Bangalore is a great starting point for an India trip southwards to either Kerala or Tamil Nadu. To begin your India trip, you can fly to Bangalore with a number of airlines from the UK; British Airways, Air India, Kingfisher Airlines, Qatar, Emirates….The British named it Bangalore when they used the city as a base back in the days of the Raj. Officially, and since 2006, the city reverted to the old name of Bengaluru, but many still think of it and refer to it as Bangalore.
A lively mix of ingredients, Bangalore has restful green areas, surrounded by booming industry and heavily congested traffic. It also has a reputation as India’s centre for the IT industry and as somewhere that offers cosmopolitan cafes, pubs and eateries.
Bangalore has always been a step ahead and was the first Indian city to have street lights and is the home of Hindustan Aeronautics. However, its name according to the Lonely Planet, translates to ‘town of boiled beans'(!)
If you wish to get away from the busy streets on your India trip, then you can retreat to the botanical gardens. The Lalbagh Botanical Gardens sprawl over acres of parkland and dates back to 1760. It has lovely old glass houses reminiscent of Kew Gardens (but modelled on the original Crystal Palace), flower shows, a bandstand where you can catch the local police band on a Sunday. You can take a buggie for a guided tour to take in the interesting mix of plant and tree life. The flower and horticultural shows are usually within the glass houses on the run up to Republic Day (26 Jan) and Independence Day (15 Aug). There is a quirky floral clock surrounded by snow white and her friends, the seven dwarfs! This was a gift donated by a clock and watch manufacturer and is quite a local attraction.
If you’re after a little culture during your India holiday in Bangalore, why not visit some of the city’s palaces. Bengaluru or Bangalore Palace was built back in 1880 and was inspired by Windsor Castle! Complete with castle turrets and formal gardens, it’s often featured in movies and is a popular venue for weddings and celebrations. A collection of nude portraits are on display within as well as family photos of the Wodeyars and the current Raja is still in residence.
If you fancy a spot of relaxation, you could take a trip to Ulsoor Lake during your trip in Bangalore. It’s just off the MG Road in Bangalore and is a popular spot to relax. You could picnic on one of the small islands or take a boat out on the lake.
Bangalore’s Dravidian style ‘Bull temple’ packs an impressive black granite Nandi (bull). It is over 4 meters tall and over 6 meters in length. Local legend suggests this monolith was built to appease a bull that was eating all the villagers’ groundnuts from their fields. This did the trick and now farmers have an annual groundnut fair to show their gratitude next to the Bull temple.
The Dodda Ganesha Temple is also worth a visit during your India trip in Bangalore and contains an equally impressively large idol of Ganesha, the elephant god. Similarly, a visit to The Iskon Temple is also worthwhile and would be a real highlight of your Bangalore trip. It’s lavishly decorated interior is packed with vibrant colours and it is particularly popular for its extravagant shrine to both Krishna and Radha.
Cubbon Park is another great place to visit in Bangalore during your India trip. Within its large green space, you’ll find giant bamboo, groves of trees within formal gardens and many marble statues. There’s also an old bandstand and pond, and a library housed within a neo-classical building in the middle of the park. As well as the State Central Library, this park also boasts two museums, an art gallery and an aquarium- plenty to keep you occupied during your India holiday in Bangalore.