Aptly, named the ‘Garden City’, it boasts of an amazing number of flowering trees and parks. With splendid pink cassias and golden acacias blooming, with Jacaranda flowering in purple majesty and the gul-mohars lighting the roads with their flam-orange brilliance, the city is a sheer delight to wander around in.
Bangalore or Bengaluru can be the ideal starting point for an exciting exploration of the fascinating, architecturally rich heritage of Karnataka, every important tourist attraction in Karnataka is within a day’s journey reach. While Bangalore or Bengaluru has its share of ancient forts and temples, it is a perfect spot for soaking in the sun and local color at the finest and friendliest of hotels. It is a shopper’s paradise where Karnataka’s fabulous traditional silks, coffee jewelry, and handicrafts can be bought at well-stocked, reliable shops.
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Air– Bangalore is accessible by regular flights from Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, and Kolkata. Air services also link to smaller cities like Hyderabad, Mangalore, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Coimbatore.
Rail- Bangalore is connected to Chennai by several super-fast trains such as the Shatabdi, Brindavan and Lalbagh expresses. It is also connected to all other major Indian cities by rail.
Road– Connected by National Highway to Mumbai 1021kms. And Chennai 331kms. Both are eminently motorable highways.
- Accommodations– Hotels come in a wide variety- you will find in many of them modern comforts enhanced by ancient tradition. Amid the hustle and bustle of city life, there are tranquil bases where business and pleasure meet. Rooms and conference halls can be had tailored to suit almost any kind of budget.
- Shopping– The best buys in Bangalore or Bengaluru are Karnataka’s vast treasure-trove of traditional handicrafts: famous Mysore and Bangalore silks, carvings in wood, sandalwood, ivory and rosewood, copperware, cane and bamboo in furniture and crafts, lacquerware wooden toys and traditional gold jewelry in designs that have remained unchanged for centuries.
- Kaveri (Karnataka State Arts and Crafts Emporium)
- Handicrafts Museum
- Janata Khadi Bhandari
- Khadi and Handmade Products
- Khadi Gramodyag Bhavan
- Central Cottage Industries Emporium a selection of the quaint, the exotic, the earthy, the folksy, the best of typically Indian clothes, bags, shoes, linen, furnishing and bric-a-brac.
- Lidkar Emporium – The state’s leather emporium with a wide selection finished goods.
- Priyadarshini Handloom House- Sells the colorful handloom range of Karnataka both in silk and cotton. Sarees from Molakalmuru, stunning with their contrasting borders and silks from Kollegal in gorgeous colors and with exquisite woven borders.
Besides this, there are other shopping areas at Brigade Road, Commercial Street, M.G.Road, and others. Brigade Road and Commercial Street are ideal grounds for gift-hunting, window-shopping, and people-watching and are alive with the color of garment, jewelry, footwear, furnishing, gift, electronics, books and fashion accessories stores.
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- Tipu’s Palace – Begun by Haider Ali and completed by Tipu Sultan in 1791, it is one of the several beautiful and luxurious places they built all over the State. Its architectural style is reminiscent of Tipu’s more opulent Daria Daulat Palace at Srirangapatnam. He used it every summer and named it Rashk-e-Jannat, the envy of heaven.
Constructed mainly of wood, it has 5 intricately sculpted arches surmounted by exquisite minarets. The walls and ceilings were once covered with bright paintings narrating the daring exploits of Haider Ali and Tipu, but these have faded into a pale whisper over the centuries.
- Lal Baugh– Lal Baugh is artistically landscaped with an eye for ordering nature’s beauty without confining or stultifying it. It has expansive, lush lawns, a profusion of flower beds, lotus pools, and tinkling mountains.
Among the beautiful flowering Indian trees, is the Asoka (saraca indica) which bears brick-red flowers. The closely related Magnolia and Champa bearing white flowers that waft a heavenly fragrance are in abundance though there is only one specimen of the Indian Dillenia bearing fragrant, magnolia-like white flowers. Most of the centuries-old trees are labeled for easy identification.
The best time to visit Lal Baugh is during the best months of January and August when riotous color with the flowers and vegetables appearing at their best for the annual Flower, Fruit and Vegetable shows held in these months.
- Cubbon Park– Cubbon Park was planned and laid out in 1864 by Sir Richard Sankey, the then Chief Engineer of Mysore, but named after Sir Mark Cubbon, Bangalore’s longest serving Commissioner.
Cubbon Park is a lush, grassy expanse fringed with flower beds, shady bowers, and flowering trees, where literally thousands of breeze seekers can take a walk, without bumping into each other. In the evening, the illuminated fairy fountains light up and a restaurant in the center of the park serves light refreshments.
4. Venkatappa Art Gallery– The main exhibition displays the works of famous Mysore artist, K.Venkatappa, a 20th-century art genius from Mysore who went on to achieve national and international fame with his work displaying both Indian traditionalism and Modern European technique. Venkatappa was a noted sculptor too, and the gallery displays several of his evocative plaster-of-Paris works as well as some of his personal musical instruments. A separate section houses the dynamic modern sculpture of Major Cheppurdira Ponappa Rajaram. A hall attached to the gallery holds exhibitions of contemporary Indian painters from time to time.
5. Visveswaraya Industrial and Technological Museum– The Museum is a wonderland of information about the marvels of science. You can see an unconnected tube light glow, learn how to make motion pictures, paper, and burglar alarms. These are some of the fascinating aspects of the museum. It has several rooms, each devoted to one discipline or aspect of technology.
To be continued…