By Ankita Sinha
Bangalore City, the silicon valley of India, has multitudes of technology parks and multinational corporations as its forte, making it India’s quintessential symbol of industrialisation. However, what remains comparatively overshadowed is the fact that it is an equally approachable tourist destination, owing to its rich and explorable culture, history, natural heritage in and around and the abundance of nightclubs, food outlets and shopping opportunities that can too well keep you on your toes.
The Bangalore international airport connects it well with all the major cities in India and the world. Besides, the rail and road networks passing through the city efficiently link it to distant as well as nearby places, making the inflow of immigrants as well as tourists convenient. The best time for a two to three days Bangalore city tour is during the months of November to February. The tranquility of autumn makes the tour pleasant and you can wholeheartedly enjoy the best places to visit in Bangalore.
The list of tourist places in Bangalore goes on and on and you can always pick a handful of best ones depending upon your interest and the weather condition. However, the following 15 are the ones that are a must visit for anyone who is on a Bangalore tour for a span of 2 days or so.
1. Bangalore Fort:
Bangalore fort or Tipu Sultan fort, is one of the distinguished places you must visit on a Bangalore tour, narrating its intriguing history. The fort has an elaborate history of its construction, demolition, renovation and conquest by a number of Kings and the British that ranges over a period of 3 centuries before concluding to what we witness today. Among the major attractions of the compound are the 500 years old Ganpati temple, a dungeon, colorful gardens and the renowned Tipu Sultan Palace, that served as his summer retreat. Constructed in pure teakwood, the palace is a spectacular specimen of the Indo-Islamic architecture and the words “Abode of Happiness” are carved on a wall. Artefacts and paintings are a sight to behold, while the balconies opening to a cool breeze make it a perfect place to rest your senses. The fort allows visitors on all days from 9am to 6pm except Sundays. Entry fees of INR 15 applies for Indians and INR 200 for foreigners. Still camera charges are 25 INR. The K R City market nearby is a crowded yet great shopping experience for the tourists.
2. Cubbon Park:
A safe haven from the hustle of the city, Cubbon park is aliased the “Lungs of Bangalore”, owing to its virgin environ. Spread across 300 acres, it hosts unending native as well as exotic flora, serving as a Botanists’ hub. Statues of Queen Victoria, Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar and many other personalities are placed at various spots. Besides, the park also houses multiple administrative buildings, including High Court, Vidhana Soudha, Public Library, Vishveshwaraya Technological Museum, etc. Children’s Amusement Park, Doll Museum and the Toy Train have also been added to the park to keep the kids attracted. Greenest in all of Bangalore, this park experiences substantial visitorship in the form of joggers, walkers, meditators, youth and the aged, be it tourists or locals, especially during the early morning and evening hours of utmost serenity. Vehicles are allowed in the premises, except during the morning hours of 5-8 am.
3. ISKCON Temple:
The ISKCON temple is a must visit for Lord Krishna devouts to complete their Bangalore city tour. One of the largest ISKCON temples of India, it has the magnificent 56 feet Dhwaja Stambha(pillar) to greet you at the entrance, followed by an array of temples, namely Sri Radha Krishnachandra temple, Sri Krishna Balarama temple, the Prahlada Narasimha temple, Srinivasa Govinda temple, and Sri Nitai Gauranga Temple. Counting religion and spirituality as one, they offer meditation facilities and a guest house for practitioners. Two of the most recent and vibrant additions here are the multi-vision and open air theatres that screen renowned animation movies on Lord Krishna. You might want to confirm the darshan timings before scheduling a visit here as it is fragmented into couples of hours throughout the day.
4. Bannerghatta National Park:
22 kms away from Bangalore is the Bannerghatta National Park, a major tourist destination for the explorers out on a Bangalore tour. It is home to animals like tigers, lions, leopards, panthers, zebras, elephants, spotted deers and rhinoceros, all of which can be spotted on the special safari which costs Rs.280 per head and requires advance permission. A lot of temples and lakes worth paying a visit populate the area. Besides, the park has the first ever butterfly conservatory of India which inhabits 20 varied species of butterflies. The Hajjamana Kallu, Uddigebande and the Mirza Hills are pure trekkers’ delights. The butterfly reserve charges Rs 30 per head as entry fee and the zoo Rs. 80.
5. Ulsoor Lake:
Of all the lakes that the city takes credit for, this one is the richest in scenic beauty. The calm and tranquility and the mini islands adorning it, make it the spot for Bangalore sightseeing. The 50 hectare lake lies right at the centre of the city, yet offering an escapade from the chaotic city life. Boating rides available at low costs capture the beauty of the landscape from all possible perspectives, making it the much applauded photographer’s delight. The area around has eating joints to facilitate snacks and drinks and the adjoining swimming pool allows the swimmers to take a dip. If you visit around the months of August or September, make it a point to witness the Ganesh Chaturthi extravaganza organised here.
6. Bangalore Palace:
One of the top amusements among the best places to visit in Bangalore is the Bangalore palace. A perfect blend of the Tudor and Gothic style architecture, the building is detailed with wooden carvings, wall hangings, paintings and ancient artefacts. The interior of the palace paints a magnificent as well as curious picture for art lovers and history geeks.
The ground floor of the palace hosts concerts, cultural events, private parties and even wedding receptions while the first floor houses the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and the Darbar Hall. The palace complex also has a water park called Fun World, a fun experience for young ones and adults alike. You can avail an audio tape here either in Hindi or English, to know more about the palace and its history. Entry fee is Rs. 230 for Indians and Rs. 460 for foreign visitors, apart from the still camera charges of Rs. 685 and smartphone camera charges of Rs. 285.
7. National Gallery of Modern Art:
The Manikyavelu Mansion complex was converted into the present day National Gallery of Modern Art in 1915. With the trusteeship of more than 500 paintings by hundreds of artists, this gallery attracts art lovers from across the country, but that’s not all about it. Why it is counted among the best places to visit in Bangalore is also attributed to a versatile range of activities that it offers, accompanied by the greenery and freshness of its surrounding. The campus remains sprawling all the year round with art exhibitions, gallery walks, movie screenings, music, theatre and dance competitions and talk shows. They also have a library for literature geeks equipped with all the genres you will ever want to explore and the adjacent cafe serves delicacies and beverages worth savoring. A recent addition to the complex is the modern wing which preserves spectacular pieces of contemporary art. Visitors are allowed all the week except on Mondays and the entry fees varies from Rs.10 for Indians to Rs.150 for foreigners and Rs.1 for students and children.
Wonderla has, over the years, become prominent among tourist places in Bangalore, owing to the exhilarating experience that it has to offer. From children’s joy rides like Mini Venice and Kidder’s Mushroom to the real pieces of thrill like the Maverick and Hurricane, the adrenaline inducing range has numerous options for all age groups. Then there are pleasantries like the musical fountains and rain disco that are you can’t ever regret trying. Tickets to the amusement park can be booked online at Rs. 900 for adults and Rs. 720 for children.
9. Nandi Hills:
61 kms away from Bangalore is this A-ranker among Bangalore sightseeing destinations and the holy shrine of nature lovers and trekkers. An hour and a half ride from the city takes you in the lap of nature where the view from the top is dream-like for as far as your eyes can wander. Sitting atop the crown of the hill is the renowned Nandi temple holding utmost religious importance among South Indian Hindus. A large pool of trekkers pursue the destination to quench their thirst for adventure.
10. St. Mary’s Basilica:
Among all the churches of Bangalore, this is the oldest one erected from a minor basilica to the magnanimous built that it has today. The 160 feet tall, 172 feet long and 50 feet wide church is an eye-widening specimen of the Gothic architecture and attracts multitudes of tourist due to its peculiar shape, outstanding French interiors and curious traditions. Every day, Mother Mary is draped in a saree, giving her the Indian avatar. If you plan a Bangalore tour during the month of September, don’t miss out on the Mother Mary’s feast hosted here for ten long days with greatest of enthusiasm and perfection.
11. Lal Bagh Botanical Garden:
Harbouring India’s largest collection of tropical plants, the garden is beautifully landscaped with lotus pools, flowerbeds and thousands of species of plants. There are numerous engaging spots relating to the evolution of earth, leaving you in awe for quite a time. Besides, the 240 acres of area with variety of birds, picture perfect sights and countless species of flora is as much a sightseer’s and photographers’ paradise as it is a botanist’s playfield. The flower show held on independence day and republic day is a must attend if you are in the city around that time. Entry fee here is Rs. 20 during hours other than 6:00 am to 9:00 am and 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm and free otherwise.
12. Phoenix Mall:
Located in Whitefield, this mall is one of the best gifts of urbanization to the city. The 1.4 million square feet complex is composed of 270 brands of national and international origin, a food court serving mouth watering delicacies and the inhouse PVR theatre can undoubtedly become a cause of repentance if you don’t spare an evening for the center while on a Bangalore tour.
13. Government Museum:
Government museum is a perfect place to indulge in the fascinating history of South India as the opportunities here are apparently unending. The second oldest museum in all of South India, it inhabits 18 galleries, each adhering to different domains and harbouring pieces of art, antiques and pottery from various dynasties and era. A separate wing called the Venkatappa Art Gallery exhibits mesmerising 600 paintings. The museum’s refreshing surroundings and cafes in the vicinity are worth dining in.￼
The city of Bangalore has an impressing list of ancient and awe-inspiring temples, a visit to any of which is bound to be an elevating experience. Some of the show stealers among these are the 10th century Chokkanathaswamy temple; Bull temple- the biggest Nandi temple in the world; Ganesh temple with the 18 feet tall monolith,and the magnificently built Shiv temple, the interiors of which are a replica of the Kailash Parvat. Make sure you don’t skip the holy shrines on your Bangalore tour.
15. Art of Living International Center:
If you are the kind to pursue some self-exploration, visit this establishment on the top of Panchagiri hills, 36 kms from Bangalore. A stroll through the premises gives you more than enough opportunities for introspection and relaxation, acquainting you with meditation spots like Vishalakshi mantap, Sumeru mantap, the Radha Kund garden designed in resemblance with Vrindavan and the Ayurveda Panchakarma Wellness spa. The central hall facilitates meditation, music sessions and seva, which makes you feel liberated. You would not want to leave the campus without having a bite at the bustling Vishala cafe, while paying a visit to the inhouse book store and divine shops selling books, music and locally crafted artifacts are an additional treat.
A Bangalore city tour is incomplete without without an experience of its nightlife, pertaining to which, Indiranagar tops the list. This part of Bangalore has countless restaurants and nightclubs to light up your evening, the best of which are the Humming Tree, Black Rabbit, Vapour and Toit. Besides, the Sky Ultra Lounge in Vittal Mallya Road and the Pebble at Palace Grounds are among the best that Bangalore has to offer. Moreover, the city has numerous affordable as well as comfortable hotel all over its geography for tourists out on a weekend exploration.