Things to Do in Bangalore
Among the most stunning landmarks in the city, Bangalore Palace is one of many homes of the Wadiyar family, who ruled much of South India for centuries. Portions of this palace have been open to the public since 2005, though one of the Wadiyars still lives in a private wing of the gargantuan structure to this day.
High on a hilltop in the north of Bangalore, the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Temple Bangalore (also called the Sri Radha Krishna Temple) is one of the organization's largest complexes on earth, and one of Bangalore's most popular Hindu places of worship. Unlike many of the temples in the city, this one features contemporary architecture and modern interiors.
Spread across 240 acres (97 hectares) full of plants and flowers, not to mention dozens of types of birds, the sprawling Lalbagh Botanical Gardens is one of Bangalore's best green spaces and a big part of how the city got its nickname: the Garden City. It's as popular with locals and tourists alike and is a great place for a morning jog.
Built in the late 18th century, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace served as a retreat for Mysore’s ruler. This beautiful teak structure—once part of Bangalore Fort—attracts visitors with its beautiful Indo-Islamic architecture, interior frescoes, and selection of ephemera, including Tipu Sultan images along with his robes and a crown.
The Vidhana Soudha houses the legislature of the state of Karnataka and is the biggest legislative building in India. This imposing building is made of granite in a neo-Dravidian style with a few Indo-Saracenic architectural elements thrown in, such as its golden dome.
Sri Chamarajendra Park (Cubbon Park) is a 300-acre (121-hectare) oasis located in the heart of Bangalore just off the city’s main thoroughfare, MG Road. The park is a hive of activity in the early mornings when people come here for their morning walks and then again in the early evenings when the walkers descend again. With close to a hundred different species of plants and trees, this is also a favorite haunt for nature lovers and birdwatchers.
The park is painted a different color each season as the tall majestic trees flower and drop their petals to the ground, creating a beautiful carpet of flowers. In the spring, the Rain Trees are covered with delicate pink blossoms, while summer is when the Jacarandas release their bright purple blossoms, creating a brilliant tapestry on the ground. At the height of summer, it’s the Gulmohars’ turn as they bloom and turn the park’s avenues a bright red. Twice a year, the eccentric Cannonball tree flowers, releasing the blossoms’ intoxicating perfume. Those who want a quiet moment for contemplation head to the park’s atmospheric bamboo groves and lotus ponds.
Cubbon Park is also the home to several important government buildings including the Karnataka High Court, the Central Library and the Government Museum and Art Gallery.
The Bull Temple (Nandi Temple) was built in the 16th century in typical South Indian Dravidian style, and is one of Bangalore’s oldest temples. The locals call it “Dodda Basavana Gudi” (Big Bull Temple), named after the gigantic 15-foot high and 20-foot long statue of Nandi, Lord Shiva’s bull.
Visitors to the temple first pay their respects to Ganesh, the elephant-headed god at the base of the hill before climbing the many steps to worship the huge monolithic statue of Nandi at the top. Carved from a single enormous slab of granite, this is one of the largest statues of Nandi in the world.
One of the most important annual festivals celebrated at the Bull Temple is the “Peanut Festival” which happens every November. Peanut farmers from villages on the outskirts of the city come to the temple to offer their first crop of peanuts to Nandi the bull before selling the rest. The streets adjoining the temple are closed to traffic and take on a festive atmosphere: huge piles of peanuts are bought and sold and a variety of vendors sell trinkets, balloons and snacks to the crowds of people who come to take part.
The lively KR Market (also know as City Market or Krishnarajendra City Market) is Bangalore’s largest and most vibrant market. It is also one of the city’s oldest, having opened its doors in 1928. A visit here is a great way to get a taste of local life and experience the ambiance of a traditional local market.
The market’s original red and white brick building still stands, but just behind it is the newer and much larger market complex. This is the main fruit and vegetable market, but it is not confined to these buildings, and spills out onto the sidewalks and neighboring streets and lanes. A walk through the market can be an intense experience: vendors haggle loudly with their customers, and the earthy and pungent smell of vegetables, flowers and spices and the riot of brilliant colors is an exhilarating feast for the senses.
The best time to visit the market is in the early morning, when business is at its peak as shopkeepers come to stock up on goods for the day. At sunrise, the southern end of Avenue Road becomes the city’s biggest flower market. The huge piles of fresh-cut flowers of every variety and color covering the streets and sidewalks is a spectacular sight.
Mysore Palace (Mysuru Palace)—the former home of the Wodeyar family, who ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 until India’s independence—is an architectural marvel with equally stunning interiors. Though a fire destroyed most of the palace at the end of the 18th century, it was restored in 1912, and today is among the most visited attractions in India.
Situated on the outskirts of Bangalore (also known as Bengaluru), the Wonderla Amusement Park is a massive attraction featuring a waterpark with slides and pools as well as a huge variety of amusement park rides that range from thrilling to kid-friendly. There's also an on-site resort for guests who want to spend the night.
More Things to Do in Bangalore
One of India's largest wildlife areas, the enormous Bannerghatta National Park spans more than 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) and features tons of hiking trails, villages, and temples. The highlight of the reserve is the Bannerghatta Biological Park, which features an animal rescue center, a zoo, safaris, and a butterfly park.
Formerly known as Daria Daulat Bagh, Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace was built in 1784 in honor of Tipu Sultan's military victory over the British. This elegant palace, built almost entirely from fine teakwood, is an earlier example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, which features a blend of Indian, Islamic, and European elements.
Up a hillock lies this ornate temple dedicated to the Hindu god Hanuman. Resembling a monkey, Hanuman is worshipped for various benefits, including health, wealth, happiness, and success. There are also shrines devoted to Shiva, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana.
It is believed that a heap of ragi (a food grain) was turned into a stone, giving the temple its name. It was then that the Hindu holy trinity Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva turned themselves into stone to remain at the temple site. These large stones now bear engravings representing this trinity.
Located in a suburb of Bangalore and built in 1969, the temple has become a social center with a charitable focus. There is an ornate gate that leads to an open auditorium, pond, and yoga center. Several cows that wander the area. In December of every year, the festival of Sri Hanumajjayanthi attracts nearly 35,000 pilgrims for a 12-day long event.
A great attraction for families or those interested in science, Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium features a 49-foot-diameter (15 meter) dome with projections of the night sky, allowing visitors a better view of stars and planets. There are also daily shows in English and Kannada for travelers interested in learning more about our solar system.
The Art of Living International Center (Art of Living Ashram), is a 65-acre haven of peace and tranquility, with its beautiful, lush gardens, soothing water fountains and waterfalls, and a picturesque lake. At the center of the campus is the spectacular mediation hall, a magnificent six-tiered building topped with a glass dome.
TheKarnataka Chitrakala Parishath is an art institution that promotes Indian cultural heritage throughout a total of 13 museums, each housing different collections. Exhibitions on both the state and national level range from traditional Mysore paintings and sculptures to folk and tribal art from across Asia.
The galleries host a wide range of Indian and international contemporary art, including a collection of leather puppetry and an extensive display of Russian artist Nicholas Roerich’s paintings of the Himalayas. Other notable collections include the works of Kejriwal, Kukke and Krishna Reddy.
As a center for the visual arts, the gallery is home to a renowned school of art, as well as a popular “art mart” store with original pieces, canvas prints and books for sale. The tree-lined campus also hosts several handicraft festivals each year.
Srirangapatna is an island in the middle of the sacred Cauvery River. This is a place of great historical, cultural and religious significance. This was once a capital of the Kingdom of Mysore during the rule of Tipu Sultan and the site of many important historical buildings.
Once a fortified city, the remains of Tipu’s Fort can still be seen today. The fort is a complex housing several important monuments and buildings. It is from here that Tipu Sultan launched an assault against the British and an obelisk marks the place where he died in battle. Near one of the gates of the Fort is the Jama Masjid, the mosque built by Tipu Sultan in 1787 when he ascended to the throne of Mysore.
Just outside the fort set in lush gardens, the Gumbaz was built by Tipu Sultan in the 18th century as a mausoleum where his father Hyder Ali, the former sultan and ruler, and mother Fatima Begum were laid to rest, and later Tipu Sultan himself. Another popular attraction is Daria Daulat Bagh, Tipu Sultan's summer palace.
The majestic Sri Ranganathaswamy temple dominates the town and is an important pilgrimage center for Vaishnavites, Hindu worshipers of lord Vishnu. This important temple was built during the 9th century and is dedicated to lord Vishnu in his form as Ranganatha, Vishnu reclining on the serpent.
Also known as Kempegowda's Fort after the founder of Bangalore (Kempe Gowda), this landmark construction was originally built in 1537 out of mud and converted to stone in 1761. It was later captured by the British East India Company in 1791. Today, only two bastions and one gate remain, along with gardens and a Ganesh temple.
This temple in Bangalore South is one of the most important places of worship in the city. It is finely carved out of pure granite and stands tall as an excellent example of Dravidian style architecture.
The temple’s massive entrance tower can be seen from miles away. Entering from the road through its striking entrance arch, there is also a prominent sanctum, porch, and pillared hallway that makes up the complex. There is a walking path circling the whole area and various courtyards to explore.
The highlight of a visit here is the six foot tall stone statue of the Hindu goddess Raja Rajeshwari, the main deity after which the temple is named. Marvel at the intricately designed pillars and decorated walls that have stood for centuries, or relax with a stroll through the temple gardens.
Formerly the Manikyavelu Mansion and once property of the Mysore royal family, the Indian government opened this modern museum showcasing the trajectory of Indian art in 2009.
Visitors can view works by Raja Ravi Verma, Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-gil, Jamini Roy, Gagendranath Tagaore, and M.F. Hussain. There are various paintings, sculptures, photographs, and prints ranging from the 18th century to current artistic trends in the museum’s permanent collection. Collectively the artworks show the development of modernism in Indian art. There are also national and international exhibitions on display.
The museum sits on 3.5 acres with fountains and palm trees throughout the grounds. Facilities include an open air theater, reference library, and an auditorium. The gallery also holds film screenings.
Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain is a large computerized fountain that seems to dance to various types of music using hydraulic pump systems, multi-colored laser lights, and more than 1,000 nozzles. It makes for a fun night out for families; shows are frequently set to patriotic songs in the regional Kannada language as well as Hindi.
The Kaveri River (Kaveri Nadi) measures around 475 miles (765 kilometers) in length and passes through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, all the while supporting irrigation systems for large parts of Tamil Nadu. It's the third-largest river in South India, and river-access rights has long been a point of contention among certain South Indian states.
This movie studio-themed amusement park — a popular family outing in the area — offers quite the variety of activities. What the park is lacking in traditional theme park rides, it makes up for in variety; there’s a cartoon-themed area populated by giant versions of popular Indian animated characters, water park, mini golf course, Dino Park with life-sized replicas, petting zoo, mirror maze, haunted house and even a traditional “talkies” movie house.
Four small museums display fossils, wax figures, Indian tribal art and general oddities, and the popular Bigg Boss Tour takes visitors behind-the-scenes of India’s famous reality television show. For an extra fee, visitors can try go karting, dirt biking, zip lining, mechanical bull riding or even cricket playing.
Side-by-side theme parks in Bangalore, Fun World and Water World are fun, family-friendly destinations year-round. Fun World offers rides from the tame to the adrenaline-pumping, while at Water World visitors can cool off with a variety of waterslides and pools. Gather a group of friends or take the kids out for a day of fun at one—or both—of these parks.
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