful 300-acre park contains the public library and the museum. The illuminated "fairy fountain" and the elegant graeco - colonial style buildings add to the beauty of this park. The imposing red Gothic structure within this park is Seshadri Iyer Memorial Hall, which houses the public library. Also situated here are the High Court, the Government Museum, the Technology Museum, the Govt. Aquarium and the Jawaharlal Bal Bhavan.
Situated opposite the City Market, the Fort is noted for its beautifully carved Islamic-style arches on the gate walls, and for the well-preserved Ganesha Temple within its precincts. One of the temple's outer walls carries an exquisite carving of Sri Krishna playing his flute, and within, there is a fine statue of Lord Ganesha. Originally built in mud by Kempe Gowda in 1537, the Fort was extended and fortified by Tipu Sultan. He preserved the Ganesha Temple as a testament to his religious tolerance. It is open to the public from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Gavi Gangadhareswara temple
Another impressive temple is the Gavi Gangadhareswara temple, an unusual cave temple. It has been designed in such a manner that, on the festival of Sankranti, a local festival, the rays of the sun pass between the horns of the Nandi placed outside the temple, illuminating the image of Lord Shiva.
South of Bangalore in Basavangudi, is the Bull Temple built by Kempe Gowda. The deity is a massive 15-foot Basava or bull, which was believed to have been the vehicle of Lord Shiva. The cause for wonder about this Nandi is that it has been carved from a single boulder.