Bangalore sightseeing options and more: Bangalore also known as the ‘garden city’ because of its numerous, exquisite parks, greenery and salubrious weather, is a popular destination for tourists of all age groups. The capital of Karnataka State, Bangalore, is a vibrant metropolis today. It was founded by Kempe Gowda, a local chieftan in 1537.
The city has a distinctive hi-tech feel to it with a booming IT sector, making it a hotspot for youngsters and a much happening place with numerous pubs, restaurants and malls. The two huge and magnificient gardens, Lalbagh and Cubbon add to the charm of Bangalore and should be on the itinerary of every visitor to the city.
Lalbagh Botanical Gardens
A typical day ‘namma’ or ‘our’ Bangalore would begin in the morning around 10 am with a trip to the beautiful Lalbagh Botanical Gardens situated in South Bangalore. This sprawling park is of historical importance as it was laid out by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan in the 18th century. It contains many century old trees, rare tropical plants and a glasshouse modelled on London’s Crystal Palace. There is also an exotic bonsai garden which is very well maintained. Every year, flower shows are held in the week preceding Republic Day and Independence Day. The gardens are open everyday from sunrise to sunset.
Recently a paid `buggy’ ride has been started by the authorities for the convenience of visitors, as going around the huge park on foot becomes quite tedious. This tour is completed in 40 minutes and the charges are Rs 150 per head.
Close to Lalbagh, on Lalbagh Road itself is the famous South Indian restaurant Mavalli Tiffin Rooms or MTR as it is popularly known. Step into the spick and span restaurant, after your visit to the Lalbagh Gardens, to get a taste of typical South Indian cuisine. The interiors are modest, as there has been no attempt to redecorate or modernise the legendary place but the food is excellant. It is closed on Monday.
Bangalore is quite cosmopolitan nowadays with people from not only India but the world over visiting for work or leisure. The best thing about the place is that it is not necessary to know Kannada , the local language. Simply knowing these three easy words – `Kannada goth illa’ (meaning I don’t know Kannada) would be sufficient for an outsider to alternately interact with the local folks in either Hindi or English .
Mahatma Gandhi Road (M G Road)
Having finished your sumptuous breakfast at MTR, it is a good idea to proceed for shopping in Bangalore to the famous M.G. Road and the adjacent Brigade Road, located in the heart of Bangalore. This is one of the most popular shopping markets in Bangalore, apart from the numerous malls which have come up recently.
You will find some classy shops here for bags, footwear, clothes and electronic items. Also, some well known sari shops, such as, Deepam, Vijayalakshmi and Prasiddhi have showrooms in this part of the city. Manyavar is a store for men’s clothing.
Handicrafts Shops in Bangalore
For those who wish to take back a slice of Karnataka, step into Cauvery the Karnataka State Handicrafts Emporium. The State Government owned shop offers exquisite handicraft items – rosewood elephants, garlands, sandalwood statues and artefacts, incense sticks, perfumes and jewellery. They also have wooden toys, a speciality of Chennapatnam ( a place near Bangalore) as also wonderful gifts for children. The store has two floors and is open on all days from 10 a.m in the morning until 8 pm in the evening.
M.G Road ,being the nerve centre of activity in Bangalore, is a wonderful place to spend time. A leisurely walk on the newly built M.G. Road Boulevard in the evening is a pleasant experience. The entire stretch is dotted with beautiful plants and gardens & there are benches too where people can sit down. A restaurant run by Dasaprakash , an art gallery `Rangoli’ and occasional street play and theatre keeps visitors enthralled.
The State Legislature of Karnataka- Vidhan Soudha
Another place worth a visit and should be on the itinerary of all tourists is the Vidhan Soudha. This huge, granite, building is an architectural marvel. Built in 1954, it is floodlit on weekend evenings and on public holidays. There is a beautiful garden around the structure but visitors are not allowed inside. They can only view it from the outside.
1. M.G. Road Mall
A trip to any city nowadays is incomplete without a visit to a mall ! So, after spending an enchanted evening at M.G. Road, head to 1 M.G.Road Mall which is a small mall close by. It has some luxury shops for cosmetics , like Clarins, MAC, YSL, Marks & Spencer and the Bombay Store. Finally, to end the day on a high note, have dinner at Tao – a fine Japanese restaurant serving delicious food and is an ideal destination for a meal. The food hall in the mall is worth a visit.
Contributed by “Ratna Singh”