Bengaluru has a reputation as the Silicone Valley of India, so with its booming IT industry it attracts plenty of visitors from overseas, but many also visit as tourists. The city has a lot to offer to travelers and has actually been a top tourist destination long before it became an IT hub. From lakes and parks, to palaces and bazaars, Bengaluru has something for every type of traveler. Here are 15 exciting locales that you should visit with your firangi friends:
Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city for its beauty and exquisite architecture that blends Indian and Islamic styles perfectly. The palace was constructed in 1784, mainly from teak wood, but it still stands tall today, exuding an air of royal. Visitors will also be delighted with the rich collection of artifacts, including clothes, missiles, swords, and other weapons, used by Tipu Sultan and his armies. These artifacts are on display in the museum that is now housed on the ground floor. Although the mansion has an understated grandeur, it is no less impressive. The sedate regality, in fact, adds to its charm.
To many visitors to the city, Bengaluru is synonymous with its Bangalore Palace. The palace construction commenced in 1862 and it was taken over by the Maharaja of Mysore in 1884. With successive renovations and additions, the structure was finally completed in 1944. The imposing palace was built in the Tudor style, replete with fortified towers, turrets, and battlements. The palace interiors are just as impressive, with intricate woodwork, cornices, frescoes, and stained glass windows. The palace is also furnished with Victorian and Edwardian furniture. The structure is also surrounded by sprawling gardens and lawns.
The establishment of Bangalore Fort is tied to the history of Bengaluru, as it was built in 1537 by none other than Kempe Gowda, the city’s founder. The fort kept growing and evolving along with the city, ultimately making way for urbanization. The original mud fort was strengthened by Hyder Ali in 1761 with stone works. Later, under British rule, various parts of the fort were torn down to make way for civic infrastructure projects that included the laying of roads, construction of schools and so on. Today, what is left of the fort is the Delhi Gate and 2 bastions, but they certainly worth a visit if you wish to get a perspective of the city’s historic roots.
The Government Museum of Bangalore is one of the oldest museums in the country and should be an object of pride for every Bangalorean. The museum was established in 1876 and with its red colonial façade is in itself a relic of bygone era. The building has undergone several extensions and today houses an impressive collection of artifacts, sculptures, weapons, painting, coins, and lots more. Particularly noteworthy are the Indus Valley relics that have been dated to around 5,000 years ago, and yet older artifacts from the Neolithic period. The museum also has an impressive collection of South Indian jewelry.
The Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum is a destination that you cannot miss, especially if you have kids in your entourage. The museum is housed in a deceptively modest building, in the vicinity of Bengaluru’s Cubbon Park. It was inaugurated by India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962. The first gallery introduced audiences to the electricity theme, but many more exhibits have been added over the years. The museum functions more as an interactive learning center for kids and adults alike, giving them greater exposure to science and technology. The building even houses a dinosaur enclave on the ground floor!
No matter how many times you may have been to Lalbagh, a visit to the famous garden is always delightfully refreshing, so there is no way your firangi friend would not love it. The spectacular landscaped garden is spread across more than 200 acres of lush greenery. The botanical gardens were created by Hyder Ali, the ruler of the region in the late 1600s. Lalbagh offers a breath of fresh air and an atmosphere of tranquility that is hard to find in most big cities. While the collection flora is impressive, the lower show at the glass house is just mesmerizing. The garden also has a lake, beautiful walking paths, and an aquarium.
Cubbon Park is as much a part of Bengaluru’s identity, as are its tech parks and IT industry, so no trip to the city would be complete without a visit here. The park serves as the green lung of the city, spread out over an expanse of well over a hundred acres. This green haven is home to more than 6,000 plants and trees and has well-laid walking tracks. Cubbon Park is not surprisingly the favorite destination for the city’s naturalists and fitness-enthusiasts. In addition to its natural appeal, the park is also home to a children’s library, archeological museum, art gallery, and aquarium.
Bannerghatta National Park is one of Bengaluru’s biggest attractions for wildlife enthusiasts, not just from the city, but across the country. If your firangi friends love the outdoors, you can be sure that a visit to this wildlife park will be quite a treat. The park is one of the most ecologically diverse reserves in the country and it houses a zoo, as well as a butterfly and biological park. Bannerghatta National Park is relatively small, but it contains an abundance of flora and fauna, with wild animals like the leopard, jackal, fox, sloth bear, deer, langur, and lots more.
Bengaluru was once also known as the city of lakes because of the numerous lakes that dominated the landscape. While many of these lakes have disappeared over time, Ulsoor Lake still survives and is one of the largest in the city. It has endured several threats, with encroachment and pollution, but restoration efforts are underway to save the beautiful lake. Ulsoor Lake is dotted with several islands and the lake is said to have been in existence since the times of Kempegowda.
Janpada Loka is an interesting folk museum, showcasing various aspects of South India’s rich culture. A huge part of India’s appeal to international tourists is its distinctive culture and diversity, making this a must-visit site. Janpada Loka is spread across 15 acres of greenery, making it pleasing to your senses and a delight for any cultural enthusiast. Regarded as a national treasure, the museum showcases folk cultural art and activities, with exhibits that include traditional cooking utensils, farming equipment, and lots more.
Bengaluru’s Folklore Museum, is one of those hidden gems that is even unknown to most of the city’s inhabitants. The museum that showcases indigenous culture and the performing arts is housed in the impressive Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion. The building is itself a sight to behold and is tucked away in the campus of the University of Mysore. The museum has helped to preserve and promote cultural activities through its central hall, which frequently hosts performing arts events. The museum also exhibits a huge collection of artifacts from tribal and folk culture, including wooden puppets, costumes, sculpture, and lots more.
The National Gallery of Modern Art is a beacon of culture, in Bengaluru, and located on Palace Road, in the Manikyavelu Mansion. The institute is a fairly recent addition to the city’s rich heritage, having been opened only in 2009. The world-class art gallery has a huge collection of exhibits, spanning 3 centuries to the present. The exhibits showcase various styles of art from the country, belonging to different eras, such as post-independence, modern and post-modern art. Exhibitions are frequently held here, with the gallery playing host to both Indian and international artists.
Ranga Shankara is a celebration of Bengaluru’s thriving artistic life. The theater was only thrown open to audiences in 2004, but in little over a decade it has emerged as one of the most prominent centers of performing arts in the city. The theater was built by Arundathi Nag, in memory of her husband, celebrated actor Shankar Nag. The theater is committed to the promotion of dramatics, hosting plays in various Indian languages, as well as in English. Most of the plays are screened in Kannada. The theater is well-designed, with modern lighting, sets, and acoustics.
Every big city has its share of historic markets that have long dominated city life and been the center of activity for inhabitants over the decades. While Mumbai has Crawford Market and Delhi has Chandni Chowk, Bengaluru has KR Market or Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar Market, popularly known also as Central Market. Established almost a century ago, it is still the largest wholesale market in the city. You can find every possible household wares here and it is also regarded as the largest flower market in the continent! Cleartrip even offers a tour of KR Market, so sign up using their mobile app and prepare to be wowed with the fascinating stories and historic background of the place.
Russell Market is yet another iconic market of Bengaluru. Built in 1927, it is one of the city’s longest running markets. Although it has lost some of its sheen, beneath its dusty exteriors you will discover a fascinating market. The structure that houses the shops and hawkers has a distinctive blend of Indian and Islamic architectural styles. This is a great shopping destination for anyone visiting the city as you can find a variety of goods including household items, kitchenware, plastics, crockery, and lots more.
So, the next time your friends are visiting, don’t just attend parties or go pub-hopping. Instead, take them out to explore the city. Bengaluru is a city with plenty to offer and you can be sure that your firangi friends will not be disappointed with a trip to any of these destinations.