Formerly known as Bangalore, Bengaluru (still known by many as Bangalore) is the capital city of the Indian state of Karnataka. This bustling metropolis has a population of around 8.5 million people and is the third most populous city in India. Bangalore is known as The Garden City and even Silicon Valley thanks to its status as a haven for techies. This part of India boasts the highest concentration of IT companies in the country, making it a must-visit destination for start-up entrepreneurs and IT enthusiasts from across the globe. Bangalore is known as The Garden City thanks to its series of lush green parks, including Lal Bagh: a beautiful botanical garden commissioned by Hyder Ali in 1760.
The park boasts more than 1,000 species of plants and a stunning Glass House as well as the iconic Lal Bagh Rock, which is a staggering 3,000 million years old. Other popular parks in Bangalore include Cubbon Park, which has a family-friendly kids train and huge range of plant species, and the Jayaprakash Narayan Biodiversity Park. Bangalore showcases a number of historical monuments and attractions too, including Bangalore Fort, which dates back to 1537 A.D., and the Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace, a two-storey structure with ornately carved wooden decorations and intricately carved pillars.
Bangalore Palace pays homage to the heritage of India in the British Empire with a design that looks like a compact version of Windsor Castle in England, while Mayo Hall is regarded as one of the top designs in all of British architectural history. The city is also the proud owner of a wide range of museums and art galleries including the Karnataka Folk Museum and the HAL Aerospace Museum, which charts the growth of the Indian aviation industry and aerospace industry. If you're interested in seeing some of the best works of modern and contemporary Indian art, visit the National Gallery of Modern Art.
Things to Do
Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, the city is one of India's most progressive and forward-looking cities, with a pleasantly mild climate and well-thought-out entertainment scene that caters to all types of visitors. Bangalore really deserves its titles of Garden City and India's Silicon Valley as you can find everything from lush green gardens to cutting-edge science museums here.
The aptly-named Wonderla Amusement Park is one of the foremost amusement parks in India and spans more than 82 acres with 61 rides and attractions. Bangalore Wonderla's Amusement Park has a wide range of thrilling attractions including water rides, land rides and white-knuckle rides for those looking for a truly adrenaline-pumping day out.
World class art
The National Gallery of Modern Art is located in the former vacation residence of the Raja of Mysuru, so you can expect architecture fit for a king. This first-rate art museum has some seriously impressive permanent art collections as well as constantly changing and evolving exhibitions. In the Old Wing you can see works of art from pre-Indepence era India, with paintings from artists including Abranindranath Tagore and the Raja Ravi Varma. The New Wing has more of a focus on contemporary, post-Independence era works of art by artists like Vivan Sundaram and Sudhir Patwardhan.
Get close to nature
Situated in the centre of Bangalore's business district, Cubbon Park is a neatly-manicured 120-hectare gardens where the city's residents meet to take time away from their computers and reconnect with nature. The gardens showcase beautiful Gothic-style painted red architecture and a good variety of community events such as concerts, fun runs, daily yoga sessions and a quaint farmers' market.
Try your hand at dogfighting in the skies
You can take a look at India's aeronautical history at the HAL Aerospace Museum and Heritage Centre, where you can see and learn more about some of the many ingenious aircraft models designed by Indian aeronautical designers. Some of the most popular exhibits here include a MIG 21 and iconic aircraft like the Canberra bomber, Marut and Kiran.
Famous places of worship
The Hindu Iskon Temple was built by the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, also known as the Hare Krishnas, and features an imposing hilltop temple boasting a blend of traditional and cutting-edge styles. As well as the place of worship itself, there are a number of food stands here where you can enjoy traditional Indian dishes, as well as a number of lectures and concerts.
Calendar of Events
There's always plenty to see and do in Bangalore at all times of year, offering you excellent value for money when you visit. Hindu festivals remain an integral part of life here, with locals and visitors alike congregating at popular festivals and events throughout the year at one of the city's numerous places of worship. Bangalore is home to a number of particularly charming temples including Bull Temple.
- Makara Sankranthi. This holy day is celebrated each year in the middle of January at harvest time and features locals making offerings of beans and pumpkins to the Gods of the Goodwill and Harvests. It marks the changing seasons.
- Republic Day. Another popular festival held in January each year is Republic Day, which is celebrated on 26th January each year. Many inhabitants celebrate the country's Republic Day, marking the time when India's constitution came into force back in 1950 and completed the nation's change into an independent republic. There's a huge amount of effort that goes into organising Republic Day celebrations in Bangalore, with festivities including flag raising, parades and cultural celebrations, public singing of the national anthem and general partying.
- Holi. One of the most popular festivals not just in Bangalore but wider India is Holi, which is celebrated in mid-March. A traditional Hindu festival, Holi celebrates the coming of springtime and the victory of good over evil. The festival is best known for the powder throwing ceremony which leaves revellers coated in vibrant colours come evening time. If you're thinking of heading to Holi celebrations, you should bear in mind that anyone turning up to the public celebrations is considered 'fair game' to be thrown coloured powder at, so be prepared to get coated in vibrant, nicely-perfumed powder if you do go along.
- Naga Pancham. India is renowned for its traditional snake charmers, making this snake worshipping festival a must-see for many visitors. This Hindu festival is dedicated to the worship of snakes, with many live performers charming snakes in front of awe-struck crowds.