Bengaluru (also called Bangalore), India’s Silicon Valley, is the capital of Karnataka and known for its parks and nightlife. If you are visiting Bangalore on business, extend your stay and if you are an expatriate, having recently moved to this city, mark your diary with the following tourist places in and near Bangalore that are a must-visit.
1. Bangalore Palace
The Majestic Bangalore Palace, reflecting Tudor and Scottish Gothic architecture holds testimony to heritage and beauty of an era gone-by. This regal palace was built in 1878 and spreads across 45,000 square-feet. The carvings on the walls in the interior and exterior of the beautiful wooden structure showcase tales of the extraordinary royal culture. The opulent ballroom, mesmerizing Darbar hall, innumerable exotic paintings, even the granite seats encrusted with blue ceramic tiles on the ground floor, vine-covered walls, transport you to the elegant splendour of a powerful dynasties of South India. Audio tapes in Hindi and English are available to understand its history.
2. Bannerghatta National Park
Located 22 km away from city-centre, Bannerghatta National Park is an asylum for a large variety of flora and fauna. Sprawling over 104.27 sq. km, this park includes the country’s first butterfly park, an aquarium, zoo, Children’s Park, Crocodile Farm, Snake Park, Prehistoric Animals’ Park and a museum. You can spot elephants, leopards, jackals, foxes, wild boar, sloth bears, Indian gazelle, spotted deer, porcupine, cobras, Asiatic Lion and the Royal Bengal Tiger while doing the safari. There are several resorts in Bangalore, but if you are staying at the amazing Discovery Village, be assured that they will organise your local tours, bird watching, nature trails and jungle safaris.
3. Lal Bagh Botanical Garden
Renowned for its botanical artwork, this garden is a haven for nature lovers and a must visit for all tourists. Lal Bagh sprawls across 240 acres in the heart of the city and has nearly 1,854 species of plants including rare species of French, Persian and Afghani origin. The Lal Bagh Rock which is over 3000 million years old is found here and is a major tourist attraction. The garden also houses a number of birds such as Myna, Parakeets, Crows, Brahminy Kite, Pond Heron, Common Egret and Purple Moor Hen.
4. Cubbon Park
Cubbon Park is 300 acres of dense green bliss, housing more than 6,000 trees and an ideal place for nature lovers and picnickers. In addition to being the perfect place to veg-out, you can also visit some of the major structures of the city such as the Attara Kacheri, Cubbon Park Museum, Sheshadri Iyer Memorial Park and the Bangalore Aquarium, the second largest aquarium in India here.
5. Vidhana Soudha
Described by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as ‘a temple dedicated to the nation’, Vidhana Soudha stands 150 feet tall and boasts of an elegant and truly exquisite Neo-Dravidian style of architecture. It houses the State Legislature and the Secretariat of Karnataka and is one of the most popular attractions in the lively and colourful city of Bengaluru. It prides on being the largest state legislative building in the country sporting four entrances in all four directions and four floors above the ground level and one below it. It is counted as one of the most magnificent buildings in the city impressing and intimidating the beholder.
6. ISKCON Temple
Located in Rajajinagar, ISKCON Temple is a revered shrine dedicated to Lord Krishna. Apart from a religious shrine, ISKCON temple is a cultural complex known for its activities of engagement involving ardent devotees of Lord Krishna, where the temple community organises songs, recitals, lectures and prayer services. A must visit for the spiritually initiated.
7. MG Road
One of the busiest roads in Bengaluru, MG Road is always abuzz with recreational and commercial activities and is a one-stop destination for shopping or hanging-out. Whether you’re looking for traditional handicrafts, silk saris, cutlery, bone china sets, jewellery, clothes or books, you can find it all here. Church Street that runs parallel to this road is a foodie’s paradise, with a plethora of restaurants and cafes offering varied cuisines. MG Road is a must visit when you’re in the city, where you can shop by day and party by night, dancing till you drop in any of the high-end pubs in and around this street.
These and many more such attractions make Bangalore a coveted holiday destination. So next time you’re in the city, go ahead and mix business with pleasure, you won’t regret it.