Bangalore City Information: What to Know Before You Go

Your Essential Guide to Visiting Bangalore

UB City in Bangalore.
UB City in Bangalore.


Soltan Frédéric/Getty Images

 

Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, is another Indian city that's undergoing a change back to its traditional name, Bengaluru. In contrast to many south Indian cities, Bangalore is a contemporary, fast growing and prosperous place that's home to India's IT industry. Many multinational corporations have set up their Indian head offices there. As a result, the city is full of young professionals and has a vibrant air about it, with a flourishing pub culture.

Although Bangalore isn't regarded as a must-visit destination in India, many people love the city because of its greenery and interesting buildings. Unfortunately, in recent years, some of the city's appeal has been lost to traffic jams and garbage disposal issues though.

Plan your trip to Bangalore with this informative travel guide and city profile.

History

Bangalore was founded in 1537 by a local chieftain, who upon being given the land by a Vijaynagar emperor, built a mud fort and temple there. Over the years, the city has undergone a massive transformation. Its earlier days saw it passed from ruler to ruler, until the British Raj took hold of it and located their south Indian administration there in 1831. The British constructed considerable infrastructure. After India gained independence, Bangalore grew into an important center for education, science, and information technology.

Timezone

UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) +5.5 hours.

Bangalore does not have Daylight Saving Time. Read more about India's time zone.

Population

There's been a huge population growth in Bangalore in recent years. More than 11 million people now live in the city, making it India's fourth largest city after Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata.

Climate and Weather

Due to its elevation, Bangalore is blessed with relatively pleasant climate.

Daytime temperatures remain fairly constant, between 26-29 degrees Celsius (79-84 degrees Fahrenheit), for most of the year. The temperature usually only exceeds 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) during the hot summer months from March to May, when it can reach around 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit). Winters in Bangalore are warm and sunny, although the temperature does drop at night to around 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). Winter mornings can also be foggy. September and October experience the most monsoon season rain.

Airport Information

Bangalore has a brand new international airport that opened in May 2008. However, it's located 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the city center. The travel time to the airport is between one and two hours, depending on traffic. Read more about Bangalore airport and the best hotels hear Bangalore airport for all budgets.

Getting Around

The new Bangalore Metro train, Uber and Ola Cabs have revolutionized transport in the city. Previously, getting around the city could be challenging, as taxis are only available by prior booking and auto rickshaws are notorious for trying to cheat tourists. Auto rickshaws can now be booked using the Ola app.

However, they can be unreliable and don't always turn up. The other alternative is to take a bus, and this can be a cheap and easy way of going on a mini tour of the city. Board a bus near the start of the route at Majestic or Shivaji Nagar, and you'll get a great insight into life in Bangalore.

The government-operated Bangaluru Darshini bus service is another option for those who are interested in sightseeing. It has two different routes, and costs 400 per person for adults and 300 rupees for children.

Neighborhoods in Bangalore

Bangalore's Central Business District is situated around M.G. Road, which extends east from Cubbon Park and the imposing neo-Dravidian-style Vidhana Soudha (seat of the Karnataka government). It includes UB City, the city's biggest luxury commercial development project that's become a hot place to shop, dine, and party.

Koramangala and Indiranagar are other hip and stylish neighborhoods that are renowned for their nightlife, restaurants, and pubs.

Malleswaram, in northwest Bangalore, dates back to the 1890s and is one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods. It's a great place to explore on foot, as it has well-maintained sidewalks (a rarity in India!).

Bangalore's main IT hub is located in Whitefield, about 20 kilometers (18.6 miles) east of the city center. However, this rapidly evolving neighborhood has also become an upmarket residential district with gated communities, spacious villas and luxury apartments.

What to Do

The city's parks and gardens are a big attraction. Bangalore also has some insightful walking tours for those interested in history and heritage. If you love beer, you'll love visiting the many brew pubs and sampling craft beers. (The Biere Club near UB City is Bangalore's first microbrewery).

Check out these top tourist places to visit in Bangalore and top temples and spiritual places in Bangalore.

If you feel like venturing further afield, there are also some popular tourist places near Bangalore.

Sleeping and Eating

Luxury travelers will be pleased to know Bangalore has some fabulous five-star hotels, ranging from colonial to chic, and they're among India's finest. These ones are all located in areas handy for sightseeing. Purple Lotus is a modern boutique hotel in the heart of the action. Electric Cats is a cool place to stay for backpackers and budget travelers.

Foodies won't be disappointed either. Head to these iconic Indian cuisine restaurants in Bangalore for all budgets.

Health and Safety Information

Bangalore is a relatively safe Indian city and organized crime is almost non-existent. The city is also quite liberal in its attitude compared to many Indian cities, resulting in better treatment of women and less staring. However, be careful of pickpockets in tourist areas. You may also be approached by men to pose for selfies, which you can refuse if you don't feel comfortable.

The usual tourist scams also operate in Bangalore, but again, to a lesser extent than in many other Indian cities. Overall, Bangalore is a friendly city to visit.

As always in India, it's important not to drink the water in Bangalore. Instead buy readily available and inexpensive bottled water to stay healthy. In addition, it's a good idea to visit your doctor or travel clinic well in advance of your departure date to ensure that you receive all the necessary immunizations and medications, especially in relation to illnesses such as malaria and hepatitis.