Bengaluru, formerly Bangalore, is the capital city of Karnataka in south India. The city has earned several names such as Silicon Valley of India, Pub Capital of India, Air Conditioned City, and City of Gardens. However, prior to the IT revolution, Bengaluru was known as Pensioners' Paradise.
Now, it's a wonderful blend of past and present. Although Bengaluru may not have as many iconic attractions as other major cities in India, it does have a great mix of history, architecture, culture, spirituality, and nature. Here are the top tourist places to visit in Bengaluru.
Built for Chamaraja Wadiyar X in 1887, the design of Bangalore Palace was inspired by England's Windsor Castle. As a result, this evocative palace has Tudor-style architecture with fortified towers, arches, green lawns, and elegant woodcarvings in its interiors.
The royal family still lives here today, and the palace is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.
If you're an art lover, don't miss visiting the National Gallery of Modern Art on Palace Road. This gallery, which opened in 2009, is the third of its kind in India (the others are in Delhi and Mumbai).
It's housed in a Colonial mansion with a garden setting and has two interconnected wings, one of which features works from the early 18th century up until India's Independence while the other displays work from a large number of modern and contemporary artists.
The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m until 6:30 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. It's closed on Monday. There is a cafe on the premises as well, which is open fewer hours than the gallery itself.
Tipu Sultan's Palace and Fort
Situated inside the Bangalore Fort area, Tipu Sultan's Palace was originally built by Kempe Gowda using mud. Later, Hyder Ali started reconstruction in Indo-Islamic architecture. This was completed by his son, Tipu Sultan, in 1791.
The Hindu temple seen in the courtyard of the fort is the proof of Tipu Sultan's religious tolerance. The palace is open daily from 8.30 a.m. until 5.30 p.m. daily. Combine visiting it with nearby Krishna Rajendra Market.
Krishna Rajendra (KR) Market
This vivid, traditional local market is an assault on the senses and a treat for photographers, and in the middle of it, you'll find Bengaluru's bustling flower market. The market also sells a variety of fresh produce, spices, and copper items.
Go there in the early morning to best experience the colors and crowds, when piles of fresh stock are being unloaded and sold.
Lalbagh Botanical Garden
This expansive garden started out as a private Mughal-style garden for the city's royal rulers. It was established in 1760 by Hyder Ali and later extended by his son Tipu Sultan.
It now covers 240 acres and derives its name from the red roses that bloom throughout the year there. The garden is said to have the most diverse species of plants in the world. Its focal point is a majestic glasshouse, built in 1889 to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales. It was designed along the lines of the Crystal Palace in London.
The garden is open daily from 6.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. throughout the year. It takes on a festive look during India's Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations, with a captivating show of over 200 varieties of flowers. The show also features an exhibition of hybrid vegetables.
Occupying a 300-acre area in Bangalore's business district, Cubbon Park is a popular place for walkers, joggers, nature lovers, and anyone who just wants to laze around. The park was named after the erstwhile Commissioner of Mysore, Sir Mark Cubbon. Many ornamental and flowering trees, both exotic and indigenous, can be found there. Kids will enjoy the special Bal Bhavan play area and aquarium inside the park.
First opened in 1956, Vidana Soudha is a landmark of Bengaluru and is located next to Cubbon Park. This enormous building is a massive example of neo-Dravidian architecture, complete with four domes on its four corners. It houses the Legislative Chamber of Karnataka Government and accommodates many other government departments. Unfortunately, it's not open to the public but is stunningly illuminated at night.
Attara Kacheri (High Court) and Surroundings
This eye-catching red, two-storied building, built in 1867 under the reign of Tipu Sultan, has magnificent neoclassical architecture. It houses the High Court and many lower courts, and sits opposite Vidana Soudha at the entrance to Cubbon Park.
Close to the Court is the red, Gothic-style State Central Library building, with imposing stone and fluted pillars. Nearby, the highlight at the Government Museum is a collection of artifacts and stone carvings dating back to the 12th century, and excavated from places including Hampi. Adjacent to the Museum is Venkatappa Art Gallery, devoted to displaying famous paintings, plaster of Paris works and wooden sculptures of renowned artist Venkatappa (who painted for the royal family). Tickets for the museum also provide entry to the art gallery.
Picturesque Ulsoor Lake is spread over an area of 125 acres in the heart of the city, north of M.G. Road. It was constructed by Kempe Gowda II. It's open daily, except Wednesdays, from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Boating facilities are provided by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation. There's also a walking track around the lake.
Spiritual and Religious Places
Bengaluru is the home of many of India's spiritual gurus, and the city has a rich religious culture. There are many diverse places of worship, including ashrams, mosques, and churches.
Consider seeing many of the city's attractions on a Bengaluru walking tour. Alternatively, Viator in conjunction with Tripadvisor offers a comprehensive Private Full Day Bangalore (Bengaluru) City Tour and Experiential Culture Tour of Bangalore (Bengaluru), bookable online.
It's also worth exploring the area around Bengaluru. There are many places of interest, whether you're after an escape from city life or are a visitor who wants to spend a day enjoying the abundant beauty of Mother Nature.