About Bangalore, India

About Bangalore

Text By: Srinidhi Raghavendra L.V. Travel Writer

Bangalore - the name of the city rings bells, turns heads and produces wow in the mouths of people who hear it. Bangalore is the most happening city in India. It is the Silicon Valley of India and the Technology Capital of the country. The city of fashion, Bangalore is fast heading towards becoming the fashion capital of the country. It is the Pub city of India; the Garden City of India; the IT Capital of India. City which is a pioneer in Aerospace research, biotechnology and anything new comes up it has to be in Bangalore only. With its many premier educational institutions it is one of the most westernized cities in India.

A modern Techno-city where temples sell incense sticks against computerized bills, sprawling golf courses give the corporates a relaxed weekend and software moguls make it the silicon bazaar of India, restaurants dishing out everything from Mexican to Polynesian fare. The cool, sunny skyline that encompasses satellite-dish studded terraces, flowering trees and traditional domes in one glance.

This is a city where you can find people from all countries, speaking all languages living together. The Lingua Franca of the city is English and not Kannada which the official language of Karnataka. One need not know Kannada to communicate here, even a street hawker speaks flawless English. Most residents of Bangalore are multi-lingual and speak more than one language. It is a global village in this sense with people of different nationalities speaking different languages co-exists without a problem.

This is what Bangalore is today, let us take a look at how this city actually got formed? There are many legends and stories associated with the history of Bangalore. The most popular being 'The Legend of Baked Beans' It is believed that, Veera Ballala the 2nd, (a King of the 11th Century) was hunting in the forest and lost his way and got separated from his courtiers and soldiers.

Tired and hungry he started looking for some habitation where he could get some food to satisfy his hunger and water to quench his thirst. He came across a solitary hut in the midst of the woods and knocked on the door and was warmly welcomed by a poor woman. The poor woman had nothing to offer the King except some boiled beans. The King ate the humble meal and left the hut after a short rest. He later built a city in the region and named it 'Benda Kalooru' meaning "City of Baked Beans". The name changed as time went on and what we are presently left with is a corrupted version of the original, mainly because the British who were ruling us couldn't pronounce the original name.

Later, in the year 1537, Kempe Gowda I designed the present day city and built a mud fort around the city. The Bijapur Sultanate conquered it. The Moghuls sold it. Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar purchased it for Rupees 3,00,000. It was the personal jagir (property) of Shahji Bhonsley. There are inscriptions in Kadu Malleswara Temple in the city about Shivaji's presence in this part of the city. The city was under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan during 17th Century. Into this ever-shifting kaleidoscope also came Lord Cornwallis, the English Governor General in India, with the biggest army that ever invaded Bangalore in March 1791.

After the fall of Tipu Sultan in the Fourth Mysore War, in 1799, Bangalore became part of the newly carved out Mysore State under the rule of Krishna Raja Wodeyar III. In 1831, the British resumed the administration of the new State. It acquired the status of administrative centre of the State, for the first time, in the days of the British Commission in Mysore (1831-1881).

In the beginning of the 19th Century, the General Post Office was opened. Nine years later, in 1809, the Cantonment was established. The British took over administration in 1831. The first rail was built in the city in 1859 and in 1864 the Cubbon Park was built by Sankey. The end of the century saw the building of Attara Kacheri (High Court) and the Bangalore Palace.

In 1949 the City and Cantonment areas of Bangalore were amalgamated to form the Corporation of the City of Bangalore comprising an area of 26.7 square miles. While the 20th century arrives on the first motorcar in the city the same time sees India's first electric bulb. Today Bangalore is the city of firsts, a city where most companies launch their products, it is said in corporate circles that if a product succeeds in Bangalore it will sell in the rest of India.

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Places to see within Bangalore city

1. Field Marshal Cariappa Park

Located on the Northern side of MG Road. Part of the Army Parade Grounds has been converted into this park. This is a pleasant pocket of greenery amidst the commercial hub of Bangalore. Once you enter the park your city-sore eyes can feast on the greenery inside. The park is maintained by the Army only. It also has a children's play area with a mini obstacle course and vast green patches to sit and enjoy the natural surroundings.

2. Bangalore Palace

The Palace was built by Krishnarajendra Wodeyar who was the ruler of Karnataka. The palace is modeled on the lines of the Windsor Castle in England. The palace is situated in the heart of the city in the Sadashivnagar area. The palace surrounded by rich vegetation and the grounds also boasts of a huge 10-acre lake, which is the visiting place of many migratory birds. The palace is also the venue of many film shootings, Rock shows and similar cultural events. The palace provides a majestic backdrop to all these occasions. Located approximately 8 kms from the main bus Terminus and Railway Station, 13 kms from the Airport.

3. General Post Office

A modern structure built in the late 80's the stone building is situated very close to the Vidhana Soudha and next to the Attara Kacheri or the High Court building. This is very majestic looking structure which has a philatelic bureau and is one of the examples of magnificent buildings which abound Bangalore.

4. Puttana Chetty Town Hall

An imposing stone structure built in the late 18th century is situated in the heart of the city, very close to city market This impressive structure is an auditorium where many important cultural events take place. One of the examples of magnificent buildings which abound Bangalore.

5. Sankey Lake

This is huge lake in the heart of the city, located in the northern part of Bangalore it is maintained by the State Forest Department. There are boating facilities in the lake. There is a road running on two sides of the lake where one can see many early morning joggers and walkers enjoying the cool breeze and fresh air. The lake is surrounded by greenery on the other two sides with a beautiful park attached to the lake. It is fast getting polluted and dirty but it still remains one of the cleaner lakes in Bangalore. This is one of the lakes where many migratory birds visit during winter every year.

6. Ulsoor Lake

This is a very ancient lake which is very huge and located in the cantonment area of Bangalore city. Flanked on one side is one of the historic Kempe Gowda Towers, which along with a part of the Lake is controlled by the Madras Engineering Group (MEG) and center of the Indian Army so it is inaccessible to general public. But majority of the water side area is accessible to public and tourists. There is a small park built on one side of the lake with facilities for exercising and walking. There are restaurants and small eateries leased out by the Govt. There are boating facilities both paddle boats and motor boats are available for rides. There are few islands in the middle of the lake which have been developed into small gardens with park benches and trees for shade. It is a beautiful experience to ride around the lake on the road which is adjacent on 3 sides of the lake.

The flip side however is that since city drainage runs into the lake it is rather dirty and reeks of sewage and the water is not worth touching also. But during monsoon it can get quite bad due to flooding or due to the stink which emanates from the lake.

7. Yediyur Lake

This is a small lake located in the Basavangudi area of Bangalore city. This lake has also been developed by the tourism department and facilities such as boating, water scooter rides are available to the public. There is a small park for walkers and joggers. City based artists have installed modern sculptures in side the lake to add beauty to the lake. This lake too is quite dirty since sewage of surrounding residential areas runs into it.

8. Visveswaraiah Industrial and Technological Museum

Visveswaraya Industrial & Technological Museum is another important landmark in Bangalore city. This is named after the famous Sir M. Visveswaraya who was the brain behind the KRS Dam and many other mega irrigation projects in the State. The museum boasts of one of the best collection of scientific gadgets and instruments. Visits to this museum will not only serve to educate kids but also make adults realize the importance of technology in their daily lives.

9. Karnataka State Government Museum

The Government Museum is a historical museum, which contains sculptures, paintings and artifacts from the bygone era of kings and emperors. It also contains some Old Stone Age implements and tools. Some antiques dating to the Mohanjadaro and Harappa Civilization are also kept on display here along with original Mysore paintings.

10. Venkatappa Art Gallery

The Venkatappa Art Gallery is a state owned art gallery named after the famous painter Venkatappa, different artists use this place to conduct exhibitions of paintings. There is also a museum of articles related to art on the first floor of the building.

11. Cubbon Park

Planned and laid out in 1864, this beautiful 300-acre park contains the public library and the museum. The illuminated "fairy fountain" and the elegant graeco - colonial style buildings, add to the beauty of this park.

12. Sheshadri Iyer Memorial Hall/ State Central Library

The imposing red Gothic structure within this park is Seshadri Iyer Memorial Hall, which houses the State Central :Library. The structure laid out in the middle of the park is flanked on either sides by the greenery of Cubbon park and in front by the beautiful rose garden and in the rear by the lush green lawns of the Cubbon Park.

13. Government Aquarium

The Govt. Aquarium is housed in an octagonal building, enhancing the beauty of Cubbon Park. It exhibits the largest number of both indigenous and exotic, cultivable as well as ornamental pet fish. The Hocks stick, the Pearl Coushmi, the India Tiger Borb, the Moon Tail, as well as edible fish welcome the visitor. The Aquarium provides food for thought, but if you want to taste the fish, there is a fish stall here.

The State Aquarium is a round shaped building located at the far end of Cubbon Park. The Aquarium boasts of many varieties of fish, some rare and exotic varieties of fish are also on display. The Aquarium has won many awards at the national level for the best collection of fish. The Karnataka State Government runs the Aquarium. There is a nominal entry fee to see the exotic fishes in the aquarium. Timings 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m (Closed on Thursdays) Admission by Tickets.

14. Vidhana Soudha

Probably the most beautiful building in the Bangalore city is the Vidhana Soudha. This majestic building, with a total plinth area of over 5,00,000 sq ft built in a neo-Dravidian style. It houses the Secretariat, the State legislature and several other Government offices. The gleaming white domes, pillars and archways, resemble the architectural pattern of Mysore's old palaces. The huge, carved doors of the cabinet room are made of pure sandalwood. The entire building, when floodlit on Sunday evenings, presents a truly breathtaking picture.

This is considered as the center of Bangalore city and all distances marked on the highways to and from Bangalore have been considered from this point.

This is the main office of the Government, all the elected representatives (MLAs); State cabinet ministers and the Chief Minister have their offices in this imposing building. The former chief minister of Karnataka Late Mr. Kengal Hanumanthaiah is the man who conceived and executed this architectural marvel in 1956.

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15. Jawahar Bala Bhavan

A well planned children's amusement park and edutainment center. The main attractions are the toy train, which chugs along a 3/4 mile route in the Cubbon Park and Doll museum. This toy train is a popular among the children The park also contains a 20 million year old fossilized tree - a gift from the Geological Survey of India.

The Cubbon also has a training center and a mini theatre. The training center conducts weekend and summer camps to train children in various creative activities such as craft, pottery, photography, singing etc., and the theatre films children's films.

The Bhavan has a boating facility, a small fair ground, with a children's park.

16. Attara Katcheri (High Court Building)

Built in 1867 to house the secretariat, it now houses the high court and several lower courts. It is a two-storied structure with a spacious front and elegant, fluted lonic columns. Located opposite to the state's building of power the Vidhana Soudha. This presents a majestic view to your eyes which is sore seeing only modern concrete structures.

17. The Fort

Situated opposite the City Market, the Fort is noted for the beautifully carved Islamic-style arches on the gate walls. There is an ancient Ganapathi Temple within the precincts of the fort. One of the temple's outer walls carries an exquisite carving of Sri Krishna playing his flute, there is a fine statue of Lord Ganesh. Originally built in mud by Kempe Gowda in 1537, the Fort was extended and fortified by Tipu Sultan. He preserved the Ganapathy Temple as a testament to his religious tolerance. It opens to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

18. Tippu's Palace

Situated near the fort, construction of this palace was begun by Tippu Sultan's father Haider Ali, and completed by Tippu himself in 1791.

It resembles the Daria Daulat Bagh Palace located at Srirangapatna, Tipu's capital. It was known as `Rashk-e-jannat' - the Envy of Heaven. Constructed largely of wood, it is known for the five elaborately decorated arches surmounted by exquisite minarets, and paintings on the walls and ceilings. Open to the Public: 9a.m. to 6 p.m.

19. Lalbagh Gardens (4 kms from MG Road)

This huge park spans an area of 240 acres is the abode of some very rare species of plants. The construction of the park was started by Hyder Ali and completed by his son Tipu Sultan. The park consists of a Deer Park, Aquarium, a lake and one small rocky hillock and also a Glass House. Another highlight of Lal Bagh is the Rose Garden; this has almost all the species of roses available in the world. The horticulture department of Karnataka Government maintains the park and also conducts courses in horticulture for the benefit of general public.

The Glasshouse inspired by the Crystal Palace in London is the venue of the annual flower show. This was built in the year 1840. They contain the largest collection of rare tropical and sub-tropical plants, century-old trees, fountains, terraces, lotus pools, rose gardens and a deer park.

The Annual flower, fruit and vegetable shows are regularly held here. Lal Bagh also houses the offices of the Karnataka Horticultural Society that renders free advice and conducts weekend courses in horticulture and flower arrangement to those interested in flowers and gardens. A giant Electronic Quartz Flower clock is also in the garden built by HMT.

20. Jawaharlal Nehru planetarium

Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium

The planetarium offers you a chance to unravel the mysteries of outer space. This is another scientific learning place in Bangalore. The place where one can see our position in this vast universe, the astronomers association meets here. The Planetarium conducts special programmes for school children to educate them about our solar system and the galactic circles etc., Entry to the shows by ticket only.

21. Public/ Heritage Buildings

Bangalore has many public buildings, which are the reminders of the City's glorious past. The Daly Memorial Hall (1917), Mayo Hall and Puttanachetty Town Hall (1935) are a pleasing blend of Indian and old European architecture. There are many other buildings which represent the British legacy such as the Bangalore Palace.

22. Musical fountain

Colorful fountain's dancing in tune to music. Best visited when dark. This is created on the lines of the KRS Musical Fountain. It is less known and there are not much crowds. The shows are held every alternate day in the evenings. It is a treat to your eyes to watch the fountain swaying to the music. Entry is through tickets available at the venue.

23. ISKCON Krishna Temple with ornate architecture.

ISKCON Krishna Temple with ornate architecture.

A beautiful modern temple, built on a small hillock in the heart of the city. The temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is an ambitious project of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCon). The temple attracts thousands of devotees on festival days and the quiet and peaceful ambience inside temple gives one solace. Though busy roads on two sides flank the temple, once inside the temple complex the visitor feels as though he has entered a clean pollution free world of greenery. It is a pocket of greenery amidst the concrete jungle. The temple is maintained spic and span by the temple authorities. Located approximately 9 kms from Main Bus Terminus & City Railway Station, 18 kms from Airport on the Chord road, Rajajinagar, Ph : 3321956

24. Shiva statue

Shiva statue, Bangalore, India.

The first thing you see when you arrive to the garden city by air is the massive concrete statue of Lord Shiva. The Shiva statue it is 65 feet tall and a grand festival is held during Shivaratri. This is situated on the Airport road about 1.5 kms from the airport. A team of sculptors and artisans carefully selected from all over the country built the statue. The temple managed and promoted by a private trust is a major tourist attraction. The fact that it is situated in the same premises as the Kemp Fort one of the premier shopping malls in Bangalore gives it more importance as a shopping area too. Special pooja takes place on important occasions such as Mahashivratri, Holi, etc. Airport road, Behind kemp fort, Murugeshpalya, Bangalore

25. Jumma Masjid

Jumma Masjid Mosque.

The oldest and largest mosque in the city located in the heart of the city at K.R. Market, was built by a Mughal Killedar. The mosque with tall ornamental granite pillars is a majestic structure. Damaged by cannon fire during the third Mysore war, the Mosque was renovated in 1836 A.D. by Moiuddin Ali Khan Mekhri who was the Bakshi of the native court at Bangalore.

26. Ramanamaharshi shrine

Ramanamaharshi shrine.

The Shrine, dedicated to Ramana Maharshi presents a unique structure of an ancient cave. The spacious hall is built of polished granite and can accommodate upto 300 devotees. The shrine is managed by the Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning which propagates the teachings of the Maharshi through its publications, libraries, music and dramas. Weekly discourses and discussions are held at the shrine on Saturdays and Sundays. Located Near Mekhri Circle, Bellary road, Ph : 3369633 around 5 kms from Vidhana Soudha.

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27. Gavi Gangadhareswara Cave Temple

Gavi Gangadhareswara Cave Temple.

One of the oldest temples in Bangalore, located very near to the Bull Temple this temple is a cave temple (Gavi - cave in Kannada). It is said that lord Shiva's idol (Linga) originated naturally in the cave and was discovered by a sage in the early 15th Century. The temple built during the Ganga dynasty rule of Karnataka.

The temple was renovated by Kempe Gowda I, this temple with four remarkable monolithic pillars is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple also has a rare, beautiful idol of Agni, the God of fire. The annual festival is on Makara Sankaranti day when thousands of devotees flock to see the sunrays fall on the Sivalinga between 17.00 hrs and 18.00 hrs.

There is a small but deep cave inside the temple, after a short distance the cave forks out into two branches. It is said that the one of the passages lead to Varanasi the holy city in UP via Shivaganga hills near Tumkur. The other is a cave passage through one can go around the main shrine of the Lord Shiva.

28. Venkataramanaswamy Temple

Venkataramanaswamy Temple.

Near Tipu's Palace at the border of Kalasipalyam and Chamarajapet stands the Venkataramanaswamy Temple. Built by Chikka Deva Raja Wodeyar about 300 years ago, in the typically Dravidian style.

The beautiful stone pillar opposite the temple, supported by magnificent lion brackets, still shows signs of the direct cannonball hit during the third Mysore War (1790-1792).

After the fall of Tippu Sultan in 1799, the Wodeyar Dynasty was restored & a thankful Krishna Deva Raja Wodeyar III performed his pooja at this temple before holding his historic Durbar at Tipu's Palace on October 15, 1811.

29. Hanuman temple - Ramanjaneya Gudda

Hanuman temple - Ramanjaneya Gudda.

It is situated near the Cave Temple. An important landmark in the City; huge figures (31 feet) of Lord Rama embracing Hanuman on the roof of the temple reminds us about the architect of Vidhana Soudha, Shri K. Hanumanthaiya who was responsible for this modern temple in picturesque ancient surroundings. The temple is so famous that this hillock has been renamed as Rama-Anjaneya Gudda and the whole hillock has been converted into a beautiful horticultural garden with fountains and flower gardens and an exercising area for joggers in the early morning.

From the temple the devotees can have bird's eye-view of Bangalore. Special poojas are conducted during Ramanavami. Nearby is the temple of Harehareshwara.

30. Basavangudi or the Bull Temple (5 km)

Basavangudi or the Bull Temple.

This temple dates back to the era of Kempegowda the erstwhile ruler of Bangalore who built the temple and gave grants for the maintenance of the same. It is typical of the Dravidian style of Architecture. The temple has a majestic monolithic bull 6.1 metre long and 4.6 metres high. The Bull Temple is probably the only temple where the main deity is Nandi or the Bull - vehicle of Lord Shiva.

It is said that the Nandi Statue used to grow in height and had to be stopped before it out grew the temple so they have driven a nail on its head and placed a Trident to prevent further growth of the Statue.

The Kadalekay Parishe (Groundnut fair) that takes place at this place is a famous event. Farmers from surrounding villages bring in the years crop of Groundnuts for sale. The fair takes place sometime around October - November every year. Exact dates can be confirmed by the local calendars.

31. Bugle Rock

Behind the temple is the Bugle Rock, where there is a tower like structure built over a mass of rocks. It is said that the king used to review his soldiers every day standing on this tower. There used to be a brass band playing in the era of Britishers at this place. That is why this place is famous as Bugle Rock. Located approximately 6kms from Main Bus Terminus & Railway Station, 16 kms from Airport.

32. St Mary's Cathedral

St Mary's Cathedral, Bangalore, India.

Built in 1882, by a French missionary, it is a grand gothic-style basilica, with an impressive tower and typically gothic pointed arches. This is a unique example of communal harmony. People of all faiths visit this church. The annual St. Mary's feast is attended by many people who are non-Christians.

This building is one of the typical examples of the European influence on Bangalore's Architecture and a fine example of heritage monuments of Bangalore.

The Church is open from morning to evening and open to all visitors through out the day. The only drawback of this is the approach and surrounding of the church is very dirty and thickly populated and also infested by beggars who make your life miserable.

33. Dharmaraya temple

Dharmaraya temple.

This is probably one of the few temples dedicated to the eldest Pandava Dharmaraya. Located in the middle of a thick commercial hub of cantonment area. The 'Karaga' is a unigue festival held in April. It is a festival in honour of Draupadi, the fiery heroine of the Mahabharata. A community known as Vahnikula Kshatriyas (or, Thigalas) is in charge of the celebrations. The celebrations start at the Dharmaraya temple in the heart of Bangalore city, where the festival is celebrated with special pomp. It is an interesting sight to watch the Karaga procession which starts at mid-night and ends in the wee hours of the morning.

34. Dargah of Hazarat Tawakkal Mastan Shah Suharawardi

Situated in the heart of Cottonpet, this Muslim saint's shrine has been associated with the Hindu festival of `Karaga'. The famous Karaga procession, while passing through the city, visits the "Durgah" of the sufi saint Tawakkal Mastan, whose tomb attracts thousands of pilgrims both Muslim and non-Muslim. The `urs' of Hazarath Tawakkal Mastan is held on the 19th of Safar of the Mohammedan Calendar.

35. St Mark's cathedral (MG Road)

A 1926 structure with a row of Roman arches and an imposing central dome. It is noted for the intricate woodwork in its interior. This is located in the heart of the city on the MG Road and easily accessible from any part of the city. The Cathedral is open and service is conducted every Sunday.

36. Mahalakshmipuram Hanuman

A granite slab in Mahalakshmipura, Bangalore, which was once a target for shooting practice, during the Mysore Maharaja's rule, is now an elegantly carved Hanuman. It is said that Sir Mirza Ismail, the then Dewan of Mysore, while passing this side had seen light emitting from the stone.

The majestic 22-foot tall and 6-foot wide Hanuman Statue made of black granite is a sight to behold. One is immediately transported to the era of Ramayan when one views this awesome statue. This relic of Lord Hanuman is the largest in India. It carries a mountain in one hand. On the Sharavana Somavar, the giant image is decorated with butter. More than 300 kgs of butter is used in the Lord's ceremonial bath.

Situated on a small hillock the temple authorities have developed this place into a temple, a spiritual education complex, a meditation center and much more. The hillock is also one of the important green spaces amidst the concrete jungle.

37. Kadumalleswara Temple - Malleswaram

Located in Malleswaram, a popular residential locality in Bangalore. This is one of the oldest temples in Bangalore, dates back to the time of Shivaji Maharaj who did his early schooling here in the forest and hillock surrounding the temple under the able guidance of his preceptor Dadaji Kondadev. There is an inscription on the rocks nearby which has been declared a protected monument by the Archeological Survey of India.

Behind this temple is another temple of Nandikeswara, which is equally old; the speciality of this temple is there is a stream of water flowing out of the mouth of a Nandi Statue (Nandi is the vehicle of Lord Shiva) onto the Shiva Linga installed here. Located approximately 6 kms from the Main Bus Terminus & Railway Station, 15 kms from the Airport.

38. M.G. Road & Brigade Road area

The main shopping areas in Bangalore, it is the commercial hub of the city. This area is famous for the many elite pubs, trendy discos, modern movie halls and huge shopping malls. The Mahatma Gandhi Road (M.G. Road) is situated in the cantonment area. The parade grounds where in the Independence Day and Republic Day parades' take place is located on one side of MG Road. The other side of the road is lined with shops, restaurants, pubs etc. Located approximately 8kms from Main Bus Terminus & Railway Station 5 kms from Airport.


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