What to do in Bangalore? Our top 10 attractions
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You’ve seen it in your guidebook before coming, Bangalore is not much of a touristic city. The Lonely warned you, don’t spend too much time there, you won’t find the cultural and historical places you’re usually looking for. This new city is dreaming of itself as the new Silicon Valley but which is not able to fix its recurring garbage problem or finish its paved roads properly. Still, you have decided to land up there either for a while because you’re going to work there like us or just because Bangalore is ideally situated to discover the south of India. So we’ve picked some of the places we’ve tried and where we usually bring our guests visiting us. We hope it will help you enjoy your stay in Bangalore!
1. Flower market of KR Market (also known as City Market)
It’s a must-do for all our guests. We love it too, even if we went there quite often. This is the biggest market in Bangalore and its outskirts are true to the picture you may have when thinking of a bustling Indian market: chaotic. Though, hidden in the middle of its main concrete building every day a photographer dream is happening: the flower market . Tons of flowers are coming in and being sold there. The best is to arrive from upstairs so that you can have a panoramic view in the courtyard where it’s taking place. You’ll find orange and yellow garlands, mountains of roses lighted just by a bulb and a crowd rushing in the alleys (specially on weekends). We thought at first that you had to come early to enjoy most of the show but actually it’s still good, and even better around noon. Generally, we also have a look at the nearby small but nice ruins of the Bangalore Fort (where it’s also easy to park at the hospital next to it).
2. Lalbagh, botanical garden
Bangalore had the reputation of being the “green city” of India with trees everywhere, big parks and multiple lakes. Those days are almost gone since the rapid development of the city involved tree cutting, lakes dried and parks polluted…. Fortunately, Lalbagh, a botanical garden created before English came is well maintained and a good quiet place to have a walk. English added a nice glass house in the middle and you may meet some monkeys always hanging in one of the bamboo trees. It’s a good rest after the nearby City Market for instance. Also, if you still want more crowd and bustling atmosphere, carry on in the small lanes of Chickpet, just north of the market and you’ll discover a labyrinth of shops selling almost everything. It’s a fascinating area where you will never finish to be surprised. Great if you call yourself a “urban explorator” or if you stayed in the city for a while, but too much for a first day in India!
3. Vidyarthi Bhavan (or MTR)
So that’s usually where we go to eat between City Market and Lalbagh. So what is this place about? It’s one of the oldest restaurant-café of Bangalore serving, according to us, the best dosas in town and some other south Indian dishes. It’s simple and humble but locals keep coming with family on week-ends. So yes, dosas are quite oily but they are crispy and soft as we love it and they’re being served in piles by the bare-foot waiters. Beware though, it’s closed on Fridays or between 12 to 2pm (because dosas are supposed to be snacks!). So in this case, go to the other iconic historic restaurant of Bangalore, next to Lalbagh, MTR which is serving incredible thalis in a similar atmosphere.
4. Bangalore Palace
Yes we agree, it’s not the proper maharaja palace you’re expecting and it’s more English than Indian actually (it was built with direct inspiration from the Windsor castle). Yes, the audio-guide is a bit over-selling the place too (comparing some of the features to the Chartres cathedral for instance!). But that’s precisely why we like this place, because of all those small kitsch and sometimes ridiculous details. So go there with an open-mind and you’ll have a good time. It’s also one of the few places in India where you’ll learn about the English Raj period. Also, not to be missed are some very odd souvenirs from the current maharaja at the end of the visit (a plate with his picture printed from the Bangkok zoo for instance!).
5. Shiv Mandir
We’ve dedicated an entire post recently to this “gem” so go and read it. Or to describe it in two words: commercial hindouism and kitsch at its best!
6. VV Puram, Street Food
We also talked already about it in a post here. It’s the paradise of veg street food with the usual suspects like dosas and idlis but also some chaats and other snacks never seen before.
7. ABC Brewpub (or one of the other brewpubs)
If you’re bored of drinking only the tasteless Kingfisher and want to see the Bangalore “techies” having a blast, do visit one of the awesome brewpubs of the city. Our favorite for the atmosphere and the beer is ABC (Arbor Brewing Company) but Toit in Indiranagar, Bière Club on Lavelle road or even Windmill in Whitefield are also great. If you want to know more about the wave of micro-breweries happening in Bangalore, read our dedicated post there.
8. National Gallery of Modern Art
This not so well known museum of Bangalore is actually hosting a pretty nice permanent collection of diverse art in a very nice colonial building. If you’re also lucky, you may even be able to visit a rich temporary exhibition as it happened to us.
9. Tippu Sultan Summer Palace
If you haven’t visited or planned to visit Srirangapatna (Tippu Sultan’s city next to Mysore) go and check this small wooden palace built by the only maharaja who fought against English. It’s a small place but there’s a true charm in the delicate carved wood and a small exhibition on Tippu Sultan. Go there if you visit Lalbagh, it’s nearby.
10. UB City
Even if it’s according to us, it’s one of the biggest architectural mistake in Bangalore, it’s now a landmark in the city. Built on the past Kingfisher breweries, it’s a luxury mall with an apartment complex and some restaurants on a terrace. With a style mimicking the Western one, it feels fake (with a tower imitating the Empire State Building for instance!). Still, if you want to have a look at the Indian wealthy people and a drink on a quiet plaza come here.
And to help you we’ve pinned those 10 places on a Google Map there :
View TOP 10 Attractions of Bangalore in a larger map
What about you? what are you favorite places in Bangalore?