The garden city of India: Bangalore, Karnataka
The capital of the southern state of Karnataka, Bangalore is known for its pleasant weather throughout the year. Well connected by road, rail and air – the city of Bangalore is a beautiful amalgamation of the historic and the modern. The city is the highest elevation among the major large cities of India.
Bangalore is known as the Information Technology (IT) capital of India as it has the headquarters of Indian technological organisations like ISRO, Infosys, Wipro, Flipkart, Biocon and HAL in the city.
The city has a metro line which is more of a joyride rather than a means to connect the city. There are Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses which connect the city well. For those who want to see the city within a budget these are better than the auto rickshaws that tend to overprice and the cool cabs which are expensive for solo travellers. Be sure to collect your change as the BMTC conductors hold on to your change and often do not give it back. Make sure that they give you a ticket and return your change.
The air conditioned buses connect the city well to the Kempe Gowda International Airport. These have place for people luggage too and are good for solo travellers to get from the airport on the outskirts to the main city.
The city’s gentle climate, broad streets, greenery and the presence of many public parks like Lal Bagh and Cubbon Park has earned the city the name of ‘India’s garden city’. Biannual flower shows are held at the Lal Bagh Gardens during the week of Republic Day of 26 January and Independence Day of 15 August. The glass house there is the venue for these shows.
The Lalbagh Botanical Gardens which means ‘The Red Garden’ in English is a well known botanical garden in Bangalore. The garden was originally commissioned by Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore, and later finished by his son Tipu Sultan. Lalbagh houses India’s largest collection of tropical plants, has a lake, and is one of the main tourist attractions in Bangalore. It also is home to a few species of birds and the commonly sighted birds include Myna, parakeets, crows, Brahmini Kite, Pond Heron, Common Egret, Purple Moor Hen etc.
The 40 acres park remains open daily from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm throughout the year. Lalbaug is aesthetically designed, with lawns, flowerbeds, lotus pools and fountains. It has trees that are hundreds of years old much like Cubbon Park, a landmark ‘lung’ area of the city located at the heart. Originally created in 1870, it covered an area of 100 acres and subsequent expansion has taken place and the area now is about 300 acres.
This public park was first named as Meade’s Park after Sir John Meade, the acting Commissioner of Mysuru in 1870 and subsequently renamed as Cubbon Park after Sir Mark Cubbon, the longest serving commissioner of the time. To commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar’s rule in Mysore in 1927, the park was again renamed as Sri Chamarajendra Park, in memory of the 19th-century ruler Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar during whose rule the park came into existence.
The landscaping in the park creatively integrates natural rock outcrops with thickets of trees, massive bamboos, with grassy expanse and flowerbeds and the monuments within its limits, regulated by the Horticulture Department of the Karnataka Government. The park is open to the public at all times.
Indigenous and exotic botanical species found in the park of about a total of around 6000 plants and trees. The Karnataka High Court, the Museum building, Central Library, the Aquarium, YMCA and Press Club are around the park.
The State Archeological Museum is of the oldest in India and was built in 1876 by Colonel Sankey. It is located within Cubbon Park and is similar in design to the high court in its architectural style and hue. While the original collection in the museum that belonged to Benjamin Rice of the Mysore Gazetteer, antiquities from Mohenjodaro period are on display in the Museum. Exhibits in the museum include specimens of Vijaynagara and Halebid architecture, ancient coins and stone inscriptions as old as 5000 years.
The Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain on Raj Bhawan Road near the Jawahar Lal Nehru Planetarium is a must see for those in Bangalore. The dancing and musical fountain has a number of patterns and is a great experience. There are two shows from Tuesday to Sundays from 7–7:30 pm and from 8–8:30 pm. The fountain garden is closed on Mondays. The aquarium is said to be the second largest in India and has a good variety of fishes. Though the look is simplistic, the fish are interesting to see.
The Vidhan Saudhan is an impressive building in Bangalore as is the Raj Bhavan. People like posing near these and clicking pictures. The city also has the Tipu Sultan Summer Palace and Bangalore Fort which is a walk through history. For fans of Tipu Sultan the palace is a good visit if you can’t visit Mysore. The Chinnaswamy Stadium on MG Road is also a spot to visit for sport fans of Royal Bangalore Challenger.
Food in the city has a diversity of cuisine with roadside vendors, tea stalls, and South Indian, North Indian, Chinese and Western fast food as well as Udupi restaurants all around. There are a number of malls also in the city which are a hangout place for the city folk.
Places to stay have a wide range of budget places from motels, to small hotels and even big hotels. As per ones budget, places to stay are available. Staying on Infantry Road, MG Road, Brigade road is a good option as they are well connected to the rest of the city and a number of tourist places are nearby too.
Bangalore is a city that one can visit at anytime of the year. But the winter months from October to February are best as the weather is pleasant. Bangalore is a must visit place for its blend of the past and the future as well as its beautiful gardens which are a must see for nature lovers.
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